In less than a month, the nation will conclude what is likely to be remembered as one of the most contentious presidential campaigns in modern history.
The campaign has been fraught with racially divisive rhetoric as the nation continues to struggle with issues of racial hostility and social inequity, as demonstrated by the wave of violence that has taken so many lives over the last year.
A lack of social and economic opportunity is at the root of the unrest. Only a historic, targeted mobilization of resources can address the unrest.
The National Urban League (NUL) has a plan to elevate urban communities through targeted public investment, called the Main Street Marshall Plan.
The NUL has a plan to hold police and communities accountable for unjustified violence against unarmed citizens, called the 10 Point Justice Plan for Police Reform and Accountability.
But plans on paper mean nothing if we do not put in place responsible, forward-thinking governmental representatives with the power to put these plans into action. We must vote.
The NUL is part of a nonpartisan Election Protection coalition formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. If you or anyone you know experiences any irregularity while trying to register or vote, call 866-OUR-VOTE. But please, vote.
And we must continue to fight with everything we have to protect our vote.
This is the first presidential election in more than 50 years to take place without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. This year, 14 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election: Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Make no mistake, there are people in power who do not want African-Americans, young people, senior citizens and other vulnerable populations do vote. We cannot let them stop us.
Marc Morial is president and CEO of the National Urban League.