Using your voice is one way to create REAL change and as we honor Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the passing of the 19th Amendment, we recognize that it wasn’t until years later that all women, including women of color, could cast their vote freely. We talked with our #AerieREAL Ambassadors to understand their different perspectives about why speaking up, especially exercising their right to vote, is important to them. Learn what they had to say and find more information about different ways to cast your ballot to make your voice heard in this year’s presidential election below.

Allison Weaver

Q: How many times have you voted in a presidential election?

A: I have voted a total of 2 times both primary elections and local elections. This upcoming November will be my first time voting in a presidential election. Since I am a young voter I try my best to stay informed even in the “smaller” elections that I have voted in thus far. I am still learning a lot but I value the importance of voting.

Q: Why do you believe making your vote count is important?

A: I believe that voting in general is very important. However, having the opportunity this past summer to take a college leveled political science class I became aware how important my vote is especially in local government elections. In return, I noticed how few people voted in this local election and that just proves that voting in people in your community is important. This is how we can diversify, unite, and fight for inclusion together. Ask yourself, “do you see a unified community around you?,” “are you satisfied with how people are being treated?,” “is your town actively working to dismantle oppressive systems?” If you found yourself hesitant answering any of these I would say VOTE. It’s not scary, it’s actually liberating!

Q: In general, why do you believe it’s important to make sure that your voice is heard?

A: As a Black woman I really feel the need to show up at the voting polls (or vote by mail). Reflecting back on the amount of oppression Black women had to endure for their rights and even have the opportunity to vote makes me realize just how important my voice is during elections. If anything, 2020 taught me that if I want to enact REAL change I must research and advocate for government officials that emulate aspects of who I am or morals I have.

“Reflecting back on the amount of oppression Black women had to endure for their rights and even have the opportunity to vote makes me realize just how important my voice is during elections.”

Allison Weaver

Ashleigh Taylor

Q: How many times have you voted in a presidential election?

A: Due to when my birthday falls, I’ve only been old enough to vote in one Presidential election—this November will be my 2nd!

Q: Why do you believe making your vote count is important?

A: I’ll be honest—as a little kid I used to fight with my mom who used to make me come with her to the polls every single election season. She’d make me wait in a long line and cast a “kid’s ballot” that the State of New Hampshire provided to help educate kids on the importance of voting. Somehow it had the opposite effect on me. I hated waiting in line, and I would argue with my mother about how my one measly vote would never make a difference—even when I was old enough to cast a REAL vote. But my mom was firm and her message to me never swayed: voting is a privilege and voting matters. As I got older and became interested in government, I started to understand. Almost everything in my life was influenced by politics—my education, my rights, my money—were all influenced by my civil duty to cast my vote. I realized that if I wanted my world to change, or even to stay exactly the same, I could not stay silent. Making my vote count matters because it allows me to do a small part in shaping the world around me. Voting is something that not every person in this world has. It’s something to not be taken for granted.

Q: In general, why do you believe it’s important to make sure that your voice is heard?

A: Think about some common hot topics from just this year alone—Health care, civil rights, immigration, education. No matter which side of the aisle you stand on (or even if you stand somewhere in the middle) you have an opinion on these topics. 2020 has felt very different from other years because for the first time in a long time—we all have felt some sort of impact whether it be positive or negative from COVID-19. We got the opportunity to really FEEL some sort of impact in our daily lives that was a result of our leaders and policies. I believe that one of the most powerful ways you get to express those feelings and opinions and make a difference with them is by voting. While educating others and making yourself heard on social media platforms and by talking to friends and family are imperative—actions will always speak louder than words.

At the end of the day whether you’re a political science junkie or a brand new voter—the right to vote is an important gift. Use it wisely!

“I believe that one of the most powerful ways you get to express those feelings and opinions and make a difference with them is by voting.”

Ashleigh Taylor

Taylor Fordham

Q: How many times have you voted in a presidential election?

A: Once.

Q: Why do you believe making your vote count is important?

A: It’s important to fundamentally understand how many people in the nation still don’t have the ability to vote or have their ability to vote suppressed by systematically unjust structures, whether it be because of their race/ethnicity, past experiences with the judicial system, citizenship status, etc. So, when I consider how Black and Brown communities are some of those disproportionately affected by these structures and policies for voter suppression, it makes my opportunity to vote hold even more weight and significance, including my discernment on when and how I choose to vote.

Q: In general, why do you believe it’s important to make sure that your voice is heard?

A: There is immense power in a voice, a reality that I’ve always known, and to this day still find slightly intimidating and scary at times. I’d be lying if I said I have a complete grip on the ins-and-outs of using your voice, being heard, taking a stand, etc. But, what I will say is, your voice, while able to symbolize concepts/notions/matters greater than you as an individual, is first and foremost an extension of you. And you decide how, when, and where you want to utilize it. That’s all I try to keep in mind.

“…your voice, while able to symbolize concepts/notions/matters greater than you as an individual, is first and foremost an extension of you. And you decide how, when, and where you want to utilize it.”

Taylor Fordham

Jordyn Bryant

Q: How many times have you voted in a presidential election?

