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As we watch events unfold in Ukraine, and witness an autocrat’s attack on democracies around the world, the importance of defending democracy in our nation is more important than ever.
Yet, while the threat to democracy both at home and abroad is increasing, the youth of America are becoming more cynical and jaded about the importance of democracy in their lives. How we ensure that the next generation of Americans cares about, and engages in, democracy is more important than ever.
One way is through celebrity power. There is a long history in our country of celebrities encouraging Americans to vote and becoming engaged in our democracy. And that continues today.
The first step to political engagement often starts with voting, and celebrities can play an important role in this effort. HeadCount combines the power of pop culture with registering voters. Stars such as Ariana Grande, Dead & Company, Jonathan Van Ness, Dave Matthews Band, Beyoncé, Maggie Rogers, Panic! At the Disco and many more work in a non-partisan fashion at hundreds of concerts every year to get citizens engaged in our democracy and interested in voting.
Over 100 festivals and touring artists work with HeadCount to bring voter registration to their fans The voter drives are amplified with social impact programs for brands like Ben & Jerry’s, American Eagle Outfitters and MTV, centered around civic engagement.
Last year HeadCount announced a strategic partnership with Up to Us to educate, register and turn out young voters in 2022. We are collaborating through a shared belief that democracy should represent all Americans. The reach of celebrities through social media is massive, and when their star power combines with efforts to engage the youth of America, citizen engagement in our democratic process can skyrocket.
As just one example, Ariana Grande recently had an instagram post that was viewed by over 3,900,000 followers.
In that post praising HeadCount she said:
i am so in awe of the impact you have had as an organization over these past 18 years - registering more than 1 million people to vote and to use their voice. i’ll never be able to thank you enough for what we accomplished together on the sweetener tour and after. so proud and grateful. happy 18th birthday and let us keep going please !!!
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Promoting participation in democracy is more important than ever. HeadCount’s nonpartisan use of the power of music reaches young people and music fans where they already are.
Informing and empowering citizens is more important than ever as we face authoritarianism around the world. Many pop culture artists have the shared belief that democracy should represent all Americans. Collaborations with civic engagement and voter turnout organizations have shown significant success in increasing voter turnout.
There is no doubt that young voters’ diverse and passionate voices must be heard and by doing so we become a more perfect union.