Last week, a young adult of color posted about being excited to vote in a presidential election for the first time and how she was making sure she had two forms of ID and "dared anyone to keep her from voting." Her post reminded me of how excited I was to vote in my first presidential election. I was a Junior at Georgetown University and I voted absentee in my home state of California. I gave no thought to having the right ID to vote, no one was talking about voter fraud and as a white young adult - it never dawned on me that other people did not have the same ease of voting that I possessed.
I have learned a lot about race and privilege over the years since I graduated from Georgetown and I have learned most of it outside of the walls of a classroom. I continue to learn new things about the history of race in this country. I have learned that simply because of the color of my skin I am given undeserved privilege - including not having to know the reality of the lives of people of color - either in the past and even in the present. I am grateful for the opportunity to have my eyes opened - to becoming more aware and sitting in the more uncomfortable place of knowing. I am not perfect, I have not learned it all and I hope that throughout the rest of my life I will continue to learn, to continue to know more.
So as I went to the polls to vote I thought of the 7 hours of waiting some have done in Florida, how white leaders have sought to limit and suppress voting rights, I remembered Ohio where the Secretary of State who defied court orders to count the votes, and I thought of this young woman who is voting for president for the first time. Even now, after the election, I will remember that I have an obligation to work to ensure that her excitement continues and her right to vote is never taken away.