LeBron James Launches Website For More Than A Vote To Help End Black Voter Suppression
LeBron James' mother Gloria has a saying that's deeply resonated with her son.
“Don’t talk about it, be about it.”
After the video of white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes went viral, James wanted to do more than just speak about racism and police brutality.
He wanted to change things.
So in addition to denouncing racial injustice on his massive platform of a combined 112 million followers on Twitter and Instagram, James helped found a nonprofit group named More Than A Vote to fight black voter suppression and excite minority voters across the nation.
James' organization launched its website Tuesday, an election day in New York, Virginia and Kentucky
"We live!!! http://morethanavote.org Thank you to every incredible athlete and artist working to help us pull this together," James tweeted Tuesday. "Change doesn’t happen sitting on the sideline. Use our site to register and join our fight against voter suppression. #MoreThanAVote #BlackLivesMatter"
The website gives users an option to check if they're registered to vote and a place to sign up to stay informed. If a user only partially fills out a voter registration, they get an automated email encouraging them to finish the process, pointing out it "takes less time than it takes to…Make popcorn/Take a Buzzfeed quiz/Listen to a Beyoncé song."
James, who has been outspoken against racism over the last decade, said he wanted to take concrete action while the nation was finally paying attention to racial inequality amid widespread protests and unrest following Floyd's murder.
"To my brothers and sisters in sports and arts," James tweeted Wednesday. "We have incredible influence in our community. We need to use this moment to demand change. I gotta be honest…I struggle with what to demand because so damn much needs to change. But I’m starting with our right to vote."
James also tweeted a video Wednesday that included images of athletes participating in peaceful protests, such as Collin Kaepernick kneeling, James wearing a shirt that says "I can't breathe" after a grand jury decided to not indict New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo following the death of Eric Garner in 2014, and Bubba Wallace wearing a shirt that says "I can't breathe" in honor of Floyd, weeks before a noose was found in his garage stall on Sunday.
The video includes the song "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye and the following words: "Now our right to vote is under attack. Again. It's in our hands to protect it. Because it's more than checking a box. It's keeping our people out of one."
James was vocal after there were long lines and voting delays in minority counties across Georgia during the primary elections on June 9, tweeting, "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?"
And James weighed in again after Kentucky reduced its polling places for Tuesday’s primary elections from 3700 to 200, including only providing one polling place for 616,000 registered voters in Jefferson County, where half the state’s black voters reside.
“This is SYSTEMIC RACISM and OPPRESSION,” James tweeted. “So angry man.”
James wants athletes and entertainers to use their power to help change things and hopes his organization can augment that movement.
"The easiest way to keep us from changing anything is to keep us from voting," James tweeted Wednesday. "As athletes, we stand on the shoulders of giants. We must continue their fight on behalf our community."