Hip Hop Caucus Statement on Trump’s Dirty Power Scam

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 21, 2018

Contact:
Mark Antoniewicz
media@w0c.71c.mwp.accessdomain.com

Hip Hop Caucus Statement: Trump’s Dirty Power Scam

 

Washington, D.C. – Today former coal lobbyist, and Trump’s Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, unveiled a bogus plan to help a few corporate polluters and bury President Obama’s signature domestic climate policy to cut carbon emissions causing climate change, protect the health of our communities and create millions of clean energy jobs. In response to this backwards move, Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior Vice President for Climate, Environmental Justice, & Community Revitalization at Hip Hop Caucus, and former EPA Senior Associate Administrator, released the following statement:

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“To no surprise, Trump and his corporate puppets running our government are again putting profits over people. Their new “Affordable Clean Energy Plan” is neither affordable nor clean, and nothing more than a dirty and dangerous scam. The plan’s bogus basis and spinning rhetoric was written by fossil fuel industry insiders and climate deniers to fatten the pockets of a few by propping up a dying industry in the short run, while ignoring the immense health benefits and economic opportunities that come with a just transition to the clean energy solutions that exist today. This action is harmful to the health of our kids now and our ability to ensure future generations are able to thrive on the planet.

American people across the country face the dangerous and deadly consequences from the prolonged burning of fossil fuels, including stronger storms, more wildfires, and longer droughts. The Trump Administration continues to simply ignore the health and livelihood of the American people, especially our most vulnerable communities, who face disproportionate impacts at the front lines of exposure to pollution emitted from fossil fuel industry facilities and the extreme weather from climate change. They are also ignoring the incredible public input and due diligence that went into creating the Obama Administration’s bold Clean Power Plan, which aims to create a stronger, healthier, and more prosperous future for all.

Unfortunately the plan released today is just another giveaway to fossil fuel industry executives who are already receiving billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies from the Trump Administration. The vast majority of American people will see see right through this corporate giveaway and empty rhetoric. They know the difference between real solutions that will take us forward, and phony plans that will take us backwards like this.”

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Hip Hop Caucus  (www.w0c.71c.mwp.accessdomain.com) is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 2004 that uses the power of Hip Hop culture to engage and empower young people and communities of color in the civic and political process. Follow @hiphopcaucus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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ABC News: Why top protest songs in hip-hop don’t mention Donald Trump: ‘He’s irrelevant to the movement’

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This article is courtesy of ABC News and originally posted on July 28, 2018 (you can find it here).

Why top protest songs in hip-hop don’t mention Donald Trump: ‘He’s irrelevant to the movement’

By DEENA ZARU

Upon jumping into the political fray, Donald Trump — the business mogul-turned president — who was hailed for his wealth and power in lyrics for decades, quickly became hip-hop’s public enemy, number one.

In 2016, anti-Trump chants became rallying calls at concerts and the then-provocative presidential candidate appeared to be on virtually everyone’s lips and in everyone’s Twitter feed. But as Trump’s presidency races into its second year, a notable transformation in hip-hop activism is taking shape.

While Trump still dominates the headlines and drives a congested news cycle, in many of the top protest songs of 2017 and 2018 — some of which have topped the charts, there is virtually no mention of Trump. And that’s because, for a number of activists and artists — including Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and T.I. who once celebrated Trump’s wealth and power in past lyrics — there is so much more to discuss.

“People are finally getting it — that [Trump’s] irrelevant to the movement.”

Political dissent, which is often energized and, in some cases, driven by the anti-Trump movement, has become so powerful and so all-encompassing that it has transcended Trump, and music released since he became president reflects an evolution in the conversation, according to hip hop industry artists and activists interviewed by ABC News.

PHOTO: Quote Card, Maimouna Youssef
Courtesy of Maimouna Youssef

Even political songs that do name drop the president are a far cry from YG’s viral 2016 anti-Trump anthem, “FDT” or “F— Donald Trump” or even Eminem’s “The Storm.”

