Washington – Black women are often considered a critical voting bloc, but a new initiative aims to dramatically expand the number of African American male voters ahead of the next presidential election.
Black Men Vote announced a new national campaign Friday to register 1 million Black male voters by November 2024. The organization says the “Strength in Numbers” initiative will be its “most ambitious effort” and will partner with Rock the Vote, Microsoft and the National Basketball Association Social Justice Coalition. The group unveiled the initiative at a summit featuring Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson and former Maryland Lt. Gov. and Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele during the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.
“Registering one million Black men to vote has the potential to change the electoral landscape — locally, on a state level, and nationally,” said Black Men Vote board member Joe Paul. “It’s time for Black men to step up and take our rightful place in helping to shape the future of our nation, and the Strength in Numbers Initiative is a critical first step.”
The group is targeting Black men between the ages of 18-35 and builds on previous outreach. In 2020, Black Men Vote ran a multi-state digital campaign emphasizing the importance of voting. The group used influencers such as rapper T.I., actor Marcus Scribner and activist Thelonius Floyd, brother of George Floyd. It also ran a series of public service announcements featuring several NBA players.
“The solution to challenges faced in every community begins with access to the right to vote,” said James Cadogan, executive director of the NBA Social Justice Coalition. “Using our collective voice in our democratic process is essential to achieving lasting change — particularly for those who have been historically left out and left behind.”
According to Black Men Vote, African American voters made up approximately 12.5% of the U.S. electorate with a record 30 million eligible to vote in 2020, but Black men have largely lagged Black women in voting.
In 2016, 64% of eligible Black women said they voted, compared to 54% of eligible Black men, according to Pew Research Center.
“As we help give Black men the tools necessary to participate in our electoral system, our families and communities will benefit,” Paul said.