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GET UPDATES FROM Russell Simmons and Rev. Lennox Yearwood
 

Getting Out the Vote

Posted: 10/15/08 01:22 PM ET

Russell Simmons:

Empowering young people is at the heart of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network's mission since we started in 2001 with the theme of Taking Back Responsibility. That is still at the core of what we do -- giving young people the knowledge and the tools to make their lives better, whether around voting, financial empowerment, social justice or education.

We're excited to be a part of the bus tour to get young people out to vote. We did a Get Out The Vote bus tour in 2004, went down the east coast of the country and out west to Ohio and it was an amazing experience that helped to get more young people out to the polls than had voted in a long while. Now, with this being the most significant election in our lifetime, we have to keep our heads down and continue to do the work and this is a great way to organically reach young people around the country.

The artists will come out and support; they always do and the kids look up to them. They are the poets, the messengers. And young people are more engaged now than ever. They will demand the change this country needs. It's our job to facilitate them getting involved and participating in the process. Giving the 9 million new voters out there a very loud voice that can help shape the future is a gift I don't take lightly. The collective consciousness of this country is represented by its leadership. There is a karmic effect we receive as a result of the actions of our leaders. The only freedom from that karmic result is for us to make our intentions known through our vote.

Rev. Yearwood:

Our 22-city Respect My Vote! National Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Bus Tour, involving T.I., Jay Z, Keyisha Cole, T-Pain and other entertainers, will reach first time voters and urge them to hit the polls on November 4th. We are going to take the Bus Tour into some of the key states in this election: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana to make sure the hundreds of thousands of new voters go to the polls and have their voices heard.

We can't allow registered voters to sit on the sidelines during this critical election. With this 'Get Out the Vote' bus tour we want to encourage newly registered voters to vote, making sure that every vote that is cast is respected. Gaining the help of celebrities such as T.I. and organizations like the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, we're able to combine forces to encourage many young Americans to vote for the first time in what is probably the most important Presidential election of our generation. This is our lunch-counter moment for the 21st century.

Russell and I are urging young people to get out and vote and to check out the Respect My Vote! Bus Tour when it comes to their city - every voice needs to be heard because every vote counts. To join us along the tour and check out where the GOTV bus will be please log onto www.hiphopcaucus.org or www.hsan.org .