Hip Hop Caucus Statement on Supreme Court Ruling to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Today, Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion:

“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a full frontal assault on reproductive rights that will have devastating consequences for millions of people, especially Black, Brown, and Indigenous women. Eliminating the right to safe, legal abortions increases health risks and endangers lives, because abortions will still happen. This decision weakens the foundation for many others fundamental rights that should never have to be challenged or debated. Justice Thomas has made it clear in his opinion that legal protections for birth control, same-sex and interracial marriage — and even the right to have sex — are now vulnerable under this official decision.”

“When it comes to our bodies, we have the right to choose and no one, absolutely no one, should tell us the decisions to make. Hip Hop Caucus and our communities will fight until our reproductive rights are restored state by state and we will make clear to lawmakers that they must respect our votes this November and respect our choice.”

About Hip Hop Caucus 

Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.

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Hip Hop Caucus Hosts ‘We Shall Breathe’ Virtual Summit on June 30 to Challenge the Petrochemical Industry’s Expansion Plans

We Shall Breathe 2022 National Summit

Summit will feature impacted community members and leaders, climate and environmental justice experts, and live performances

LOS ANGELES — The national nonprofit organization Hip Hop Caucus’ Think 100% platform will host the ‘We Shall Breathe’ virtual summit on June 30, 2022 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The summit will bring together activists and climate justice experts to engage audiences in the effort to stop petrochemical facilities expansion, particularly in Houston, Louisiana, and the Ohio River Valley which are production epicenters in the U.S. Register for ‘We Shall Breathe’ here

Petrochemicals are the building blocks for plastics, pesticides, clothing, digital devices, and other common products. Petrochemicals are made from oil and natural gas, and contaminate air, water and soil. Emissions from petrochemical production account for 10 to 15 percent of the U.S.’ climate pollution. A majority of petrochemical plants are located in Black and Brown communities and without successful intervention to curb expansion, the petrochemical industry could account for nearly half of all oil industry growth by 2050. 

“While the world is making strides in transitioning to clean energy and electric vehicles, the oil industry is eyeing petrochemicals as their lifeline to the future,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO. “Their business plan is a death sentence to our communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and on the fence lines of these industries. The ‘We Shall Breathe’ Summit will host some of the most dynamic leaders across the country who are coming together to shut down polluting facilities in communities and advance real climate justice solutions for all our futures.” 

The ‘We Shall Breathe’ summit with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies will feature visual art, clips from the Hip Hop Caucus’ Think 100% film series ‘Big Oil’s Last Lifeline’ and interactive presentations and panel discussions. Guest speakers and performers include Jacqueline Patterson, Founder and Executive Director of The Chisholm Legacy Project, Kristy Drutman, Host of the Brown Girl Green podcast, poet Zoe Enne Samuel, and more will be announced.  

“The substantial gains we’ve made in cutting climate pollution and saving lives threaten to be swamped by new fossil fuel projects. And frontline communities stand to be hit first and worst, just like they have been with pollution from existing facilities and from the impacts of climate change,” said Antha Williams, who leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Environment Program. “The ‘We Shall Breathe’ summit will convene key players and amplify the voices of those who experience the brunt of pollution and see solutions to bring us a healthier, more sustainable, and just future for all.”

The inaugural ‘We Shall Breathe’ summit held in April 2021 had more than 35,000 people tune in live from across the U.S. and garnered more than 250,000 views. The summit featured speakers from the NAACP, Black Women’s Roundtable, and the National Black Environmental Justice Network (NBEJN). Stream the 2021 ‘We Shall Breathe’ summit here

For more information about the ‘We Shall Breathe’ summit, visit www.weshallbreathe.com

About Hip Hop Caucus 

Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.

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Hip Hop Caucus Applauds Historic Confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — Today, Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. issued the following statement in response to Congress’ confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States:

“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court is historic, affirming, and undoubtedly deserved. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is the definition of Black excellence and brings unparalleled experience to a Court that has been majority white throughout our history. Following Black women’s leadership is what we need to do for our nation and representation on America’s highest court is long overdue. We celebrate this barrier-breaking moment for how her expert leadership will shape our country, and also for how it will enliven possibilities in the dreams of young girls everywhere. We look forward to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s service on the United States Supreme Court as we continue to strive for a country that is more equitable, free, and fair for all.” 

About Hip Hop Caucus 

Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.

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Hip Hop Caucus Launches New Voting Tool to Aid Returning Citizens’ Access to the Ballot Box

Respect Returning Citizens right to Vote

New Voting Tool To Provide Easier Access To Information On Voter Eligibility Launches On National Voter Registration Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 28 – Hip Hop Caucus’ Respect My Vote campaign launched today, a new voting tool geared towards helping returning citizens and those on parole find out if they are eligible to vote.