Tracks like “Land of the Free,” by Joey Bada$$, Logic’s “America,” and Kendrick Lamar’s “XXX.,” featuring U2, mention Trump in passing, but each work explores broader systemic injustices.

Even Kanye West, who was under severe backlash from fans for declaring his support for Trump earlier this year, moved the conversation forward by releasing a back-and-forth track based on an actual political conversation he had with Atlanta rapper T.I., who is one of the most outspoken Trump critics in hip-hop.

In “Ye vs. the People,” featuring T.I. as “the people,” the two artists engage in a political debate, address free speech, divisions and racism in America.

And according to Rev. Lennox Yearwood, the president of the nonprofit group, The Hip Hop Caucus, the revitalization of social activism in hip-hop and the evolution of the political conversation shows that “through tragedy is coming triumph.”

“Artists and activists feel like we can’t wait for Trump,” Yearwood said. “We have to get out there now and fight.”

Maimouna Youssef, a Grammy-nominated artist known as Mumu Fresh, said that although activists and artists recognize that “it’s still serious that Trump has the power” to influence policy and politics, “people are finally getting it — that he’s irrelevant to the movement.”

“It’s not going to happen because of him, but in spite of him,” Youssef told ABC News. “We kind of all got tired of the reality show. You see all of the stories and ridiculousness and the tweets…and you turn it off and you go do something more productive with your time.”

“When the movement is strong, the music is strong”

Songs like Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” Nas’ “Cops Shot the Kid,” Janelle Monáe’s “Americans,” Meek Mill’s “Stay Woke,” Vic Mensa and Ty Dolla Sign’s “We Could Be Free,” Rapsody and Kendrick Lamar’s “Power,” and a trio of singles released by the Black Eyed Peas, don’t utter Trump’s name once.

But each is an anthem steeped in political and social commentary on race and racism in America.

“Clearly the old saying is true: ‘When the movement is strong, the music is strong,’ and when the movement is weak, the music is weak,” Yearwood said.

“(Now), when artists do put out political music, it shoots to the top. People need it for their spirits, they need it for their souls, they need it to keep fighting.”

The video for “This is America,” — a provocative commentary about the black experience and the degradation of black bodies and black culture over centuries — is so steeped in historical and modern-day symbols that cultural critics are still unpacking its meaning months after its May release.

Describing it as “a song that speaks to your existence,” Yearwood said that “This is America” is reminiscent of “We Shall Overcome” — the gospel song that became the anthem for the 1960s civil rights movement.

The song was so well-received in the mainstream that it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 — a spot that is rarely held by such explicitly political songs.

PHOTO: Quote Card, Lennox Yearwood
Courtesy of the Hip Hop Caucus

Childish Gambino, whose full name is Donald Glover, won a Grammy earlier this year for the Billboard-charting “Redbone,” a funk-inspired song about a failed a relationship with political undertones. The song is also known as “stay woke” based on words from its chorus, and was featured on the soundtrack for Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” which won an Oscar for best original screenplay.

“Whenever socially conscious music is successful in the mainstream, it’s a great thing because we don’t get enough of it,” Massachusetts rapper Termanology, whose upcoming album also explores political themes, told ABC News.

“And if it happens naturally, if it’s just meant to be like that, it’s definitely beautiful for us that really care.”

“This is not my America”

From the Black Lives Matter movement, to the Women’s March, the #MeToo movement, the Peoples Climate Movement and the March for Our Lives — a wave of civil disobedience has descended on cities and small towns in America and this energy is reflected in the music.

Janelle Monáe’s 2018 album, “Dirty Computer,” a layered project that explores what it means to be an American, offers a critique of a sick America plagued with inequalities and is also an ode to female empowerment. The outro to “Americans,” reflects these themes:

“Until women can get equal pay for equal work … Until same gender loving people can be who they are … Until black people can come home from a police stop without being shot in the head … Until poor whites can get a shot at being successful … Until Latinos and Latinas don’t have to run from walls, this is not my America.”

