August 6th is an important day in our nation’s history. On this day 55 years ago, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Today, the NFL announced the launch of ‘NFL Votes’, a league-wide, non-partisan initiative that will support and encourage the civic engagement and voting of NFL players, legends, club and league personnel, and NFL fans from now until Election Day.
NFL Votes will focus on three key components of the electoral process: voter education, voter registration, and voter activation. These voting efforts are incorporated into the league's social justice initiative Inspire Change, which “showcases how the players, owners and league work together to create positive change in communities across America.”
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Of those trying to encourage others to get out and vote during this election season, Seattle Seahawks twin brothers Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin are doing just that.
We once were at a time in our lives when we felt our vote did not matter, and that came from conversations with people who felt the same way. But our vote really does count. We all sat down together, talked with our mom and dad, and you can't get to the point that it doesn't matter. That was a problem, but once you have the conversation, we actually found the truth. — Shaquill Griffin
You have to set the example. It's about getting up and doing it. People can say one thing and do another. If I want to be one of the better (examples) I have to be one who says I am going to do it and then do it. If they see me doing it and I take the step forward, I physically assure you this is the time to do it. — Shaquem Griffin
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is also amongst a group of leaders spearheading this initiative.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell adds:
“Today marks the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was meant to ensure the right to vote for all Americans, prohibiting discrimination in voting based on race or color. Through meeting with players and legends to better understand causes and issues they are passionate about, we found a consensus around the importance of voting. That's why we're putting the power of our platform behind NFL Votes, aiming to inspire and encourage people to get educated about the voting process, to get registered to vote, and to ultimately exercise their right to vote.”
For more information on this initiative, visit the NFL’s website here.