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A St. Petersburg resident urges Black voters to 'show up for your ancestors'

Charday Davis, 36, is not political, but she never misses an opportunity to vote, and she actively tries to get others to cast a ballot. As a Black woman, she feels it’s her responsibility to step up to honor her ancestors who fought for the right to vote.
Daylina Miller
WUSF Public Media
Charday Davis never misses an opportunity she vote. She says she does it, if for nothing else, than for her ancestors.

Charday Davis, 36, a St. Petersburg resident, talks about the importance of voting, showing up for the ancestors, and instilling the same values in her children.

Florida's general election is in less than a month, and Charday Davis of St. Petersburg will be there. The 36-year-old says she never misses an opportunity to vote, despite what she calls the ugliness of politics.

WUSF's Daylina Miller spoke with Davis, who says she's inspired by her Black ancestors who fought for the right to vote.

Daylina Miller: You say you're not a political person, but you're an enthusiastic, passionate voter. So what's the difference?

Charday Davis: I think the difference is not being consumed by the politics in general, more so being informed, knowing who's running, knowing a little bit about their background — maybe not trying to get too fixated on that specifically — and really focusing on what they're saying they're going to deliver.

I think that's the difference between just, you know, getting wrapped up in the politics and in the nastiness of everything.

Miller: And why is voting so important to you?

Davis: Oof. Because it makes a difference. I know people feel as if it doesn't at times, and at times, it may seem that way. But it does. And being a minority, we are often overlooked.

We did not have that ability previously in history. Our ancestors marched and fought and died for this right. So me, personally, I feel it's an injustice to not show up to the polls, like for my ancestors. I do it for them if no one else.

Miller: Now your kids are getting to the to the age where they're about old enough to vote. Your son is 17. Is he going to go vote? What values have you instilled in him when it comes to voting?

Davis: I'm super excited. First of all, let's just say that. We had a conversation yesterday and he was asking what election will he be able to vote in that's coming up, and I tell him next year, specifically, he'll be able to step to the polls.

I've always taken them to the polls with me. Whenever I go, they go. They get their stickers, whether they vote or not. I ensure they get those stickers, we go places because I want people to know ... it's almost like that outfit, that new outfit that you put on and you feel like no one, not enough people have seen it yet. So you have to go to all these places. That's how we are with voting.

You don't really know if your voice is making a difference if you don't exercise it. So if you sit back and you do nothing, you won't know, you won't know. So that's what we do. Put your best foot forward on everything.

Miller: What do you have to say to disenfranchised voters, especially young Black voters?

Davis: Keep pushing. Social media, and I say all the time, social media, you have the individuals that try to discourage you, that try to tell you a vote does not matter, that the politics or that they're going to do what they want to do anyways.

I would say put that to the back of your minds and go to the polls. Honestly. Register to vote, show up on time. Do what makes you happy. If you prefer staying home, if it's convenient for you to do mail-in ballots. If you want to go show face, show up, go to your polls, know ahead of time where your polls are. That's helpful as well.

Just don't allow anyone to change your mind. You should definitely vote, you should exercise your voice, you should exercise your rights and apply pressure.

Keep applying the pressure. Also, because I try not to get wrapped up in the arguments and the ugliness of voting, I think it is important to know where to go to find the facts. It's just not enough to stop on social media. And I know it's the one-stop shop.

And I'm going to continuously say this, but look for other resources outside of that. Look for other sources, find maybe a close friend that you can even have conversations with that it doesn't seem as if it's being forced or combative. But something that's really effective — effective communication. Google and then Google again, and then Google again. I mean, keep doing your research.

This story is a part of the national America Amplified community engagement initiative, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. WUSF's 2022 Democracy coverage is highlighting the voices of voters before the mid-term election.

I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.