And Eminem, who unleashed one of the fiercest attacks against Trump in his viral performance of “The Storm” last fall, followed up with the release of “Revival” — an entire album that largely looks past Trump and reflects on racism and inequalities in America.

PHOTO: Termanology Quote Card
Courtesy of Termanology

“It’s a revival for myself, and it’s kind of the theme of the album, but there’s also, hopefully, the revival of America,” the Detroit rapper said.

In songs like “Untouchable,” which does not mention Trump, Eminem reflects on the progression of the civil rights movement and zeroes in on issues like police brutality and white privilege.

Jay-Z, who on several occasions in years past lauded Trump’s lavish lifestyle and wealth, has since criticized the former business mogul-turned-president’s comments.

But Trump barely ranks a name drop in Jay-Z’s most recent tracks.

Instead, the veteran rapper who has increasingly become a vocal proponent for criminal justice reform, reflects on the black experience in America in his Grammy-nominated album, “4:44.” For instance, the song “The Story of O.J.” explores the subjugation of African-Americans in media and culture over history and examines black stereotypes through the use of black and white cartoons.

This year, Kendrick Lamar’s politically-charged album, “DAMN,” won a Grammy for best rap album and North Carolina rapper Rapsody, who explores black womanhood and identity, in the soulful album “Laila’s Wisdom,” was nominated for best rap album and best rap song.

And then there’s the evolution of Meek Mill, who in the last few months has become one of the most visible advocates for criminal justice reform.

The Philadelphia rapper’s case sparked outrage and reinvigorated a national debate on mass incarceration, when Mill was sentenced to two to four years in prison last November after a pair of arrests that violated his probation from a 2008 gun and drug case.

In the wake of a relentless #FreeMeekMill campaign, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Mill’s release in April.

“I told myself, I told God the moment that I got out of my situation and got back, feet on the ground, I would participate in being a voice for the voiceless,” he said in May.

And his latest releases like “Stay Woke,” featuring Miguel and “Milidelphia,” from his “Legends of the Summer” EP, reflect this calling.

And finally, in one of the starkest artistic evolutions of late, the Black Eyed Peas — who are generally known for upbeat and poppy party jams like “I Gotta Feeling” and “My Humps” — made a comeback in 2018 striking a dramatically different tone.

In “Ring the Alarm pt.1, pt.2, pt.3,” the trio tackles police brutality, while “Get It” is a haunting tribute to unarmed black men and women shot by police. And their third track, “Street Livin’,” is a harrowing account of poverty and mass incarceration punctuated by drum beats and somber tones.

“Ten years ago that was not the landscape,” Youssef said. It was almost like taboo to talk about the social issues. Today it’s in your face, you can’t run away from it. You can’t pretend that racism doesn’t exist.”

Even those who don’t seek out political music, would have found it difficult to avoid social commentary over the last few years because it has seeped into everything from club bangers like YG’s “Big Bank,” viral hits like Kodak Black’s “Tunnel Vision,”and R&B jams like Miguel’s Billboard-charting hit, “Come Through and Chill,”featuring J. Cole.

“Hopefully the younger generation sees that it is cool to spread jewels and spread knowledge and to talk about things that go on in the world,” Termanology said.

“It’s not just about drugs and superficial things … and as long as it’s from the heart, I’m all for it.”

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Hip Hop Caucus Statement on Scott Pruitt resignation as EPA Administrator

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2018

Contact:
Mark Antoniewicz
202.293.5902
mark@w0c.71c.mwp.accessdomain.com

Washington, D.C. – In response to Scott Pruitt resigning as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior Vice President for Climate, Environmental Justice, & Community Revitalization at Hip Hop Caucus, and former EPA Senior Associate Administrator, released the following statement: 

“Scott Pruitt should have never been let in the doors at the EPA. He worked for polluters instead of the American people and blatantly used his position of power for personal gain. At the same time he was wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to live lavishly, he was also taking dramatic steps from the inside to rip apart an agency that protects public health. In addition to ignoring science and real time realities by failing to act on climate change, he did everything he could to take away basic clean water and air protections for our communities. Today is a day to applaud all who kept up the pressure for him to resign, especially the “Boot Pruitt” campaign that gave people a voice in the fight. President Trump should take notice that we will continue to push back on anyone as EPA Administrator that represents polluters over people. We the people deserve transparency, accountability, and an EPA Administrator that works for us. ” 

