"A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy's shoulders to let him know that the world hadn't ended." -- Batman, The Dark Knight Rises
You've seen the debates. You've heard the talking points. You walk by the yard signs every day. You scroll past the memes and cartoons on Facebook; you follow the trends on Twitter. The hundreds of news articles, the dozens of polls, the months of campaigning, the unprecedented efforts toward voter registration -- I'm looking at you, National Voter Registration Day -- have all been racing to this moment.
Election Day is upon us.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. It's been marked on our calendars since our calendars rolled over to 2012. And it's here?! It's like Christmas for kids, or a wedding, or a premiere of a much anticipated superhero movie -- we've spent so much time preparing for it, we're incredulous that now it's actually shown up. But shown up it has, and we need you to do the same.
HealthConnect One was one of more than 600 organizations that signed on to the first-ever National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) that took place on Sept. 25, 2012. On that day, over 285,000 eligible voters were registered, making NVRD a huge success. But it was only the first step. We put on our capes.
Now, we need to take action.
It's time to head to the polls and put this superpower to use. More than 285,000 people registered; now it's time for all of us to vote.
When HealthConnect One signed on to support NVRD and endorse voting, some of us saw the link between a community-based doula and November 6 right away. Others asked, "Why?" Why is it important for a community-based doula or a breastfeeding peer counselor or any community health worker to vote?
The answer is because, "A hero can be anyone." Community health workers are heroes every day in the communities they serve. They improve the lives of mothers and children and families every day. They participate in work that is bigger than themselves. They are trusted voices within their communities. November 6 is an opportunity to amplify these voices.
A vote for a presidential candidate, congressional candidate or local candidate isn't just a vote for that person; it's a vote for what that person stands for and supports. When you head to the polls on November 6 you are going armed with your knowledge and your values -- and you're voting for them as much as for any candidate.
Beyond that, you are acting as a voice for anyone who shares your values but can't vote themselves. How many of us know someone under the age of 18 who has an opinion about the direction their community, their city, their state or the country goes that matches ours -- and can't make that opinion heard yet?
November 6 is about more than one candidate or one ballot measure or even one outcome. It's about every eligible citizen taking responsibility for the power they've been given and using it. It's about making our voices heard. It's about more than ourselves.
A hero can be anyone. A hero can be you.
This piece first appeared on HealthConnect One's breath.push.grow blog on October 30, 2012.