LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington activist and musician Devine Carama, whose real name is Richard Spaulding, set out Tuesday morning from Pikeville on a cross-state walk to raise awareness about voter registration and voting while also paying tribute to the family of Breonna Taylor.
“Today, I’m starting a 400-mile, 5- or 6-day voter awareness journey by foot from one end of Kentucky (Pikeville) to the other (Paducah), stretching through the state’s hoods and hollers. First and foremost I want everyone to watch my new video which “poetically” helps break down the facts about voter registration and absentee ballot voting — https://www.facebook.com/239187319602805/posts/1490638037791054/ and then join my brother, Kenneth Payne’s new nationwide voting initiative,” Carama said before starting out.
Friday, ABC 36’s Monica Harkins caught up with Carama when he reached Lexington.
Carama says he’s learned some people feel like Kentucky is stuck voting one way so why vote at all.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people: ‘why should I vote,’ you know, ‘why are you out here doing this?’ ‘voting doesn’t matter,’ ‘Kentucky votes the same way every presidential election.’ But what I want people to understand is the election has local implications,” Carama said.
He says it’s not about who you vote for it’s about becoming comfortable with voting.
“I want to inspire, but then also I want to make people aware,” Carama said.
He carried a sign along this journey that gives the deadlines for voter register, Oct. 5, and the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot, Oct. 9.
“We’re gonna have to vote different, just like we’ve had to do everything different in 2020, so that’s one common thread for all of us,” Carama said.
He also hopes that the conversations he’s been able to have can spread.
“I wish America could have conversations like that. But oftentimes we get polarized in our silos, with our defenses up. But on this walk I’ve been able to have a lot of great conversations,” he said.
It’s also taken a physical toll. Carama has walked about 15 hours each day.
“My feet are sore, my feet, my legs. I tell people I didn’t train for this, I’m almost 40 years old. I’m a girl Dad, Dad body, you know, so I’m aching all over, but it’s a sacrifice. It’s the least that I can engage in when I think about what my ancestors did just for me to have the right to vote,” he said.
Carama hopes he can make it to Elizabethtown in a few days.
“Also, for more information on in-person, early and day-of voting, follow the state’s link — www.sos.ky.gov . This walk is to celebrate and remind us of all the sacrifices my ancestors made so that we can have the right to vote today. The last presidential election only 59 percent of registered Kentucky voters actually voted and I’d love to see that percent rise to 75! Though Kentucky pretty much votes a specific way nationally, the ballot has very important local implications as well!” he continued, adding he also is walking for “Ms. Tamika Palmer as she continues to mourn” the loss of her daughter, Breonna Taylor.