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Hip Hop Caucus  (www.w0c.71c.mwp.accessdomain.com) is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 2004 that uses the power of Hip Hop culture to engage and empower young people and communities of color in the civic and political process. Follow @hiphopcaucus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Hip Hop Caucus on Justice Kennedy’s Retirement

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2018

Contact:
Mark Antoniewicz
202.293.5902
mark@w0c.71c.mwp.accessdomain.com

 

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the news that United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring, Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., made the following statement:  

 

“Just as the hip hop community architects so much of American culture, so does the Supreme Court set the terms of law and justice in our country. With Justice Kennedy’s retirement, we need a replacement that respects our rights and freedoms to marry who we want, utilize safe and legal healthcare services, protect us in the workplace, ensure we have access to clean water and air, and the ability to combat climate change. It is vital the replacement also make decisions that allow the promise of American democracy by respecting every voter’s right to a voice in the future of our country. The next nominee to the court could make or break so many of these critical rights, values, and issues that we hold dear as Americans.”

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Hip Hop Caucus  (www.w0c.71c.mwp.accessdomain.com) is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 2004 that uses the power of Hip Hop culture to engage and empower young people and communities of color in the civic and political process. Follow @hiphopcaucus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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10 episodes in…check out some Think 100% Show videos!

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Hello world!

We are 10 (!) episodes in to the Think 100% journey and I want to make sure you’ve noticed that we have some pretty powerful video clips up on our YouTube page.

Check out some of the highlights below and stay tuned for more at Think100.info. 

Keep it 100! 

 

 

 

 

 

“Think 100% – The Coolest Show On Climate Change”

Hosts: Rev Yearwood (President & CEO, Hip Hop Caucus) & Mustafa Santiago Ali (SVP, Hip Hop Caucus)

Follow Us Online:

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WATCH: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee x Think 100%

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Mustafa Santiago Ali, Think 100% co-host and Hip Hop Caucus Senior Vice President, spent 24 years at the United States Environmental Protection Agency working to right wrongs, revitalize communities, and enhance programs that protect our health and planet. He recently sat down with the great Samantha Bee to discuss how the Trump Administration is taking actions that will disproportionately impact the poor and communities of color, and why the current leader of EPA needs to go. Like right now. Seriously.

TAKE ACTION: sign the #BootPruitt petition HERE.

Let’s get rid of the corrupt and fossil fuel industry puppet, current EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt. Boy, bye! 

 

Follow Mustafa on Twitter @EJinAction and check out more episodes of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

 

 

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Why we marched. #MarchForOurLives

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Last Saturday was powerful, but the real work lays ahead. Our communities face daily gun violence. We need change and can’t wait any longer. Change happens by making sure we have power at the polls in November. So at March For Our Lives, we set out with our Respect My Vote! team of amazing spokespeople and an army of hundreds of volunteers to register young voters.

Vic Mensa and Wanda Durant joined us in D.C. to inspire our volunteers, and Common and Kanye West were at the march showing Hip Hop’s support for the movement. When all was said and done, with our partners Headcount, Rock the Vote and Voto Latino, we registered over 1,500 voters from more than 40 states. That’s power.

This movement is not about political party. It’s about lives and justice for our communities. It’s about empowerment of young people heading to the polls. Make sure you’re ready to create this change by registering to vote.

As we continue to March For Our Lives – lives like Stephon Clark’s – let’s stay focused, stay organized, and prepare for what’s next. Join us, make sure you’re registered and prepared for November.

Check out some of the powerful images from Saturday and make sure you’re prepared for what comes next.

