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The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) believes that our earth is worth fighting for — that is more true now than ever. Communities of color bear a disproportionate burden of polluters’ unchecked actions and are often disregarded or disenfranchised from the political processes and decisions that affect their communities. As a result, these communities often suffer from higher rates of asthma and other debilitating illnesses, contaminated soil and water, infrastructure that crumbles in extreme weather, and job loss and displacement. And we know communities of color are hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis and the ongoing climate crisis because of racism and environmental injustices.
Climate justice is racial justice — these are not separate fights. It is pivotal that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have safe access to the ballot box. COVID-19 has called for changes to be made to our election process, including ramping up voting by mail. LCV just wrapped up a $6.5M nonpartisan vote-by-mail generation and education program that engages with voters of color and young voters in order to help make sure every voice is heard in this critical election. We spoke to numerous individuals about voting by mail and educated them on the process of mail in ballots. Below are the thoughts of Shavon, Dolores, and Michael — all BIPOC identifying voters in different parts of the country. All three will be voting like their lives depend on it — because they do. No one should have to wait in crowded lines amidst a pandemic, and choose between their life and their right to vote. Read why Shavon, Dolores, and Michael believe voting by mail is important:
Shavon from Arizona: “My grandmother and great aunt were poll workers. We organized rallies to make sure people in our neighborhood registered to vote. I’ve never missed an opportunity to vote since I turned eighteen. It’s part of my job to vote. I think about those who fought for my right to vote. I will not let their battle be in vain. It would be disrespectful to those who were attacked with water hoses if I skipped voting. I am disabled and still wanting to stand in line to make a statement.”
Dolores from North Carolina: Dolores is a native Spanish-speaker who will be voting for the first time this year. As a part of a marginalized community, she feels that it is especially critical to vote in the upcoming primaries. She was very excited to hear that she was going to receive an application and promised to send it in as soon as possible in order to be able to vote safely and securely. She promised to inform her loved ones of the alternative methods of submitting their mail-in-ballots.
Michael from North Carolina: Michael voiced the importance of voting by mail. He spoke about his motivations for voting and what he believes would motivate other voters in the state. He explained that it is all about getting people to understand that absentee voting is about getting their vote to count in the most convenient and safe way possible. Getting out the vote in this election is also especially important to him because he is a Black man and he understands how important this election is for marginalized communities in our country.