An activist organization whose stated aim is to “expand and mobilize the black electorate,” is using the newest Marvel film, “Black Panther,” to do just that.
Members of the female-led Electoral Justice Project, an offshoot of the nationwide organization known as the Movement for Black Lives, have launched the “#WakandaTheVote” campaign, which seeks to educate and register potential voters.
The campaign, named after Wakanda — the fictional African country in the film — encourages activists to go to screenings of the film and help moviegoers register to vote.
Kayla Reed, Jessica Byrd and Rukia Lumumba launched the EJP in October 2017 in order to “fight for the advancement of the rights of Black folks through electoral strategy.” This campaign is their way of reaching that goal.
“We are effective because we meet our communities where they are, whether that’s in the streets, at the city council meeting, or in the movie theater. This weekend we wanted to meet our people in Wakanda,” Byrd and Reed told Blavity, while emphasizing that with the November midterm elections just months away, they see their mission as even more important.
“We know that for some it’s a superhero world, but we know that the world we deserve is still waiting to be built — and we want to build it! This upcoming spring and November 2018 midterm elections are an important step in building that new world, and we want to take every opportunity to engage our communities in the conversation of electoral justice,” they added.
Volunteers will be wearing “Wakanda-inspired” outfits as they attempt to reach voters at the screenings, according to the project’s website.
Using the “WakandaTheVote” hashtag, the group is calling on like-minded people to volunteer to join the campaign.
The MBL, meanwhile, sees this campaign as a way to challenge the Trump administration’s “right wing agenda.”
“We know our people will be in line to witness this historic film. We also know this November we can make historic wins at the polls and directly challenge the right wing agenda of the current administration,” the MBL says on its website, according to the New York Daily News.
“Like ‘Black Panther,’ it is our duty to protect our communities.”
“Black Panther,” a superhero film with a predominantly African-American cast, has been a huge box office success, raking in over $200 million during its three-day debut over the weekend, CNN Money reported.
The movie has been well-received by critics and moviegoers alike, and currently holds a 97 percent “Fresh” rating on movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
But using the film’s popularity to register voters is only part of what the Electoral Justice Project seeks to do.
“Over 1,000 people joined our launch call, and we’ve been building out an exciting campaign ever since,” Byrd and Reed said.
“We will be engaged in actions all over the country to educate and motivate black voters as well as launching an intensive campaign manager institute this spring called the Electoral Justice League. We intend to have thousands of conversations with black people as well build a fun and life-affirming political home that isn’t transactional, but transformational.”
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