Pennsylvania Youth Voter Registration Increased over 70% in 2008
National Hip-Hop Team Vote Summit in Philadelphia Makes an Impact
PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the Hip-Hop Research and Education Fund (HREF) released information garnered from the Pennsylvania State Board of Elections, which verified that the hip-hop generation will make a clear difference in the outcome of the Pennsylvania primary. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President/CEO of the Hip-Hop Research and Education Fund, stated, “The fact that over 70% of the 218,923 new voters that have registered since January 2008 across the state of Pennsylvania are between the ages of 18-35 years old clearly verifies the power of the young voter who will participate in tomorrow’s Pennsylvania primary and determine its outcome. Based on our on the ground feedback in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie, Chester and throughout the great metropolitan area of Philadelphia, we are certain that, beginning early tomorrow morning, we are all going to witness the largest youth voter turnout in the history of the state. This will happen, to a large extent, because of the enthusiasm and vitality of the hip-hop generation who view the Pennsylvania presidential primary as a once in a life time opportunity to show that young people throughout Pennsylvania do care about the quality of life issues addressed in the campaign. And, more important, hip-hop voters want to make a difference and want to help shape the future of what political change looks like from the perspective of young voters.”
“You are going to make the critical difference!”
The prediction from HREF comes in the wake of yesterday’s successful mobilization of 7,000 18-35 year olds who attended the “Hip-Hop Team Vote: Turn Up the Vote” Summit at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.
On one of the last crucial days leading up to the important Pennsylvania primary, HREF, PowerPac and The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) brought together Russell Simmons, T.I., Ciara, Flo-Rida, Lil Mama, Chrisette Michelle, Styles P, Lil X, Gorilla Zoe, Green Lantern, BET’s “106 & Park” star hosts Rocsi and Terrence J, Latino hip- hop/reggaeton stars Alexis y Fido, O’Neal McKnight, Emily King and NAACP National Director, Youth and College Division, Stefanie Brown to address topics that resonate with young people in the upcoming election such as education, the economy, healthcare and the war in Iraq.
Russell Simmons, hip-hop entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist declared at yesterday’s Summit, “Voting is an act of empowering oneself and the masses are witnessing the importance of the youth vote.” Addressing the crowd he stressed, "You are going to make the critical difference!"
Kirk Clay, Sr., National Field Director, PowerPAC, declared, “The Summit was an amazing way to show how youth can come together to inspire us and demonstrate the power they hold in their hands. I am sure this will have a resounding impact across the college and high school campuses in Pennsylvania.”
T.I. emphasized, "I personally know the value of having the right to vote and it being taken away from you. This is the most important election of our lifetime. Focus on what you can do to help make the change. Everyone here has a voice-- Do your part!"
As one of the youngest female rappers on the stage, Lil Mama especially appealed to young, new voters, emphasizing, “I came out of the hood and I know that if we want to improve these communities, all of us must go out and vote in record numbers.”
Ciara focused on education as one of the priority issues concerning young people in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary and presidential election. Her strong and clear message to the audience was, “Don’t just talk about it, be about it! You can be part of making a difference."
Flo-Rida said, about the upcoming election, "Here's the chance to make your children's children's world a better place."
Stefanie Brown, National Director, Youth and College Division, NAACP addressed the Summit and stated, “The NAACP is encouraging a massive youth voter turnout. Civic engagement is an important responsibility.”
About Hip-Hop Research and Education Fund
Founded in 2001, the Hip-Hop Research and Education Fund (HREF) is one of the premier research and public education organizations, dedicated to raising public awareness about social, cultural, political and economic issues important to the hip-hop generation in America and throughout the world. HREF is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501C3 organization, based in New York City.
PowerPAC is a nonprofit advocacy and political organization. It was organized to champion democracy and social justice in states and communities across the country. PowerPAC directs financial and human resources to strategic local and state legislative fights, ballot initiatives, and candidate campaigns by organizing donors who are committed to social justice politics. The organization identifies priority areas for investment and helps donors achieve maximum political impact with their political giving. This process includes conducting research and analysis on the political landscape, identifying critical social justice issues and rising star candidates to bring more voters - particularly voters of color - into the political process. PowerPAC believes that the most effective way to build political power for historically underrepresented constituencies is to invest in long-term political and for structure that can be mobilized for short-term victories.
About Hip-Hop Summit Action Network
Founded in 2001, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is dedicated to harnessing the cultural relevance of hip-hop music to serve as a catalyst for education advocacy and other societal concerns fundamental to the well being of at-risk youth throughout the United States. HSAN is the largest non-profit, worldwide coalition of hip-hop artists, entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil rights proponents, and youth leaders united in the belief that Hip-Hop is an enormously influential agent for positive social change which must be responsibly and proactively utilized to fight the war on poverty and injustice.