Why We’re Voting This Year
It’s election season again! Here at Sick Cells, we believe in empowering sickle cell advocates to use their voice for change. During elections, your vote is your power for change. This election year, our community is faced with complex public concerns because of the pandemic, a need for funding for sickle cell disease, and a community that has been pulled into the limelight as a result of a national reckoning with racism leading to a call for systemic change and healthcare reform.
We took the time to speak with Jeffrey Zuttah and Terri Booker, Esq. Jeffrey is a sickle cell patient advocate and business professional who’s passionate about propelling the community forward at the local and national levels. Terri is a sickle cell advocate and lawyer working as a civil servant to her community of Philadelphia. As votes continue to pour in ahead of Election Day (Tuesday, November 3), they shared why they choose to vote.
Jeffrey, who worked with the Obama administration amid the height of the financial crisis (2009 to 2011), is also a believer in the importance of governance and the role it plays in making change. “We need leaders who are committed to serving others with grace, dignity and have the best interests at heart for the people they serve,” said Jeffrey.
Terri further elaborated on this point and said, “It’s basic and simple — the people who make legislation that can directly affect your ability to receive healthcare, medications, services, every aspect of medical decisions are honestly based on some law that some congressperson has done before, do now, or will do in the future. The important thing is you have to stay aware of who is making those decisions for you.”
The Long-term Impact of Voting
“They say ‘vote like your life depends on it’ and it literally does because voting can affect every aspect of your life, especially for a sickle cell patient or a rare disease patient or a patient who has a chronic illness,” said Terri. “The fact that something as simple as not being able to hold your pre-existing condition against you makes a difference in the way you get treated, the kind of healthcare you receive, and the doctor you can go to. All of that stuff matters. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything because there’s nothing you can do if you are sick or can’t function or can’t get your medicine even though there is a medication. Your quality of life is affected by your vote.”
Whether you voted early in-person, mailed in or dropped off your ballot, or plan to vote on November 3, if you’re able, we encourage you to get out and vote. We can express the changes we want to see for our community through our voting decisions. Changes such as more funding for treatment research or sickle cell trait testing at birth for newborns or those who want to start a family.
“If we want those in power to hear us, we must vote,” said Jeffrey. “Vote to impact the lives of others for the better.”
To find more information on how you can vote in the 2020 Presidential Election, visit https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/
To find out more information about pandemic safety precautions, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html