Give Dr. King the birthday present he wants: VOTE in Cali’s March 3 primary

Martin Luther King Jr. – Photo: Martin Mill

by DJ Sister Yasmin, Voting Rights for All!

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

As we celebrate the powerful life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his 91st birthday on Jan. 15, let’s remember his extraordinary work for civil and human rights, equality and justice, and especially his heroic efforts for voting rights. Dr. King’s mission was to dismantle the evils of poverty, racism and militarism. His life was dedicated to racial, social and economic justice for all people everywhere. 

He along with so many others changed our country with their courage, faith and love. Let’s remember the many martyrs of the voting rights and civil rights movements who gave their lives for freedom. And the struggle continues; the work is not done. Without an informed and educated populace, our democracy cannot flourish. As the song goes, “Wake Up, Everybody!” Now is the time for us all to become ACTIVISTS!

Speaking of race and inequity was taboo when Dr. King carried the struggle to the front pages and prime time around the world. He never had it easy. “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear,” he said. Today, in the run-up to California’s first early primary on March 3, we can vote our hopes, not our fears, and nominate Bernie Sanders for president! – Photo courtesy Underwood Archives 

What would MLK think about our fractured and divisive country and world of today? He would be shocked by so many unhoused, hungry, suffering people, mass incarceration, children in cages, extreme poverty, the climate crisis, and trillions spent on the Pentagon, ongoing wars and now, nukes in space (Space Force), a new war for oil looming, and extreme income inequality. He would be upset by the lying fascists running and ruining our country.

Dr. King would be marching with Greta and the Youth for Climate Justice, leading the Poor Peoples Campaign with Rev. William Barber, joining Black Lives Matter, and advocating for affordable housing, free healthcare (Medicare for All), free education, food security, good jobs with a living wage, the Green New Deal, and for equality and justice for all marginalized, oppressed people, especially the poor, children, women, people of color, LGBTQ folk, immigrants, refugees, prisoners and everyone living under the yoke of “free market capitalism” while greed runs rampant in our land. 

How can we call our country a democracy with massive tax cuts for the rich while the politicians cut the social safety net and food stamps and continue ongoing wars? Dr. King would be speaking out against greedy, corrupt corporations and banks and a government that doesn’t care about anyone except rich, mostly older white men. He would be working for gun control and against police violence and mass incarceration.

It is up to us to not be lulled with negative feelings of “what can I do about it?” or “my vote doesn’t matter” and “why vote, it’s rigged” and other meaningless rationalizations for staying asleep, uninvolved and in denial, which is a dangerous drug.

I believe that Dr. King would be supporting BERNIE SANDERS, a Democratic Socialist as King was, and working against voter suppression and gerrymandering. He would encourage us all to REGISTER and VOTE! MLK would explain the great need for us all to become ACTIVISTS immediately, reminding us of the connection between poverty and war and speaking out against racism, as he always did. King believed in the greatest good for the most people, as does Bernie. 

We are living in perilous and serious times of crisis and also of great possibility. We must rise to the challenge to save our Mother Earth for the children. It is up to us to not be lulled with negative feelings of “what can I do about it?” or “my vote doesn’t matter” and “why vote, it’s rigged” and other meaningless rationalizations for staying asleep, uninvolved and in denial, which is a dangerous drug. The time for excuses is over, especially now, when so much is at stake for the survival of our nation, the planet and future generations. 

The upcoming elections will be the most important elections of our lives; let’s get everyone registered and ready to vote on March 3, the California primary, and in the Nov. 3 general election.

To be inspired by the legacy and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to get up, stand up, unite and fight against the oppressors, racists, white supremacists and crazy liars who are destroying our country, and THROW THE BUMS OUT! This takes massive registering and voting of everyone in our country. I mean EVERYONE. No slackers; no more pretext for sitting this one out. To get rid of the current regime, it takes all hands on deck. 

This is San Francisco’s Civic Center on April 5, 1968, the day after Dr. King’s assassination. He mattered. And he still has much to teach us, if we listen. – Photo: Joe Rosenthal, SF Chronicle

Activism is energizing and empowering. We can do this together. I know we can. It is up to us – the grassroots, everyday people – to make radical changes in our nation. REGISTERING AND VOTING is an important way to honor Dr. King and all the others who marched, lived and died so that everyone has the right to vote in our nation. 

YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE. I beg you to get active and involved. Let’s change our consciousness, our feelings and our lives. We must do this with compassion and love. “Divide and rule” is just an excuse to do nothing and stay in denial. The time to act is now!

I end with the words of Dr. King: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world, a new world, for love is the only way.”

Happy New Year to everyone. See you in the streets and in the voting booth!

Peace, y’all.

DJ Sister Yasmin has been working for equal rights and justice for most of her life. She’s a Deejay, an organic gardener, a voting rights activist and lives in Mendocino County. She can be reached at 707-884-4703 or sisteryasmin@hotmail.com.

How to register and VOTE

To vote in California’s March 3 primary election to select the presidential nominee for each party, REGISTER TO VOTE BY FEB. 18. If you’re already registered, you can check your registration status at https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/ and re-register if you’ve moved, changed your name or want to change parties. You do not have to register as a Democrat to vote for Bernie Sanders (or another candidate on the Democratic Party ballot) if you are registered “no party preference.” If you forget to register by Feb. 18, you can still go to the polls to register and vote “conditionally.” Most formerly incarcerated people and some who are currently incarcerated can vote; to learn whether you are eligible, go to Restore your vote. For answers to many other voting questions, go to https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/.