People of my generation understand why we vote. African American women above the age of 50 vote at rates as high as any other Americans. We have myriad reasons and experiences that have taught us the value of the franchise. Younger people may wonder what difference it makes. Let’s take the issue of police use of force, as so vividly demonstrated by videotaped deaths while in custody of law enforcement officers. I applaud the work of Black Lives Matter for making the issue of use of force central to political discussions across the nation.

Learn specifically how they implement your rights. Once you are fully aware of the mechanics of government, no one will have to urge you to vote. -Janice L. Mathis, ESQ

Police are supervised by Chiefs of Police, who are hired by Mayors and City Council Members who are ELECTED. When a family attempts to sue a local government for wrongful death the Lawyer who represents the government and decides whether to settle or fight the lawsuit is appointed by the County Commission or the City Council, who are ELECTED. The District Attorney who will decide whether or not to press criminal charges against a police officer is ELECTED. The state court judge who will determine whether to dismiss a lawsuit against the City is ELECTED. The state court judge who decides whether or not to dismiss criminal charges against an officer accused of excessive use of force is ELECTED. The Federal judge who decides to dismiss a civil case on behalf of the family of the person killed is appointed by the President of the U.S. who is ELECTED. The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who must approve federal judicial appointments are ELECTED.

The same scenario is true for virtually every issue that arises in our communities, from voter suppression, to education, to criminal conduct. I urge my young NCNW sisters to study the functions and functionaries of government. Learn specifically how they implement your rights. Once you are fully aware of the mechanics of government, no one will have to urge you to vote.

Janice L. Mathis
NCNW Executive Director

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