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More Than A Vote Coalition

August 28, 2020
Contact: Michael Tyler

Statement from the More Than A Vote Coalition

Los Angeles -- Today the NBPA and NBA announced an agreement for the resumption of play. A key component of the agreement includes a league-wide effort to convert team arenas into voting locations for the 2020 general election. The More Than A Vote Coalition released the following statement:

John Lewis said democracy is not a state, it is an act. So is justice. So is equality. So is change. We stated when we launched this effort that change isn’t made by watching from the sidelines. It is made by those who march for it, who fight for it, and who vote for it. That goes for every American horrified by the persistence of racist violence and white supremacy in this country. We are not helpless to end this madness. We are not powerless in the face of prejudice. Not if we make our voices heard. For we know that the best antidote to bigotry is the ballot.

We are not politicians or policy leaders and we are not trying to be. But we are Black citizens of this country and we will not be silenced. Democracy is not a spectator sport. As citizens, we have a duty to our country. As Black Americans, we have a duty to our community. A duty to do what generations of Black Americans have done before us: push this country to live up to its founding ideals.

In that spirit, we stand ready to support the NBPA’s and NBA’s effort to convert every NBA arena possible into polling location for this fall’s election. More Than A Vote has been laser-focused on this for months -- creating new opportunities in cities like Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, and Los Angeles among others --  and welcomes the comprehensive effort to provide a safe in-person voting option for our communities during this pandemic that is disproportionately killing Black people.

We know that voting will not end our pain. Voting cannot bring back those killed by the police officers sworn to protect us. Voting cannot erase the scars of slavery and segregation. It cannot change our history, but it can change our future.

If it couldn’t, those in power wouldn’t be trying so hard to take the right to vote away from us. They wouldn’t be trying so hard to erect barriers to the ballot box.

We need to build an America where Blackness doesn’t mean a bullet in our back. An America where Blackness doesn’t mean our voices are silenced, but are celebrated and respected.

Before we were athletes or artists, we were Black. Long after our careers are over, we’ll be Black. Black like Jacob Blake. Black like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Black like every brother and sister taken from us by racism and police brutality. Black and unable to breathe.

This is about more than a vote.