#RespectMyVote Rally protests Trump’s “Voter Suppression Commission”

This article was originally published on Hip Hop Caucus’ Medium page (here).

Hundreds of people gathered for our #RespectMyVote Rally in front of the White House the morning of July 19th to protest Trump’s “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The conversation also grew online, as #RespectMyVote rocketed to the #3 trending topic in America on Twitter, and stayed trending all day long. In addition, over a half million people signed petitions pushing back on Trump’s plan to suppress voters, and those petitions were at the rally in front of the White House for delivery.


The commission, more appropriately known as Trump’s “Voter Suppression Commission”, is nothing more than a sham — as noted by the Washington Post — created in response to the blatant false claim of voter fraud in America.

Ever since losing the popular vote by almost three million votes in the 2016 election versus Hilary Clinton, President Trump has been obsessed with proving that there was wide-spread voter fraud. Earlier this year he claimed, without one shred of evidence, that 3–5 million Americans voted illegally during the election.

Now he is out to prove this false claim and is using the power of the Presidency (and your tax money) to set up a which-hunt team full of voter-suppressor all-stars. Each of member of the commission has a long track record of suppressing the vote and blatant attacks on the Voter Rights Act.

Instead of focusing on solutions to ensure more people are able to vote, such as modernizing voter registration, this commission is going to embark on a which-hunt in order to prove a false claim and set up the justification for actions that will make it harder for Americans to vote. They have long decided that those who are the most vulnerable in our country — young people, seniors, people of color — need to have more between them and the ballot box.

You can help push back and demand that voting is made easier. It’s our American right! Click here to say #RespectMyVote!

Voting is the fundamental right of our democracy. It is a cherished right that our soldiers die for. The United States should be a beacon for democracy throughout the world and lead by example. This new commission completely goes in the the opposite direction.

However, we have seen all of this before. And just as Dr. King and so many others did throughout this country’s history, we are going to fight with everything we have to protect our voting rights. We will always be there to protect voting for all.

We had a very special guest join us for the rally — No Malice, from the legendary hip-hop duo Clipse. No Malice also wrote an article about why he was there. Check out “No Malice Writes Letter ‘Why I’m Rallying at the White House’”.


Coalition Rallies Outside Senate Hearing to Oppose Trump Administration’s Dirty EPA Budget


PRESS CONTACT: Mark Antoniewicz, mark@w0c.71c.mwp.accessdomain.com, 202-870-8476


Speakers Condemned President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for Slashing EPA Budget, make link to health care debate


Washington, D.C. — Today, Hip Hop Caucus rallied with a coalition of leaders from health, faith, scientific, economic, and environmental groups to condemn President Trump’s and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s “dirty budget”.

Ahead of Pruitt’s testimony in front of a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, rally speakers denounced the Trump Administration’s proposed 31 percent cut to the Fiscal Year 2018 EPA budget. They highlighted how the proposed cuts would undermine the agency’s ability to protect public health, including the safety of our air and water. They also discussed how the cuts would be particularly devastating for America’s most vulnerable communities.

“These proposed EPA budget cuts would have serious and lasting consequences for communities of color across the country, which are already disproportionately impacted by the realities of climate change and economic inequality. In order to move from surviving to thriving, our communities need strong protections from the polluters that threaten our right to clean air and clean water. A step back on any progress made is a step too far, especially for these communities whose very existence we are fighting for…” said Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior Vice President for Climate, Environmental Justice, & Community Revitalization at Hip Hop Caucus.

Leaders from a number of organizations participated in the rally including Sierra Club, Green For All, Union for Concerned Scientists, We ACT for Environmental Justice, Moms Clean Air Force, Greenpeace, 350.org, Green Latinos, Rising Hearts Coalition, Earth Day Network, 500 Women Scientists, Oil Change International, Environment America, Interfaith Power & Light of D.C., Maryland & Northern Virginia, Defend Our Future, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resource Defense Council, and the Franciscan Action Network.


About: Hip Hop Caucus is a national non-profit and non-partisan organization that utilizes the Hip Hop culture to engage people in the civic process, empower communities, and create positive change. With a grassroots infrastructure in 30 cities across the United States, we address both local and national policies impacting our communities. We strategically partner with local and national leaders, entertainers, influencers, and social justice organizations to use the power of the culture to drive advocacy, take action, and make real, lasting impact — from the “streets to the suites”. For more information, check us out at HipHopCaucus.org, where you can become a member. Also be sure to follow us on social media (@HipHopCaucus).



