Trail Blazers

Lillard, Wagner among athletes looking to end Black voter suppression

Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, Seattle Seahawks safety Bobby Wagner and Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse are among prominent athletes and entertainers coming together to stop Black voter suppression.  

In the wake of the protests following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a group of more than 50 athletes and entertainers formed the More Than a Vote coalition, a group that aims to fight systemic racism facing Black voters. 

On Monday, in a letter published on the Undefeated, the LeBron James-led movement said it was just getting started. 

We are focused on systemic, targeted voter suppression in our community and have a specific mission: educate, energize and protect Black voters.

The letter continued, “We are driven by a shared understanding that our influence and prominence, particularly among young people, is a responsibility to continue the tradition of Black athletes working together to fight for justice and equality.

In a call to action to fans, the founding members shared how voter suppression has long limited the potential impact of Black voters. 

"The most important thing you all need to know is Black voters matter more than ever," the letter said. "The biggest cities in the most critical states in this election have incredible, vibrant Black communities. Detroit, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Miami, Milwaukee, Atlanta. Not surprisingly, because these Black voters have so much influence, they will be more aggressively targeted by forces of suppression.

"Many in power who oppose our fight for change believe it is easier to cancel one of our votes than to find a new vote of their own. You need to know this and understand how it works."

 

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“More Than A Vote” has worked on crucial initiatives to get out the vote, including getting teams in both the NBA and MLB to use their stadiums as polling locations around the country. 

Last week, the organization announced it was partnering with the LA Dodgers to make Dodger Stadium a polling place for the November general election. This is the first time an MLB team has offered up its facility as a voting center. 

The group says Black voter suppression is very real in communities across the country and hopes to educate, energize and protect Black voters in 2020. Others who signed the letter are listed below.