In an effort to increase voter registration in the African-American community, the Obama campaign launched the National Barbershop and Beauty Salon Voter Registration Campaign last weekend at the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show in Atlanta.
According to the campaign, there are currently more than 8 million black Americans — or 32% of eligible black voters — in the United States who are not registered to vote. The idea resonates with the “spirit of meeting people where they live,” and the Barbershop and Beauty Salon initiative is just one of the innovative ways the Obama campaign is working to increase voter participation.
According to Obama senior advisor Rick Wade, “Barbershops and beauty salons, as we all know, are places in our community where boys grow up and become men, where women can go and become queens. It’s where news of challenges and inspirations, about obstacles and celebrations are exchanged. It’s where conversation takes place in the African-American community, and it’s also a traditional site for serious discussion about politics and issues of civic responsibility.”
I’m a huge proponent of registering more voters. I’ve been involved in elections past and plan to get involved for this year’s election as well. I think targeting salons — African-American or otherwise — is a great way to reach thousands, if not millions, of potential voters. The campaign makes voter registration forms available to the salon’s clientele. They can fill out the forms and leave them in a drop box. An Obama representative will then pick up the forms and file them according to state laws.
At the Bronner Bros. show, more than 700 stylists from across the country signed up to participate in the program. The program is currently underway in all 50 states, but cities with large African-American populations are being canvassed first.
If you’re interested in getting more information on the program, you can use your cell phone to text “barber” or “beauty” to 62262 (OBAMA).
What do you think, would you “get political” in your salon? Or is that still considered a personal matter that you don’t want to approach your clients about?