Oprah Winfrey Network, the leading network for Black women, announced today the first ever OWN YOUR VOTE initiative, a bipartisan registration and get-out-the-vote campaign partnering with national and local grassroots and voting rights organizations to provide tools and resources that will empower Black women to vote this November.
Black women powerfully influence election outcomes, and OWN YOUR VOTE will support this motivated group of voters to show up to the polls and help friends, family, and their community to do the same.
In 2020 Americans face unprecedented obstacles to voting in federal, state, and local elections, and OWN YOUR VOTE is committed to a bipartisan, pro-social campaign of actions and events for and with Black women, connecting them to urgent political actions, giving their concerns a powerful microphone, and placing a spotlight on key community issues with original content, social activations, events, tools, resources, and targeted communications across OWN platforms and beyond.
OWN YOUR VOTE is designed to help Black women make a voting plan for this critical 2020 election cycle, by recognizing obstacles to voting including challenges around COVID-19, mail-in ballots, voter suppression, transportation, and changing protocols and poll locations; connecting the everyday issues critical to Black women to the issues appearing on the ballot; empowering this key voting block to own their voting story, and make a plan to ensure success at the polls; encouraging local community activism and leveraging personal networks; and collaborating with the voting rights partnership community to support mail-in voting, voter registration, volunteerism, transportation, and safety procedures.
OWN is partnering on the campaign with national and local organizations including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Action Network (NAN), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Color of Change, Advancement Project, Fair Fight Action, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Black Women’s Roundtable, The National Urban League, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Links, Incorporated, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), Woke Vote, Higher Heights Leadership Fund, When We All Vote, Sistahs in Business Expo, Vote.org, The King Center, and more to come. Target markets for the initiative include the key battleground states with a high concentration of OWN viewers including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and Ohio.
“COVID-19 and the racial justice movement have highlighted the need for urgent policy reform to balance disparities that exist regarding affordable healthcare, systemic racism, and racial discrimination.” said Tina Perry, president OWN. “We are proud to announce this important bipartisan social initiative that supports and empowers Black women to use their voice to face the issues in America they find paramount this election season. When she votes, she influences elections, and it has never been more critical to use OWN’s wide-reaching platform to ensure our core audience has the tools needed to register and cast an informed vote this fall.”
Oprah Winfrey said, “We find our nation on the precipice, a true tipping point. Our audience has a powerful voice. I am proud to be a part of this movement that will create the change we want to see for our country.”
Key issues for Black women in America
To inform the campaign, OWN implemented a four-month tracking study to identify key issues affecting Black women in America. They include finances, kids and family, crime and safety, employment, healthcare including mental health services, caring for aging parents, and the disproportionate negative impact on Black communities by racist policies and systems.
Black women are most concerned about the issues that impact their ability to care for themselves and their families. These have the greatest potential to dramatically impact their daily lives:
- Affordable healthcare and racism and discrimination are the two most important issues weighing on the minds of Black women this election season. About three out of four feel these issues are “very important” when deciding who they will vote for in November. For most Black women, Racism and Discrimination affects virtually every area of their lives and are also closely intertwined with grave concerns about crime and the Justice Department.
- Protecting Social Security, access to quality mental healthcare, education, and crime and the justice system are also key issues for about two out of three Black women who feel these topics are “very important” to their choice of candidates, based on the most recent survey results from February.
- Compared to other issues, Black Millennials are most concerned about Racism and Discrimination (76% “very important”) while Gen-Xers’ top priority is affordable healthcare (74% “very important”). And, nearly nine out of ten Boomers prioritize protecting Social Security above all else (88% “very important”).
The OWN political impact tracking study was conducted online once per month from November 2019 through February 2020. Each monthly survey included interviews from a nationally representative sample of 800 Black women 18+ who are eligible to vote. The average margin of error each month was +/- 3%. The study will continue in September 2020. The study was conducted by SmithGeiger, LLC based in Westlake Village, California.