By Crystal Elaine Ellison • October 31, 2020•Writers in Residence
My nose is bleeding profusely. My white N95 mask is soaked with blood. How did this happen?
Let’s rewind back to my lonely days. OK, I haven’t been lonely. I simply miss my family. I have a nice size immediate family, five brother and five sisters. It’s an unfamiliar territory when I’m unable to hug my siblings, give my mom and dad cheek kisses, or attend family gatherings. I have become content with the COVID reality of going from seeing my family at least once a week to not seeing my family for weeks at a time. After a string of events that I did not partake in, I found myself having to go to the health department to take a COVID test. The test, ladies and gentlemen, is horrible! That’s right, it’s horrible! I filled out some quick paperwork and then it was time for my test. I couldn’t believe I was in line to have a COVID test administered. I held my head back, took a deep breath and the nurse stuck a long Q-tip down my nose, and I promise, it was the longest 10 seconds in my entire life. She counted, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five and so forth. I think it would’ve gone better had she not counted. Before she removed the Q-tip, she did sort of did a circular motion inside my nose. It was the worse feeling ever and yes, it was painful, not just uncomfortable. This possibly could’ve been avoided had COVID been taken serious at the outset. That’s why voting is so important.
It wasn’t until 1870 when black men were given the right to vote through the Voting Rights Act and 1965 when black women were able to exercise their right to vote. Fredrick Douglas once said “[s]lavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot.” We have the ballot, but are we utilizing our vote? The sad truth is that in addition to still being physically enslaved, a lot of blacks are mentally enslaved. Hearing black people continue to say “our vote doesn’t count”, “Biden is just as bad as Trump, so I’m not voting for either one of them”, etc. is simply saddening. I’m going to echo a saying that I heard from a commercial recently. A black man gave a speech on voter suppression. I’d never forget, he said if our vote didn’t count, why is it trying to be suppressed so much? It’s because your vote does count and the suppressors know it. What does voter suppression look like? The suppressor are the groups of people that stand outside the polls with guns who seeks to intimidate you.* Those voters who are turned away because they’re wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt or those ballots drop boxes in California and Boston that were set on fire.** This is being done, to suppress your vote. Don’t be intimidated and don’t be discouraged! Make sure you vote! If you have any questions or concerns regarding your vote in Kansas call the Voter Protection Hotline at 844-578-6837.
I’m excited about being able to exercise my right to vote. I have assisted people with being registered to vote. I have encouraged people to vote. I have looked up my family members without their knowledge to make sure they were registered to vote. This was funny, but to my surprise, my sisters were registered and ready to go! If you don’t know who to vote for, I’ll tell you that too! Sorry, I’m not letting any ballots go to waste. Generally, I would encourage that person to do some research and we’ll discuss later. However, it’s grind time!
We must vote!
*Ellis, Terry. Guns, lies and ballots set on fire: This is voter suppression in 2020. USA TODAY. 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/10/29/2020-election-voter-suppression-looks-like-guns-lies-and-fires/6044702002/