During the 2012 presidential election, a number of political battles were waged, and many Americans showed that they were still willing to put up a fight. From the war on women to voter-suppression laws and even attacks on Big Bird and Sesame Street, civil rights activist and PoliticsNation host the Rev. Al Sharpton writes at the Huffington Post that 2012 was a good year for organizing.
When the Supreme Court passed Citizens United and opened the floodgates for unlimited money to influence and shape our political process, many thought it would signal the end of the value of our individual vote. As Super PACs poured in unregulated amounts behind specific candidates while funding ugly campaigns against those they didn’t support, the people could not be duped. At the same time, we saw many states pass tough new voter ID laws and other suppression tactics like the elimination of early voting days. But while those passing these new laws attempted to rig the election in their favor, we fought back. Rallying, educating and registering people to vote across the country, we turned up with as much commitment and enthusiasm as we did in ’08. Against all monetary odds, the votes and resolve of the American people determined the direction we wanted this nation to go.
In February of this year, the country was once again paralyzed as we learned of the tragic shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. When the accused killer, George Zimmerman, roamed freely without arrest and invoked Florida’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, we rallied in that state and created a subsequent nonviolent protest across the country. Everyone from celebrity basketball players to kids on the street wore symbolic hoodies as a gesture of support for the teen whose young life was cut so short. We demonstrated in the state of Florida, and with virtually no prior notice, nearly 30,000 joined us that day to demand justice. It was in fact the protest and our unified response that yielded a special prosecutor who later charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder. It was the vocal opposition of folks from state-to-state, and their symbolic defiance in the face of local authorities that stopped this injustice from being swept under the rug.
Read the Rev. Al Sharpton’s entire piece at the Huffington Post.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.