Black Panther is on its way to becoming one of the biggest movie hits of all time, and a group of activists are using that to educate and register voters ahead of the 2018 midterms.
The Electoral Justice Project (EJP), an organization which is part of the greater Black Lives Matter movement, was launched by Kayla Reed, Jessica Byrd and Rukia Lumumba in October of last year.
Their new initiative called #WakandaTheVote was purposely planned to coincide with the anticipated release of Black Panther, to mobilize political engagement at Black Panther screenings around the country.
Byrd and Reed recently explained to Blavity the motivation for their now-viral plan to capitalize on the popularity of a film filled with social and political nuance.
“The Movement for Black Lives is an ecosystem of black leaders and organizations fighting every single day for the healthy and happy lives of Black folks. 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.”
Fresh Wakanda inspired outfit (check)— Mvmt 4 Black Lives (@mvmt4bl) February 15, 2018
Black Panther ticket (check)
Squad ready (check)
Registered to vote so we can build our own Wakanda? (we got you!)
Text PANTHER to 91990 to create your own voter registration event.
Need to register to vote? Text WAKANDA to 91990. pic.twitter.com/rpGdkM729Y
"This weekend we wanted to meet our people in Wakanda. 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. We will be registering people to vote at movie theaters across the country so that we can #wakandathevote at the ballot box."
With the popularity of the film and the campaign both receiving rave reviews from people attending the screenings, #WakandaTheVote registration events quickly spread to more than 50 cities across the country on opening weekend.
“Over 1,000 people joined our launch call, and we’ve been building out an exciting campaign ever since. 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 1,000s of conversations with black people as well build a fun and life-affirming political home that isn’t transactional, but transformational.”