When Black students vote, issa win for the culture.

White supremacy is working overtime to suppress the Black vote and count us out. What they don’t realize is it’s bigger than black and white, it’s a problem with the whole way of life, it can’t change overnight. *Lil’ Baby voice* 

Either Black lives matter to our elected officials, or the Black vote will put them out of a job.

This is bigger than politics.

This year, we must make the world witness our collective power when we stand together and vote. We’ve had the blueprint laid out for us by our ancestors – now is the time to act.

Here are three things you can do right now to win at the polls:

  1. Find out if and where you are registered. Are you registered on campus or at home? If you’re not sure, use our Check Your Registration tool. All you need is your name and address.
  2. Register to vote. Voter registration deadlines vary by state, so if you know you are not registered to vote, use our Voter Registration tool to get started now!
  3. Pledge to vote. Whether you plan to vote by mail, vote early in person, or vote on Election Day (Nov. 3), take our pledge to vote in the 2020 election! You can choose to vote using any of those options, but be sure to vote once. Voting more than once is voter fraud, and felonies* ain’t it.

*If you’ve ever been convicted of a felony, you can probably still vote. Find out on our Returning Citizens page.

Voting is one of the most critical ways to exercise our power. When we align voting with speaking out, marching, advocating for policy, and coming together in community, we can affect change in the laws and systems that govern our communities.

Please do not let anything come between you and the ballot box this November. We’re here to help you each step of the way.

Rev Yearwood Breaking it down for the Media

The Rev breaking it down to the media. Creating a blog is easy. Just choose one of the available blog templates for your blog page. You can combine various types of blog lists with a sidebar. Populate the sidebar with a collection of useful widgets. Turn on the social sharing to ensure your posts can easily be shared on social networks. Choose a post type for each of your single posts, so your links, gallery, audio, video, quote, and standard posts…

Meet our 106 & Park #RespectMyVote Reps!

Announcing our 2012 106 & Park Respect My Vote! Representatives…

Every Tuesday, between now and Election Day, our three dynamic Respect My Vote! Representatives will be on air talking about voter registration, voter education and get out the vote tools and resources for the 106 & Park viewing audience. They will also be registering every eligible person in the studio audience to vote. So tune in on Tuesdays, and get your weekly dose of Respect My Vote! on BET’s 106 and Park.

Tradell Hawkins

Find Tradell on Twitter: @4THawk

Tradell Hawkins is a recent college graduate from Michigan State University with a Bachelor in Social Relations and Policy, hailing from Chicago, Ill.

He has always been very involved in advocacy, serving as the Black Student Alliance President at M.S.U. and throwing own events such as the Black Power Rally, featuring Dick Gregory, to Strolling for Political Awareness, registering over 100 student voters.

Currently, Tradell, like so many young people is working to build a career for himself. He lives in New York city where he is working as a model and actor by day and serves as Bartender at the Red Rooster in Harlem by night.

Tradell has joined the Hip Hop Black Caucus and Respect My Vote! campaign in order to assist fellow youth who aren’t aware of the complex structures in place to keep them from voting this election. As well as helping the Hip Hop community understand that their individual votes can make or break this election!

Meah Denee

Find Meah on Twitter: @NoAvg_Model

Meah Denee is from Raeford, North Carolina, and is a 2012 graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After earning her B.A in Communication Studies and minor in Journalism and Mass Communication she moved to California and worked as a Camera Technician Intern at Clairmont Camera. During the summer she was able to work several productions as a Production Assistant, and she realized that her heart belongs on the east coast focusing on modeling, and producing and directing her own projects. Meah is passionate about projects that  motivate and educate the communities of color, by showing them a more positive image of themselves and their abilities.

Meah says, “I feel the Respect My Vote! campaign is imperative during this election, especially for minority groups who are not as educated in politics and their voting rights. I want to educate teens and adults that are misrepresented and misinformed about their rights and how powerful their votes and voices are. Although celebrities and politicians can be great role models I think it is important to show how regular citizens can help their communities by first being educated, second finding their voice and third making an effort to do more in their community.”

Jordan Rock

Find Jordan on Twitter: @JordanRock843

Jordan Rock is a new voter himself, but is passionate about and ready to educate young voters on the importance of voting and help them learn more about the process.  Growing up in South Carolina he’s seen 1st hand the cut in teachers in classrooms and the lack of jobs state wide.  If he can get at least one new voter, educated, registered and to the polls on November 6th, his goal will be reached.

