There was a really nice story to come out of Richmond this weekend. It was one of cooperation and unity, which is especially refreshing given these divisive times we live in.
This is an election year, and the city came together on Saturday in order to increase voter registration for the big decision in early November for president.
The ancient Romans spoke of the importance of civic virtue, and that the only way to cultivate a thriving democracy is for citizens to be well informed and active on issues of importance within the community.
It’s easy to feel disillusioned with the state of politics today. Candidates are often untrustworthy, beholden to sources lurking behind the scenes that wish to influence the system for their own gain, and in extreme cases use hateful rhetoric that severely wound certain groups in this country.
— Robert Rogers (@roberthrogers1) September 7, 2016
However, the one weapon citizens have against these obstacles of oppression is to voice their opinion through voting. Votes are counted the same way regardless of how much money or influence a person possesses.
A nonpartisan group called For Richmond organized the voter registration drive that also served as a community barbecue.
To provide an incentive for registering, raffles were held amongst newly registered voters for tickets to Beyonce and Drake concerts as well as Warriors games this season.
Statistics have shown in the past that voter registration in Richmond is relatively low compared to other cities in Contra Costa County, and this gathering aimed to correct that.
Those participating included the Richmond Police, community activists, and Warriors player James Michael McAdoo.
Speaking to the crowd gathered, McAdoo recalled voting in the 2012 election while attending the University of North Carolina.
“When the 2012 election came up… I went to a college in the South,” said McAdoo. “Obviously, there’s still racial issues there, as well as a number of issues, and I felt like I had the opportunity to go and to have my voice heard.”
The egalitarian nature of this type of political participation is important to note. A guy like McAdoo or any other famous athlete doesn’t have more say in the political system at the most fundamental level than a typical citizens does.
We each have one vote, and through all the turmoil and cynicism attached to politics, it’s important that we don’t lose site of that, because if we do, we willingly forfeit maybe the only concrete power we possess to make an influence in our representation.
I’m very glad to see the community organize like this for an important cause, and there’s still more work to do before November.