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For St. Petersburg Voter, Health And Social Justice Are Top Issues

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“Too many people bled and died for the right for us to vote. And for us to ignore that right, it’s really like a slap in the face.”

Voting for the 2020 election is underway, and all year, we’ve been amplifying the voices of voters across the crucial I-4 Corridor. Over the next several weeks, you will be hearing from voters about the state of our democracy.

Here, we meet Phyllis Young, a retired African American woman from St. Petersburg.

“I’m retired. I retired in 2003, from Verizon after 30 years. Then I retired from the city of St. Pete, after 10 years in 2018.

I have a daughter, and had it not been for the changes made through Obamacare, I would not have been able to maintain her on my insurance, because of her age. But I was able to keep her on my insurance until she turned 26, which was good for her because she couldn’t really afford insurance on her own.

The social justice [protests]…I’m kind of torn in terms of how it’s played out in our community. In particular, after George Floyd and all of the demonstrations that were going on, and then the the rioting. I really have a problem with the rioting, because it doesn’t solve anything. And in the end, it’s our community that is impacted by whatever happens. It doesn’t help anything, doesn’t help anybody. But I like that my local police department has taken steps to try to minimize how things happen. In terms of the policing, I like that they made some changes.

Even as an African American, I want to have the ability, not just for me, but for my family. I have a granddaughter who’s four years old, and I want to see her grow up and have the same opportunities that I had. Struggle that it might have been, I did have an opportunity. I would not have been able to go to, at the time, GTE and apply for a job and get the type of job that I had in 1973 when I walked in at 23-years-old.

I don’t think I’ve missed an election since I registered to vote. And I try to encourage the people that are around me to vote, because that’s sometimes the only voice that we have is to step up and vote. Too many people bled and died for the right for us to vote. And for us to ignore that right, it’s really like a slap in the face.

I’m hoping and praying that with this election, a lot of the young people that I know, they are stepping up, they are registering to vote. And they’re speaking their mind about injustices and things. And they’re going about it the right way, the way in which my generation did in the ’60s. They’re marching, they’re protesting. And I think they now have, I guess you could say, clear vision of what is really happening in this country concerning African Americans. And I think it’s very important to them.”

WUSF’s Bradley George produced this audio postcard as part of America Amplified, a national reporting initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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