Sunday, July 19, 2020

Book Review: The Voting Booth and the Power of the Vote

"That's what people want—for us to be too scared to stand up for ourselves and what we believe in. I think that's more dangerous than trying to change things."

This book is important! We're at the height of an election year and in the midst of COVID as well as one of the largest movements ever: Black Lives Matter. Using your voice and voting is just one of the ways you can help make changes in this country and it is clear that we need to make some drastic changes. And don't forget it's not just about voting for the President, but you can also vote for your Senators, every member of the House of Representatives, and mayors just to name a few. Register to vote here!

I honestly loved everything about this book because it's about so many different issues. We follow Marva and Duke over the span of one day as they navigate the perils of election day and the struggle that sometimes comes with voting. On top of that, Marva is navigating boyfriend trouble and a missing cat while Duke is dealing with his own grief about losing his brother and trying to make it to a gig on time. 

Right from the opening pages it took me back to when I was able to vote for the first time and how special that felt. The first vote I ever got to cast was for the first Black President. As a Black women, that is insanely powerful. I remember the electricity of that day and how it felt like I could finally use my voice and my vote to make real changes. I actually wasn't into politics all that much around this time, but it was because of that special time that I started really getting involved and making sure I watched the debates, researched the candidates, and voted for the person who I thought would get us closer to a more fair and just country. I know that a lot of people think their vote doesn't matter, but if you look at what happened in 2016, it's clear that it matters! As a Black woman, I've been reading a lot of non-fiction just about my history and the history of our country, and as we know Black people fought tooth and nail, and sometimes died, for their right to vote. So I will exercise my right to vote for as long as I can, because I will not let those deaths be in vain. 

What I feel this book does so cleverly is bring to the forefront the issue of voter suppression. Voter suppression is a big issue in this country. We have a President who doesn't want to allow absentee ballots, polling places that close down without any warning, broken voting machines, long lines, and a whole host of other issues, including transportation, that keep people from voting. And this book talks about these issues so well. Marva (our main character) even says, "How can we vote in the people who want to make it easier for us to vote if we can't get in to vote in the first place." And this is the exact issue that happened in Atlanta and many other states with this most recent Primary election. It is our Constitutional Right to vote and we need a government that allows everyone an equal and fair shot at actually exercising that right. 

As we're at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, there is a lot of positive activism going on and this book definitely touches on that. I'm learning that there are many ways to be an activist. One of the characters in the book, Ida, likes to be out on the front lines, Marva has been canvasing and raising awareness about voting for the 2 years prior to the events of this book. In today's world we have protesting, social activism, artistic activism, digital activism, organizing, petitions, donating, spreading the word, distributing literature, sending emails and calls to our Representatives, and so much more. But we must remember that we don't have to occupy every lane, but you have to at least pick one. It is not enough to be quietly non-racist on the side lines anymore. We must be actively working to dismantle racism everyday in any way we can. Find out how to get involved here!

I know this book is called The Voting Booth, but it's also about grief from losing someone from gun violence, "the talk" which for Black families is what to do and how to act when/if you get pulled over by the cops, and even on the importance of Juneteenth. My favorite thing is that The Voting Booth normalizes therapy for Black families and I'm here for it. 

After finishing the book you realize that there is no mention of any political parties, and I absolutely love that because it's not about that. It's about making your vote count. 

I don't know how Brandy Colbert included all these important issues into this 293 page book but she did it! And she did it like a true Queen!

Happy Reading!

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