News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013
Shirley Nixon (WRDW-TV)
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Shirley Nixon was 13 years old when she saved the money to make the trip to D.C.
She says, "I went around selling cans so I could have some money when I got there."
She says she had never seen so many people.
"Millions of people, some of them were falling out, and I said, 'I wonder why she's falling out?' They were just so glad to see him," she recalls.
As soon as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. started speaking, though, she realized why everyone put so much hope in the reverend from Georgia.
"When he was talking, it looked like he was looking dead at me, and I said, 'I wonder, is he trying to tell me something?'" she said.
She says he told her a lot of things: to treat people with love and respect and to be an active part of your community, lessons she took to heart.
"If you don't vote, you don't say nothing. If you vote, you can tell leaders what you want to happen," she said.
During the 2008 and 2012 elections, Nixon helped register more than 9,000 people in the area to vote. She also organized a bus to D.C. to see another moment of history when President Obama was inaugurated.
She says a lot of people fought hard for the right to vote, but a lot of people seem to have forgotten that right used to just be a dream for many people.
She says, "Some people take it for granted. When vote time comes, a lot of them say no, I ain't going. They hollering, they going to put me on jury duty!"
She says this is why she presses on and continues to remind everyone how important voting is.
Nixon says we've come a long way in 50 years, but there's still a long way to go.
She says, "We still have room to do better."