The Black American Music Association (BAM), has announced a partnership with the Voting Rights Are Civil Rights Initiative. The effort is specifically focused on protecting the vote in 14 swing states and 54 counties with high African American and Latino populations.
BAM and the Voting Rights Are Civil Rights Initiative have aligned with several entertainment industry groups, community organizations, activists and former election commissioners. Together the coalition is focusing on three main initiatives – recruiting GenZ to help staff the polls; educating people on their legal rights so they can make sure their votes are counted and how to address voter suppression and intimidation. To accomplish this, they are recruiting and training poll workers; providing unique information from professional election administrators and providing information and tools to fight voter suppression tactics and intimidation.
The first initiative, which is already underway, includes partnerships with the Georgia Youth Poll Workers Project and Poll Heros. Both of these organizations were started and are run by college students interested in recruiting fellow members of GenZ to be paid poll workers.
BAM was created to Preserve, Protect, and Promote the Legacy and Future of authentic Black American Music as a global art form. In its mission to support and advocate for its membership and the music community as a whole, BAM understands the impact that government policies and elected officials have on these groups. BAM also understands the power of voting and embraces the importance of every American citizen being able to exercise their Constitutional right to vote, which is why they’ve partnered with Voting Rights Are Civil Rights Initiative. BAM co-founder Demmette Guidry says, “In the past four months we’ve seen the power of the youth when they stand up and make themselves heard. This is the next step in harnessing the power of the streets in conjunction with the industry and artist community to not only make change on the national level, but also on the state and local levels. Something we are committed to pursuing over the next several years. Through working in coalition with our artists, industry executives and election officials we can transform our cultural relevance into community relevance empowering future generations.”
Ion Sancho of Voting Rights Are Civil Rights, who oversaw the 2000 Bush vs. Gore Recount for the Florida Supreme Court states, “The 2020 election provides America with her greatest opportunity to remedy the poisonous legacy of slavery and it’s spawn, institutional racism, since the end of the Civil War. Today we are all video witnesses to the injustices we have kept hidden from ourselves, lest we question the myth of American Exceptionalism we use to cloak our history. Slavery flawed our Founders, but their wisdom gave us a government that we can change, at the ballot box, to make, in their words, “a more perfect union”. Today, our efforts, allied with the greatest artists and talent we possess, act in concert to ensure all Americans can vote, fulfilling the real greatness of America – one nation, with liberty and justice for all.
In addition to BAM and Voting Rights Are Civil Rights Initiative, the coalition includes BMAC, The Kevin Lyman Group and The Publicists Forum.
A leading voice in the music industry, BAM is focused on several other key Social Justice and Community focused initiatives in addition to its anti-voter suppression work. The organization will break ground on the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame in Atlanta, GA this fall, and has established partnerships with other non-profit organizations including, The Otis Redding Foundation, Hope For Harvest, NXG Leaders, and Power2Inspire Foundation.