A: This upcoming election will be my second presidential election to be able to participate in.

Q: Why do you believe making your vote count is important?

A: Lucky for me I was able to be exposed to local government and politics at a young age because of my grandpa running for office in my hometown. He instilled in me the importance of exercising your rights regardless of what your views are. This is a freedom not everyone in the world gets to have and just looking back at our own country’s history we can see how far we have come just by people getting out there and participating. It really is a privilege and feels so empowering to do your part! I always like to say be on the right side of history. This is not only a privilege but a freedom. We all hold the potential to create a better society and how cool is it to one day look back and say you were a part of something bigger than yourself, that you left behind a legacy?

Q: In general, why do you believe it’s important to make sure that your voice is heard?

A: I think that often people forget that every single day that you spend a dollar, you are using that dollar as a vote to what kind of society you want to see in this world. For example, I love shopping at Aerie because of the diversity of their models and overall inclusive mindset. By me shopping at Aerie it’s like a vote towards a world with similar values. There’s many ways to use your voice such as supporting businesses and individuals that share the same beliefs as you, as well as simply educating yourself on something new one week so that you can be more knowledgeable on issues and use your voice for good.

“We all hold the potential to create a better society and how cool is it to one day look back and say you were a part of something bigger than yourself, that you left behind a legacy?”

Jordyn Bryant

Susie Lujano

Q: How many times have you voted in a presidential election?

A: None. Let me explain. Given my DACA status, I do not have the privilege to vote. This is one of the reasons I am such a huge advocate for those who do have this privilege to use it.

Q: Why do you believe making your vote count is important?

A: When the people vote, even if your candidate doesn’t win, you are making your opinions heard. You are telling those in power what matters to the country as a whole and what we want to see changed or bettered. I’ve heard many people say, “my vote doesn’t matter.” Can you imagine what an enormous difference it would make if the thousands of people who believe that actually took the time to exercise their privilege?  Even more when the choices being made affect the lives of people like me, who cannot vote.  Remember that what may be a simple matter of policy on paper to some, is someone else’s actual entire livelihood. I wish I had the privilege to make my voice heard at the polls, but since I can’t, I am asking you to take advantage of your power! Get out and make your vote and your voice count, not just for yourself, but for the thousands of others who can’t do it too.

Q: In general, why do you believe it’s important to make sure that your voice is heard?

A: For the most part, we all have opinions about the most important issues in our country. But how can we complain about changes, or lack thereof, whenever we don’t do our part in the process? We have to remember that our elected officials are supposed to work for us, and when an employee does something wrong, what happens? They are reprimanded – and eventually fired if they fail to rectify their mistakes. Is this an oversimplification? Of course it is. But at the end of the day, it is absolutely the way it should be. And until we learn as a society to take back our power – a lot of which lies in voting and encouraging others to do the same – we are going to stay stuck in the same cycle of lack of accountability. And for that reason, people like myself stay stuck in a never ending limbo.

“I wish I had the privilege to make my voice heard at the polls, but since I can’t, I am asking you to take advantage of your power!”

Susie Lujano

Violet Sullivan

Q: How many times have you voted in a presidential election?

A: Once! I turned 18 in 2015 and voted in 2016.

Q: Why do you believe making your vote count is important?

A: It is crucial to cast a vote that is effective and impactful. When completing my ballot, I like to think of how each choice I am making will have lasting effects on entire communities and groups of people. Our society is currently undergoing a time of intense change and discomfort and our votes will ultimately decide which direction our nation will follow. This is going to be an extremely important election year in history and could decide the futures for many marginalized and underserved groups of people. Filling out a ballot should be taken seriously and completed in a manner that will be in the best interest of those in search of equity. You and your vote matter and I hope that this year you choose to exercise your right!

Q: In general, why do you believe it’s important to make sure that your voice is heard?

A: As a woman, it is normalized to believe that we are supposed to be polite, act small, and let the men speak. Politics has historically been a man’s game. Many of the most powerful positions have been held by people who have never lived our shared experiences yet make decisions on our behalf. Whether you come from a lower socioeconomic status, are a woman, a minority, or are underrepresented in our government, your beliefs and concerns are still valid and deserve to be addressed. Although we may not be the ones signing our names on the bills, we can have our say in policy change by voting in people who will advocate for the needs of their constituents. Being able to vote is an incredible privilege. The right to vote was only granted to Black women in 1965 with the Voting Rights Act. For hundreds of years, American’s before us fought for our voices to be heard. Our ability to choose our nation’s leaders and have an input in the policies that affect us, makes voting one of the single most important responsibilities we have as American citizens.

“When completing my ballot, I like to think of how each choice I am making will have lasting effects on entire communities and groups of people.”

Violet Sullivan

Are you ready to vote this November?

Below are a few helpful links below to make sure you’re ready to make your voice heard.

🗳 Check your registration status here.

✏️ Not registered? Sign up here. (It takes 2 minutes!)

📬 Choosing to vote by mail? Request your absentee ballot here.

📍 Get information on where your polling location is here.

📖 Learn more information on your voting rights here.

🗓 Visit vote.org to get complete information on important deadlines for your state.

See more

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