Thunder VOTE Spotlight: 'No Voice Unless You Vote'
A familiar face rolled through the Thunder’s drive-through voter registration event at the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City. Stacy Lanier is normally among the group of towering Thunder players as one of the team’s manual and massage therapists and was even stationed inside of the NBA’s Bubble in Orlando for the squad’s full 58 days of residency. On this particular day, however, Lanier was only accompanied by her 18-year-old son Markus with the sole focus in mind to get them both registered to vote.
“What's important is my voice, and you don't have a voice unless you vote,” said Lanier. “So I'm teaching him the importance of being able to be heard and you are heard through voting.”
So while donning the exclusive white mask stamped with the iconic NBA logo that only bubble-goers receive, she and Marcus made the drive to Martin Luther King Avenue to pick up their voter registration forms and see a few fellow Thunder employees while they were at it.
Multiple factors played into Lanier’s decision to attend the Thunder’s voter registration drive. First, as a self-employed manual therapist for 30 years, Lanier has always kept an eye toward ways in which her vote can make an impact her and her unique business.
“For me voting is very important because where I stand as being self-employed and some of my rights as far as being my own company, taxes and so forth,” said Lanier. “Being able to have a voice and an ability to make a change, that will help me to be able to have some of the benefits that I need as far as health care and so forth.”
However, perhaps the biggest factor for Lanier’s decision was her son who will be able to vote for the first time in November. Markus Lanier is a junior at Santa Fe High School in Edmond and is also heavily involved in the Francis Tuttle Culinary Arts Program where he loves to develop new creations and dishes to try at home. The 18-year-old is also an emphatic Thunder fan which makes his mom’s job with the team that much more exciting.
For this reason, his mom said Markus aspires to be either a team chef or work at a hotel where the players stay so he can serve them decorated plates of delicious, healthy dishes.
“I mean he lives, breathes and eats the Thunder,” Lanier said with a chuckle.
In addition to cultivating his creative and vocational skills as a young adult, Lanier also ensures that her son’s voice is equally empowered not just as an American citizen, but as a young adult living with Down syndrome.
“With him having a disability, I feel it's important for not only me but for him to be able to vote and have a voice locally, as well as nationally to be able to look out for his future and I mean, it's an honor to be able to do so,” said Lanier.
This has been over a decade-long effort by Lanier to make sure that Markus understood his rights and his power as a voter. Ever since he was a child, Lanier took Markus with her to the polls when she went to vote. She would carefully explain to him why she was there and what she was doing. As he grew and matured over the years, those conversations became more and more in-depth.
“I told him he couldn't have turned 18 at a better time," said Lanier because finally, her son would be able to take part in the very process she had been so intentional to educate to him on for years.
At this point, it has become clear to Stacy that Markus has soaked up everything she has told him on the subject and now wants to spread the word himself among his friends and peers. When Lanier told her son that they were going to a registration drive hosted by the Thunder, he immediately began telling his friends all about it and suggesting that they also stop by the Thunder’s registration drive.
“Some of his friends aren't old enough yet,” Lanier conceded, “but he's really encouraging people to get out and vote as well so that's pretty awesome.”
"What's important is my voice, and you don't have a voice unless you vote"