The ESSENCE Festival of Culture™, Global Black Economic Forum and When We All Vote will join forces to bring voting to big moments this year at the 30th annual event

Washington, DC: Today, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture™, the Global Black Economic Forum and When We All Vote announced they are coming together to mobilize voters and bring voting to the culture this year. The partnership will launch at the 30th festival from July 4–7, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Through this partnership, the organizations aim to register thousands of voters, bring together 10,000 volunteers as Essence Voting Squad members, and educate one million voters about the power of voting, what’s on the ballot and how their vote is connected to the issues they care about most. The Essence Voting Squad will launch at ESSENCE Festival, and will empower attendees to ensure their communities are registered and ready to vote ahead of Election Day. Mrs. Obama launched When We All Vote’s first Voting Squad in 2018, and since then more than 25,000 people have joined.

“We are so excited to partner with and call Essence and the Global Black Economic Forum part of our voting squad,” said Beth Lynk, Executive Director of When We All Vote. “Voting is a part of Black culture, and Black women often lead the way. Together, we’ll meet voters where they are to amplify the power of Black voters around the country.”

This July, the partnership will bring thought provoking conversations about voting to the 2024 ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ with a panel at the Global Black Economic Forum’s Public Convention and a special video message from When We All Vote Founder and Co-Chair Michelle Obama.

“This year’s election is a pivotal moment as we recognize our freedoms are on the line,” said President and CEO of the Global Black Economic Forum Alphonso David. “The Global Black Economic Forum is honored to work alongside When We All Vote and Essence as we work to mobilize Black voters this year and beyond.”

Black voters have the power to determine elections across the nation, up and down the ballot. This year, more than 34 million Black Americans will be eligible to vote, including 5.7 million Black Gen Zers. And through this partnership, Essence, the Global Black Economic Forum and When We All Vote will make sure Essence Voting Squad members are ready to use their voices to speak up about the issues motivating them to vote, including economic justice, climate change and gun violence prevention.

“At Essence Ventures, we, alongside our ecosystem of brands including the Global Black Economic Forum (GBEF), are aligned on the critical need for broad civic engagement that defines the health of our communities economically, socially, politically, physiologically, environmentally and educationally. Our partnership with When We All Vote and the Global Black Economic Forum is extremely critical as we approach an election season that will have lasting impacts for generations to come,” said Caroline Wanga, President and CEO of Essence Ventures. “For over five decades, the variety of platforms we curate have maintained a steadfast commitment to collectively informing and involving constituencies on the issues and topics of highest interest and impact to those most recently through our ‘Paint the Polls Black’ franchise. The timeliness of strategic alignment with When We All Vote, and the celebration of 30 years of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture™, positions us well to preserve the legacies that got us here while reinforcing the present for the legacies to come.”

The organizations will continue to make sure voters are registered and ready to go to the ballot box and build the Essence Voting Squad at activations and events around the country, including Beautycon, AFROPUNK, Girls United and more.


ABOUT When We All Vote: 

When We All Vote is a leading national, nonpartisan initiative on a mission to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election by helping to close the race and age gap. Created by Michelle Obama, When We All Vote brings together individuals, institutions, brands, and organizations to register new voters across the country and advance civic education for the entire family and voters of every age to build an informed and engaged electorate for today and generations to come. We empower our supporters and volunteers to take action through voting, advocating for their rights, and holding their elected officials accountable.

In 2020, When We All Vote ran a robust, multifaceted campaign and reached more than 100 million people to educate them about the voting process and get them registered and ready to vote. The initiative also led in voter education, registration, and volunteer engagement and as a result, 512,000 people started or completed the voter registration process, and nearly 500 media, corporate, and nonprofit partners joined its efforts.

Michelle Obama launched When We All Vote in 2018 and is joined by fellow Co-Chairs Stephen Curry, Becky G, Selena Gomez, Tom Hanks, H.E.R., Liza Koshy, Jennifer Lopez, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Megan Rapinoe, Shonda Rhimes, Bretman Rock, Kerry Washington, and Rita Wilson.

When We All Vote is an initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organization, and works with Civic Nation Action, a 501(c)(4). Learn more here.

ABOUT Civic Nation:

Civic Nation is a nonprofit ecosystem for high-impact organizing and education initiatives working to build a more inclusive and equitable America. Civic Nation shifts culture, systems, and policy by bringing together individuals, grassroots organizers, industry leaders and influencers to tackle some of our nation’s most pressing social challenges. Civic Nation is home to seven national initiatives and campaigns: ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, Change Collective, It’s On Us, Online for All, SAVE On Student Debt, We The Action, and When We All Vote. Learn more here.

to top