11/15/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Getting Out the Vote

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 or .