The 2014 Hip Hop Caucus' Respect My Vote! campaign just nabbed two huge names for their youth voting initiative. Artists Rick Ross and Elle Varner have joined the 2014 campaign to help get out the vote for this year's mid-term elections. The non-partisan collective focuses on employment, racial justice, climate change, and education. This five month national push will target 18 - 40 year old voters who live in urban communities and HBCU campuses.
The Caucus' Respect My Vote! campaign comes during a crucial election cycle. All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and a third of the seats in the Senate are susceptible to change. There are also several gubernatorial, state, and local races up for grabs. Respect My Vote! president and CEO Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. unfolded a comprehensive country-wide plan that includes ads and a website (respectmyvote.com). The coalition will also plant field operations in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana, Tennessee, Illinois, and California.
2014's Respect My Vote! campaign starts as many celebrate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. In 1964 civil rights activists traveled to Mississippi to fight racial discrimination and register as many African American voters as possible. The Hip Hop Caucus looks to continue in the legacy that was left for them five decades ago. America's socio-political climate has change much since then but some things still ring true. Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. stressed the importance of the United States Supreme Court's decision to effectively "gut" the Voting Rights Act. Yearwood explained, "[It] is a clear reminder that there has never been a more significant time than right now for young people to stand up and get out and vote.”
Respect My Vote! is gathering steam in it's fourth election cycle since it's start in 2008. Spokespeople Rick Ross and Elle Varner both expressed their excitement in the project.
"To vote is to be a boss. When we vote, we are deciding who works for us on all levels of the government. I most definitely look forward to working with the Hip Hop Caucus to encourage young people to boss up at the polls," said Ross.
Elle Varner shared in the sentiment saying, "I am very passionate about everyone using their voices to affect change, and so I am very excited to be joining the Hip Hop Caucus’ Respect My Vote! campaign.”
Look out for the Hip Hop Caucus' Respect My Vote! initiative and be sure to head out to the polls this year on November 2.