Jordan is also a talented comedian, working hard to make his name in the New York comedy scene. Seeing this calm, poised young comedian on stage it’s easy to forget that Jordan Rock is 21 years old . That’s because he speaks with a wisdom and candor well beyond his age.  Of course being mentored by big brothers Chris and Tony Rock doesn’t hurt either. With that kind of rep to live up to – it’s hard not to deliver, and deliver is exactly what Jordan does night after night. Bright, versatile and instantly likeable, this young man has already established himself as a legitimate act and earned the respect of his peers. Being born in the same Brooklyn NY home that already spawned comedic greatness but raised in the semi-rural setting of Georgetown S.C. Rock’s diverse Roots make it easy for him to relate his message to any crowd.

Find the campaign on Twitter: @HipHopCaucus #RespectMyVote

Top 5 Reasons to Vote #RespectMyVote

Respect My Vote! is all about discussing the issues affecting our communities and how by voting we can make a positive impact on the issues. However, in general we feel there are some basic vital reasons to vote that reflect our democratic values and the desire for a better working government for all people.  So this week, we are giving you a top five list of reasons to register and vote. When someone asks you, why vote? Remember these simple but powerful answers:

1.    Every Vote Counts

As Americans we value everyone’s voice being heard.  The only way to make this happen is to get involved and make sure you registered.  Don’t assume you’re just one voice that doesn’t matter; know that you’re one of many and together we can evoke change in our communities.

2.    Empowerment

Voting ensures that we have some sort of control over what happens in our communities and to our families and loved ones.

3.    Civic Duty

As Americans we should be proud that we have democratic values that allow everyone the right to vote.  Thus, it’s a duty as a responsible citizen to exercise that right and help govern our country in a fair way.  So make it your priority to find out where or how you register to vote, when your state’s deadline is to register to vote, and where you vote this November.

4.    Equality

Getting registered and exercising your right to vote is the best way to ensure all citizens are treated fairly and are guaranteed the same rights no matter their education, background or financial status.

5.    Strengthening Our Community

When you register to vote you’re strengthening the bond between you and other citizens as we all actively engage in ensuring our rights, having our voices heard about issues affecting our people, and maintaining the fairest form of government.
Respect My Vote! wants you to register now and VOTE!




PHOTOS: Respect My Vote! Town Hall with BET & Election Protection 9.2.12

Filling the overflow room, hundreds of young people turned out for the Respect My Vote! Town Hall in Charlotte, NC on Sunday September 2, at the Charlotte School of Law. Thousands more tuned into the livestream. The event was hosted by the Hip Hop Caucus, BET Networks, the Election Protection Coalition, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under law.

Check out some coverage of the event on: Fox CharlotteVIBE VixenCreative Loafing, and Charlotte’s News 14.

And check out some of the photos from the event:


#RespectMyVote for Job Opportuities

We all know that there is a shortage of jobs across the U.S.  The depressed economy has hit a lot of families and households hard; but certain communities have to fight even harder for job opportunities in an already competitive job market – especially communities of color and young people.

This is yet another issue –  if not the most important issue – that calls for all who can to vote and have our voices heard among elected officials that we want them address the joblessness of so many in our nation.  The Senate has recently rolled out legislation that could lead to some economic improvements with tax cuts for smaller businesses and tax benefits for those that use minority owned businesses. This is an example of how elected policy makers can create job opportunities in communities who are suffering the most. This is why the elections matter to us and our communities.

More must be done to make sure the ever-increasing unemployment disparity between people of color and whites does not continue to expand.  According to economists, Black job seekers, with comparable education to their white counterparts, are still at the greatest disadvantage when it comes to finding jobs – especially in Corporate America. This highlights the question of just what employers are looking for if similarly educated Blacks are left disproportionately unemployed.  A strong voter turn out would ensure that our elected officials would prioritize such an injustice, if we make our voices heard.

Also, there is the issue of new college grads even getting their foot in the door with employers.  It is becoming extremely hard for new job seekers to compete in a job market that would just as soon have them working minimum wage jobs or as interns. This furthers the economic divide because only those with family means can afford to intern for free.

Formerly incarcerated people are another group that Respect My Vote! is concerned about. Many ex-offenders, who already disproportionately represent people of color, are having very a difficult time re-entering the job market. Some economists say ex-felons are twice as likely to be unemployed as other job seekers. With already so much fierce competition, they have the added burden of the stigma of being an ex-offender and the reactions they’ll get from employers and follow co-workers. On top of it, they are disenfranchised in many states, and in most states ex-offenders don’t know their voting rights, when they have them (find out what they are here). We as voters must actively voice our concerns for the dismal employment conditions of ex-felons, which deserve at least a second chance to reacclimatize themselves to the workforce.

