Should I Vote?

Alright buddies. Here it goes. My first guest post for Depth & Candor, and I’m here to talk about the most over talked about subject in US media. The election.

To get it out of the way, I’m voting Hillary, and I’m not ashamed of it. I will say that I voted for Bernie in the primary and I am so proud of that vote, I’ll let Killer Mike explain why. But a Bernie or Bust Bro, I am not. Shit’s gotten too real, and I’m not prepared to “stick to my guns” and risk people’s rights being eviscerated come January. But today, right here, right now, I’m here to talk to you about voting and why you, yes YOU, sitting in a non-swing state, disillusioned by politics, disgusted with Trump, upset that the Democratic Party can’t even get it together long enough to have a stronger email password, or just over it in general, why you should vote.

In writing this article, I thought about all the ways to try and convince you to vote. I thought about linking this adorable Obama video on registering to vote, or this amazing article about the Governor of Virginia who signed 200,000 individual clemency grants to ensure ex-convicts’ right to vote. But all of that seemed too much, like it had been said before, like it wouldn’t resonate with you, or like it was some how “too serious” even for an issue that is actually INCREDIBLY serious.

So instead, I’m going to give you some arguments that I think have teeth, grit, gravitas. I believe each one, standing alone, is good enough to be the reason why you vote on November 8th. And all together, well, let’s just say I think I won the case ;)


1st: I am a black woman.

Black people, we were legally 3/5ths of a person until 1868. And women, we were legally not considered equal to men until 1920. (Note to self: don’t Google “arguments against women’s suffrage” unless you want to make yourself incredibly angry). Without talking about the millions of restrictions like literacy tests, grandfather clauses, poll taxes, and voter ID laws, some still in place today, let’s just say that countless people died so we could vote, and just like I will never agree to sit in a “black section” of anything ever, I will exercise my right to vote. #thanksRosaParks #bigupsAlicePaul #goodlookinoutSojournerTruth #propsHiramRhodes


2nd: I know it’s hard to believe, but YOU can actually affect the election.

There is a real, albeit small chance that we might actually affect the outcome of the election. If there is a tie in the electoral college, then it is decided by the popular vote. That means regardless of where you live, your one vote could be the difference between Voldemort and Madame Clinton. Small chance, but why risk it?


3rd: Need a selfish reason? I got you.

Have you ever considered working in politics? How about in a politically minded organization? Although who you voted for might be private, the fact that you voted is not. Having a record of voting is something that could be very important in your future career, why close off that path this early?


4th: Care about issues? Senators and Representatives matter.

Voting for president is not the only thing that happens on November 8th.  You will be voting for a number of other things when you vote on election day, including US Representatives and Senators. Regardless of a swing state or not, if you care about gun laws, women’s rights, LGBTQ issues, education, health care, etc these people are making decisions on these issues everyday and you get to decide who they are.


5th: Notorious R.B.G.

The next president will pick anywhere from 1 to 3+ Supreme Court Justices.  All of those decisions like Brown v. Board of Ed. (desegregated schools), Roe v. Wade (legalized abortions), Obergefell v. Hodges (legalizing gay marriage). Those could have gone in drastically different directions if the Court had had different justices on it. Remember Becky with the bad grades? Well, let’s just say her absurdity could have been rubber stamped by the highest court in the land in another scenario.  

And remember, democracy is a long game, a marathon. It can only exist and thrive with your participation. See you on November 8th!

by Harya Tarekegn



Do ya’ll remember Harya Tarekegn? She was the lawyer I interviewed on how to network like a boss earlier this year.  Well, after the shootings of Alton Sterling, Delrawn Small and Philando Castile, she sent me an email stating specifically how she planned to take action against police brutality. While those 3 murders are unfortunately starting to become memories for some of us, the reality remains – black men are getting killed by police at significantly higher rates than any other race. If you subscribe to this blog, you know I am all about living vibrantly and meaningfully. Here is your chance to be of use to the world. You are only as powerful as your actions. #StayWokeFollowing the events of this past week I have decided to do some concrete things to take some action. I have felt very overwhelmed, paralyzed, angry, sad and anxious over the past few days, and I'm finally feeling ready to make some moves and turn my emotions into something more positive. Racism in America is so deeply ingrained that nobody can solve by tackling it as one big problem. So let’s use the existing points of entry for change:

1. Federal Level

With Justice Scalia's death, Ginsberg's age, and Thomas' potential retirement, the next president could appoint anywhere from 1 to 3+ justices. 

Here is what I’m going to do to elect a president that will appoint more bosses like Justice Sotomayor to the Supreme Court:


2. State Level

A large number of the laws that dictate when an officer can use force, draw his weapon, etc are decided on a state level. Here is a good resource to track the progress of legislation dealing with police violence.


3. Community Level  

Engaging in our communities has always been important but our generation has an opportunity to show up for the black community in a really valuable way at this point in history. Here are some ways to do that:

·       Work with your local politicians, representatives and police departments

o   Hakeem Jefferies, Congressman for the 8th District of New York is very active on the issue and is hosting outdoor office hours during the summer

o    Ruben Diaz Jr. is rumored to be running for mayor against de Blasio. Learn about him

o   Learn about Jim O’ Neil who is rumored to take over when Blatter resigns

·       Become a mentor with programs like:

o   America Needs You,

o   My Brother's Keeper,

o   Big Brothers and Sisters

·       Donate to:

o   Politicians you believe in (presidential or not)

o   Amnesty International

o   Black Lives Matter


o   ACLU


4. Personal

·       Donate to the Tuition Fund for Alton Sterling's Children. If you scroll through, you can see that a ton of the donations are only $5. It doesn't matter how much you give, but this just shows that together we are powerful. 

