Lift Every Voice…and Vote!

Over 100 years ago James Weldon Johnson challenged us as a people to “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. His poem, which was written in 1899, and later set to music has been dubbed “The Negro National Anthem”, and its words still ring true today.

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered.
We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

We have come too far and through too much to miss this moment in our history. As the nation prepares to elect its 45th president, this is the time for people of faith (particularly people of color) to lift our voice and be heard. We cannot afford to sit silently on the sidelines and watch progress be repealed. We cannot risk a return to the dark days of our past when America was “great” for some and filled with hate for others. We cannot allow hate to win out this Election Day.

We have prayed. We have protested. We have marched. Now we must vote. In the now immortal words of our 44th president, Barack Obama, “Don’t boo…vote!” Too many people fought and endured for our privilege to have our voices heard on the ballot. The ‘God of our weary years’ and ‘our silent tears’ has given us a voice. We must use it to vote.

For those who were considering staying home this Election Day and not letting your voice be heard, I leave you with the closing lines from James Weldon Johnson’s ode to Black America:

Lest, our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee,
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.

This is not the time to stray; this is the time to stay. This is not the time to forget the past; this is the time to forge forward to the future. This is not the time to fall; this is the time to stand – true to our God, and true to our native land.

Lift your voice…and vote!