Former First Lady, attorney, and author Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is collaborating with NBA‘s Phoenix Sun’s point guard, Chris Paul, to reignite the mission of voting. Their latest platform, When We All Vote, is partnering with BET and is launching its HBCU campaign, the VOTE LOUD HBCU Squad Challenge.
This mission will provide grants to HBCU voting squads toward voter education, registration, and mobilization ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
The Challenge aspect aims at engaging the students and organizations’ outreach in creating leading efforts to increase the active participation of voters in elections.
Paul emphasizes 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 continues, “Change starts with us, and young people have always led that. 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.”
Historically, HBCUs have been critically influential in mobilizing information to better their communities. They have additionally been mainstays of effectiveness for providing information and comfort that would typically be remiss about many events in the Black communities, including politics. This movement will reinforce this grand gesture of enhancing our minority communities. The squads on HBCU campuses nationwide will be able to receive grants up to $3,000 to support their non-partisan voter registration efforts.
These funds can be used for event hosting of registration drives, volunteer training and education, and promoting the event and voter information across their campus and surrounding communities.
There is a bonus for the squads that exhibit the most creative and culturally relevant ideas toward community engagement. They will be eligible to receive various additional outreach opportunities, appearances, and partnerships with BET.
As more than 20,000 have gotten involved with When We All Vote, it is imperative that momentum continue to expand, Paul adds. “Look, I know it can be discouraging. But the bottom line is that it wouldn’t happen 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.”
Michelle Obama initially launched, When We All Vote, in 2018, partnering with co-chairs including Stephen Curry, Becky G., Selena Gomez, Tom Hanks, H.E.R., Liza Kosher, Jennifer Lopez, Lin Manuel Miranda, Megan Rapinoe, Kerry Washington, Shonda Rimes, Bretman Rock, Rita Wilson, Janelle Monet, and Chris Paul.