By O.J. Howard
We grew up on a dirt road in a small town outside Prattville, Alabama. Autauga County. It made getting back and forth everyday kind of hard. Enough that I remember always asking, "Why hasn't our dirt road got paved yet?"
That's because the county commissioner hasn't been approved for the funds yet, my mother would tell me.
It was probably in third or fourth grade that I first remember seeing my parents wearing those little 'I voted' stickers. I would ask questions about that. My mom was like, "I'll show you later." They would just go down the road to an old community center that was a polling station. You walk in, vote and come out. I just remember my parents doing that all the time. Like, taking the time on their lunch break at work or after work.
Then the day came when my mom did break down why getting that voting sticker was so important. One day, she introduced me to Mr. Johnson. He goes to our church, she'd said. And he's running for District 5 Commissioner. He would be the one to help get the funds to pave our roads.
That's when I started realizing how important it was to vote for the deputy in the sheriff's department, the fire chief, things like that, all that stuff in my small town was important for us because it affected our everyday life, day in and day out.