Last June, LeBron James launched More Than a Vote with an impressive collection of fellow pro athletes and artists, aiming to encourage and help people to check if they were registered to vote, and the organization worked with sports teams to open their stadiums as voting stations. The overall goal wasn’t to tell people who to vote for but to boost voter turnout and reduce voter suppression in the Black community. Now, in the face of several Republican-led states passing and presenting bills to alter voting rules and representation in Republicans’ favour, More Than a Vote is launching a new PSA to remind fans that the nonprofit’s actions are about more than one election.
Called “Look What We Did,” and created with agency SS+K, the spot features a voiceover from James that’s essentially a 50-second call to action.
Look what we did. Look what we made happen. What our voices made possible. And now look what they’re trying to do to silence us. Using every trick in the book, and attacking democracy itself. Because they saw what we’re capable of, and they fear it. So this isn’t the time to put your feet up. Or to think posting hashtags and black squares is enough. Because for us, this was never about one election. It’s always been more than a vote. It’s a fight that’s just getting started. And we’ve been ready. You with us?
Earlier this week, ahead of the NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, More Than a Vote announced that it was partnering with the NBA’s National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, the National Basketball Players Association, and the NAACP in Georgia to protest moves in that state’s legislature that would have a disproportionately negative impact on Black voters. Proposed bills would end automatic voter registration, ban drop boxes, and eliminate the broad availability of absentee voting.
Black voters disproportionately face long lines. Why make the lines even longer?
Any why outlaw handing out food ???? and drinks ???? to folks waiting to vote?
— More Than A Vote (@morethanavote) March 1, 2021
It also coincides with House Democrats in Washington passing legislation that seeks to significantly counter voter suppression moves by the Republican-led states.
James’s line about hashtags and black squares underlines More Than a Vote’s mission to be a significant and ongoing part of the effort to erode voting rights, particularly of Black Americans. While it is capable of hard-hitting creative PSAs such as this—and its response ad to the mob storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6—it backs up that talk with plenty of walks. The organization, led by executive director Addisu Demissie, partnered with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to recruit 40,000 poll workers for the presidential election, helped get 23 out of 30 NBA teams to use their arenas or practice facilities as voting sites, and partnered with Lyft in Georgia to give free rides to the polls for people looking to vote in the early-voting period for the Senate runoff elections.
As the battle around voting rights and voter suppression continues, “Look What We Did” is a bold statement of intent. As James says, “It’s always been more than a vote. It’s a fight that’s just getting started.”