·       Sign Petitions like this one asking for the creation of a federal agency to supervise law enforcement. Or this one demanding the Justice Department look into the killing of Alton Sterling. Or this one for Philando Castile. 

·  Attend Marches and Protests. If you want to hear about them, here are the two I follow: @millionsmarchnyc @stopmassincarcerationnetwork and many more. 


Love you all, hope this helps. 

By Harya Tarekegn

Guest Post: Plugging In Now To Stop Police Violence

The last week has surely been a difficult one. Between Delrawn Small, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, it is impossible to ignore that there is a genocide happening right before our eyes, and it is traumatizing. I, personally, found it difficult to get up and go about my day following this most recent spate of police violence, but it’s even worse for our black sisters and brothers. They are living in a state of real trauma every day. This week, I saw a co-worker break down and cry because she just can’t take it anymore. She was sad, but the emotion that overwhelmed her was anger, because history keeps repeating itself. Another co-worker commented that she is terribly afraid every time her nephews, brothers, and cousins leave the house, not knowing when they will come back. Yet another colleague noted that it isn’t just black men who are being killed; it’s black women too. “It could be you and me,” she said in conversation with one woman who feared for the black men in her life. The sadness they all feel, the fear, the agitation was palpable this week. And it wasn’t just this week for them. This is what they live every day. It was just heightened and brought into our space in the office this week because of the publicity of the most recent incidents.

Here on Depth and Candor, we all aim to live vibrant lives, but how can we do that when we have to fear for loved ones or when our loved ones live in fear? How can we achieve a vibrant life while mired in the injustices of a society that won’t allow us all the opportunity to pursue life, much less a vibrant life? Sitting with that question, it became clear that a critical part of a vibrant life is fighting for justice. In pursuit of our most vibrant life, there are three things we can do to fuel the fight against police violence now. I like to call it the immediate response ADE: activate, donate, educate. Here is how you can “ADE” the movement against police violence today:

  1. Activate.

I use the word “activate,” because it broadly covers a range of things we can do immediately to take on police violence. First, you can identify local activist groups rallying for changes to our criminal justice system (better those seeking to break the unjust system and build something new), and join them in their work. There are local Black Lives Matter chapters that you can follow as well as local groups that you can identify with a simple Google search. The Ferguson National Response Network is also a great resource for identifying actions near you. Here in New York, a group called NYC Shut It Down protests every Monday to uplift the names of individuals whose lives were lost to police violence. Their events can be found on NYC Shut It Down: The Grand Central Crew’s Facebook page. I encourage you to participate in protests. Actions raise awareness of the issue and applies pressure on the system to create change. Protest is a tried and true step in the fight for social justice.

Another way to activate is to contact local representatives and pressure them to address police violence. Write letters to your mayor’s office and attend city council and town hall meetings to let officials know that you demand changes to police training and procedures. Share with officials your ideas for how we can change things now. Organize within your communities to create change.

Finally, sign a petition. hosts a multitude of petitions addressing police violence. Search petitions and sign those that you can support.

  1. Donate.

Truly, one of the best ways you can support the fight against police violence is to support the activists who are doing this work every day. Your donations support the work of organizing and advocating for change. Here, I encourage you to simply find an organization you can support and make a donation. Some organizations take monthly sponsorships, while others have crowdfunding campaigns on and other crowdfunding platforms. Often, protesters are arrested and need legal support. Donating to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU can assist in their defense. Find a group you can support and simply give what you can. It will go a long way toward the fight for justice.

To begin, here is a crowdfunding campaign for Alton Sterling’s children: #AltonSterlingFamily Scholarship.

  1. Educate.

Finally, and probably most important, is to educate. By educating yourself and others about the atrocities of police violence, how racist our system is and how we can change it, you are breathing life into the movement. Get to know the issue on a deep level. Share your knowledge with your people. Then, start inviting people to join you in the work. The deeper your understanding, the more effective you will be in this work. Here is some material to get you started:

Quick Stats: Mapping Police Violence

A brief history: History of Racist Policing

A few facts about police violence: EF: 5 Infuriating Facts About Police Violence

The sobering truth: Why Police Violence Will Never End

This is just scratching the surface. I encourage you to do your own research and dig deeper.

Finally, please adhere to the following caveats in the charge to educate:

  1. Abstain from sharing videos of police violence. No one needs to see these traumatic images to believe the issue is real.

  2. Do not ask black family and friends to educate you or other people. It is not the burden of our black sisters and brothers to educate us. We can do the work. The information is out there.

  3. Listen. In educating ourselves, it’s really important to know when to cede the floor. When our black brothers and sisters are speaking, simply listen and learn.

At the end of this tragic week, it’s truly difficult to imagine living a vibrant life in the midst of all of this injustice. The good news is that we don’t have to accept the injustice; it doesn’t have to be a fact in our shared future. In pursuing our most vibrant lives, we all must commit to fighting for justice. The best work we do will surely be our contributions toward the world we want to live in. If we as a community all commit to “ADE” in the fight against police violence, we will certainly make our future a little more vibrant.  

by Lisa Ramdahar