As America fights a global pandemic, racial injustice, and police brutality, there has been newfound importance placed on voting in federal, state, and local elections. Unfortunately, while that is an undoubtedly important task for any civic-minded person, it’s also not very easy, in part due to voter suppression in many parts of the country. Policies and execution on election days often leave many people without a vote they are willing to give and those issues often affect marginalized people and minorities more than others.
Enter Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who along with Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, Skylar Diggins-Smith of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, and former NBA star Jalen Rose, is forming a voting rights group, according to Johnathan Martin of the New York Times.
The organization, called “More Than a Vote” after James’ brand “More Than an Athlete,” will call on other Black athletes and entertainers to join forces and protect Black Americans’ voting rights. James took to Twitter earlier this week to show his frustration at primary elections happening in Georgia:
Everyone talking about “how do we fix this?” They say “go out and vote?” What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist? https://t.co/GFtq12eKKt
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 9, 2020
Building that awareness, which seems to be a core aspect of this group, is the first aspect of combatting voter suppression and allowing all people equal access to the polls in order to have their voices heard and to be represented in government.
LeBron, who has always been a vocal leader in sports on social justice issues, said the following to the New York Times:
“Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us — we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” Mr. James said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “How long is up to us. We don’t know. But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference.”
Other athletes and entertainers to have committed in joining the group include Draymond Green, Udonis Haslem, Alvin Kamara, and Kevin Hart.