Reality Check

November 11, 2011

By Nsombi Lambright, ACLU of Mississippi Executive Director

Tuesday was a very emotional day for me.  I began my work that day by voting.  I always measure voter turnout (and potential problems) by what's happening at my own polling place.  That went smoothly.  I then went to campaign headquarters to find out what neighborhoods needed canvassing in order to make sure that people were "getting out to vote."  Rabbi Debra Kassoff and I spent most of the day canvassing the communities surrounding Brinkley Middle School and Johnson Elementary School in northwest Jackson.  These neighborhoods are joined by Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.  While canvassing these neighborhoods, we saw many things.  We witnessed poverty and government neglect, but we also witnessed family and community connectivity.  We saw generations of families living under one roof.  Grandma, daughter and granddaughter were all going to vote at the first home that we visited.  Unfortunately, granddaughter never received her voter registration card although she'd registered multiple times at the WIC office.  We talked to many grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, mothers and fathers who assured us that the family had voted against Initiatives 26 and 27 that day.  We also had the opportunity to speak to young brothers who didn't understand what the initiatives were about.  Working directly in communities still brings me as much joy today as it did almost 20 years ago when I started organizing.  It centers me and reminds me what this work is all about.  The folks that I work with always remind me of my family and they remind me that even though I have a job that pays me to do this work, I am not disconnected from the communities that we serve.  These are my people, whether I run into them at a meeting, a family reunion, church or the grocery store.  I am privileged to do this work and will keep fighting!!  Little Sister, I'll be back to make sure that you get your registration card this time!