Community stories: Barbara Beesley

Published on October 18, 2022

I cast my first vote in 1960. I was a 21-year-old nun who had just joined the convent and all the other nuns were swooning over the handsome Irish Catholic guy who was running for President. I’ve always been an independent thinker, so I voted for the other guy – obviously the wrong decision – but still a great experience.

I’ve voted in every election since that day – midterms, special elections, local elections – all of it. I really feel like it’s my responsibility as an adult. Sixty years later, I’m still a nun and still casting votes. It’s my way of supporting my community.

I grew up in Detroit and I’m very active in the community – standing up for people on the margins. I’ve worked with coalitions for racial justice and ecological sustainability. In 2018, I participated in the Poor People’s Campaign that continues to challenge systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and religious nationalism.

There’s so much at stake – especially this year. I vote because I want to make sure my voice is heard. I want to have a say in the direction of the city and our state. Even if my candidate or campaign doesn’t win, it lets the people who do win know that there’s an entire swath of people out there who feel differently than them. That can have an impact and sway positions. My vote matters. Everyone’s vote matters.

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