This tool is the first of its kind to provide timely, up-to-date information that is updated in real time in accordance with changes to the laws. The voting tool allows users to enter their personal, but not traceable or recorded, information in order to determine if their specific circumstances allow them to vote. It offers the most impressive and comprehensive granularity of data of existing voter eligibility resources, and includes all U.S. States and territories. 

“Access to the ballot, and more specifically equal access to the ballot for all people, is a key value in American democracy,” Rev Yearwood, president and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus said. “Returning citizens are a heavily disenfranchised demographic of voters, largely because many assume their status deems them ineligible to vote. This lack of continuity in laws between states, as well as frequent changes, is a natural cause of confusion. We, along with our partners, seek to use his new tool to aid returning citizen’s access to the ballot box.”

A number of Americans have unfortunately lost their right to vote because of a past felony conviction. However, just because an individual has a felony conviction, it does not necessarily mean that they are unable to vote in most states. This new voting tool aims to tackle that problem and inform individuals by aggregating laws on voting rights for all states in one place that walks each user through their potential eligibility and resources to sign up. If the user is not in fact eligible to vote, the tool will outline and explain exactly why that is the case.

The release of the new online voting tool will streamline eligibility requirements of formerly incarcerated people and those on parole as many states have created a dense and often confusing patchwork of voter eligibility laws. For example, Connecticut, New York and Washington recently passed laws restoring voting rights to citizens on parole; while New Jersey restores the right to vote to people with a felony conviction upon their release from prison. However, in the battleground state of Florida, people with certain felony convictions can vote after the completion of their sentences. 

The tool is available to embed on the websites of organizations mobilizing the vote in upcoming elections. Other organizations that have agreed to offer the tool to their membership include: U.S. Vote Foundation, Rock the Vote, National Black Justice Coalition, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

About Hip Hop Caucus 

Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.

Hip Hop Caucus and Global Partners Unite for Three Parallel Climate Summits

Earth Week Will Also See Multiple Days Of Climate Action 

On Earth Day, April 22, global activists, international leaders, and influencers will come together for the second-annual multi-hour Earth Day Live

WASHINGTON, D.C. — EARTHDAY.ORG along with lead organizers Education International, Hip Hop Caucus, and Earth Uprising are organizing three separate parallel climate action summits on April 20 and 21 ahead of the Biden Administration’s global leaders’ climate summit. The parallel summits are focused respectively on climate literacy, environmental justice, and a broad range of youth-led climate-focused issues. Earth Week will also bring thousands of groups and millions of voices together to stand up for climate action and bring awareness to humanity’s greatest existential threat. On Earth Day, EARTHDAY.ORG will bring together its partners, activists, educators, researchers, musicians, artists, influencers and more for its second-annual Earth Day Live.

“This Earth Day, we have an important opportunity to challenge world leaders to see climate change for what it is – a pressing global security threat, one that threatens everyone and everything but particularly our most vulnerable people and places,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of EARTHDAY.ORG.

April 20
The three days of climate action begin on April 20th with the global youth climate summit led by Earth Uprising, in collaboration with My Future My Voice, OneMillionOfUs and hundreds of youth climate activists. The global youth summit will consist of panels, speeches, discussions, and special messages with today’s youth climate activists including Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor, and Licypriya Kangujam. The four-hour digital summit will address the progress that has been made on their main issues of concern, including the creation of green jobs, climate literacy, civic skill training, environmental justice, biodiversity protection and sustainable agriculture. In the lead up to the event, the youth organizers will put together a short list of demands that they want addressed at the Biden Administration’s climate summit.

“President Biden bringing together world leaders to discuss climate change on Earth Day is a major turning point in global climate action! This youth-led summit will bring together global youth climate activists to prepare a message for President Biden on the eve of his historic summit. Youth around the world are experiencing some of the worst effects of climate change right now. We’re suffering from extreme weather, pollution, civil unrest, and the loss of lives and livelihoods. Our summit will identify the key issues and solutions most important to youth. The future of our generation is at stake and it’s important for our voices to be heard!” said Alexandria Villaseñor, Founder of Earth Uprising.

“World leaders need to see climate change as an urgent political issue. The world is already experiencing adverse extreme weather events like floods, droughts, heat waves, cyclones, locusts and extremely polluted air at the same time. These are all the impacts of climate change. The United States must take a leadership role in the shift to sustainable production and consumption to end this crisis and shift from the carbon economy to the green economy. It must put in place policy that would draw investment into resource efficiency and reduction of waste. In doing so, it will provide a template for other developing countries as well,” said Licypriya Kangujam, 9-year-old Climate & Environmental Activist.

