Rosario Dawson to Co-Host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer Campaign Virtual Concert

Rosario Dawson is ready to rock the vote…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist will co-host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer campaign kick-off on Thursday, June 18, a two-hour virtual concert co-headlined by Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas.

Rosario Dawson

Co-hosted by Dawson and Logan Browning with Chuck D and Eve, the event will stream live beginning at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on democracysummer.org, and Democracy Summer’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Ne-YoBig FreediaLucy HaleAmara La NegraSaweetie, Sklyar Astin, Max, Leslie Grace, Dove Cameron, Sofia CarsonRich Brian and Michael K. Williams are among those slated to appear remotely. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro will make appearances.

“I’m excited to be a part of this kickoff to Democracy Summer 2020 with so many amazing talents, activists and speakers,” says Perry. “The young people of America are speaking loud and clear on the streets and online, and come November, it will be more important than ever to fight for justice and equality, and against systemic racism, with our ballots.”

“The young people are engaged. Their voices are loud and getting louder. The world is watching. And we need to vote,” agrees Chuck D, an early and consistent supporter of Rock the Vote, which was founded in 1990 by Virgin Records America co-chairman Jeff Ayeroff primarily to increase voter turnout among young adults.

“We are seeing the urgency for change in America happening in real time. This is the moment for us to use the most important tool on the planet to fight for that change…our right to vote,” says Ne-Yo. “Our democracy needs our voices. Voting is the moment to be the voice for injustice and for equality. But most importantly, to be the voice for humanity. We cannot let each other down in the local elections or on Nov. 3.”

Produced by BWG Live and in partnership with Voto Latino FoundationWhen We All Vote and March For Our Lives, the concert marks not only the first live-streamed event for the Rock the Vote, but also its first large-scale summer activation. 

In previous years the organization amped up in the fall before a Presidential election and typically staged a live event. Both pivots are a direct result of Covid-19.

“One of the realities is coronavirus derailed the momentum that is required in a major election cycle,” Rock the Vote president Carolyn DeWitt tells Billboard. “A few months ago we began seeing how the restrictions were affecting young people in particular, by moving them off college campuses and disrupting graduations and proms,” she says. “Our effort is really about building that momentum back up.”

With some 4 million young people turning 18 this year and innumerable issues at stake, the goal of Democracy Summer is to bring 200,000 new voters to the polls in November when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden challenges Donald Trump, as well as myriad primary and local elections throughout the summer and fall. Those interested in the event are encouraged to register at the Democracy Summer web site to get the latest details and lineup updates, although preregistration isn’t required to tune in. Viewers can go to Rock the Vote’s website to register to vote.

The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the swell of support around the Black Lives Matter movement also has catalyzed Thursday’s event. As protesters around the country have taken to the streets, Rock the Vote registered 107,000 new voters through its platforms and gained more than 25,000 new Instagram followers during the week of June 1, DeWitt says—numbers that dwarf those of a typical week.

“With what we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, the effort around Democracy Summer has become even more important. It’s not just the virus, it’s bigger than the economy standing still. The world feels like it’s on the brink of chaos and yet this moment around Black Lives Matter is bigger than that,” DeWitt says. “Frankly speaking, a big part of that is people are exercising their rights in a democracy. Young people are looking for things they can do and actions they can take in order to create change. We want to make sure we’re continuing to sustain that fire and passion into November, and make sure young people know the power of their votes and create the change they want to see.”

The live stream will include opportunities for viewers to donate to black-led and -focused organizations including the Community Justice Action Fund and National Action Network.

“Now, more than ever, voting is key for long-term change,” Black Eyed Peas said in a statement. “The youth vote is going to decide the future of America. It’s not just our duty but our honor to spread the word in an election year.”

“The diversity of America is what makes it great, and it is also what makes it our country,” says La Negra. “I am Dominican proudly, yet I am a black woman always. I matter. You matter. And together, we will always matter!”

“The need for young people to get out and vote has never been more important,” says Participant CEO David Linde. “We are proud to be working with Rock the Vote in making that need a reality and by using the inspiring, powerful message of Rep. John Lewis to make good trouble.”

Rock the Vote is planning additional Democracy Summer activations throughout the summer including on the Fourth of July and on August 6, the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Julian Castro to Take Part in 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues

Julian Castro will be discussing LGBTQ Issues later this week…

The 45-year-old Mexican American politician and Democratic US presidential candidate will take part in the national 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues.

Julian Castro

Hosted by Pose actress Angelica Ross, the forum is presented by GLAADOne IowaThe Gazette and The Advocate and will be livestreamed from Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 20 at 7:00 pm CT.

In addition to Castro, whowas the youngest member of President Barack Obama‘s Cabinet, serving as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017, participants include Joe BidenCory BookerPete Buttigieg, Tulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy Klobuchar, Joe SestakElizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson. Country artist and contestant on season 11 of The Voice Billy Gilman is set to perform the National Anthem at the event.

A transgender activist, Ross will join GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellison stage tol bring LGBTQ specific-issues to the forefront of discussion in the 2020 presidential election. 

During the Forum, each candidate will discuss their plan and vision for improving LGBTQ acceptance in a divisive time for marginalized communities.

“This LGBTQ Presidential Forum is a pivotal moment in the 2020 election cycle,” said Ellis. “It’s the first time that LGBTQ issues will be exclusively discussed by 2020 presidential candidates on a national stage.”

She adds, “We look forward to hearing how the 2020 candidates plan to reverse the attacks and rollbacks of the Trump Administration and put LGBTQ Americans on a course to 100% acceptance.”

This comes at a time when members of the American LGBTQ community have faced more than 124 anti-LGBTQ attacks in policy and rhetoric from the Trump Administration. This includes the ban on transgender Americans from serving in the military and the administration’s opposition to the Equality Act.

Rivera Considering Run for U.S. Senate

Will Mr. Rivera go to Washington?

Geraldo Rivera is considering a run for U.S. Senate.

Geraldo Rivera

The 69-year-old half-Puerto Rican talk show host recently announced that he’d contacted the local GOP in New Jersey, where he is considering a run in the next election cycle in 2014, during his radio show.

“I mentioned this only briefly to my wife … but I am and I’ve been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker,” said Rivera, according to The Hill.

“I’m not going to drill this out, because obviously I’ve got commitments to Fox and to here at the radio program and I’m really having a great time,” he said. “But I figure at my age, if I’m going to do it, I’ve got to do it.”

Rivera anchors Geraldo at Large on Fox News and hosts on Los Angeles radio station 790 KABC. If he decided to jump into the race, it could set up a showdown between two highly recognizable figures.

Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark and a prominent national Democrat, has already filed papers registering his Senate campaign after considering a run to challenge Republican Chris Christie in the race for governor in 2014.

Rivera also floated the notion of a potential run on his Twitter account this week, asking followers, “Wondering how folks feel about me running in N.J. under GOP banner against either Lautenberg or Booker for U.S. Senate?”