The Hip Hop Caucus (www.hiphopcaucus.org), today announced a partnership with the |Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (www.hsan.org) to jointly launch a national 18 city RESPECT MY VOTE! Get Out The Vote Bus Tour, urging potential first time voters and all voters to Get Out The Vote on Election Day. The GOTV Bus Tour of key battleground states will launch on Friday, October 17 at 4pm EST at the Atlanta Hip-Hop Summit on Financial Empowerment taking place at Clark Atlanta University’s Cornelius L. Henderson Student Center at 223 James P. Brawley Drive, S.W., during the BET Hip Hop Awards this weekend. Participating in the launch weekend will be hip-hop stars T.I., Russell Simmons, Keyshia Cole, Yung Joc, BET “106 & Park” host Rocsi, Gorilla Zoe and more. The RESPECT MY VOTE! Campaign, created by Hip Hop Caucus founder Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., has garnered the support of such celebrities as T.I., Keyshia Cole, MTV reality stars Angela and Vanessa Simmons, Chris Brown, David Banner, BET’s “106 & Park”‘s Terrence J and Rocsi, Nelly, Omar Epps, Bow Wow and Busta Rhymes, among others. According to a recent poll of 18 – 29 year old voters by Lake Research Partners, The Tarrance Group and Rock the Vote found that young people are really engaged in this election. They are talking about it with friends and family and opting in over the internet, seeking out information on their own. The pollsters pointed to data that 86 percent of young people are likely to vote. The Bus Tour will launch from Atlanta, GA. on October 17 and culminate in Toledo, OH and Detroit, MI on November 4th, Election Day, making stops to spread its message of youth empowerment through voting at a number of venues including the BET Hip Hop Awards, T.I, T-Pain and Jay Z concerts and college campuses like Ohio State University, Hampton University and Virginia State University. Hip-hop stars T.I, Keyshia Cole, Angela and Vanessa Simmons, Busta Rhymes and others will be participating in the Bus Tour, making select appearances. More artists to be announced. Grassroots marketing teams from both non-partisan organizations, the Hip Hop Caucus and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network will be distributing voter education information to the hundreds of thousand s of potential new voters in each state at all Bus Tour events and stops. “Now that the deadlines for registration have passed my goal is to encourage the masses to exercise their right and vote,” declared platinum selling hip-hop star and actor, T.I. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” “No registered voter can sit on the sidelines during this critical election. This ‘Get Out the Vote’ bus tour will encourage newly registered voters to vote, and will make sure that every vote that is cast is respected,” said Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr. “Utilizing the help of celebrities such as T.I. and organizations like the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, we’re able to combine forces to encourage many young Americans to vote for the first time in what is regarded as the most important Presidential election of our generation.” In fact, if there is any key state where [the youth vote] wouldn’t seem to be much of an asset, it’s Florida, where discussions of Social Security and Medicare have traditionally trumped all other issues. But the once easily pigeonholed demographics in the Sunshine State are changing, and many pundits say the 30-and -under crowd could turn out to be the decisive factor in this year’s closely contested race.” TIME – October 8, 2008 “We’re in the home stretch now toward the most important election of our lifetime,” declared Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President/CEO of HSAN. “We are honored as HSAN to join the Hip Hop Caucus, Reverend Yearwood, T.I. and others on this historic GOTV Bus Tour to make a decisive contribution toward the fulfillment of the dreams and aspirations of millions of young people across America who want change. Every vote will count. Every hip-hop vote will make the difference.” THE RESPECT MY VOTE! Campaign has mobilized over half a million registered young voters (18-39) in urban communities. RESPECT MY VOTE! was built on previously successful marketing, communications and grassroots strategies in an electoral context. The Hip Hop Caucus integrates the audience building capacity of celebrities and media to achieve unprecedented base building among our target market. The campaign provides insights and data into the political behavior of this generally unengaged citizenry and builds sustainable community participation.