Today, When We All Vote Co-Chairs Michelle Obama and Chris Paul launched the organization’s first campaign for Historically Black College and Universities called the VOTE LOUD HBCU Squad Challenge. The challenge wants HBCU students to lead efforts in voter registration, education, and mobilization on their campuses and in their communities.
Paul explained that this is no time for young people to sit back. "This Squad Challenge, and everything we do at When We All Vote, is about empowering voters -- especially young Black voters who have historically been left out of the political process." He continued, "Change starts with us and that has always been led by young people, from John Lewis to the people on the frontlines fighting against police violence. One of the ways we demand change is through our vote, and I’m proud to serve as a Co-Chair and work with Mrs. Obama and When We All Vote to empower our HBCU students to take a leading role in our democracy."
HBCUs have long been critical in protecting the right to vote in Black communities, and this project builds upon that history. With an eye on the 2022 midterm elections, Squads on HBCU campuses across the country will receive grants of up to $3,000 to support their nonpartisan voter registration work. The funds can be used for hosting events and voter registration drives, training new volunteers, educating voters, and canvassing their campus and surrounding communities.
The Squads that implement the most creative and culturally relevant ideas will be eligible to win campus events and activations with celebrity appearances in partnership with BET.
Paul says more than 20,000 people have gotten involved with When We All Vote, and it's essential that the momentum continues, "Look, I know it can be discouraging. But the bottom line is that it wouldn't be happening if people weren't afraid of our voting power. That’s motivation enough for me, especially when I look at our history as a people in this country, and those before us who led the way to ensure we could even vote. Through the Squad Challenge, we are empowering HBCU students to take leading roles in our democracy by volunteering with us and creating a squad and giving them opportunities to fight back."
When We All Vote is an initiative of Civic Nation, which is a larger national initiative to increase participation in elections by helping to close the race and age gap. In 2020, When We All Vote reached more than 100 million people with the aim to educate them about the voting process and to get them registered to vote.
Michelle Obama launched When We All Vote in 2018, and partnered with Co-Chairs Stephen Curry, Becky G, Selena Gomez, Tom Hanks, H.E.R., Liza Koshy, Jennifer Lopez, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Megan Rapinoe, Shonda Rhimes, Bretman Rock, Kerry Washington, and Rita Wilson.