Semicolon Productions, the company founded by Emmy-nominated Director Alberto Roldan and Producer Douglas Hosking, is once again teaming up with famed slam poet Taylor Mali to create a viral video for a cause. After the success of their video interpretation of Mali's viral sensation "What Teachers Make," the team is setting their sights on the 2012 election; they are creating a viral video that will harness the power of spoken word poetry to inspire American youth to vote. 2/5 of eligible voters in America did not vote in the 2008 election. The goal: to show them why they need to change that behavior. Our country cannot afford to not care. Not now. Not ever.
Donations are accepted here: www3.indiegogo.com/votevotevote .
Mali and Semicolon Productions held a contest that included the best contemporary spoken word poets and, ultimately, chose Carlos AndrÃ©s Gomez to write the final draft of the script. Gomez is an award-winning poet, actor, and writer from New York City. His poem outlines the obstacles overcome by generations of Americans to earn a vote, while demanding of the listener that that hard-earned vote not be wasted. A first draft of the poem, performed by Gomez, can be seen at indiegogo.com/votevotevote.
Our Time.org (the creators of 2008's voting video with Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rock the Vote have already put their stamps of approval on the project, with Semicolon Productions attempting to raise the $7,500 to make it happen. Fundraising is under way, however, time is running out. In order to make the project a reality, the artists will need to fundraise about $3500 before July 15. If they can't, this unique message that speaks the language of today's youth will go unheard. Potential donors are highly encouraged to visit indiegogo.com/votevotevote to learn more about the project and contribute.
Carlos AndrÃ©s GÃƒ"mez is an award-winning poet, actor, and writer from New York City. He is the author of the coming-of-age memoir "Man Up," released by Gotham Books, an imprint of Penguin. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and named Artist of the Year at the 2009 Promoting Outstanding Writers Awards, he co-starred in Spike Lee's #1 movie "Inside Man" with Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen and appeared on the sixth season of HBO's "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry."
Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of poet. More at taylormali.com/bio/ .
Rock the Vote's mission is to engage and build political power for young people in our country. Founded twenty-one years ago at the intersection of popular culture and politics, Rock the Vote has registered more than five million young people to vote and has become a trusted source of information for young people about registering to vote and casting a ballot. Rock the Vote uses music, popular culture, new technologies and grassroots organizing to motivate and mobilize young people in our country to participate in every election, with the goal of seizing the power of the youth vote to create political and social change.
The mission of OUR TIME is to combine the voting and purchasing power of young Americans so that politicians and businesses represent their needs better.
Vote for Them
By Carlos AndrÃ©s Gomez
Nothing makes you angrier than not being heard
the teacher not calling on you,
being ignored as the new girl,
your boss brushing off your input,
and that time when you were twelve:
The argument with your best friend, who said,
"Why are so mad now? You didn't say anything before.
And if you don't speak up when it matters, you are as good
You say you don't want to vote
because you're not a "politics person,"
you think it takes too long to register, you say,
"Carlos, honestly, it's just not my 'thing'…"
But you don't realize what has been sacrificed
for you to have the choice to not vote.
How in 1917 Alice Paul was beaten and tortured for protesting
for the right to be heard, flanked by suffragists who nearly died by her side.
Alice Paul risked her life because she knew that to have a vote is to have
a public voice, and back then women didn't have one.
In an era of Jim Crow, not far removed from Black Codes or black people being considered three-fifths of a person think about it:
What if half of this country still could not vote? 40 million were still not considered human? You would be in that half. Your roommate would be in that half and
in that 40 million.
It took a rising chorus of public voices in the form of ballot box choices
to shift the tide.
But you tell me,
"I'm only nineteen, Carlos. And the year isn't 1917. Sure, I don't like when choices are made for me, but I'm one person. Who cares if I don't vote? I'll just be different, I guess…let everyone else do it."
What if I told you that two-fifths of those who could vote in 2008 did not?
You claim your apathy as though it is exceptional but it is painfully ordinary. As if you wouldn't be another voiceless mirage in a herd of 80 million, watching something unfold that you had no part in.
It might not be 1917, but the stakes are as high as they've ever been. And if you don't cast your vote you'll be as invisible as that day when you were twelve, invisible as that time in class, but don't do it for me. Don't do it because someone told you you should.
In the voting booth, remember it's not just for you but for your autistic little brother, your arthritic mother, your immigrant grandparents, your shy roommate, the kids you want to one day have and their kids and their kids' kids and every person who marched, got beaten, stared down a fire hose or a police dog, who died in prison for demanding the democracy you have…and for Alice Paul.
They will all be there with you. For anyone without your voice,
vote for them.