Two weeks ago, with considerable unrest in the streets of Atlanta, Killer Mike -- a prominent entertainer, entrepreneur, and activist -- delivered a remarkable impromptu speech on his perspective amid protests. It's worth watching and considering in detail, but one of the things that stood out for me were the constructive steps Mike advised people to take.
He advised people to do two things: fill out Census forms and vote.
A few days later, George Floyd's younger brother spoke at the same Minneapolis intersection where his brother died a week earlier. "Let's stop thinking that our voice don't matter and vote," Terrence Floyd said. The same day, Barack Obama published a Medium post, reminding people about the importance of participating in elections.
CNBC ran a report late last week suggesting the message may be having the intended effect.
Voter registrations, volunteer activity and donations for groups linked to Democratic causes are surging in the midst of protests following the death of George Floyd, according to voting advocacy groups.
According to the report, Voto Latino, a non-profit organization working on registering a record number of Latinos to vote, said it has seen "a massive upswing of registrations" of late.
CNBC added that When We All Vote, an organization co-chaired by Michelle Obama, has seen a jump in support "at the financial and volunteer levels," while Rock the Vote also reports a "historic" increase in registrations.
Some caution is probably in order. We don't yet know, for example, exactly how many new voters are getting signed up, or how many will follow through in the fall. The broader effort is made even more challenging by the coronavirus crisis -- door-to-door efforts are going to be a problem -- and assorted states' voter-suppression tactics.
That said, if there are even hints of increased civic/electoral engagement, it'll be a step in an encouraging direction.