Like many people back in June, LeBron James was frustrated and angry—not only at the individual acts of police brutality and racism that sparked protests across the country, but also at the system that actively holds back those fighting for change.
As one of the most visible and popular athletes on the planet, he decided to use his platform to go beyond raising awareness through social media and work to fight racist voter suppression.
To my brothers and sisters in sports and arts. We have incredible influence in our community. We need to use this moment to demand change. I gotta be honest…I struggle with what to demand because so damn much needs to change. But I’m starting with our right to vote.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 23, 2020
On June 23, he launched More Than a Vote with an impressive collection of fellow pro athletes and artists, including NFL star Patrick Mahomes, WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith, Kevin Hart, Bun B, Offset, and many more. The organization’s site allows users to check if they’re registered to vote and sign up to stay informed. James also started working with sports teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers to open their stadiums as voting stations, and as of this month about 20 NBA teams alone have committed their arenas as voting sites.
Now, during Game 2 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals on September 17, More Than a Vote and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund are launching a new TV ad aimed at recruiting young people to become poll workers for the impending presidential election. The drive is aimed particularly at vulnerable Black communities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Called “We Got Next,” the spot was created with ad agency SS+K, and funded by corporate partners Bumble, Cash App, Diageo North America, and Patagonia. The spot features a voice-over by Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum.
We got an opportunity—a responsibility.
Not just to ourselves.
We got a legacy to uphold. People to make proud.
We got to take advantage of the moment. Of the momentum.
To protect our power, be the vanguards of our voices.
We got to keep doing the work.
Because our right to be heard won’t be taken away on our watch.
We got this.
We got next.
In a statement, McCollum and WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike said that the pandemic has only exacerbated the problems with America’s voting infrastructure. “COVID understandably scared off a lot of older poll workers,” they said, “but if we do our job we can fill the void with the young people who have been demanding change all summer and make sure no vote is suppressed due to long lines or confusion at the polls on Election Day.”