(Astrid Riecken/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

The following is an OP-ED submitted by the D.C. non-profit IMPACT on National Voter Registration Day.

The recent events in Ferguson, MO, are another defining moment in this country’s history. The events of Aug. 9th are now etched in the memories of millions of Americans, and politically, now is the time that millennials and marginalized communities take a stand.

After Michael Brown, Jr., an unarmed Black teenager, was shot by a police officer the world watched as civil unrest unfolded in the small town of just 21,000 people. The phrase “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” became the mantra for people who were protesting in solidarity.

For many African Americans, the story was personal; the dialogue of racial profiling permeated the airwaves once again. Police employed tear gas, armor, and arrests, and for many Americans, this became a recurring picture on their Twitter feeds, newspaper front pages, and network news. Out of outrage, and for some desperation, Twitter activists soon created the  #BeyondFerguson hashtag to not only encourage, but also track, the conversation to seek justice.

Pictures, hashtags, and phrases dominated social media. Civil rights organizations, young leaders and media outlets nationwide led town halls to spark discussion about potential solutions and next steps. In that moment, Brown's death revealed a city, and dare we say even our country, plagued with racial tension and a lack of diversity among elected officials. But still, unanswered questions remained. What do we do now?

This is the millennial’s moment. Actions speak louder than words.

The frustration we feel must make its way to the polls every election season, including the upcoming Nov. 4th midterm election. We must take the frustration we feel from the appalling events in Missouri and use it as motivation to go to the ballot boxes and vote.

In Ferguson, the city’s demographic is not reflected in those that sit in positions of political power.

Although 67 percent of African Americans makeup Ferguson, the mayor and a majority of the council members are White. The gap in representation is significant and has contributed to tensions boiling over in the days following the shooting death of Mike Brown.

We, as young people of color must become involved in the political process on both local and national levels. Whether it is by showing up at our local school board meeting; educating ourselves, our neighbors and friends about who represents us, and what we can do about it; or, simply committing to vote in every election --  to prevent another Ferguson, protest poor policies, and hold those we elect accountable.

There is no other alternative. We must vote in election at every jurisdictional level: local state and national.

The events in Ferguson shouldn’t be our only cause. There are many other challenges that affect the black community on an economic and social level.

From voter identification laws set to disenfranchise eligible minority and young voters to minimum wage hike ballot proposals in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, voter turnout could create a historic moment this upcoming midterm election.

The events in Ferguson shouldn’t be our only cause. There are many other challenges that affect the black community on an economic and social level.

From voter identification laws set to disenfranchise eligible minority and young voters to minimum wage hike ballot proposals in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, voter turnout could create a historic moment this upcoming midterm election.

Some political campaigns, such as the Georgia Senate race, are depending on African American voters to swing votes.

On a national level, the fight for control of the Senate has narrowed down to toss up seats. The party  leading the Senate will determine the course of political impact for the remaining two years of President Obama’s presidential term.

The steady economy still impacts African Americans. Notably, the slow economic gain is leaving black women behind.

With these political issues still hanging in the balance, we are continuing our #VoteReady efforts from the 2012 presidential campaign. On this National Voter Registration Day, encourage your relatives, friends or others in your work or social circles to get in the habit of voting this midterm election.  

As a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color through increasing political involvement, enhancing economic empowerment opportunities and participating in civic engagement, IMPACT will continue the #VoteReady campaign launched during the 2012 presidential election.

As an official partner of National Voter Registration Day, IMPACT will work to ensure American students and young professionals of color are #VoteReady at the polls this Nov. 4th.

At age 18, Michael Brown would have been eligible to vote this election. Instead, his tragic death is a symbolic reminder that we need to vote.

This is our defining moment. Elections have consequences. Exercise your right to vote.

Sarah Misailidis is director of IMPACT, a non-profit organization that works to organize young professionals of color, ages 18 to 40, around the issues of economic empowerment, civic engagement, and political involvement.