The voting rights group started by NBA superstar LeBron James is upping its efforts to fight voter suppression measures in Georgia and around the nation.
More Than A Vote launched a campaign Friday ahead of the NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta that will feature athletes and artists warning that restrictive legislative proposals will “roll back gains” from last year’s election by making it harder for Black voters to cast their ballots.
The centerpiece of the initiative is an ad narrated by James that will premiere during TNT’s coverage of the All-Star Game on Sunday.
“Look what we did. Look what we made happen. What our voices made possible,” James says, as pictures of voting rights activist Stacey Abrams and newly elected U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock flash onscreen.
“And now, look what they’re trying to do to silence us, using every trick in the book and attacking democracy itself. Because they saw what we’re capable of. And they fear it. So, this isn’t the time to put your feet up. Or to think posting hashtags and black squares is enough.”
James closes: “Because for us, this was never about one election. It’s always been more than a vote. It’s a fight and it’s just getting started. And we’ve been ready. You with us?”
The Protect Our Power campaign is one of several initiatives More Than A Vote plans this year to target systemic racism, mobilize Black voters for municipal elections and engage in the redistricting process that will redraw political boundaries.
The efforts intensified earlier this week when the group announced a partnership with the NBA, the NBA Players Association and the state chapter of the NAACP to draw attention to attempts in Georgia and other competitive states to restrict ballot access.
As part of the launch, the group also unveiled a new website and partnerships with Black Voters Matter Fund, Fair Fight Action, the Georgia NAACP and the New Georgia Project.
Nationwide, legislators in 43 states are weighing more than 250 measures that would create impediments to voting, particularly among voters who rely on mail-in voting during the pandemic, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a policy institute at New York University.
Democrats, civil rights groups and other critics say the measures amount to retaliation, and they note that there is no evidence of systemic voter fraud or widespread irregularities, despite the lies that Donald Trump and his allies promoted to try to reverse his defeat in November.
“Black and Brown voters changed the game in 2020, so in response, lawmakers are trying to change the rules in 2021,” said Renee Montgomery, the former WNBA player who is part of the team that purchased the Atlanta Dream from former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler last week.
“We know that as athletes and as leaders we have to keep our foot on the gas to protect our power, preserve and expand our voting rights, and to continue turning moments into momentum. More Than a Vote is just getting started.”