The New York Times reports LeBron James and fellow athletes have announced plans to launch an effort that will protect Black Americans’ voting rights as the 2020 presidential election draws near.
The announcement comes as people continue to take to the streets in the name of social justice and police reform, fighting for change alongside the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us — we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” James told the Times. “How long is up to us. We don’t know. But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference.”
The new organization, More Than A Vote, will urge Black people to register to vote and, come November, cast a ballot. More Than A Vote will also combat voter suppression and the disenfranchisement of racial minorities.
James will finance the project, along with basketball players Trae Young and Jalen Rose, football player Alvin Kamara, and comedian Kevin Hart.
The NBA superstar says he will use his social media platform, reaching more than 135 million followers across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, to spread the word about voting and the threat of voter suppression. For reference— just over 137 million people voted in the 2016 presidential election.
“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”
Just earlier this week, LeBron echoed the frustration of Black voters unable to access polls for the primary elections in Georgia.
Everyone talking about “how do we fix this?” They say “go out and vote?” What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist? https://t.co/GFtq12eKKt— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 9, 2020
Over the years, King James has made it known that he believes his greatest contributions will be made off the court.
In 2016, he appeared at a campaign event for Hillary Clinton, and has widely criticized Trump and repurposed the president’s slogan to read: Make America Beautiful Again.
His Lebron James Family Foundation has donated millions in education funds for students in his native Ohio and even founded a school for younger students.
James also heads up a media company focused on bringing the voices of Black people to the forefront with its show The Shop, produced in association with HBO. The studio is currently producing a documentary about the 1921 massacre of approximately 300 African Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
.@KingJames and a collection of black athletes and entertainers have formed a nonprofit organization called More Than a Vote, which is geared toward energizing black voters and thwarting voter suppression. https://t.co/n1SCe3I4z4 pic.twitter.com/4osm1gX8e1— ESPN (@espn) June 11, 2020