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Voting Locally is More Important than Voting for President

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In less than three months, the election will be here. With all the focus on who will become the next president of the United States, we have a bigger focus on the local elections. While the presidents speak about policies and Black Lives Matter, they do not have the power to influence our communities. If we want things to change, then it starts with the city council, mayor, school superintendent, district attorney and etc.

I read four reasons about how important local elections are, especially for California: money, education, public safety, and information. We determine how policies are set for us and we can control taxes, education, jobs, and anything we need by getting out to vote.

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Currently, Oakland has a mayor who has not done anything for the people of color who are being pushed out. While people say that the previous mayor was bad, at least she helped get funding for youth employment programs and helped keep community centers open. Oakland’s current mayor failed to apply for grant funding to keep the youth employment programs going and she has not really addressed the decline of low-income housing. The city council members have been speaking up for their districts and trying to make a positive impact in their communities. The residents have been attending city council meetings to voice their frustration, and now we will be able to vote on these issues to make an impact.

I am a resident of Oakland and I have to know who is running for office because I would not want someone in office who may want to cut jobs or close schools. I work with the youth in my city because it is important for me to be a part of the community. I am aware of the people running from local all the way to presidency. I may not know which measures to vote for, but I get posters from my union about who and what to vote for.

When you get your ballot book, that’s your time to do research on the issues on the ballot. If you’re not sure what kind of impact they will have, look them up or ask someone.  If you are part of an organization, such as, union, churches, community groups, then they should be able to tell you who they endorse. There is no reason why things can or cannot change if we vote. Change starts with us and in our communities. Protesting brings awareness but it does not change anything. Voting is our voice and it has power. We must exercise our power!

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Joy Elan

Joy Elan

Joy Elan is an award winning author and spoken word artist from Oakland and Berkeley, CA. She received her BA degree in African American Studies at UC Berkeley and her MA degree in Education at Stanford University. Her books are available on (poetry, non-fiction, and fiction genres). For more information, go to