Today BET Networks along with the National Urban League and a number of other nationally recognized partners launched #ReclaimYourVote, a nationwide campaign to galvanize Black voters around the 2020 Census and upcoming presidential election.
The campaign was announced during the 2020 Media Entertainment Technology Alliance (META) conference in L.A. which explores how the most influential people and platforms across sectors can work together to positively impact the African-American community.
Attendees welcomed former Democratic candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris to a rousing applause and a standing ovation. Harris spoke candidly about the absolute necessity for a renewed commitment to civic engagement in the Black community.
Referencing the Declaration of Independence, Harris noted that while the document reads that “all men are created equal,” they weren’t talking about anyone of African descent. Decades of voter suppression including gerrymandering and voter ID laws continue even today to suppress our ability to have an active and equal participation in this country’s democratic process. Now, Harris believes there’s a brand new weapon formed to keep the Black vote at bay.
“When Russia interfered in the 2016 election, they specifically targeted Black folks,” said Harris. “The issue of race is also an issue of national security. What they did is they exposed America’s Achilles heel -- race.”
Harris believes that her own campaign was a target of Russian interference and there is plenty of evidence to indicate that Russia was at least partially responsible for getting Donald Trump elected as President. Her impassioned speech drove home the idea that the Black community must work together to harness our collective power.
“There is so much at stake in this election,” said Harris who encouraged the crowd to build their opinions on facts.“Recognize the power everyone has to use your voice and to combat these various forms of oppression.”
Harris ended her time on stage urging the crowd to use their voices and #ReclaimYourVote, reminding the audience of BET’s new social initiative with the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, Color of Change, and various other partners.
The action driven campaign is set to educate, engage, and empower , especially in preparation of the presidential election and the Census 2020, which will be our chance to be counted in before we are counted out.
“The 2020 Census and presidential election are pivotal moments for our communities that will produce lasting effects for generations to come, so we’re tackling the critical issues of voting rights and voting suppression head on with #ReclaimYourVote,” said Scott Mills, President, BET Networks.
“At BET, we take this mission very seriously because we’re uniquely positioned to mobilize our partners across media, entertainment and technology to drive civic engagement outcomes for the black community like no other brand can.”
“Our nation’s pursuit of liberty, justice and economic empowerment for all hinges largely on the right to determine who will govern us and how. But the right of African Americans to vote—our right to participate in the civic processes of this nation— quite simply, is under attack,” said National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial. “Campaigns such as #ReclaimYourVote are essential to harness our collective power and protect our fundamental right to vote.”
Harris is along for the fight and determined to make sure everyone knows their voice is essential to the process.
“Exercise the right to be counted and to have a voice in our democracy -- flawed and imperfect as it may be,” she said.
The campaign will officially launch starting on Saturday, February 22, during the 51st NAACP Image Awards airing LIVE at 8 PM ET/PT on BET. Watch and share the first spot in the series at www.bet.com/reclaimyourvote.
Photo by: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images