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Black Panther activates the vote

GROUND-BREAKING: Black Panther has been a huge commercial success (Photo credit: Marvel)

AS FILM fans and critics all over the world hail the impact of the movie Black Panther, three women in the US have decided to tap into its success in a unique way.

To coincide with the movie, three friends, Kayla Reed, Jessica Byrd and Rukia Lumumba, have launched a campaign called #WakandaTheVote, with the aim of registering black people to vote across several cinemas where the film is being shown.

In October the trio launched the Electoral Justice Project (EJP), which is a project by the Movement for Black Lives that campaigns for the rights of African Americans.

Now, as part of the EJP's outlook, #WakandaTheVote is an initiative that plans to mobilise political engagement.

It aims to set up community-led voter registration events at local cinemas in addition to getting people to register to vote via text message. #WakandaTheVote is similar to other Movement for Black Lives campaigns in that it largely relies on local communities to create and run their own registration events.

The campaign has already won much support and has signed up to hold more than 100 registration events in at least 50 cities since the initiative launched, suggesting that the campaign could expand in the coming weeks.

Reed told US media firm Blavity: “The Movement for Black Lives is an ecosystem of black leaders and organisations fighting every single day for the healthy and happy lives of black folks.

“We are effective because we meet our communities where they are, whether that's in the streets, at the city council meeting, or in the movie theatre. This weekend we wanted to meet our people in Wakanda. We know that for some it's a superhero world, but we know that the world we deserve is still waiting to be built — and we want to build it!"

She added: “This upcoming spring and November 2018 mid-term elections are an important step in building that new world, and we want to take every opportunity to engage our communities in the conversation of electoral justice. We will be registering people to vote at movie theatres across the country so that we can #Wakandathevote at the ballot box."

Reed, a St Louis, Missouri- based activist, added: “In watching Black Panther, what feels familiar about the real world that we’re in and Wa- kanda is that we need someone to defend our communities against attack. We need to step into the idea that we can all be superheroes and we can all be agents of change in our own communities.”

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