Essence Festival Of Culture And Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote Announce Groundbreaking Voter Engagement Partnership


When We All Vote

Today, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture, the Global Black Economic Forum and When We All Vote announced a groundbreaking partnership to mobilize voters and bring voting to the culture this year. This initiative will launch at the 30th ESSENCE Festival, which will be held from July 4 to 7, 2024, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The vital partnership aims to recruit 10,000 volunteers as Essence Voting Squad members, register thousands of people to vote and educate one million voters on what’s on the ballot, the importance of voting and how their vote is connected to key issues.

The Essence Voting Squad will debut at the festival as a  way to empower attendees to ensure their communities are registered and ready for Election Day. Launched by Former First Lady Michelle Obama in 2018, When We All Vote’s Voting Squad has since grown to over 25,000 members. The national, nonpartisan initiative aims to change the culture around voting and increase participation in every election by helping to close the race and age gap.

Essence Festival Of Culture And Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote Announce Groundbreaking Voter Engagement Partnership
When We All Vote

“We are thrilled to partner with and include Essence and the Global Black Economic Forum in our voting squad,” said Beth Lynk, Executive Director of When We All Vote. “Voting is integral to Black culture, and Black women are at the forefront. Together, we’ll reach voters where they are and amplify the influence of Black voters nationwide.”

In July, the partnership will feature thought-provoking discussions on voting at the 2024 ESSENCE Festival of Culture. This includes a panel at the Global Black Economic Forum’s Public Convention with When We All Vote ambassadors and a special video message from Michelle Obama.

“This election is a pivotal moment as we recognize our freedoms are on the line,” said Alphonso David, President and CEO of the Global Black Economic Forum. “The Global Black Economic Forum is honored to work alongside When We All Vote and ESSENCE as we work to mobilize Black voters this year and beyond.” 

Essence Festival Of Culture And Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote Announce Groundbreaking Voter Engagement Partnership

Black voters hold significant power in elections nationwide. This year, more than 34 million Black Americans, including 5.7 million Black Gen Zers, will be eligible to vote. Through this partnership, Essence, the Global Black Economic Forum and When We All Vote are working to ensure Essence Voting Squad members are ready to address issues such as economic justice, climate change, and gun violence prevention.

“At Essence Ventures, we, alongside our ecosystem of brands, including the Global Black Economic Forum (GBEF), are aligned on the critical need for broad civic engagement that defines the health of our communities economically, socially, politically, physiologically, environmentally, and educationally. Our partnership with When We All Vote and the Global Black Economic Forum is extremely critical as we approach an election season that will have lasting impact for generations to come,” said Caroline Wanga, President and CEO of Essence Ventures. 

“For over five decades, the variety of platforms we curate have maintained a steadfast commitment to collectively informing and involving constituencies on the issues and topics of highest interest and impact to those most recently through our ‘Paint the Polls Black’ franchise. The timeliness of strategic alignment with When We All Vote and the celebration of 30 years of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture positions us well to preserve the legacies that got us here while reinforcing the present for the legacies to come,” Wanga added.

The organizations will continue to ensure voters are registered and prepared to vote, expanding the ESSENCE Voting Squad through events such as Beautycon, AFROPUNK and Girls United.

The ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ presented by Coca-Cola® will take place July 4-7. For more information and updates on the festival, visit our website and follow us on social media @ESSENCEFest on X, Facebook, and Instagram.



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