Let’s get to work | AspenTimes.com

Let’s get to work

Millions of us (white Americans) recently made a promise. We might have made that promise when we took to the streets alongside our black brothers and sisters across hundreds of cities, including Aspen. We might have made that promise as we watched police brutalize and manhandle peaceful protestors for a demagogic photo-op. We might have made that promise while we watched the horrifying murder of George Floyd or Ahmaud Arber or Eric Garner or countless others.

Our arrival to this commitment is shamefully late and woefully haphazard, but we’re here now and we’re going to see this thing through.

Our added numbers to the Black Lives Matter movement gives change a fighting chance, but only if we put our numbers and our privileged, relatively tamper-free elections and district maps’ to use. We must vote in up and down ballot elections. Every level of government has a different and essential role to play in dismantling systemic racism.

Policing policy, educational funding and disbursement are determined largely on a state level, so voting in state elections is an absolute must. Colorado’s State Primary is June 30, and we’re one of the few states (five out of 50) that allow mail-in voting for all elections.

Who we put in the White House matters for myriad reasons, but logistically we need a president who will appoint Supreme Court justices who will rule to restore the Voting Rights Act, which was recently gutted and rendered ineffective.

Our sheer numbers mean influence, too. We’re in a big election year, possibly the biggest in our lives, and there’s still time to read up on candidates’ policies and reshape the conversation and objectives. We’re going to have to do the work. We’re going to have to ask the tough questions at town halls, sign the petitions, write the letters, make the phone calls, and, most importantly, talk to our friends and neighbors about the candidates.

This is the promise we made. This is the least we can do.

Leah Fielding


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