For all these reasons and countless others, especially all the mothers and fathers who are unemployed right now, who are wondering how they are going to put food on the table and provide heat and air for their children, Respect My Vote! is saying #RespectMyVote for job opportunities. This is not a game, it is very real for so many people who want to work hard, and earn a living for their families, but cannot because our elected officials haven’t been looking out for us like they should have been.

Register to vote today!  Together we can force the issue of unemployment in our communities!

Sunday Sept 2nd, 2pm EST Tune into the Respect My Vote! Town Hall

Livestreaming of the event will play here and at www.livestream.com/hiphopcaucus

Respect My Vote! Town Hall

Hosted by the Hip Hop Caucus, the Election Protection Coalition, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Charlotte School of Law, and BET’s Vote 2012 Campaign

Sunday, September 2, 2012
2pm – 5pm EST
Charlotte School of Law
2145 Suttle Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28208

Our partner, BET is filming the Town Hall for national broadcast. Audience members will be a part of this national broadcast taping!

This is a FREE event for the community. Tickets are no longer available online. If you do not have a ticket, but would like to attend, arrive early and if seating is available, we will provide it to non-ticketed guests.

Join us during the Democratic National Convention for a non-partisan Town Hall at which we will uplift the concerns of young voters of color. With the backdrop of the coordinated efforts to suppress the vote of people of color, the elderly, the young, the disabled, and the poor across numerous states, this Town Hall will energize, educate and empower young voters.

The Town Hall will be moderated by Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus; speakers include, Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Kevin Powell, nationally renowned activist, writer, and speaker; Big Mike, Recording Artist of the group Day 26, formed by P. Diddy; Carrie Cook, local community activist and founder of the Youth EmpowHERment movement providing opportunities for teens and girls. The event will be hosted by Nolimit Larry host of The Nolimit Larry & The Morning Maddhouse show on CBS Radio’s WPEG Power 98 in Charlotte. Charlotte-based Recording Artists Bettie Grind and Mr. 704, along with A Dot, will be hosting the Live-stream, and spoken word poet Bluz will give a performance.

More Teachers in Classrooms #RespectMyVote

You have probably seen the rallies in the streets and public debates regarding the impact of letting go of so many schoolteachers. As always, the bottom line is our state and federal budget priorities – and whether or not more or less should be spent to keep teachers in the classrooms. The diminishing schoolteacher presence has had, and will continue to have, a tremendous impact on urban communities.

Respect My Vote! advocates for keeping teachers in the classrooms where we need them. This is an issue that shows us that all elections matter – from the president, to state representatives, to your local school board!

The White House released a report, called Investing in Our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom (Investing in Our Future Full Report). According to the report:

More than 300,000 local education jobs have been slashed since 2009, resulting in a 4.6 percent increase in the teacher-to-student ratio from the fall of 2008 to the fall of 2010, from 15.3 to 16.0.

Many studies, like this Tennessee Star Report, show that a larger teacher-to-student ratio could be negative for students because students do not receive the attention that they necessarily need to be successful.

Often, larger classes move too slow for accelerated students and too fast for students that need more attention; the teacher is left struggling to find a happy medium to reach all of his/her students. However, with more teachers students can be placed in the appropriate curriculum level and achieve their best.

To ensure better educational equality we must push our state legislatures to stand up for our nation’s youth and strive for the strongest education systems possible. While it is important to hold Congress and the Department of Education partially responsible for addressing teacher layoffs, it really comes down to local representatives taking control of state budgets.  They must allot more funds for more teachers to improve the classroom dynamic.  Thus, maintaining the best educational system possible means voting on the local, state and national levels.

It is up to you, the voters, to change legislators’ minds about laying off teachers at such an alarming rate.  The White House has indeed taken steps toward improvement by investing in science and math, giving states more flexibility on No Child Left Behind, and increasing financial aid for millions of young people. But more must be done.

If you care about quality education for our nation’s students, you must vote!

Respect My Vote! is focusing on teacher layoffs this week to mobilize voters to seek change for our education system. We know larger classroom sizes could disproportionately hurt minority or low-income students who cannot afford to supplement their educational needs. Should classroom size be dismissed as an unnecessary budget buster? Or, should Congress, the Administration, and State Houses do all things possible to keep more teachers in classrooms?  Voting will ensure that your voice is heard regarding quality education.  Register to vote.  Let your voice be heard and encourage others to do the same.