Viviette Applewhite, One Rad Great-Great Grandma Lee Ziesche

Celebrities have been putting their big, beautiful famous faces to good use that last few election cycles, encouraging all of us young folk to vote.  In 2008, Samuel L. Jackson told me to get out and vote, and who am I to say no to Jules Winnfield? But this year voting has a new face, the adorable 93-year old Viviette Applewhite.

Viviette has some serious bamf credentials that would put even Samuel L. to shame.  She was a welder during World War II. Move on over Rosie, Vivi’s in town. She marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Georgia. Move on over Rosa, Vivi’s in town. She’s a great-great grandma. Move on over old-lady Rose from Titanic, Vivi’s in town. She’s been voting since 1960. Move on over, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Vivi’s in town. (That’s JFK’s mom. JFK was the first person Viviette voted for. It’s a stretch, I know. I had to Google it.)

Even her name is kind of badass. And now she’s taking on the state of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law which, if it isn’t over turned, could potentially disenfranchise thousands of voters. Recently the law was upheld in an appellate court, so Viviette has a tough battle ahead of her now that the case is expected to go to all the way to the state Supreme Court. Yup, this lady is one tough cookie. An adorable, tough little cookie.

Under the new Pennsylvania law, Viviette will not be able to vote, even though she’s voted in every election since putting her mark down for Kennedy back in the day. Viviette lost her ID when her purse was stolen, and has been unable to acquire a new form of identification.  The ACLU is expected to bring the case all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but there’s something we can all learn from Viviette right now: voting is important.

I used to say if I had a daughter, I would name her Crewe after Sara Crewe of A Little Princess fame, but now I may go with Viviette. Seriously, how cute is Vivi as a nickname? While I’m sure Sara Crewe would make an awesome addition to any sleepover with her imaginative stories and ability to sneak out of the house through any window, Viviette is a heroine I can look up to IRL! (In Real Life, for all you chickadees not up on Internet lingo)  She understands the importance of being a civically engaged member of society, and is willing to stand up when equality is threatened.

This whole independence and freedom thing that makes America oh so beautiful, well it only works when citizens are active participants in the process of government aka when we vote.  VOTING IS IMPORTANT.

We’ve told you before and will probably tell you again, register to vote! Go on, do it. All the cool kids and great-great grandmas are doing it. Be a trendsetter before every celebrity and their mother starts telling you to register and vote this year. Do it for Viviette. If she can take her case all the way to Harrisburg in her motorized wheelchair, the least you can do is get off your lazy behind and mail in a voter registration form.

Or do it online. I registered through Gottavote.org because Aziz Ansari told me to, and who am I to say no to Tom Haverford? There’s also Rock the Vote if you’re looking for a non-partisan group. The important thing is that you register. Viviette is counting on you.

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