Help Make Change with NEXT. Make a Donation!

"We owe it to those who came before us to use this hard-fought right to vote, make our voices heard."

Michael Jones

New Orleans native, Michael Molina is a jack of all trades. As an attorney, educator, author, cultural organizer, arts advocate, and seasoned performer, Mike uses his diverse talents to adapt and rise to each creative challenge and serve his community. In 2014, he wrote, directed and starred in a live adaption of his spoken word novel, Mass Transit Muse. He has also authored four novels. His latest novel, Jim Huckleberry, tells the story of Jim, Mark Twain’s fictional “runaway slave”, by remaking him into a bold, self-liberated Black man.


Why is it critical that we use our right to vote?

It’s our right. It’s also, for so many of us, a right we didn’t always have. It’s been hard-fought. People of all colors and hues – our mothers, our grandfathers – fought for it on the frontlines of the civil rights movement. They were assaulted by their fellow citizens, attacked by dogs, assailed by fire hoses. Some lost their lives on those frontlines. We owe it to those who came before us to use this hard-fought right to make our voices heard in ways that strengthen our communities.

And sadly, as we know only too well — voter suppression continues today. Incarcerated individuals who have paid their debt to society can’t vote. Millions of citizens are purged from voter rolls every year. There’s been an all-out assault on the postal system. The New York Times published a story, recently, detailing how the republican party launched a multi-million-dollar campaign, the sole purpose of which was to convince black voters to stay home on election day.

They understand the power we have in our hands. That’s precisely why they expend so much, time, money and energy towards stopping large swaths of the American public from voting. We cannot let them win. Especially now, today, in an election that has so much riding on it. We must vote as if our lives depend on it, because frankly, it does!

In your opinion, are the stakes particularly high for this election? If yes, why? If no, why not?

The stakes couldn’t be higher. We have a man in the White House who doesn’t believe people of color hold equal status to white Americans. We have someone who is seeking to enact legislation that will, in essence, rob us of our ability control our own bodies. This is someone who is seeking to overturn the 15th Amendment that gives Blacks in this country the right to vote. A person who, in four short years, has turned back years of progress in protecting this planet we live on from climate change. And this is someone who has done all this while overseeing one of the greatest public health failures and pandemic responses; while also inspiring the kind of divisiveness and intolerance this country hasn’t witnessed in decades. Change must occur. It’s up to us to make it happen.

Do you remember the first time you voted? Tell us about it?

It was in 2012. I had just become a citizen a few months earlier. I helped elect Barack Obama. It was, and still is, one of the proudest days of my life.

What do you say to people who say, the system is rigged, our vote won’t matter?

So many elections in the US have been decided by a coin toss because the votes were tied. Every single voter that didn’t vote in those elections could have decided the outcome Just because you think your vote MIGHT not matter doesn’t mean it WON’T. Since you have no way of knowing ahead of time, the only good decision is to vote every time.

What do you think artists can do to inspire others to do their civic duty and vote?

Artists are a critical voice of the community. By bringing our gifts to the struggle, we tell stories and capture truths. We speak words too often caught in anger and pain behind our collective lips. We paint pictures that speak to our struggles and showcase our strength. We sing the songs that fuel the movement and soothe our souls.  As artists we can bring all of these gifts to bear to inspire our community to hear the message about the importance of voting. But more than this, we can inspire them, in ways that arguments often to fail to do, to take action. To vote! To use their voice to make real change in all of our lives.

Want to get involved?

Text xxx to register and visit xxx to learn your registration status and also about the early voting deadlines in your state. Share these tories on your social media platforms.

Learn More >>

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc orci lectus, sagittis vel feugiat cursus, maximus non purus. Morbi nec convallis neque. Integer sit amet sagittis urna. Duis consequat, tellus sit amet consectetur dictum, ex mi viverra purus, nec scelerisque justo diam sit amet neque. Ut turpis nisl, tristique et libero non, sagittis tempor ante. Maecenas tincidunt elit sollicitudin iaculis molestie. Morbi sodales mauris commodo, facilisis ex non, posuere odio. Donec quis porta justo.