We're on the final stretch to the 2020 U.S. election and one of the things we're trying to navigate is how to vote safely during a pandemic. Waiting for election day itself can be hazardous, but not everyone has the option of absentee voting.
If there's one thing Bea Lumpkin will make sure she does every year, it's vote. And this year, she made sure people understood the lengths you should go to for one of the most important elections in our lifetimes.
You can hear part of Lumpkin's story here:
The 102-year-old who has voted every election since 1940 shared a photo of herself in full protective gear, mailing in her ballot.
Good morning! This is 102-year-old CTU retiree Bea Lumpkin casting her vote-by-mail ballot. If Bea can do it, anyon… https://t.co/8Gpp4mLwui— ChicagoTeachersUnion (@ChicagoTeachersUnion) 1601557623.0
Not all heroes wear capes...here is Bea Lumpkin who is 102 and voting by mail in Chicago #Vote Via IG:ctulocal1… https://t.co/HTnRQXPisp— Icculus The Brave (@Icculus The Brave) 1601914942.0
Bea Lumpkin, 102, cast her vote in the 2020 election by mail, decked out in personal protective equipment. She told… https://t.co/3jFuivaOZR— Ginger Kitty (@Ginger Kitty) 1602010153.0
102-year-old Bea Lumpkin wearing PPE to cast her vote-by-mail ballot. She hasn’t missed a vote since she began vot… https://t.co/lDKTYxtH07— ian bremmer (@ian bremmer) 1602010860.0
Lumpkin, a former teacher and eternal labor rights activist, made sure she could vote, and that her voting could encourage others. She dropped off the ballot at the mailbox across the street in a protective hood and outfit designed by her grandson.
And just to drive the point home, she had that same grandson take a photo. It was shared far and wide by the Chicago Teacher's Union.
The act of voting is very important to Lumpkin. But she says this is the most important one.
She told CBS Radio:
"It's the most important election of my lifetime. The very future of democracy is on the line."
And if she can do it, so can you.
I want that outfit. A hot pink hazmat suit is soooo 2021. https://t.co/FoLDJsnhAI— Deborah Brozina (@Deborah Brozina) 1602038219.0
@CNNPolitics The year 2020 in one picture— Chasseur (@Chasseur) 1602009638.0
Whom did this 102-year-old woman vote for? @JoeBiden or @realDonaldTrump? Tough puzzle to solve. I've been scratchi… https://t.co/Dz2BRyzI9T— Ali (@Ali) 1602000192.0
Let's put Bea Lumpkin in charge of the pandemic. I think she will do a better job than Pence https://t.co/WyfRMMok1z— Liz The Resistor (@Liz The Resistor) 1602021523.0
Lumpkin has spent her life advocating for workers' rights and supporting unions and was even suspended from college for putting together an antifascism conference. She fought for renters' rights during and after World War II, and became a teacher during the 1960s.
She even took part in the civil rights movement and protested Jim Crow laws and fought segregated public areas. Her life is a powerful testament to labor organizing and activism.
Even now, just the act of voting feels stronger coming from Lumpkin.
If you are interested in supporting Bea. Buy her book "Always Bring A Crowd" about her late husband Frank Lumpkin w… https://t.co/vzdBblvaDv— abby🌹 (@abby🌹) 1602020415.0
@apbenven Bea Lumpkin was also one of the first neighbors to welcome my Japanese American relatives to the south si… https://t.co/mOp6QYW9j4— Nicole Whiting (@Nicole Whiting) 1601953453.0
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to mail-in voting. For those who will have to go down to a polling center, please be prepared to wait for an extended period of time and stay safe by social distancing and wearing a mask.
But if Lumpkin can impart one thing, it's the importance of voting.
"If you never bothered to vote before and if you care anything about the children coming after us, you'll come out and vote this time."