In the evening on April 20, the Hip Hop Caucus and its partners will present the “We Shall Breathe” virtual summit. This digital event will examine climate and environmental justice, connecting the climate crisis to issues of pollution, poverty, police brutality, and the pandemic, all within a racial justice framework.

“Climate and environmental justice were on the ballot in November. The same Black and Brown voters that decided the election for President Biden, are the same communities that have been most impacted by environmental injustice and who are most threatened by climate disaster. This Earth Day, we expect President Biden to reinforce our affirmation that ‘We Shall Breathe’ by announcing bold climate action based on equity and justice domestically and globally,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and Founder, Hip Hop Caucus.

April 21
On April 21, Education International will lead the “Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit.” The multilingual virtual summit will span several time zones and feature prominent activists from every continent, focused on the crucial role that educators play in combating climate change and why we need transformative climate education now. 

Susan Hopgood, President of Education International, said, “The fight against climate change  must have an  education face  and a teacher’s voice in every area of the world.  The planet is  in  crisis  and I  strongly believe that teachers and educators have a critical role to play in  combating the environmental destruction, human suffering and  social injustice that will  certainly occur if climate change continues at current rates.”

“Teachers know that the most important long-term investment our societies can make towards a sustainable future is ensuring every student is literate about climate science and equipped with the civic knowledge and skills to change course,” said David Edwards, General Secretary, Education International. “All world leaders must commit to creating the necessary educational space and resources so that students learn the world’s most important lesson. In launching this campaign, the world’s educators are determined to realize our students’ right to know, do and exist.”

April 22
Parallel to the Biden Administration’s global climate summit, EARTHDAY.ORG will produce its second Earth Day Live digital event on April 22. The multi-hour multi-channel livestream will include segments taking place around the world starting at noon Eastern Time. Workshops, panel discussions, and special performances will focus on Earth Day’s 2021 theme, Restore Our Earth, which examines natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. Topics will include climate and environmental literacy, climate restoration technologies, reforestation efforts, regenerative agriculture, equity and environmental justice, citizen science, cleanups, and beyond. World climate leaders, grassroots activists, nonprofit innovators, thought leaders, industry leaders, artists, musicians, influencers, and more will be involved.  

For more information about Earth Day 2021, please visit: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/

About EARTHDAY.ORG
EARTHDAY.ORG’s mission is to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day (1970), EARTHDAY.ORG is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 150,000 partners in nearly 192 countries to build environmental democracy. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Learn more at: https://www.earthday.org

About Hip Hop Caucus
Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders. Learn more at: www.hiphopcaucus.org

About Education International
Education International is the global voice of educators and the world’s largest, most representative global organization of education unions. With more than 32.5 million members in 384 organizations in 178 countries and territories, Education International works to promote peace, democracy, social justice and equity through education and the collective strength of teachers and education employees. Learn more at: https://www.ei-ie.org

About Earth Uprising
Earth Uprising is a global, youth-led non-profit organization focused on climate education, climate advocacy, and youth mobilization. Through its strong network of activists from all around the world, partnerships with other groups, and local, national, and international campaigns and actions, it aims to bring attention to, and spur action based on the latest science regarding the climate crisis. Earth Uprising provides the tools, resources, and connections young people need to take direct action in their communities. Learn more at earthuprising.org

Press Contacts:
EARTHDAY.ORG: Olivia Altman altman@earthday.org

Hip Hop Caucus: media@hiphopcaucus.org

Education International: Cristina Banita Cristina.Banita@ei-ie.org or Rebeca Logan rebeca.logan@ei-ie.org

Earth Uprising: media@earthuprising.org

Hip Hop Caucus Celebrates Rep. Deb Haaland’s Appointment as Secretary of the Department of the Interior

Nationwide– Following news that President-elect Joe Biden has appointed Congresswoman Deb Haaland as the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Hip Hop Caucus issued the following statement:

“Rep. Deb Haaland’s selection to lead the Department of Interior is one of the most powerful and important appointments by President-elect Biden, and today we celebrate,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and Founder of Hip Hop Caucus. “Not only is this historic, as she is the first Native person to hold a cabinet position, she is the right person at the right moment to lead this Department: she will set a precedent on how to equitably work with tribal communities and how to make a just transition to solve the climate crisis. 

