LeBron James, Kevin Hart and Other Celebrities Partner to Protect Black Voting Rights
And now, the three-time champion is spearheading a group of athletes and entertainers whose goal is to protect and expand the voting rights of black Americans as the country moves toward the November 3 election.
James revealed the nonprofit, called More Than a Vote, in an interview with the New York Times this week, and said he is taking aim at thwarting voter suppression and motivating black voters to go to the polls this year.
"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," he continued. "But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference."
James is joined by a mix of current and former NBA players including Draymond Green, Stephen Jackson, Jalen Rose, Eric Bledsoe, Trae Young, Alvin Kamara, Udonis Haslem and Sam Perkins. WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith and comedian Kevin Hart are also joining the effort.
"Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial," James told the Times of the group's goal.
"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," he said.
Each of the nonprofit's members will perform outreach in designated areas, including Milwaukee, Atlanta, Houston, and Philadelphia.
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More Than a Vote was founded in the wake of national protests against police misconduct that followed the May 25 killing of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The activism follows a movement that was started by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism in 2016.
Kaepernick became the target of intense criticism from people who misinterpreted the protest and believed he was "disrespecting" the American flag.
"Do you understand NOW!!??!!??" James wrote in a post on Instagram in support of Kaepernick after footage of Floyd's death went viral. "Or is it still blurred to you??"
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.