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Hip Hop Caucus and Powerful Coalition Launch “Boot Pruitt” Campaign

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New coordinated effort aims to force Scott Pruitt, the embattled EPA administrator under multiple investigations, from office

To join the campaign to Boot Pruitt visit us online at www.BootPruitt.com or follow us on Twitter at @BootPruitt and #BootPruitt.

Washington D.C. – Ten of the nation’s largest and most influential environmental groups today launched a coordinated campaign to drive Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt from office, calling him a dire threat to Americans’ health and our environment.

The ‘’Boot Pruitt” campaign issued this statement explaining why Pruitt must go: 

“The time has come. In just over one year, Scott Pruitt has taken dozens of actions to ensure the EPA fails in its mission to protect our health and environment; allowed major industrial polluters to dramatically increase the amount of mercury, arsenic, lead and other toxins they can dump into our air and water; turned his back on the dangers from climate change; stamped out science and silenced EPA’s scientists; and wreaked all this damage while spending lavishly on himself, prompting several investigations into ethical breaches. Mr. Pruitt has unquestionably failed the people he’s meant to protect, and failed the standard of ethical conduct required of a public official. We are standing together and standing up for the millions of children and families being exposed to deadly pollution by Scott Pruitt’s dangerous policies.

“Scott Pruitt is unfit for office. His dirty dealings have wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and endangered the health of millions of Americans across our country. He must go. The ‘Boot Pruitt’ campaign will give voice to the overwhelming number of Americans who disapprove of Pruitt’s actions to put polluters first, highlight the real struggles of communities struggling under Pruitt’s toxic policies, and enlist support for forcing Pruitt from office before he can do more harm and hurt more Americans. It’s time to Boot Pruitt.”

The 10 launch partners are: Hip Hop Caucus, Defend Our Future, Green For All, GreenLatinos, Center For American Progress Action Fund, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, and Friends of the Earth.

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Respect My Vote: Turning Voices into Power at March For Our Lives!

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On Saturday, March 24th, Hip Hop Caucus is joining March For Our Lives to demand an end to gun violence that plagues our country. We stand with the amazing young people who so bravely stepped up after the Parkland shooting to say enough is enough. This movement isn’t about political party, or partisanship, this is about our lives and justice. We need real change for our lives and communities now.

We also want to make sure our voices turn into real power at the ballot box during elections this November and beyond. Through Hip Hop Caucus’ Respect My Vote! campaign, we’ll be on the ground at MFOL events across the countries to make sure young people can exercise their right to vote. Our goal is to make sure that this amazing movement for gun reform carries its momentum into lasting positive change for our communities and country.

Our city teams will be on the ground leading voter registration and pledge operations in five cities: Washington D.C., Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Charlotte. Working with hundreds of community volunteers, we’ll be hosting voter registration training sessions prior to the events, then deploying to make sure young people are ready to vote. If you’re going to be in one of these cities, join us.

 

 

We want to work on the solutions, not just talk about the problems. We want to see action from our leaders. We are a new generation and we aren’t going to put up with the status quo talk and non-action on gun violence from the people we elect to represent us.

Communities of color, particularly poor communities of color, in many of our cities, deal with daily gun violence and we have been organizing and demanding solutions for decades with a lot less attention than when shootings happen in affluent communities. We have been demonized for the gun violence in our communities. We want all communities heard and gun violence solutions that address the problem everywhere.

Marching together across the country is a powerful way to make our voices heard and our leadership seen. This is democracy in action. But this work work doesn’t stop after we march. The work continues when we vote. The work continues when we go home to our communities and continue to organize and advocate for solutions. The work continues when we contact our elected officials every day and demand they act for us.

Organized people beat organized money every single time. We are building power that threatens the power of the NRA and the corporate interests that buy our lawmakers with their contributions. We are going to show up at the polls this November, we are going to make change happen.

Register to vote right now at RespectMyVote.com. It only takes two minutes!

Over the past 10 years, our Respect My Vote! campaign has engaged millions of people across our country. With the help from you and artists like Vic Mensa, T.I., Charlamagne tha God, Keke Palmer, 2 Chainz, Amber Rose, and Future, we have helped the Hip Hop community have power in our democracy.

