Every time Maria sees Romney on TV she says, “You’re fired” in a way that would make the Donald proud. Today, we went out to do our bit to help in this year’s election effort. We showed up at the at the Sistrunk headquarters for Obama and got assigned to do some canvassing. With the help of our new friend David, we visited 50 households in the Dorsey Riverbend neighborhood. It’s not a well-to-do neighborhood, predominantly African American.
I canvassed during the last elections as well in a similar neighborhood up in Lauderdale Lakes. I am humbled by the graciousness with which people like Maria and I are received in what keeps getting described as the mean season. The visits that are most meaningful are with the very old and frail, who take long minutes to get to the door and then welcome us into their homes. More often than not, what starts as a a political pitch ends in prayer. No matter how introverted and antisocial, I never get to the political season without falling in love with community all over again.
This morning we were in an area with a lot of young and youngish men hanging out, some of them already drunk or well on their way. A few would have intimidated me before; now I am just one more older woman who no longer scares so easily and who has more to lose by playing it safe. One young man was dressed in drag, with a dress that was way too short and no underwear underneath. He was so angry, cussing and carrying on with another sex worker who wouldn’t help him with something or other. Broke my heart.
Too many of these young men told me they couldn’t vote. That means they served time at some point and have never gotten their voting rights reinstated. I get so incredibly angry at this disenfranchisement. Those of us who can really must vote. Even when the choices aren’t great and the problems of our country intractable, we have to vote. Because too many others can’t.
David, who came with us because I think the folks at the headquarters were concerned to let me and Maria loose in the neighborhood, opened a window for me. He is a very active member at Mount Olivet Baptist–one of the powerhouse Black churches in Ft Lauderdale. He is working on a program that serves young African American veterans who are returning to civilian life torn apart. It struck me that the New River Regional Ministry still has so many more partnerships to develop if we are really going to claim that we are here to transform our community. We exchanged information and agreed to stay in touch. He gave us each an Obama button and Maria a poster for her room at BARC.
As my mom said so many times, “pa’lante, pa’lante”. Forward. Maria is fired up to do this again next weekend. Love my girl…