Happy Election Day! Today is one of EEC’s favorite days of the year. It is a time to reflect on our values, choose our representatives, and direct the vision of our communities. It is the power of the people magnified, institutionalized, and celebrated. And though sometimes it seems blasé (especially to those accustomed to the privilege of being heard) it is far from. Civil rights leaders can assure you that our inalienable rights had to be forcefully, relentlessly, and unfairly wrestled from the grips of those in power (ahem, white men).
Only 52 years ago did black and brown folks truly secure voting rights. Fifty-two years. There are turtles older than that. 74 years ago Chinese immigrants were first given the right to vote, even though every voting white man, both now and then, is and was an immigrant. And if denying access to democracy really was about being an immigrant then why did it take 198 years of American statehood to permit Native Americans, who have lived on this land for thousands of years, the right to vote?
Needless to say, today we’re thinking about all the People of Color and White Allies who will soon be entering public office, and the great responsibility they have to undo a legacy of racism. Here in Washington we know that every child, regardless of where they grew up or what they look like, deserves a fair chance to reach their full potential. But kids of color face barriers to opportunities that we must address. To representatives, both new and old, please secure children’s access to equal opportunity: invest in our students, our families, and our communities.