Statement on Mama D’s passing

Hip Hop Caucus Press Release

May 21, 2017

Statement on Mama D’s passing:

“Without Dyan French Cole, “Mama D”, there is probably no Hip Hop Caucus. The Hip Hop Caucus will forever be linked to Hurricane Katrina and people like Mama D who never flinched or backed down from speaking her mind about conditions she knew needed correcting. It was her power as a black woman, community leader, and activist that made everyone around her love her. If she was going to hit you, she would also let you know she was going to hit you. Mama D’s spirit was so powerful that Jay Z penned a lyric about her in one of his songs. We will keep her undying love for her community, her people, and the “babies” with us as we continue to do this work for justice. All Power to the People!”

— Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President & CEO of Hip Hop Caucus

“Mama D was one of the first genuine elders to embrace me in the movement and always demonstrated her bold and brave spirit that strengthens and encourages you as a human to fight for justice. The community will miss her voice, wisdom, and guidance. We are all saddened by the news of her passing.”

— Sess 4-5, Hip Hop Caucus New Orleans Coordinator and CEO of Nuthin But Fire Records

#KeepIt100: League of Conservation Voters releases 2016 Congressional Scorecard

Release Date: May 17, 2017

Today the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released their annual National Environmental Scorecard for members of Congress. The 0-100 score reflects how well Members of Congress are addressing environmental issues, including climate change, clean energy, and public health. This is a tool that our team at the Hip Hop Caucus uses to determine how well our elected leaders in Congress are taking action to protect and strengthen our communities.

A person’s skin color and zip code should not determine the quality of the air they breathe, the cleanliness of the water they drink, or their access to new opportunities. Unfortunately, some Congressional Members often overlook these communities. They also fail to work with community organizations within their districts to address these impacts and needs.

We also know that the impacts of climate change disproportionately affect our most vulnerable communities. Climate change hits these communities FIRST and WORST. It is simply irresponsible and dangerous that we still have many in Congress that are not listening to the science, and instead prefer to put profits for polluters ahead of people’s lives.

While each missed point for a Member on the scorecard might seem trivial, we know that in the real world, and especially for our vulnerable communities, each missed point means much, much more. It means more kids suffering from asthma and lead poisoning. It means less opportunity to participate in the clean energy economy. And it means more families being displaced by the effects of climate change.

It is frightening that the overall score of the House of Representatives is as low as it has ever been — and the Senate is not far behind. Why are Members of Congress not doing everything in their power to protect our health? Why are they not doing everything you can to create new economic opportunities in clean energy, like solar and wind? Why are they not doing everything to protect the most vulnerable from the effects of climate change? Why are they not doing everything they can to protect the only planet we have for future generations?

The good news is that the 2016 Scorecard shows that most Congressional Members of color understand the need to create good policy to protect our environment. And this understanding is turning into action in 2017. In the past month alone, we have seen members take bold steps to galvanize action through the creation of coalitions and introduction of legislation.

At the end of April, Representatives McEachin, Jayapal, and Barragán announced the formation of the United for Climate & Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force to help elevate the need for policies that make a difference in our communities. Senators Booker, Sanders, and Merkley also put forth bold legislation to transition our country to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2050, while ensuring a just transition for workers, and low-income and disadvantaged communities.


Many individual members are doing their part by not only working with their colleagues on Capitol Hill, but also with organizations within their communities to protect the environment and combat climate change. This of course makes a difference in scores, and more importantly, for positive impacts for real people.

For example, Representative Barbara Lee from the 13th District of California scored a perfect 100. As a founding Member of the Safe Climate Caucus and a member of Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, she is leading the way within Congress to drive positive policies. In her community, she has been a serious champion for Environmental Justice efforts. Over the years she has helped put on Environmental Justice townhalls and tours with local stakeholders such as the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, and others from the California Environmental Justice Alliance.

How can we replicate this understanding and turn it into action for all? How can we ensure that everyone is getting a perfect score? How can we ensure everyone can #KeepIt100?

With an eye on the 2018 midterms, you can bet that many members not doing well on this scorecard are going to be facing their constituents on these issues. The Hip Hop Caucus will be focusing our energy on turning out the vote and we will be using tools like the LCV scorecard to make sure people are informed on the issues.

Congressional Members who continue to put profit over people will ultimately lose. In these times where the stakes on protecting the environment and health of our communities have never been higher, and the threats against them have never been greater, we look to our leaders on Capitol Hill to do the right thing.

Through strong leadership at all levels, we can help our most vulnerable communities move from “Surviving to Thriving”. Let’s all work to make sure our Congressional Representatives and Senators #KeepIt100.

Mark Antoniewicz joins Hip Hop Caucus


Mark Antoniewicz joins Hip Hop Caucus


Washington, DC – Hip Hip Hop Caucus (HCC) announced today that Mark Antoniewicz has been named Director of Communications. Mark is enthusiastically welcomed into the Hip Hop Caucus family. Hip Hop Caucus is a national nonprofit nonpartisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process in order to build power and create positive change.

