This election is all about who we are – as an organization and as a country

November 2, 2020

I am so proud to be part of the Resource Media team, a nonprofit communications organization that I joined as executive director. In the weeks since I’ve joined, we’ve had many conversations about preparing our organization and our staff for the election. We’ve created expanded voting leave time to ensure all staff have time to vote despite barriers to access. We’ve made the decision to use our organizational channels and platforms to elevate pro-democracy messaging and are ready to engage, should it be needed, to demand all ballots are counted and power is transferred peacefully — both cornerstones of the democracy we are building.

As we look around at the devastation experienced in 2020, there is great urgency to make sure our votes count. Irrefutable evidence of how people who are disenfranchised, low-income people, women and people of color that have long suffered under laws and white supremacy has come into full focus in 2020.

The fight for justice has always come at a price, and today is no different. All of us have a responsibility to ensure the promise of democracy and a nation that protects our life and liberty, including our right to vote.

Nonprofits, our partners, and funders can use their capacity and resources to support a strong functioning democracy; inspire individuals to vote, provide factual information to communities rightfully distrustful of “the system,” and encourage mental health practices during the days after the election.

Many have died fighting for our rights:

  • March 7, 1965, when civil rights protesters were beaten in the Bloody Sunday attack in Selma, Alabama.
  • August 29, 1970, when LA Times columnist Ruben Salazar was killed by a Sheriff’s deputy while covering the National Chicano Moratorium, demonstrators who were protesting Mexican-American casualties in the Vietnam War.
  • The Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975, which came about after Native Americans occupied Wounded Knee, the South Dakota site of the last confrontation between the Sioux and the U.S. Army in 1890.

Today in 2020, with so many crises and catastrophes and unprecedented pain, how will we explain away the tremendous pain our families have endured? It’s enough to make your head spin:

  • Nearly 230,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
  • The post-pandemic projection anticipates 81,000 people will die from drug overdoses, representing a 13 percent increase from last year.
  • The killing by police of Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Walter Wallace, Jr. and countless others.
  • The backlash to months-long global Black Lives Matter protests has sadly resulted in more violence.
  • Deaths and millions of acres burned in Oregon, California, and Washington in devastating wildfires.

Although our fight today seems insurmountable, it must be fought:

  • Demanding our votes be counted
  • ensuring the right to vote safety during a pandemic
  • Combating lies and misinformation created to scare the most vulnerable from voting
  • Stopping voter suppression and violence
  • Acting on the climate threat with necessary urgency
  • Swiftly condemning any attempt to undermine faith in the election, to circumvent the results, or otherwise block or delay a peaceful transfer of power

One person, one vote should remain a cornerstone of the US democracy we are building.

Pilar Montoya, Executive Director