By: Jesse Cook (Sports Editor and News Correspondent)
Dominique Mann, Sharon High School alum, rose up in the ranks in Washington and eventually became an advisor in the White House to former President Barack Obama. Recently, she organized a march to encourage people to vote called “The Audacity to Love, a March on the Polls.”
Mann said that the message of her march was that, “Barack Obama showed us the audacity of hope. The next step is the audacity to love. Our causes, movements, histories, voices, and ideas about change may differ, but our audacity to love is the same.”
“Movements unite people, at this point in history and make us stronger,” she said.
“It’s the moment you see yourselves or your children in the children separated at the border, young people marching for their lives, or fighting for justice, or those having the audacity to love a partner despite society’s hurdles, or the countless women commanding respect—that you know there’s no choice but to honor them through action—not just for them, but for you and your children. That’s why it’s important to vote in the midterm elections this November,” Mann said.
She said that there are simply too many important issues on the table in this era to decide against voting. “First and foremost, we need to return to the roots of why we care. We need to see our lives in a context larger than ourselves. Above all, we need to remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s messages of love and acceptance as motivation,” said Mann.
She encouraged other people to organize their own political events and voice their ideas. “I’m telling you, anybody can do it. Working at the White House wasn’t the reason I could host the march. I just had the audacity to do it. In fact, when I started out, the event was just a coalition of “me, myself, and I.” I believed in the idea and persevered,” she said.
Mann stressed the importance of one vote. “Your vote matters anywhere. I know media pundits and pollsters will try to tell people about the mathematical strategies for having an impact on certain elections, but the truth is, change can happen anywhere.”
The Kavanaugh hearings have energized voters on both sides of the political aisle, Mann said she sees more strength coming from the left. “I’ve heard people say that the confirmation fired up both sides of the aisle. I do believe in what the “blue wave” people are saying will happen—people are definitely more “woke” now. I’ve seen the energy in my travels across the country over the last year. And the thousands of women who have turned out to protest and get people to vote can’t be ignored. They’re channeling frustration into action, and that energy will definitely make an impact. I do believe that Dr. King’s “arc of the moral universe” idea does bend toward justice—I just hope people know to be on the right side of history.”
She said that this rediscovered strength makes the upcoming midterm election of 2018 and the presidential election of 2020 more socially distinct from any other election in recent history. “I think people are paying more attention to elections now more than ever. I do believe that many people who perhaps didn’t participate as actively in 2016 are now “woke” and fired up.”
Mann said that though people tend to care more about presidential elections, a change is coming in such demographics. “Midterm elections have historically low turnout—many people didn’t know they existed. I think that’s changing though. I think 2020 will be a bigger year than what we’ve seen previously,” she said.
She stresses the importance of a high voter turnout. “Voting is power. Who do you want to represent you? Every issue that gets us fired up—whether it’s gun violence, or equal rights, or the passion we have for history, or even the change you want to see in your own school—a lot of that change involves people in positions of power, in elected office.”
“If you’re inspired by historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr., realize that what his historic march, among others, helped accomplished beyond inspiration was laws—laws that people in elected office passed. Decisions that elected officials have made affect your education, health, well-being, and other areas of life,” Mann said.
She said she wants to change the thinking that people are raised to believe. She said, “Here’s the life path that we’re told to go through growing up: “go to school, get a job, maybe buy a home, etc.” Let’s change that path, “go to school, vote, get a job, maybe buy a home, vote, tell your friends and family to vote, and maybe even lead.”
Mann expresses how important youth are to the voting and that the current high schoolers and college students need to become more politically active to make a positive change in today’s world. “I’m telling you, we need more young people in office—or at the very least, make voting a part of life—a part of culture.”