Updated, 1:27 p.m. 6/11/20 with comments from Benson
Basketball great LeBron James and other stars announced Wednesday the formation of a new group dedicated to getting African Americans to register to vote and combatting voter suppression. James said he was inspired to take action after the death of George Floyd last month at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James told the New York Times. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”
Others involved in the 501(c)(4) nonprofit More Than a Vote are Trae Young, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Detroit native Jalen Rose.
One of the group’s advisers is Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the state’s top election official. Before being elected in 2018, Benson headed the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). One of her major initiatives was to launch RISE to VOTE, a nonpartisan effort to register professional and college athletes to vote. Last year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tapped Benson to lead the first-in-the-nation Task Force on Women in Sports.
“I am proud to be advising this important initiative and thankful to LeBron James, Draymond Green, Jalen Rose and many others who are stepping up to use their time, voices and platforms to inform and educate voters about their rights,” Benson told the Advance. “This year more than ever voters will be inundated with misinformation aiming to confuse them about and discourage them from voting. James, Green, Rose and their partners are trusted voices uniquely able to cut through the rhetoric and make sure all communities know not just that they should vote but how to vote to make sure their ballot is counted.”*