Saad Amer of Plus1Vote Speaks On The Importance Of Voting

In a candid essay for V, the environmentalist, activist, and founder of Plus1Vote explains why voting can help save our nation.

Scarlet skies befall the golden coast. Even as my older brother sends me photos from his California apartment, the images fail to capture the suffocation that the smog brings to the local air. The streets are empty as snow-like ash covers idle cars. In New York, my younger brother packs his bookbag. He hasn’t seen any back-to-school ads this year. “Should I go to school?” he asks my mom and dad, as he faces the choice of getting an education or getting coronavirus. His junior spring semester was canceled, and it seems his senior year might be, too.

I have been an activist since I was 13 years old. Back then, we were told of the impacts that climate change would one day have on America. Now, the prophecies of a changing environment strike all too close to home. Just weeks ago, a tropical storm swept across New York, causing me to lose power for days. At this point, there isn’t a single person in this country who hasn’t personally felt the impacts of policy failures from our government.

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2020 be like

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You might be asking why I’m writing about this for a fashion magazine. Let’s be real. All these issues are interconnected.

At this time in a normal year, designers, models, and editors would sip pumpkin spice lattes as they meticulously plan their calendars to go from event to event. But now in the second week of September, New York Fashion Week is not at all what it once was. Artists and freelancers are struggling to make ends meet as a pandemic paralyzes our lives and unemployment skyrockets. There is no facet of society that has not felt the impact of political decisions over the last few years. The truth is we need to build our society back better. The biggest way to do that is to VOTE. Registering to vote takes less than two minutes and can profoundly impact policy on every major issue. This is especially true at local levels of government. We must realize that this democracy will only work when we fight for it.

Even if you think you do not have a voice, you do. It’s called your vote. How you cast your ballot will determine the future of our health, our economy, and our planet.

The less you hear about voting, the more you need to talk about it. Odds are if you have never been approached to register to vote, the same is true for your friends. Voter turnout will determine everything in this election. Just a few votes in a few key areas can impact the trajectory of policy on gun violence, health care, voting rights, climate change, and social justice across this country. Every vote matters. Our V is for Vote Campaign is about understanding your power to make a difference. Activism starts with one. Who is the one person you will register to vote? Who is the one person you will bring to the polls? While we all want to return to a sense of normalcy, we must use our personal power to vote and invite a Plus1 into this conversation.

That’s why I Founded Plus1Vote and why I’m proud to partner with V Magazine. You can expect some amazing content as we approach Election Day. Better days are ahead, I promise.

Who’s your Plus1?

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