As we pause to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let us remember his lifelong passion and commitment to securing equality for all in American society. This year, it seems particularly appropriate to remember Dr. King’s crusade for the ballot. What would Dr. King have thought of the recent wave of restrictive voting laws sweeping the nation during this presidential election year? In a 1957 speech titled "Give Us The Ballot," Dr. King spoke bluntly about the need for equal voting rights.
"So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others."
Today, let us honor Dr. King by demanding an equal path to the ballot for all Americans. In 1965, we were fighting to get the ballot. Today, it seems, we must demand that we keep it.