By Kira Lerner, thinkprogress.com
When Kenneth Glasgow was released from prison after serving 14 years on drug-related charges, he was told that he couldn’t vote. So three years later, when he was granted a partial pardon that restored his right to vote, he attached a string to his voter registration card and wore it around his neck for four months.
Friends and family laughed at him. “People were asking me, including my mother: What are you doing? Why are you wearing that?” he said. They wondered why, after he was tagged a convict for almost half his life behind bars, would he want to continue tagging himself so publicly?
“I said: It proves that I’m a citizen,” he told ThinkProgress. “The only thing that gives you full citizenship is your right to vote.”
Citizenship is something Glasgow does not take for granted. When he was released from prison in 2001 at the age of 36, he had recently become ordained and was eager to start his life anew. Growing up, he had watched his half-brother Al Sharpton lead civil rights marches and protests and eventually launch a national voter advocacy organization, and Glasgow looked forward to following in his footsteps. He wanted to grow his ministry and similarly help black citizens fight for equal rights under the law.