November 5, 2020
Op-Ed by Executive Director Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard featured in Boston Business Journal
“Your Vote Matters. Use It.”
November 1, 2020
A Letter From Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard
Executive Director, The Boston Lawyers Group
“Your Vote Matters”
This year is the most challenging year we have all endured in recent memory. We have navigated the murky waters of a global pandemic. Protests, both peaceful and violent, impact our nation’s streets. The specter of rising unemployment, social injustices, and discord in our local and national politics has increased the level of national anxiety in this autumn of uncertainty and fear.
While already shouldering the burden in the fight for diversity and inclusion and equality for women’s rights and equal pay, and the right to marry who you love, some would want you to feel hope is a fleeting notion. However, in my over 50 years of activism, I have seen our country chart its darkest days guided by the enthusiasm of American ingenuity and the light of the American spirit. I was just in my 20’s, a college student on the heels of the landmark Civil Rights Act signed in 1964, and the Voting Act signed in 1965 banning discrimination based on race, color, and sexual orientation in the workplace and at the voting booths.
My classmates and I marched, sat-in, caucused, and initiated rallies, relentless in the pursuit of a national mandate to avail our most sacred duties as citizens of this country: the right to vote. Many risked their lives, and many gave their lives, but we prevailed. We championed “the application of our collective talents to the public solutions to the great problems of our time.” And, while we have made significant progress, these times have become all too familiar to the fight we endured over 50 years ago—we must meet the moment with the commonwealth of our fellow Americans at heart and a renewed spirit of civic duty and engagement.
In his final hours, John Lewis wrote: “Your vote is the most non-violent change agent you have in a democratic society.” Use it. Your voice matters, and if you have not already, make sure your voice echoes at the ballot box on November 3. Stand up and speak out; each vote has power. Your ability to vote is the investment we made in our democracy, and it is your turn now to lead policy and dictate the fate of your children and our nation’s grandchildren. Democracy is not a given, and freedom is not automatic; each generation must do its part to make it work. Get involved. Be alive in your time. Take part in the national debate and mobilize your network to meet the energy due the moment. We’ve come too far to grow weary in our final hours of endurance—take up the mantle of change with the adamant belief our brighter days are still ahead. On the eve of the most extraordinary election in history, it is your hour.
Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard