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Devine Carama shares stories from 300-mile walk for voter awareness

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 5:11 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Lexington activist is sharing his stories about his trek across the commonwealth.

Devine Carama walked more than 300 miles to encourage people to vote and how they can do it this year. He finished the special marathon differently than he expected to.

Even though his walk didn’t end the way he planned it, with a few bumps and bruises along the way, he says it was healing.

His journey stretched all across the state for voter awareness. In Paducah, he spent time with one voter and talked about their differences and similarities.

“She was a trump supporter,” Carama said. "No, we weren’t voting for the same person, we kind of left the conversation focused on what we had in common, which was our faith and family.”

Carama says it was a walk he’ll remember.

“I learned that all differences aren’t based in hate. And I knew that, but I think there was more of a focus on that,” Carama said.

More stops were spending time with people who choose not to exercise their right.

“Some just don’t like jury duty and they think that being registered to vote puts them in the pool,” Carama said.

Or, because they’re worried about their options, like one older woman Carama spoke with.

“She is high risk, she’s in her 80s, African-American woman, she doesn’t want to vote in person because of COVID."

All the walking from the woods to Louisville’s skyscrapers left him with some battle scars. He says his feet are sore and his knees are swollen. He said he didn’t physically train for the walk, but he did mentally prepare for the talks he would have.

“My day job, being an activist, a nonprofit director, I think all of that impacted me. And honestly, just my heritage. Being a Black man in America, all the challenges that I’ve faced,” Carama said.

As he climbed the hills of Appalachia, his morale went up and down.

“I was called the n-word, screamed out the window several times,” Carama said.

He says most of his interactions were positive, and he learned from the conversations he had.

“Nobody is the same, we don’t look the same, we don’t come from the same place, but we should be able to come together with our differences and still have a conversation and walk away still being Americans,” Carama said.

He has hope for more ballots cast, and less hate spread.

Carama says he may be worn out from walking, but he’s passing the torch to friends and strangers from around the commonwealth. If you want to help him meet his 10,000 mile goal by November 3, use the hashtag #walkthevote and post your mileage online.

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