There are 50 million people in America who will be excluded from voting in Tuesday's midterms because they lack citizenship, have prior convictions or are just too young, but the online platform The Love Vote is giving them a chance to have their voices heard by motivating voters to cast the ballot on their behalf.
Through the organization's website, ineligible voters, called movers, can upload videos to share their stories and encourage eligible Americans to pledge to vote. This not only increases voter turnout but also gives representation to those who can't participate in the election.
Seventeen-year-old Fort Greene resident Isaac Blakeney got involved with The Love Vote because he wants to see positive change in his community with a candidate who will address social and racial issues. Isaac, who raps and sings, used his talent by penning and performing a song for his video. And the response of the viewers who have shared his video, and friends, family and teachers who have pledged to vote for him, is amazing, he says.
"The Love Vote is pretty much to get people to vote on your behalf and that's what I'm doing," says Isaac. "The song I perform in my video, 'Y'all Mad,' is about police brutality, and it's for people like Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling and Sandra Bland. It's to show that we have a voice for my people, and not just for my people, for everyone."
Isaac hopes that people will see that if a young person can weigh in through uplifting and positive music, anybody can contribute in their own way.
"I want everybody to know that you have a voice and you can make a change, you just have to put your mind to it," he says.
The Love Vote founder Esther de Rothschild, a former high school teacher, launched the website inspired by her students who were too young to vote in the 2016 presidential election, and who felt frustrated and let down by its outcome.
The platform works like a crowdfunding website. But instead of raising money the movers raise votes, which makes them feel empowered, represented and, importantly, loved, she explains.
"People think sometimes of love as being fluffy, weak and not serious when it comes to battling for survival, but love is incredibly powerful," says de Rothschild. "Love is an untapped source of tremendous power, and it's the only way out of the fear and rage-filled discourse of the current climate."
Various celebrities including Debra Messing, Alyssa Milano, Rosie Perez, Orange is the New Black's Uzo Aduba and Queer Eye For The Straight Guy's Tan France have taken note and become supporters, to de Rothschild's surprise. She hopes that platform continues to gain momentum and will result in a government that values the humanity of its people.
To see Isaac's and other movers' videos, to upload your own story or to simply spread the love of vote, visit www.thelovevote.org.