More Than a Vote: Athletes and Entertainers Launch New Organization to Protect African-Americans’ Voting Rights

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Headed by one of the most prominent figures in basketball, LeBron James, More Than a Vote is a new organization aimed to protect Black voters’ rights.

Motivated by worldwide protests against police brutality, racial profiling, and injustice against Black Americans, a group of athletes and entertainers are joining forces to not only amplify their voices but to make sure that our current commander in chief does not stay in the White House for four more years just because Black voters had been disenfranchised. 

“Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us — we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” said LeBron James to The New York Times. “How long is up to us. We don’t know. But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference,” he continued. 

As reported by the newspaper, More Than a Vote will serve as a platform to inspire African-Americans to register and vote in November 2020. The group, who also includes prominent figures like Trae Young, Skylar Diggins-Smith, and Jalen Rose, will go the extra mile and use all the available social media networks to fight against vote suppression and any corporation or person who attempts to mute or block information that could be crucial for racial minorities. “Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”

For the NBA superstar, the death of George Floyd was the last drop that overflowed the glass and pushed him “to get out and do a little bit more,” according to The New York Times. “I’m inspired by the likes of Muhammad Ali, I’m inspired by the Bill Russells and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, the Oscar Robertsons — those guys who stood when the times were even way worse than they are today,” he said. “Hopefully, someday down the line, people will recognize me not only for the way I approached the game of basketball but the way I approached life as an African-American man.”

The 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, which is advised by Jocelyn Benson, the Michigan secretary of state, will not advocate for any candidate in particular but “combat apathy among Black voters.” Benson, a Democrat, said “What we’re seeing in Michigan is there’s a heightened need to inform citizens how to vote in this coronavirus era,” adding that “We’ve got to go beyond registering people to vote and talking about the importance of voting to actively combating voter suppression.”

More Than a Vote will also team up with other voting rights organizations, like When We All Vote and Fair Fight. “There’s a lot of people that want change in the black community,” James said. “If you actually don’t put in the work or if you don’t have the mindset, there’s never going to be change.”

 

As BELatina News reported in 2019, Stacey Abrams, the founder of Fair Fight 2020 is mobilizing teams of Democrats to ensure that every single vote across the United States counts. “What we’re going to do through Fair Fight 2020 is we’re going to fight back,” Abrams told AP News. “But we’re fighting early. We’re doing this now. We’re not waiting until we have a nominee. Because no matter who the Democratic nominee is — they’re going to win Georgia.” 

Explaining how voter suppression works, Abrams revealed that “It’s no longer hoses and laws that say you cannot vote, it is this insidious nature that says it’s race-neutral, that we’re just putting in these laws in place for everyone, but we know it has a disproportionate effect on the communities that have long been marginalized.”