By Carlissa Shaw

Now, this is a story all about how 

we can twist turn Memphis upside down.

And I’d like to take a minute

Just sit right there,

I’ll tell you the top 5 reasons to vote and why you should care!

ONE: Democracy only works if you show up to the game: “We do not have a government by the majority. We have a government by the majority who participate.” -Thomas Jefferson 

Though Thomas Jefferson is a bit of a problematic historical figure (with the whole relationship to Sally Hemmings, his slave and wife’s sister), we know for sure that he had an excellent grasp of American politics. In America, we do not have a pure form of democracy. We have a representative democracy. Simply, representative democracy is a government system in which all eligible citizens vote on representatives to pass laws for them. It is vital for young people to vote so that we elect people with the values that you believe in, and that will pass laws that reflect those values. 

TWO: Voting matters

You spent thirteen years going to school. From Kindergarten to 12th grade. Do you have suggestions for how that experience could have been better? Do you have ideas about funding for schools or the curriculum taught in schools? Those things are a function of the school board. Did you know a state law created school uniforms? Your vote impacts the things that you likely do not think about all things that matter to you. 

THREE: Not voting is not rebellion; it is surrender.

I hate to hear a young person say they don’t or won’t vote. Come on now, y’all. Whether you vote or not, policies and laws are still being enacted that impact you. Not voting is in no way a form of political statement. You are surrendering your voice to other folks that may not have the same views as you. 

FOUR: The world needs your voice.

I am a Millennial. We are a very different generation from our parents. We believe in work-life balance, brunch, social and environmental justice, vacations, and student loan debt forgiveness. Multi-million dollar companies have modeled their corporate structures after Millennials. We see the world differently, and our worldviews should be reflected in the policies and laws of our communities. 

As a Millennial, I am even more excited about Gen Zers. You guys are off to a running start of forcing America to face ugly truths and righting some of our nation’s systemic wrongs. 

FIVE: Our community is depending on you.

It is no secret that Memphis needs all the help she can get. Our city suffers from a high crime rate, low literacy rates, high poverty, high infant mortality, and many many many other issues. We all have to play a part in tackling these issues. For far too long, these issues have gone unaddressed or without progressive solutions. The survival of our city is dependent upon the next generation stepping up, organizing, and utilizing our collective voice to create a more equitable Memphis. Together we can create the Memphis that we all want to see. 

Memphis. Memphis. Memphis. The most beautiful land in the world. 

August 6th is election day in Memphis/Shelby County. We are voting for: General Sessions Court Clerk, School Board Members, Municipal Judge (Collierville). This is also a primary election for United States Senator, United States House of Representative [District 8 and 9], Tennessee Senator District 30 and 32, Tennessee House of Representatives, and State Executive Committeeman/woman. 

If you have any questions about voting precincts or times, please visit

Remember, a high tide floats all boats, so get your young as$ out to vote.

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