Problems with voting? Call the Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.

NEW ORLEANS— This weekend will mark the launch of a new, intergenerational voting rights campaign at EssenceFest 2024 called Ojo Asé: Black Women Answering the Call.

Recognizing the ongoing central role that Black women play in defending our democracy, the campaign is calling on Black women to sign up to be poll monitors. The campaign was born from the unapologetic stance of, “If not us then who?” Recruitment efforts will focus on 14 high impact states: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. These states were selected to ensure that Black people and other people of color have the voice, opportunity, and power to make the promises of our democracy real.

The new campaign is being led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which administers the Election Protection hotline 866-OUR-VOTE on behalf of the national Election Protection Coalition, and the Global Black Economic Forum, the sister organization of Essence.

Kimiya Factory, Senior National Coordinator for Election Protection at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said, “Black women are the key to a fair election in this pivotal election year. We are the unsung heroes of our democracy. We need fearless women to be at the polls, monitoring to make sure everyone’s right to cast a ballot is protected.”

The campaign is calling for nominations of Black women who are voting rights champions we can highlight nationally through social media and our website.

Individuals can sign up to be nonpartisan poll monitors, or nominate champions to be recognized, or share their own stories at People can also share content about the campaign with their friends and followers.

The campaign recognizes the long history of Black women’s invaluable contribution to the nation’s democracy. The impression of the African diaspora is present in the name of the campaign translating to ‘the watchful eye of the ancestors.’ Derived from Yoruba dialect and philosophy, ‘Asé’ reflects on the stoic and selfless duty to not only protect elections, and ensure voter engagement but Black women’s ability to turn out the vote during critical moments in American history.

The new campaign will be among the topics that Damon Hewitt, President and CEO of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, will discuss during a panel on Sunday, July 7 hosted by the Global Black Economic Forum. The panel will be moderated by Joy Reid and is expected to draw millions of viewers.


The Lawyers’ Committee is a convenor of the nation’s largest and longest-running nonpartisan voter protection program – the Election Protection Coalition. Informed by the invaluable legal expertise of the Lawyers’ Committee, the Coalition provides non-partisan resources, training, assistance, and technical expertise to over 300 local, state and national partners through education and outreach efforts. Through these efforts, the Coalition serves as a trusted messenger for partner-led field programs in more than 30 states. The Election Protection Coalition works year round to ensure all voters can cast a ballot freely, fairly, and securely, with a focus on supporting voters who have been historically disenfranchised and underrepresented in our democracy.