Rock the Vote Launches #TruthToPower Campaign with Mega Pop-Up in Philadelphia
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Rock the Vote launched our Truth to Power campaign aimed to engage and mobilize Millennial voters in the 2016 general election. #TruthToPower debuted with a pop-up exhibition featuring art installations, musical performances and panel discussions with civic and cultural leaders. The multi-media extravaganza drew a massive turnout, including 10,000 young delegates, policymakers, pop icons, artists and activists. The Truth to Power campaign aims to register an additional 2 million young voters before November and drive Millennial turnout in key swing states.
The Truth to Power Democratic National Convention pop-up publicly exhibited over 200 art installations about the political and social issues young people are facing, including police brutality, gun violence, criminal justice reform, reproductive rights and access to jobs and a living wage. The gallery and event series was produced by seasoned youth and cultural organizers, including TaskForce, BigBowl of Ideas, Soze, 1215 Creative and Philadelphia-native Cosmo Baker.
Among the speakers and attendees were Senator Cory Booker, Representatives Keith Ellison and Barbara Lee, Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, Van Jones and prominent celebrities and activists including Rosario Dawson, Tony Goldwyn, Woodley, Rosie Perez, Andra Day, Estelle and Aloe Blacc.
The programming kicked off on Monday, July 25 with a panel discussion on voting rights and building the political strength of young people. Since Rock the Vote’s founding 25 years ago, when the new organization famously fought back against government censorship, protecting young people’s rights to speak out, raise our voices and create change has always been central to our work. But in recent years, we’ve seen a disturbing trend of attacks on most fundamental way of speaking truth to power — an explicit assault on voting rights in states across the nation.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas moderated another discussion, titled “Undocumented & Unafraid: A Dialogue on Owning One’s Political Power in America Without the Right to Vote,” which was likely the only fully undocumented panel at the convention. The conversation featured undocumented activists working to organize and fight back in this prominent period of anti-immigrant sentiment. Panelists reflected on their personal narratives and discussed movement building tools and creative strategies they take on as change-agents in defining what it means to be American.
“The problem isn’t that we have too many people marching — it’s that we have too many people not engaged,” argued U.S. Senator Cory Booker during a Tuesday conversation on criminal justice reform with Van Jones. “Change does not come from Washington; it comes to Washington from the people. It was young people and their creative protest that woke up the conscience of our country.”
The three-day pop-up series of artwork, performances and panels ended with a concert at The Fillmore Philadelphia headlined by The Black Eyed Peas and Ty Dolla $ign. The evening provoked passion among the Millennial audience — reflecting Rock the Vote’s growth and evolution, as well as young people’s frustration and dedication to make an impact in their communities and across the country.
Rock the Vote’s Truth to Power campaign will include on-the-ground voter registration drives and election turnout efforts in key battleground states across the country, as well as a fall 2016 national bus tour featuring appearances by Rock the Vote artists and musicians, Funny or Die comedians and cultural leaders.
Voting in November is our opportunity to build a system that works for all of us, grounded in fairness and justice. When we come together, lift our voices and participate in elections, we have the strength to change our society and our nation for the better.
For more information onRock the Vote’s Truth to Power campaign, visit rockthevote.com/truthtopower.