As Election Day nears several influential individuals across different spaces are using their platforms to spread awareness about voter suppression and ensure that people within the Black community exercise their right to vote. Among those is entertainment mogul Tyler Perry. According to BET, Perry recently funded an initiative designed to mobilize African American voters in Florida.
The effort—dubbed Park & Praise—is being spearheaded by the Equal Ground Education Fund; a grassroots organization centered on equal access to education about voting and empowerment. Through the project, the organization will target 25 Florida counties where nearly 250,000 Black residents reside. Equal Ground Education Fund is joining forces with Florida-based community organizations, places of worship and businesses to increase the Black voter turnout. The organization will host several events, featuring live performances, where individuals can drop off their absentee ballots. Perry is donating $500,000 to support the Equal Ground Education Fund’s efforts.
“A national pandemic, racial tensions, blatant disregard for Black bodies, and a presidential election that can’t be won without the votes of Black folks have shaped the way we connect with voters,” Equal Ground Education Fund Founder Jasmine Burney-Clark said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Despite Florida’s historical disenfranchisement of Black voters, our voices will be heard whether we vote by mail or early. Our work to provide robust voter education and ensure that accurate information reaches our communities is the highest priority and is exactly what this partnership with Tyler Perry is going to do.”
Many efforts are being led to address voter suppression and encourage Black voters to ensure their voices are heard during this election. Through his nonprofit, More Than a Vote, NBA star and activist LeBron James teamed up with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to recruit over 20,000 volunteer poll workers in Black electoral districts to address the shortage of workers in communities of color.