In 1986 my grandfather took me into a voting booth. It remains one of the most influential moments of my life, not just because he put me on his shoulders and let me pull the lever, or because I felt the excitement of something new. What was really striking was learning, years after he died, that he could not read or write. Born to sharecroppers in Virginia, he never received a formal education. Still, in a country that didn’t value his education, Grandpa Charlie understood the importance of participating in his community: through the neighborhood civic association, and by exercising his right to vote.
Rashad Robinson is a former member of our staff