Rising political and social media stars Janelle Monae and Angela Rye electrified a packed house at the When We All Vote and The Root-hosted voter registration rally exclusively for students, faculty, and staff of the Atlanta University Center at the Spelman College campus in Sisters Chapel on Sept. 27.
A nonpartisan nonprofit organization, When We All Vote has a mission to refine voting culture by rising participation in all upcoming and future elections. The Atlanta rally was part of the organization’s “Week of Action” festivities from Sept. 22–29, in which volunteers across the country organized more than 2,000 grassroots events.
When We All Vote designed a Week of Action in order to recruit volunteers, as well as educating and registering voters for future elections. Co-Chairs for the nonprofit organization include Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and many more notable figures.
CNN Contributor, NPR Commentator, Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, lawyer, and Political Strategist, Angela Rye, resided as the leading headliner for the evening.
Rye opened the rally with an Atlanta University Center University roll call welcoming, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Morehouse School of Medicine.
Musical recording artist, actress, model, and Atlanta When We All Vote Rally Co-Chair, Janelle Monáe, also headlined the rally with Rye.
Monáe used her high-profile platform, to advocate equal rights for women, support the LGBTQ community, and influence wisdom in reference to voting rights and participation.
She also talked about crucial topics for humanity being explored during the elections in November such as rights for women, immigration laws, and gun reform. Disclosing her journey to become the recording artist and actress, Monáe said,
“The system will not work for us,” the entertainer-actress said. “It’s time we help and support our poor folks. I know those people who need the support. Those people are my family and your family. There is a 7 percent drop in Black votes from 2012 to 2016. History has shown what happens if we don’t show up.”
Though the event was closed to the public, it was live-streamed via weall.vote/atlanta. Guests were also encouraged to use social media handle #WhenWeAllVote, to contribute to promote the event and support the initiative.
Danielle Belton, Editor-in-Chief of The Root and media partner for Atlanta’s “When We All Vote” rally was among the list of speakers for the event.
“The right to vote is on the bedrocks that our society is built on,” Belton said to the audience. “…(W)hich is why so many people fought and died so we can have the right to express ourselves politically and choose who should best represent us.”
Belton praised Michelle Obama and When We All Vote Co-Chairs for residing as influential advocates providing voter registration awareness within African-Americans communities nationwide.
Student Government Association Presidents from all four institutions of the Atlanta University Center were included in the welcoming remarks for the rally. Current 30th SGA Undergraduate President at Clark Atlanta University, Minister Warren Hawkins III said,
“Truth be told, this is what they don’t want us to see. This side of greatness. This side of gathering in a mass,” said Clark Atlanta University’s SGA president Warren Hawkins III. “They don’t want us to see this, because they don’t want us to know that we can gather together for a better purpose to make positive change.”
Hawkins III referenced the historical relevance and significance of the monumental street Atlanta Student Movement Boulevard.
Located within the AUC, Atlanta Student Movement Boulevard has cultivated many prominent student leaders who have helped improve racial equality. Hawkins acknowledged the pivotal events leading up to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, where African-Americans overcame legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented from exercising their right to vote.
Bria Page, SGA President at Spelman College, admitted she registered to vote for her first time at Spelman College her freshman year.
In Georgia, Oct. 9 is the last day to register to vote. Midterm elections for 2018 a, featuring hundreds of congressional, state and local will be on Nov. 6.