It’s hard not to go to the polls when a generation of African-Americans risked—and sometimes lost—their lives to get you there
When we were growing up in South Los Angeles, my siblings and I often heard my dad’s impromptu sermons about matters of importance: the value of education, the perils of purchasing on credit, the virtue of hard work, and the dire necessity of voting.
“People died so we could vote,” he’d say.
As a very young kid, I imagined the dying as a scene from a Western movie: good guys vs. bad guys and bodies strewn across a grassy battlefield. In the end the good guys walked away, alive and free to vote. My imaginary battle scene was historically inaccurate, but I came to learn the element of peril was real. And we weren’t talking about faraway countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, but the U.S.A., in the not very distant past.