Fight For Full Restoration of Rights
I am 57 years old and this was the first time I have been allowed to exercise my right to vote. Going into the voting booth I recall reflecting on my past and contextualizing the historical implications of this particular moment in time. I/we have come a long way. When your citizenship and right to vote is taken away it invariably reflects on you, and a lack of respect for yourself and the status quo. However, with a new outlook on life I returned to school at the age of 50, ultimately completing my Masters degree in Social Work at the age of 55. I wanted to be that positive role model to young disenfranchised African-American males. Now I was about to participate in an exercise that in my mind would fully restore my rights as a citizen. The feeling was humbling and empowering. The sense of hopelessness and questioning of your self-worth, which goes hand in hand with the loss of citizenship, seemed to vanish once I had voted. I hope everyone understands the importance of having your citizenship and voting rights restored. It instills a sense of hope and belief that if you do the right thing, society is forgiving and there will be opportunities to succeed. I will never again take this privilege for granted and I ask all that have been denied the opportunity to participate in the voting process to advocate and fight for your right for full restoration of citizenship, most importantly the right to vote.
Source: Brennan Center