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Exercise your precious right

Last week one of America’s true heroes reminded me why voting is vitally important.

“I’ve marched, protested, been beaten and arrested – all for the right to vote,” Congressman John Lewis wrote. “Friends of mine gave their lives. Honor their sacrifice. Vote.”

Many of us still vividly recall that day in March 1965 when Congressman Lewis and other voting rights marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma only to be attacked by baton-wielding Alabama state troopers and a sheriff’s posse.

Lewis, his skull fractured, almost died that day.

We all know that justice eventually prevailed. But not without great sacrifice.

Today, voting rights are once again under assault. More than 6 million African Americans can’t cast ballots at all because of Jim Crow-era laws that ban voting by those with felony convictions. Many others face barriers in states that have enacted discriminatory laws to suppress the votes of minorities.

We can do something. We can stand up.

The candidates have all had their say. Now it’s our turn.

Please honor the sacrifices of heroes like John Lewis.

Exercise your precious right and go to the polls. And if you’ve already voted, do more by helping someone else get to the polls. Remember that every vote counts.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do to help our country live up to its highest ideals.