Russell Simmons
Hip-Hop News: Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Encourages Voting
Russell Simmons the co-founder and chairman of the HSAN is using hip hop to encourage voting.
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Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
6/21/2006 9:23:56 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Russell Simmons. Hip Hop, Rap and Support.

Using the power of popular music to reach young people, Russell Simmons, co-founder and chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, also co-founder and president of the organization, announced today that HSAN's voter registration campaign will return this year to Philadelphia and the surrounding area.

In addition to Simmons and Dr. Chavis, U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah, Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street and Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell will support the non-partisan voter registration, with Simmons setting a goal of 10,000 new registrants. The program will build on HSAN's previous voter registration efforts in the Philadelphia area that took place in 2003 and 2004. Simmons will launch the campaign at the Hip-Hop Summit National Town Hall Meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12th at the University of Pennsylvania's Irvine Auditorium.

"I am pleased to join Russell Simmons in working to use hip-hop as a tool to empower our youth," Congressman Fattah said. "Regardless of party affiliation or ethnicity, true empowerment comes when we can combine the desire for obtaining a high-quality education with an understanding that the ability to exercise the right to vote is not only a privilege, but a necessity."

Simmons, co-founder of the hip-hop label Def Jam and founder of the Russell Simmons Music Group, said the program in Philadelphia will yield tangible results for people across the United States.

"We are excited about returning to the City of Brotherly Love, where we first linked registering young voters to the power of hip-hop culture," he said. "In that tradition, we will have an important dialogue at the Hip-Hop Summit National Town Hall Meeting on Community Empowerment across a wide range of issues affecting the quality of young people's lives throughout America."

"Hip-hop is about putting truth to power," he added, "and we will not be silenced."

Mayor Street, who has worked in partnership with HSAN since 2003 to energize young voters, said the registration effort is of vital importance. "Nothing is more important than the involvement of all our citizens in the civic process," Street said. "Our ancestors earned it, and now we must respect it, protect it and use it."

"I am proud to support the Hip Hop Summit," Gov. Rendell added. "Empowerment and voter registration efforts such as this make our communities stronger."

Dr. Benjamin Chavis, co-founder, president and chief executive of the Hip- Hop Summit Action Network, predicted monumental change in America through widespread registration of young voters.

"The Hip-Hop Summit National Town Hall Meeting in Philadelphia will be one of the most important gatherings of the 21st century," said Chavis. "If we register millions of youth throughout the United States and get them to the polls in 2006, 2007 and 2008, they will change the face and political landscape of America."

"We need both political and economic empowerment, and we must work toward this end with the fever and enthusiasm of an old-time civil rights revival coupled with the energy and mass appeal of hip-hop," Chavis added.

In addition to the national town hall meeting taking place on July 12th and the after-party celebration following at the Diamond Club at Citizens Bank Park, other events leading up to the summit will be announced later this week.

Founded in 2001, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is dedicated to harnessing the cultural relevance of hip-hop music to serve as a catalyst for education advocacy and other societal concerns fundamental to the well-being of at-risk youth throughout the United States. HSAN is a non-profit, non- partisan national coalition of hip-hop artists, entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil rights proponents and youth leaders united in the belief that hip-hop is an enormously influential agent for social change which must be responsibly and proac

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