To keep up with the action, follow us @HipHopCaucus on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook. More information is at March for Our Lives and Respect My Vote!.  

 

 

 

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Hip Hop Caucus Empowering Young Voters at March For Our Lives

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Respect My Vote! campaign conducting non-partisan onsite voter registration and voter pledge operations in five cities across the country to turn advocacy into power at the polls

Washington, D.C. – On Saturday, March 24th, Hip Hop Caucus is joining March For Our Lives to demand an end to the gun violence that plagues communities across the country. Through Hip Hop Caucus’ Respect My Vote! Campaign, non-partisan voter registration and voter pledge engagement operations will take place in five major cities to ensure young people are able to exercise their power in our democracy during the upcoming midterm elections and beyond. The five cities are: Washington D.C.; Detroit, MI; New Orleans, LA; Los Angeles, CA; and, Charlotte, NC.

Hip Hop Caucus’ objective is to make sure that this powerful movement for gun reform carries its momentum into lasting positive change for communities on the frontlines of gun violence.

In the 20th century, freedom fighters fought for equality. In the 21st century, we are fighting for existence as we march for our lives,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO. “We stand in solidarity with the amazing young people who so bravely stepped up after the Parkland shooting to say enough is enough. And, we stand in solidarity with the community activists and leaders in Black, Brown and Native communities who have been demanding action on gun violence for years with much less attention. This is a turning point and young people will be going to the polls this November demanding gun reform.”

Hip Hop Caucus supports the March For Our Lives call to enact common-sense gun reform including banning the sale of assault weapons, prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines, closing the loophole in our background check law, creating violence prevention programs, and ensuring mental health access for those impacted by exposure to gun violence. To achieve these reforms, Hip Hop Caucus is mobilizing young people who are supporting the March For Our Lives movement to register to vote, start or join voter registration drives, urge elected leaders at all levels of government to pass meaningful gun reform legislation, and support efforts to keep guns off school campuses and out of communities.  

Hip Hop Caucus has been engaged for over a decade in advocacy and educational efforts to address the disproportionate effects and daily impacts of gun violence in vulnerable communities, including urban communities and communities of color. Hip Hop Caucus continues to engage in sustained advocacy focused on engaging local, state and federal government officials, grassroots organizations, cultural influencers, and community leaders in an effort to enact and improve policies to reduce and prevent gun violence.

Solutions to reducing gun violence also come from communities that experience it firsthand. That is why Hip Hop Caucus recently teamed up with the multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning recording artists Black Eyed Peas for the release of their new single and video, “Street Livin”, that drives awareness and a call to action on issues largely impacting communities of color, including gun violence. The call to action on gun violence for the project was put together in partnership with national organizations also led by millenials and people of color, to implement proven strategies to reduce gun violence in cities across the United States.

Respect My Vote! was first launched by Hip Hop Caucus in 2008 and has since engaged millions of people during election cycles throughout the United States. Through partnerships with nonprofits, businesses, media and entertainment companies, and celebrity spokespeople, the non-partisan campaign focuses on voter registration, voter education, get-out-the-vote, and voter rights. Spokespeople have included Vic Mensa, T.I., Charlamagne tha God, Keke Palmer, 2 Chainz, Amber Rose, Future, and hundreds of other artists and community leaders.

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Press Note: Photo ops and in-person interviews available to reporters in Washington, DC, Charlotte NC, Detroit MI, Los Angeles CA, and New Orleans LA, or over the phone with national leaders and young people who have been personally impacted by gun violence and are organizing for solutions, action from lawmakers, and mobilizing their peers to the polls this November. Feel free to contact me to arrange an interview or cover our activities on Saturday (mark@w0c.71c.mwp.accessdomain.com).

Hip Hop Caucus is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 2004 that uses the power of Hip Hop culture to engage and empower young people and communities of color in the civic and political process. Follow us @HipHopCaucus on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook. More at HipHopCaucus.org.

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