We all know our basic rights — our right to vote; our right to a free press; our right to peacefully protest. These are some of the most vital and most fundamental rights we have.
But this year we have seen open and frightening displays of voter suppression, journalists being physically attacked, violent clampdowns of peaceful protestors, and even suggestions to postpone or refuse to accept the results of the election.
At Rainforest Action Network, we are committed to fighting for people and planet — and fighting against systemic injustice is an integral part of our core mission. This year, we have been urging our community to vote. We know that clean air and clean water are on the ballot. Our climate is on the ballot. Equality and human rights are on the ballot.
But after we cast our votes — as basic as this may sound — we may need to use our voices to make sure every vote is counted. And that may mean exercising our fundamental right to protest. Across the country we are seeing reports of bureaucratic and legal obstacles solely designed to make access to voting and the counting of votes more difficult.
Protest and peaceful civil disobedience are part of our collective history. Some of our greatest moments of positive social progress have come from people coming together to protect each other and each other’s basic rights. From civil rights, to stopping deadly polluters, to the women’s vote, to LGBTQ rights — disruption and dissent are often the only avenues available to stop legal, yet devastating, practices. And this year, it may be necessary to stop the very real erosion of our very democracy.
So please: Get ready to use our right to vote.
And if necessary, get ready to use our right to protest.
PS: If you want to join efforts across the country to protect our basic rights and protect the free and fair results of this election, here is a great list of resources.