“A lifelong activist, Rep. Haaland joined the movement at Standing Rock and is respected by her peers in Congress and across the nation. Today, we uplift our Native brothers and sisters. This appointment provides leadership in a Department that has long been responsible for our country’s exploitation of tribes. We will call on her for leadership on issues such as returning land back to Native people and championing climate and environmental justice. We look forward to her bringing a breadth of experience to this appointment by elevating these issues to the forefront of our national discourse and action.”

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About Hip Hop Caucus

Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.

Hip Hop Caucus on Biden, Harris Victory

LOS ANGELES– Today, in response to former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris being declared the next President and Vice President of the United States, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Founder and President Hip Hop Caucus, released the following statement:

“The people have spoken and decisively rejected hate and divisiveness. Tonight we celebrate this historic win, as Sen. Harris becomes the first woman and person of Black and Asian-American descent to be our Vice President.”

Across the country, we have watched as our communities continue to suffer from dangerous and harmful policy, rhetoric, and systemic violence. Many are understandably at their breaking point given the enormous hardships of this year, in particular — from the pandemic, the economy, and just the overall uncertainty that the future holds.

Hip Hop Caucus nonpartisan campaigns engaged tens of thousands of voters this cycle, but elections are always only the beginning of the work. The struggle for climate justice, racial justice, economic justice, and civil rights continues, and now we will hold our new administration to account – to not merely tackle the crises the last administration created – but to make this a place where all of us can thrive.

Today the work continues, with this new leadership to achieve better outcomes in 2021 and beyond.”

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Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.

Hip Hop Caucus on Election 2020: We Must Count Every Vote

LOS ANGELES – Today, as we await the results of who has won the Presidential election, with former Vice President Joe Biden on track for an electoral college victory, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Founder and President Hip Hop Caucus, released the following statement:

“The basis of American democracy is that we pick our leaders – our leaders do not pick their voters. This election is not over until we count every vote. Whether we are Black or white, Indigenous or newcomer, Latinx or Asian, we know that for democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. In our democracy everyone counts, no exceptions.

The candidates have had their say, and now it is time for the will of the people to determine the outcome. In this election, voters have turned out to make their voices heard in record-shattering numbers. We must count every vote and swear in the President that the people have chosen.

Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of American democracy. So much is on the line in this election – our lives, our health, our jobs, our democracy.  We The People determine our own future – through voting. No other option is acceptable.”

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About Hip Hop Caucus

Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.

Hip Hop Caucus Responds to Fatal Police Shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.

LOS ANGELESFollowing the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. and the subsequent protests in Philadelphia, Hip Hop Caucus issued the following statement:

“We demand the police officers who murdered Walter Wallace be charged to the fullest extent of the law,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and Founder of Hip Hop Caucus. “Philadelphians are right to be outraged. Walter Wallace Jr.’s family had called for an ambulance to help with a mental health crisis, not for police to shoot their loved one dead in the street. Walter Wallace deserves justice. Black people deserve justice. ” 

“People are rightfully taking to the streets in Philadelphia to demand justice while people across the country are taking their demands for Black lives to matter and an end to police brutality to the polls,” continued Rev. Yearwood Jr. 

“This systematic brutality has gone on for as long as enslaved Black people were brought to this country 401 years ago and 2020 is the year of truth. Hip Hop Caucus calls for defunding the police and investing in community-led solutions for public safety, health, and opportunity. And we call on state and local officials in Philadelphia to protect the rights of people to protest this outrageous miscarraige of justice and to protect everyone’s right to vote in the current election.”  

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About Hip Hop Caucus

Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.

Hip Hop Caucus Demands Structural Court Reform in Response to Republicans’ Illegitimate Supreme Court Confirmation

“Our lives are on the line and it’s time for Congressional Democrats to fight like it.”

LOS ANGELESFollowing today’s Senate floor vote for Amy Coney Barrett’s seat on the Supreme Court, Hip Hop Caucus issued the following statement:

“Today’s sham Senate vote is nothing short of a complete legislative coup,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and Founder of Hip Hop Caucus. “Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have undermined the will of the American people with this Supreme Court confirmation and exposed themselves as lying hypocrites. Let there be no doubt that Americans are taking notice.

“In the middle of a once in a century pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 people and pummeled us into an unprecedented economic crisis, Republicans have hijacked our democracy and prioritized a political power grab over coronavirus relief. This illegitimate confirmation threatens our health care, our planet, our voting rights, our civil rights and women’s reproductive rights. 

“Our lives are on the line and it’s time for Congressional Democrats to fight like it. They must move forward with structural reforms like abolishing the filibuster and court expansion immediately to ensure our institutions truly represent the will and interests of the majority of Americans. Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump do not get to dictate what this country looks like for generations to come.”

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Hip Hop Caucus is a national, non-profit and non-partisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process to build power and create positive change.