I Vote Because
By Michelle E. Brown
Because they had no voice
When brought over in those chains.
Sold, beaten, traded
Eyes cast down shuffling by
As they silently swallowed pride.
Because they rode the back of the bus
Having services denied.
Colored toilets, colored fountains
Suffering indignities just to get by.
Because they marched for freedom
While being beaten and knocked down
Water cannons, dog bites, night sticks
To deny their civil rights.
Because their voices were silenced
Before they could make their mark
Four little girls in Birmingham
Trayvon, Ayanna, Renisha, Michael
Our stand in Ferguson
For babies yet to come
I vote to make a difference
I vote to make a change
I vote for this imperfect union
I vote in all their names.
Because of them it matters
For me to be a part of the game
Not sitting on the sidelines
To cast aspersions and merely complain
I might not see the difference
Or live to see the change
But because of them I do it
I vote so their lives were not in vain.