By Anne Branigin
The diversity and political potency of Black voters is no secret, especially during a presidential election many regard as the most consequential of our lifetimes. Recognizing this, BET and the National Urban League on Friday launched the first Black Voter Day, aimed at encouraging Black Americans to vote and circulating important resources to help them ensure their voices will be heard at the ballot box.
Helping with the outreach will be a number of high profile athletes, entertainers, journalists, policy makers and activists, including Stacey Abrams, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Soledad O’Brien and Blake Griffin. Throughout the day, you can expect to see multiple celebrities sharing PSAs on BET’s platforms as well as its sister Viacom networks, including MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central. Due to concerns about voter suppression, plus the uncertainty of how the coronavirus pandemic will impact in-person accessibility, there will be a particular emphasis on voting early in today’s messaging.
The initiative is part of BET’s larger, nonpartisan #ReclaimYourVote campaign.
“BET continues to demystify the process of voting for Black citizens in a COVID-19 world, and #ReclaimYourVote will break down the necessary steps to make our voices heard. From securing and checking your voter registration, to making a plan for how to vote, to gathering your friends and family to vote with you, #ReclaimYourVote is committed to ensuring every step of the process is clear and accessible for Black voters,” Jeanine Liburd, BET’s Chief Social Impact and Communications Officer said in a statement.
National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial echoed those concerns.
“In the current climate of uncertainty and unrest, it’s important to make a plan for voting–particularly for Black voters,” he said. “Efforts to suppress the Black vote are coming from all sides, whether it’s restrictive state voting laws or foreign-based misinformation campaigns. National Black Voter Day is an opportunity to rise above the confusion and plot out a clear path to the ballot box. Whether by mask, in person, or by mail, it’s important to make a plan now, and execute that plan as early as possible according to the laws in each state. We’re leaving no voter behind in 2020.”
Black Voter Day precedes National Voter Registration Day on Sep. 22. Organizers for National Voter Registration Day say they anticipate to hit their highest one-day registration totals to date.