CEE’s Director of Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement, Catherine Coleman Flowers, reflects on the vote in Alabama.
The recent election in Alabama reminded the world and the nation about the power of the vote. Being from Lowndes County, Alabama, I am ever reminded of the importance of exercising one’s franchise. When I was a child, I watched my parents fight for that right. My father also reminded us that the five years, four months and seventeen days he served in the United States Army fighting tyranny was to ensure that we never took it for granted. So, at the age of eighteen, I exercised my civic duty to register to vote. The first presidential election I voted in was 1976. I cast my vote for a peanut farmer from Georgia. Later I too joined the military because of my respect for democracy. I have participated in every election henceforth.
Like my parents before me, I have made voting a family tradition. Before she was old enough to vote, my daughter Taylor and I would go to the polls together. I wanted to instill in her the importance of that privilege that my parents instilled in me. On December 12, 2017, she and I drove to the polls along with my twenty-two-month-old grandson. We cast our vote with the moral conviction that we had to speak for women, the environment and seven generations to come. We were determined to show that Democracy was alive and well. My cousin Perman Rush Hardy (see article below), a former sharecropper was doing likewise in Lowndes County. Her hard work on election day getting out the vote exemplifies what my parents taught me many years ago. Thank you to Perman and so many others that cast their vote, encouraged others to vote and took their families to the polls to vote. Because of you, Democracy is alive and well.
About the Author: Catherine Coleman Flowers (on left, pictured here with her daughter and grandson), is an Environmental Justice leader for Alabamians without basic needs met. She is a fierce advocate and part of a loving family.
It’s a Family Affair…
If you live in Lowndes County and are of voting age, it’s a safe bet that Perman Hardy has spoken with you about voting at some point in the past 25 years.
As one of the thousands of sharecroppers who worked white men’s land in Lowndes County over the years, 59-year-old Hardy recalls picking cotton after school growing up. She eventually finished her education, bought her own home, and had a successful career as a home health nurse.
But the past two-and-a-half decades, Hardy has dedicated much of her free time to another pursuit: trying to ensure that every single person in Lowndes County shows up to the polls for every election in Alabama. A native of the unincorporated community of Collirene, she has done about as much as one person possibly could to boost turnout in the impoverished, majority-black county with a population of just 10,458 people…