Alicia Garza Votes Because 'Any Scraps You Leave, Someone Else Will Eat'

On the podcast Why I’m Voting, host Holly Frey sits down with several of her podcast host colleagues, as well as over 20 celebrities, to find out when they started voting, what their favorite election rituals are, and why they think voting is so important. On this episode, she talks with Alicia Garza, principal of the Black Futures Lab and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, as well as an author and podcast host in her own right, about how every vote counts, how she prepares for elections, why local elections are just as important as presidential ones, and her favorite part of Election Day: “I have to get my sticker,” she laughs. “I love the feeling of wearing that sticker all day and knowing I participated….and I think it motivates others to go out and do it, too.”

Alicia registered to vote the day she turned 18, because the message she heard was always that she had to vote because her ancestors died to give her the right. Her first time in the voting booth, “I remember being fully confused,” she admits; while her school always stressed the importance and the privilege of voting in a democracy, “I never remember a lesson like, ‘Here’s what a ballot looks like.’” But it wasn’t until she started organizing that she realized voting could be a direct result of activism work. She’s been a mail-in voter since college, and “as someone who has a procrastination problem,” she urges people to make a voting plan: Whether you vote through mail, vote early, or vote on the day, know who and what is on your ballot, and give yourself time to make your voice heard. Especially in local elections, where the results can come down to only a few hundred votes, “every vote really does matter.” 

Unfortunately, a lot of people believe that if they live in a comfortably red or blue state that their vote doesn’t really count; what would Alicia say to these citizens? Holly asks. Alicia understands why people feel disillusioned with the election process, saying that politics are absolutely corrupt – but we can be dissatisfied with the process while still participating in it, because simply opting out doesn’t change anything. “I know that every space I leave, my opposition takes that space,” she says. “It’s really about making sure that I don’t cede space to people that didn’t earn it….Any scraps of food you leave on the table, somebody else is going to come and eat.” Hear more inspiring words from Alicia Garza on this episode of Why I’m Voting, and make sure you’re registered and ready to vote on Election Day.

“Why I’m Voting” features some the biggest stars, cultural influencers and athletes, sharing what matters to them most as the upcoming election approaches, and why it’s so important to show up to the ballot box. The podcast will run weekly through Election Day in November, and listeners will have the chance to talk about why they are voting, and can record and submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message at

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