Activating 14 to 40 Year Olds in Politics
The Hip Hop Caucus was birthed in 2004 out of four organizations, including. P. Diddy’s organization Citizen Change, to engage the Black community in politics through the culture of Hip Hop. Their first event was held that same year with an attendance of over 700 students. Fast forward to 2022 and Hip Hop Caucus is still activating 14 to 40 year olds in politics.
Hip Hop Caucus recently hosted a Homecoming Tour for their “Respect My Vote” campaign, which stopped in Atlanta and Milwaukee.
“Voting is critical because we have to shape policy. Either you shape policy or it shapes you, and the only way you can do that is by being apart of the system and the processes,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr, president and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus. “So we are making sure people are politically educated.”
It’s Important to Know Who’s Running, and What’s at Stake
The Hip Hop Caucus team emphasized how important it is to not only know who’s running but what issues are at stake, such as reproductive rights, healthcare, and funding for college.
According to the Washington Post, there’s a significant increase in Black candidates running for higher offices like Senator Stacey Abrams who’s running again for Governor of Georgia and Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes who’s running for the Senate.
“This is our moment right now. Keep on fighting, never give up, come together in unity, and we will see change.”– Rev. Yearwood Jr.
Along with discussing the importance of voting, the events brought in local activists and stakeholders, provided free food, and had a sign-up form for community members to stay informed on the upcoming election.
Milwaukee creates a third of the state’s budget, and only sees 10% back
Milwaukee native and Hip Hop Caucus Public Policy Director Chris Walton pitched to have the tour stop in Milwaukee, which turned out to be a success. Over 100 people showed up eager to discuss the upcoming Fall election.
Walton said if Milwaukee shows up at the poll then the rest of the state will have to focus on the needs of the people. He also referenced Milwaukee as the “economic engine of the state”.
“We create a third of the state’s budget and we only get 10% of it back,” said Walton.
Through these events, the goal is to educate so people can make their own informed decisions.
The Homecoming Tour ended on September 12, 2022 in Savannah, Georgia with plans to continue in the future.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.