Essence Fest Will Be A Stop On Michelle Obama’s “Culture Of Democracy Tour” To Boost Voter Engagement

When We All Vote

Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote” initiative has kicked off its novel summer campaign to boost voter engagement and enthusiasm. The Culture of Democracy Tour combines voting with popular culture in a unique campaign to educate, mobilize and register thousands of voters at events throughout the summer. The tour kicked off at the start of June at the Roots Picnic in Philadelphia.

“We’re on a mission to change the culture around voting, and ultimately, to make voting fun and engage the community in the process,” Beth Lynk, executive director of When We All Vote told ESSENCE. “In order to change culture, you have to be in culture, and that’s what we’re doing this summer through our various stops in person and in the virtual moments.”

Essence Fest Will Be  A Stop On Michelle Obama’s “Culture Of Democracy Tour” To Boost Voter Engagement
When We All Vote

At the Roots Picnic, Lynk shared that “We registered over 3000 people to vote and hundreds more were able to check their voter registration status to ensure that they were ready to vote. We not only registered voters on-site, but we also had staff and volunteers available to answer people’s questions about the process, and that’s what folks can expect to see at the other stops throughout the summer.”

As Founder and Co-Chair, Obama “will use her voice throughout the tour to engage eligible voters.” In addition, the Culture of Democracy Tour is possible thanks to the help of more than 200 partners who joined the initiative’s Democracy Collective, including ESSENCE, BET Lyft, Girls Inc., Global Black Economic Forum, NAACP Legal Defense Fund and professional sports teams like the Atlanta Dream, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Dynamo, Minnesota Timberwolves and more.

“One of our superpowers is bringing out culture and voting together. We are intentionally nonpartisan in the work that we do day in and day out because we know that not making your voice heard means silencing your voice and denying yourself your power,” said Lynk.

With polls showing young Americans seemingly less likely to vote in 2024 than they were in 2020, When We All Vote is hoping the Culture of Democracy Tour can “remind voters of their power and encourage voter participation.”

“This is not going to be this isn’t a conversation that ends this year,” Lynk stated. “This is a conversation that will we’ll continue to have year after year. As we look to the long term, how we are increasing participation in each and every election has never been more important.”

Essence Fest Will Be  A Stop On Michelle Obama’s “Culture Of Democracy Tour” To Boost Voter Engagement
When We All Vote

“We did it before with many of our partners in 2022, and we saw that about 12,000 people voted that otherwise would not have as a result of the post-event surveys that we held across 100 parties. So yes, we’re bringing voting to popular culture, but we’re also seeing real results,” says Lynk.

Following the first stop in Philadelphia, The Culture of Democracy Tour touched down at the Blavity House Party Music Festival in Nashville. The tour will also head to New Orleans for the Essence Festival of Culture which takes place July 4- 7.

Throughout the rest of the summer, there will also be national days of action alongside Pride Month activations as well as on the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act alongside digital campaigns, which will focus on critical issues voters are facing.

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