It’s time to look alive. The president of the United States recently refused to commit to a peaceful transference of power pending the results of the November 3rd election. The mainstream media did not find this threat worthy of even putting it on the front page of their papers the following day. If we have been listening closely, it has been abundantly clear that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue does not respect the rule of law, leans toward authoritarianism, and is quite honestly afraid of leaving office and possibly facing a torrent of civil and criminal lawsuits from New York state Attorney General Tish James and possibly even other Attorneys General representing other states.
It is time for us to take the threat of pending authoritarianism seriously and do all we can to prevent it. First things first, we must develop a voting plan. I am amazed at the number of people who have recently discovered they are not registered to vote on November 3rd. In states across the country, the window to register to vote in the November election is closing. Please check your registration status and encourage your friends and family members to do so. You can do so at vote.org.
Second, not everyone is willing or able to go out and protest. That is understandable. However, we must remember that advancement for Blacks in America has always been a combination of protest and electoral politics and practices. It is imperative we make our voices known at the ballot box and also in the streets. Therefore, if you are unable to protest, please support those who do. There are various bail funds to which you can donate, there are social justice organizations you can support who provide legal services for protestors unjustly arrested, and there are groups who train people on social justice issues and policies of concern. Organizations like Community Change and Color of Change are a great place to start. The Bronx Bail Fund and the Brooklyn Bail Fund are also great organizations doing important work to protect and support protestors.
Third, put pressure on your elected officials. Write them and call their offices to let them know if you are pleased or displeased with their efforts. Remember, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives are up for reelection every two years. And even though U.S. senators are elected every six years, it is not a given they can and should keep their elected seat. The same premise holds for members of state legislatures and state senates, city councils, and executive leadership on local and state levels.
We are just above one month away from the November 3rd election where we will decide our leadership for various levels of government. These individuals will affect our civil rights and civil liberties and control budgets for years to come.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.