Tyler Perry aims to get 250,000 Black Florida residents to vote

MIAMI — As Election Day comes closer and more initiatives are popping up to get as many voters to the polls as possible, media mogul and Atlanta resident Tyler Perry is throwing his hat in the ring with a new campaign that is aiming to get hundreds of thousands of Black Florida residents voting.

Tyler Perry and the Equal Ground Education Fund have teamed up to launch “Souls to the Polls,” a socially distanced voting campaign that aims to educate and increase turnout of Black voters in Florida.

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“A national pandemic, racial tensions, blatant disregard for Black bodies and a presidential election that can’t be won without the votes of Black folks have shaped the way we connect with voters,” said Jasmine Burney-Clark, founder of the Equal Ground Education Fund.

Souls to the Polls will be an amalgamation of what the fund is calling “Park & Praise” events held in 25 counties across Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. In the past, these events occurred in urban centers but have been expanded this year, according to the nonprofit.

The events will be held during the final two weekends leading up to Election Day.

At a “Park & Praise” event, an attendee can stay in their car as they pull in and drop off their vote by mail ballot. After, they can listen to community and local faith leaders, gospel choirs, elected officials and political candidates, and musical entertainment.

Equal Ground is spending half a million dollars on this campaign, which is partially funded by Perry, according to the nonprofit. Equal Ground is a Black-led nonpartisan nonprofit that works on building Black political power in Florida.

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The duo are targeting more than 250,000 Black voters, which is nearly 7% of Florida’s Black population, according to U.S. Census Bureau data in 2019.

“Despite Florida’s historical disenfranchisement of Black voters, our voices will be heard whether we vote by mail or early,” Burney-Clark said. “Our work to provide robust voter education and ensure that accurate information reaches our communities is the highest priority and is what this partnership with Tyler Perry is going to do.”

While exact dates, locations and times haven’t been announced yet, those interested can visit the website at www.SoulsToThePolls.com.

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