Thanksgiving celebrations are about families and friends coming together to observe this holiday. Families sit around the cool breeze of a fall day and enjoy each other in fellowship and a delicious meal. There have been challenges during the past eighteen months with COVID 19. We have had to regroup and plan our Thanksgiving activities differently. Through it all, we still give thanks for all the blessings we have.
The holiday that falls each year on the last Thursday of the month of November serves as a reminder to stop and count our many blessings. Whether you are at your own home or perhaps celebrating Thanksgiving at a friend’s or relative’s house, prayers of thanks are given to remind us of being truly grateful. Not only what we share with our loved ones about our blessings, but how we use our blessings to help those who are in need. May all our gratefulness in our lives during this holiday season be a testament of life throughout the year.
This special holiday comes down to being thankful for everything we have. It is my sincere wish that everyone with abundant blessings fill your homes, loved ones, friends and families with a rich desire to have a grateful and heartfelt praise. This holiday season is for giving back and reflecting on others who may not have prospered during the year. How can I help, you say?
• Donate to a charity or church.
• Sponsor a family at a school and provide a Thanksgiving dinner from Publix or other grocery stores.
• Pay for a Thanksgiving dinner for a family in your community or someone who lives on your street.
• Bake for a good cause. COVID 19 has been taxing on our first responders. They work holidays to keep us protected. They would be grateful for your kindness to bringing some goodies to them.
• Volunteer at a local food pantry or soup kitchen serving dinners to the less fortunate.
Join me in giving back and being thankful and grateful for ALL blessings this Thanksgiving Day. Happy Thanksgiving!
State legislatures across the nation have passed laws that target voters of color, and Florida is no exception. Florida’s governor signed Senate Bill 90 into law on May 6, 2021, effective immediately. The Bill makes changes to voter registration, Vote-by-Mail ballots and the return of mail ballots. These changes directly affect the level of help and support people of color traditionally provide to elderly voters, physically challenged voters and voters who work multiple jobs.
Voter suppression laws are illegal because they work against the now diluted Voting Rights Act of 1965. In a democracy, laws should make voting accessible and easier for every citizen, not more difficult. Under these circumstances the job for concerned citizens who love democracy is to volunteer in higher numbers, know the new laws and use them to support the disenfranchised.
Fortunately, supervisors of election (SOE) take pride in high voter participation and work hard to maintain an elevated level of voter participation in spite of no additional funds to support new laws.
Chris Thompkins, dynamic chair of Get Out the Vote for the Lee County Democratic Black Caucus, participated in a county-wide effort to reach out to registered Democrats in Lehigh recently, assisted by enthusiastic volunteers. In preparing for that event, Thompkins learned that voters have been purged from the Vote-by-Mail roll without their knowledge. In fact, Thompkins says 21,000 Democrats were dropped from the Vote-by-Mail roll.
Let’s review the new voter registration rules. For complete information on Voting in Lee County and changes to the voting laws, please go to the Supervisor of Election (SOE) Website at www.lee.vote. To register to vote, you must provide a Florida driver’s license number, or a Florida issued ID card number or the last four digits of your social security number. If you are a registered voter and your address has changed since the last time you voted, you may submit your change of address on a voter registration form and include one of the identification numbers above.
If you are a Vote-by-Mail voter, you must contact the SOE’s office at 239-533-8683, and ask to be updated on your status. If you have been dropped from the roll, according to the SOE website, you “may request a mail ballot for a specific election or one for all elections through the end of the calendar year of the next scheduled general election.” You may also request a mail ballot for your legal guardian and an immediate family member such as your child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, parents. In addition to basic information such as your name, address, date of birth, and signature, you need a Florida state government identification AND provide the last four digits of your social security number. The voter must sign the mail ballot request form. For complete information, please go to the SOE Website cited above. In returning the mail ballot, new rules apply. A voter can return only her own ballot and those of immediate family members, in addition to two other ballots. Mail ballots may be returned to any secure drop box located at any Lee Election Branch Office and all Early Voting sites when Early Voting is open.
Voter registration season is now, and volunteers are welcomed! Current projects include alerting voters to their voter status, voter registration drives, canvassing neighborhoods, and communicating via technology. Please stay informed by visiting the Lee County Democratic Black Caucus website at www.leeblackdems.org.