The Next 52 Years

The Next 52 Years

Make sure your voice is heard – through voting, volunteering and setting a good example for future generations.

Our history is both marred by prejudice and highlighted by our ability to triumph over it. Our rights have been hard fought, hard won and hard to continually protect.

That’s why it’s important that we celebrate our victories, while doing everything we can to inspire growth and change for each coming generation. Because we owe it to those who’ve come before us to make the world a better place for those who come after us.

August 6 marks the anniversary of the passing of the Voting Rights Act, which made discriminatory practices at voting polls illegal. While the 15th Amendment prohibited states from denying men the right to vote based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude,” the passing of the Voting Rights Act removed obstacles that made voting nearly impossible for members of the black community.

Passing the Voting Rights Act greatly impacted black involvement in government, and we’ve come a long way in the 52 years since. For instance, when it was passed, there were only six black members of Congress – today there are 46, and two in the Senate. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

So what can you do? Influencing the world around you starts with making your voice heard. And don’t be fooled into inaction because it’s not a presidential election year – there’s plenty you can do right now to stand up for what’s right.

Vote in Your Local Elections
No matter your personal views and affiliations, voting is a right awarded equally to all U.S. citizens. Educate yourself on the issues, particularly ones in your local district, as they have the most direct impact on your daily life. Then make your voice heard with your vote.

Donate to Charities to Support Causes You Care About
Think about the things you wish you could change, the things you’d like to make better, and then find groups that are working to make those changes. Every penny helps these advocacy groups to continue their missions, so finding even a small way to donate can have a large impact.

Volunteer in Your Community
Sometimes the greatest investment you can make is your own time. Volunteer opportunities are endless, from spending time with children who could benefit from adult guidance and advice, to cleaning up the community where you live.

Remember the Past, but Look to the Future
History teaches us how far we’ve come and can be an inspiration and a driving force for further change. But it’s important to remember that we are greater than our challenges and can make the world better for the next generation through the decisions we make today.

Set a Good Example
Being a positive influence in a child’s life – whether your own or through a youth organization – sets the stage for a brighter future for everyone. Through your words and actions, demonstrate what it means to be confident, to speak your truth and to lift up those around you who are doing great things.

So how will you make your voice heard? How will we, together, make the next 52 years better for all of us?

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