“Hip Hop Caucus is extremely pleased and very fortunate to have someone of Mark’s excellent experience in the field of communications join our team,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President & CEO of Hip Hop Caucus. “The addition of Mark Antoniewicz to the Hip Hop Caucus team, shows the world, that people are very serious about climate change, and revitalizing vulnerable communities. Mark, could have gone anywhere with his background and his impeccable credentials, but he wanted to make sure at this time of crisis and resistance, that his impressive skills would be used to empower the suites, as well as the streets across this great country of ours in an effort to create change for future generations.“

Mark comes with more than 10 years of experience in communications, public affairs and program management. Most recently, Mark was a political appointee in the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he helped lead the external outreach portfolio on climate, environment, natural resource conservation, and energy. He served as a public affairs advisor to senior White House officials and worked to create opportunities to highlight policy impacts, engage new communities, and enhance collaborative relationships to build support for action.

As a member of President Obama’s environmental team, he was involved in initiatives such as the Paris Climate Agreement and Clean Power Plan, efforts to ensure access to the clean energy economy and outdoors for all, and several National Monument designations to protect cultural and natural resources, including the first ever honoring LGBT history and Women’s rights, and millions of acres of land and water critical to local communities and wildlife.

Mark said,”Joining the Hip Hop Caucus is a tremendous honor for me. We are at a critical moment right now in this country, with the health, opportunities, and rights of our communities all in the crosshairs of this Administration. The stakes have never been higher and we need to do everything in our power to fight back. I look forward to working with the Hip Hop Caucus family to unite people, strengthen our communities now, and protect our planet for future generations.”

Prior to the White House, Mark served in the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business at the United States Department of Transportation, where his team worked to ensure that the nation’s small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses had the opportunities and resources they needed to succeed within the transportation industry.

Mark is a proud graduate of University of Connecticut.

Media Contact:

Lisa Fager



Mustafa Santiago Ali Joins Hip Hop Caucus


Washington DC — The Hip Hop Caucus announces Mustafa Santiago Ali as the new Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization.   The Hip Hop Caucus is a national, non-profit and non-partisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process to build power and create positive change.  As HHC Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization, Mustafa Santiago Ali will lead the strategic direction, expansion and operation of the Hip Hop Caucus’ portfolio on Climate, Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization.

Mustafa Santiago Ali joins the Hip Hop Caucus, after working 24 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and on Capitol Hill.  At the EPA, Mustafa S. Ali served as the Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice and Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization. Mustafa Ali elevated environmental justice issues and worked across federal agencies to strengthen environmental justice policies, programs and initiatives. At the EPA, Mustafa led the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJIWG), which was comprised of 17 federal agencies and White House offices focused on implementing holistic strategies to address the issues facing vulnerable communities.  Mustafa Ali worked for EPA Administrators beginning with William Riley and ending with Gina McCarthy.  He joined the EPA as a student and became a founding member of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ).

He has been a Guest Lecturer at Yale University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Spelman College, Albany Law School and Howard University School of Law.  Mustafa is a former instructor at West Virginia University and Stanford University in Washington, and the former co-host of the “Spirit in Action” radio show which focused on social justice issues.

Today, Mustafa Santiago Ali is renowned as a National Speaker, Trainer and Facilitator specializing in social Justice issues focused on revitalizing our most vulnerable communities. Throughout his career, Mustafa has conducted over 1,000 presentations across the country, including speeches, guest lecturers and trainings. He has also worked with over 500 domestic and international communities to secure environmental, health and economic justice.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, stated, “I am thrilled that Mustafa will be joining our team. His award winning work over the past two decades on economic, climate and environmental justice aligns perfectly with HHC’s focus on empowering the next generation of leaders. He shares our values on culture, innovation, and elevating the voices of communities that are often overlooked and forgotten. As one of the leading voices in the social justice movement he has shown himself to be an extraordinary leader throughout his career and has a proven track record. We appreciate the incredible work that he has done with youth and his commitment to the Principles of Environmental justice”

Ali stated, “I am honored, humbled and blessed to join the Hip Hop Caucus and I look forward to collaborating with an amazing team of artists, leaders and stakeholders across the country, as we focus on moving vulnerable communities from, ‘Surviving to Thriving.’  I have always admired the innovation, dedication and positive impacts of the Hip Hop Caucus.  I look forward to contributing to the Caucus’s continued success and leadership in creating a world that is filled with Justice, Opportunity and Equality for All.”

To learn more about the work of the Hip Hop Caucus visit: www.HipHopCaucus.Org