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Oct 21, 2022

NATIONAL COALITION ON BLACK CIVIC PARTICIPATION ENGAGES HUNDREDS OF BLACK VOTERS IN UNITY ’22 ‘POWER OF THE BALLOT’ GOTV COMEDY TOUR AND ORGANIZING WEEKEND IN THE CITY OF ATLANTA, CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY AND CLAYTON COUNTY, GA

Washington, DC (October 21, 2022) – Yesterday, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), in partnership with its state affiliates, --brought its Unity ’22 “Power of the Ballot” Evening of Comedy and  GOTV Rally to the City of Atlanta, Clark Atlanta University & Clayton County, GA. The Unity ’22 National GOTV Tour is being organized in five battleground states including: Cleveland & Columbus, OH; Metro Atlanta, GA; Metro Detroit and Kalamazoo, MI; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA; Orlando, Daytona/Volusia & Brevard County, FL.  The Tour kicked off in Ohio the weekend of October 7th – 9th and will end with an election day command center to monitor the Black Vote in Atlanta at the NCBCP TWD Jr. Institute on the Campus of Clark Atlanta University.

The Unity ’22 National GOTV Tour goals are to celebrate and lift up the leaders, organizers and activists doing the hard Black civic engagement work on the ground, by providing them with a night of fun & comedy; and to help increase Black voter turnout in OH, FL, GA, MI, PA.  The 30-day GOTV activations include organizing a BWR “Power of the Ballot” evening of comedy & GOTV rally; door-to-door neighborhood canvassing; text banking; gospel & souls to the polls early voting mobilizations; “Protect our Vote Sundays;” literature distribution; and more. The Unity ’22 GOTV National Tour is powered by AARP, NEO Philanthropy/State Infrastructure Fund, National Education Association, Service Employees International Union and The Kapor Center.
 
Friday's evening of comedy took place at the IBEW Local 613 Auditorium in Atlanta alongside a GOTV Rally. Speakers throughout the weekend included Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and National Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable; Helen Butler, Executive Director of The Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda, Deborah Scott, CEO of Georgia Stand-UP,  Felicia Davis, Managing Director at HBCU Green Fund; Sandra L. Williams, National Deputy Political Director of The Retail Workers; Thomas W. Dortch, Chairman of the Board, NCBCP and National Chairman for 100 Black Men of America; Christina Cue, Unity 22 National Campaign Manager, and several other Georgia community leaders.

The evening of comedy was hosted by Meshelle “The Indie-Mom” of Comedy, and included comedic performances by BPhlat and Erin Jackson.
 
Following the debate watch party and evening of comedy, local organizers from NCBCP GA affiliate and state convenors partook in a neighborhood canvass in Clayton County. The weekend of organizing closed out with a  Gospel Brunch and GOTV Rally hosted at the Headquarters of Georgia StandUP.

NCBCP Unity ’22 GOTV Tour national and GA state partners include: Philip Randolph Institute, 100 Black Men of America, Inc., 100 Black Men of Tampa Bay, Inc.,  Family Values @ Work Action, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, League of Women Voters USA, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense Fund,  National Action Network, National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, National Education Association, National Council of Negro Women, National Urban League, Nelson’s Outreach Ministries, Poder Latinx, Prophetic Women Power Rising, Sisters Lead, Sisters Vote, The Collective Education Fund, and #WinWithBlackWomen. 
 
Melanie Campbell, NCBCP CEO and Convener of The Black Women’s Roundtable stated, “We have seen time and again that the Black vote in Georgia is a powerful force. Our ‘Power of the Ballot’ GOTV Comedy Tour and GOTV activations in the greater Metro Atlanta Area served two goals: 1) to thank and bring joy (through laughter) to the leaders, organizers and activists who are working hard to get out the Black vote and 2) to energize the grassroots activists who are engaging our communities to canvass and knock on doors to register, motivate and mobilize our people to ‘own their power’ and to increase the Black vote share in the 2022 midterm Elections. Our weekend of organizing allowed us to reach hundreds of Black voters in the greater Atlanta area. I can’t give enough praise to our affiliates, partners and volunteers in the state for their leadership, hard work and role in elevating the needs of our communities, defending the vote, and saving our democracy time and again. They are working round the clock until election day to break all record on Black voter turnout!”
 

Helen Butler, Executive Director of The Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda: “This election is about so much. But most importantly, it is about our rights and freedoms. That means our right to vote, our right to safe and prosperous communities, affordable housing, education and healthcare, criminal justice reform, reproductive justice and so much more. When Black women stand together, there is nothing we cannot do. We saw what our power in 2020 accomplished  and we are going to make history again by mobilizing Black voters throughout the state.”  
 
Deborah Scott, CEO of Georgia Stand Up: “This is the time. STAND-UP has kicked off its GOTV early voting campaign and the fight for voting rights by honoring the life of our beloved Sister Jamida Orange, daughter of Rev. James Orange. We are ever aware that ours is a fierce, nationally connected sisterhood, devoted to preserving democracy by ensuring all our citizens can exercise their right to this nation’s most important franchise—the ballot. Jamila exemplified the strength and commitment of our sisterhood, and of all Black women leaders. We do this work in her memory.”
 

Ms. Felicia Davis, Convener of the Clayton County Black Women's Roundtable, said “When we vote we exercise our power and defend our rights, this work is serous and challenging. The Power of the Ballot Comedy Tour helped to lighten the load, reinforce our resolve and sparked joy that activates the love in our hearts and puts a big smile on our face as we mobilize our community to turn up and turn out!" 
 
Sandra Williams, National Political Director for The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) stated, “We are powerful when we exercise our right to vote. Collectively, we have the power to change this state for the betterment of all of us, but especially neglected communities. That is why it is critical that we go to every county and educate voters about the power of their vote and the outcomes that can be achieved when we vote.  Access to affordable housing, healthcare, livable wages and many other urgent issues will be addressed. We must seize this opportunity to advance our rights! Now is the time.”

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The Unity ’22 Campaign is a national and multi-state organizing, non-partisan, integrated voter engagement campaign focused on a number of issues, including increasing Black voter turnout and providing voter protection tools for Black voters to ensure their votes are counted in the 2022 Mid-Term Election. The Unity ’22 Campaign is a diverse group of over 50 national and state-based partner organizations and NCBCP/BWR affiliates and networks.  NCBCP launched its Unity ’22 National Campaign in July 2022.

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