At 64 years old, I have never felt more threatened about the security and the safety of my life and the lives of our children to come as I do today. 

So it was important for The Atlanta Voice to put together an election guide to let people know what positions were out there and how eligible voters need to really take the time to exercise their right to vote. It is scary to me. 

Race relations in the ’70s were bad, but we got through it. Now we’re in 2020, and it appears as if we’ve taken two steps back from all the gains that we’ve made in the past. And I don’t know what the future is going to look like, but God willing, we will make some changes in the White House so that we can actually feel safe to live in this country.

The Atlanta Voice was started out of the Civil Rights movement by my late father J. Lowell Ware and Ed Clayton back in 1966. It was started in the basement of our home. The fact is, we have dealt with racial injustice for our entire lives. The right to vote was also a part of the change that took place at that time. 

My father was a strong proponent of voting. In fact, he was so committed to voting that under his printing company arm, he would actually print a copy of the ballot and suggest to readers who they should vote for.

He also took me to vote for my very first time. He was trying to go into the little booth with me, and the voting officials told him he couldn’t do that. That was against the rules. And he attempted to explain to them, “Well, she’s never done this before, so I need to at least show her how to do this.” 

I remember that day fondly because the fact is I have voted in every election since and because I realized how important it was to him and how our forefathers died for the right to vote. 

Atlanta is an interesting city. It really is the tale of two cities: the haves and the have nots. And, while we have made a lot of major accomplishments by having African-American mayors in this city, the vast majority of the wealth still resides in Buckhead and going North. 

For us to change that dynamic means that we’re going to have to vote people into positions who are going to be strong enough to say, “You have gotten your share. It is now time for us to get some resources back into the Southwest area of the city of Atlanta.”

It’s important for people to take the time, to vote, to be able to determine who you want to lead your country, who you would like to have in any electorial position in the state and the city government for you to take action on what’s going to happen in the city is all determined by who you vote for and who you’re put in these positions. 

So, just like filling out the census allows the federal government to determine how much money is going to come into an area, being able to determine how that money, when it gets into a particular area, like the city of Atlanta is determined by who’s actually going to divvy up that money. 

Therefore, it’s important for you to vote the right people into the right positions, to be able to make the determination of what’s going to happen with things that are going to affect you and your community.

For anyone to take such careless actions in deciding that voting is not important going forward is really a bad situation. So I am encouraging and hopeful that we will look at voting as our responsibility—not as a right, but a responsibility.

I am also encouraging everyone to get a copy of our election guide, to look through it, digest it and exercise your right to vote on Nov. 3, if not before. Thank you so very much.

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