November 21, 2013
LAWT News Service
(Durham, NC) — Grammy-Award winning artist and activist John Legend launched a partnership with the NAACP to promote voting rights efforts across the country and help register eligible concert goers to vote. The partnership kicked off at John’s concert in Durham, North Carolina, where he asked his fans to join him in taking a stand for voting rights by texting “LEGEND” to 62227. He will continue to raise awareness about the issue at several additional tour stops throughout the South.
“It is maddening to know that there are some who would enact legislation that limits the ability of some Americans to exercise their right to vote,” said Legend “Generations have fought hard and even died for this right, and now is not the time for our country to move backwards. All of our leaders should seek to have inclusive elections that reflect the true will of the people, no matter who they intend to vote for. The politics of exclusion are unacceptable. It's time for all of us who believe in democracy and equal rights to take a stand.”
Interim NAACP President Lorraine C. Miller expressed her enthusiasm about the partnership: “We are excited that John Legend has joined with the NAACP in the fight to defend the right to vote. His influence as a world-renowned artist and activist will be a catalyst to spread the word that it is not enough just to exercise your right to vote. We must also protect our right to vote for future generations.”
In July 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated a portion of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act that defines which states with a history of voter discrimination must receive federal approval before changing election laws.
Due to national and state level work, the NAACP was able to fight several laws in 2012 and mobilized 1.2 million people to the polls on or before Election Day.
“The Supreme Court ruling this summer opened up the floodgates for states to pass more discriminatory laws,” Jotaka Eaddy, Senior Director, Voting Rights and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO. “Our goal is to empower voters to urge their members of Congress to restore Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. This partnership takes us one step closer towards reaching that goal.”
On the North Carolina launch, Reverend William Barber, President, NAACP North Carolina State Conference, stated, “Launching in North Carolina, a state feeling the brunt of new restrictive and discriminatory election laws, will set the tone for concert goers across the country in states where some of the most egregious law changes have been introduced or implemented. As in the past once again we need the melodies of freedom and justice to inspire movement.”