By Jae-Ha Kim
October 25, 2016

One of the privileges of being a citizen of the United States is enjoying the rights that were fought for by those who came before us.

I know. I sound a bit ridiculous stating the obvious, right? But, really … Get out there and vote. If you’re worried about the anticipated long lines on November 8th, get out there and vote early (as I did).

A few things to remember about what life used to be like for many of us, right here in America:

🇺🇸 Your grandmothers, great aunts and other elderly female relatives were not viewed as equal to men. It wasn’t until the 19th Amendment was ratified (1919) that women won the hard-fought right to vote.

🇺🇸 The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first immigration law to prohibit people from entering the U.S. based on race and/or national origin. Chinese Americans couldn’t vote until 1943; other Asian Americans were banned until 1952.

🇺🇸 Thanks to the Voting Rights Act (1965), Americans no longer had to pass “literacy” tests to exercise their right to vote. What literacy test, you ask? The kind that was put in place — along with fees and other obstacles — to ensure that poor folks in general and African Americans in particular would not be able to vote.

🇺🇸 Until 1967, an interracial marriage was considered illegal and, in some states, a felony. It wasn’t until Loving v. Virginia that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the remaining anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional.

🇺🇸 It wasn’t until just last year — 2015 — that same-sex marriages were recognized as legal. However, there are still counties that will not issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved


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