Starting June 10th, When We All Vote hosted the first Culture of Democracy Summit featuring When We All Vote Co-Chairs Chris Paul, Selena Gomez, Liza Koshy, Bretman Rock and Kerry Washington, Former Attorney General Eric Holder, Magic Johnson, Doc Rivers, David Hogg and more.

Michelle Obama, When We All Vote Founder and Co-Chair
Michelle Obama, When We All Vote Founder and Co-Chair

The four-day nonpartisan convening brought together artists, athletes, academics, grassroots organizers and business leaders to discuss the role different industries play in protecting and strengthening democracy through voter registration, education, mobilization and culture change.

More than 1,000 people convened at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles for the final day of the Summit.

Special Summit Announcements

During the final day of the Summit, Lyft announced that the company will provide transportation grants to Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students participating in When We All Vote’s VOTE LOUD HBCU Squad Challenge in the fall.

When We All Vote partnered with the Center for Media & Social Impact and MTV Entertainment Studios to release first-of-its-kind research examining how voting, civic engagement and civic leadership are shown in top entertainment programming. The study found that while TV show characters are often shown talking about contemporary civic and social issues, they are rarely shown taking leadership and acting to solve civic problems in their communities. The study also found that entertainment TV characters engage in voting behaviors in less than 1% of top-rated entertainment TV programming.

When We All Vote will use this research and partnership to launch a new initiative to create more diverse narratives around voting, civic engagement and public service. At the Summit, leading entertainment executives, producers and showrunners, including Adam Conover, Scott Budnick, Charles D. King and Wanda Sykes, discussed the importance of civics in storytelling.

Recap of the Four Day Culture of Democracy Summit

Friday, June 10th: When We All Vote hosted the virtual day of the Culture of Democracy Summit with conversations on the state of democracy; environmental justice; reproductive rights; the faith community’s role in protecting democracy; how the music industry can influence change; and gerrymandering. Speakers included Sherrilyn Ifill, Marc Elias, Eric Holder, Common, Chloe x Halle, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Allie Redhorse Young and Mini Timmaraju. When We All Vote also spotlighted leaders in the voting community from Nsé Ufot at the New Georgia Project to Maria Teresa Kumar from Voto Latino.

Saturday and Sunday: When We All Vote hosted events for voting and advocacy organizations across the country to continue to build a culture of collaboration. The events included a Saturday convening with more than 80 leading organizers, and a conversation with Valerie Jarrett and Stephanie L. Young. On Sunday morning the group hiked to Griffith Observatory, led by renowned facilitator, Jovian Zayne. When We All Vote also hosted a reception featuring Ms. Tina and Richard Lawson, Harrison Barnes, Nikole Hannah Jones and more.

Monday, June 13th: More than 1,000 people convened at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles for the final day of the Summit. Out of an abundance of caution at the first Summit, When We All Vote created an event on the field for 1,000 guests max. Most attendees were invited from various industries, including entertainment, music, sports and academics, as well as grassroots organizers and leaders in technology, civics and corporations, while a small group of other attendees were able to purchase tickets online.

During the full day of programming, participants heard from Alexis McGill Johnson, Nikole Hannah Jones, Mary Kay Henry, Jeannie Mai Jenkins, Wanda Sykes, Maya Wiley, Doc Rivers, Deja Foxx and more. The day ended with a keynote speech from When We All Vote Co-Chair and Founder Michelle Obama, who was introduced by Co-Chair Selena Gomez. The Summit was produced by Live Nation Urban and MKG.

Culture of Democracy Awards

When We All Vote also announced the winners of the first-ever Culture of Democracy Awards. The awards recognized leaders across industries and communities doing critical work to strengthen and protect democracy through voter registration, mobilization and culture change. The awards were designed by artist Brandan “BMike” Odums.

The full list of Culture of Democracy Award winners is below:

Outstanding When We All Vote Volunteer: Pat, When We All Vote Volunteer Chapter Leader in Mississippi
Outstanding My School Votes Volunteer: Tiffany, Student at Elite Scholars Academy in Georgia
Outstanding Grassroots Organization: Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda
Outstanding Community Partner: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Outstanding Music Partner: DJ D-Nice
Outstanding Media Partner: POPSUGAR
Outstanding Entertainment Partner: MTV Entertainment Studios
Outstanding Athletic Partner: Atlanta Dream, WNBA
Outstanding Business Leader: Glossier
Outstanding Tech + Platforms Partner: Mobilize
Outstanding Fashion + Beauty Partner: Aurora James
Outstanding Creative Alliance Partner: Anomaly

Summit Investments

Throughout the weekend, When We All Vote invested in Black, Latinx, women and locally owned businesses, including Johnny’s West Adams, Uncle Nearest Whiskey Sorel Liqueur, Loft & Bear Distillery, Pinch of Flavor, BBQ Smokehouse, Chomp Chomp, GoFusion, Bad Ass Burgers, Sabroso, El Mas Chignon, StopBye, Compton Vegan Flamin Grains and MKG.

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