Rock the Vote, the national nonpartisan organization dedicated to building the political power of young people, announced that civil rights activist and Black Lives Matter organizer DeRay McKesson and Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur Russell Glass have joined the nonprofit’s board of directors.
Rock the Vote announced the two new board members as the organization gears up for the 2018 midterm elections — and in the wake of major races in Alabama, Virginia and cities across the country, in which diverse coalitions of young voters and people of color made up decisive voting blocs.
“As we work to engage, register and activate young people across the country in the lead up to next year’s midterm elections, it is hard to imagine two people better equipped to join Rock the Vote’s team,” said President of Rock the Vote Carolyn DeWitt. “DeRay and Russ know the value of organizing and building political power for our generation — in communities and through innovative civic technology. With their help, we look forward to empowering millions of young Americans to make our voices heard next year.”
DeRay McKesson is an activist, organizer, and educator who has dedicated his life to fighting against injustice and building political power for young people — two goals central to Rock the Vote’s mission.. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, he graduated from Bowdoin College and holds an honorary doctorate from The New School. DeRay has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen. As a national leader in the Black Lives Matter Movement and the co-founder of Campaign Zero and OurStates.org, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies to ensure equity. Spurred by the death of Mike Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, DeRay has become a key voice in the effort to confront the systems and structures that have led to the mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations. He is also the host of Pod Save The People, a weekly podcast focused on activism and social justice. DeRay was named as one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015 and as one of the 30 Most Important People On The Internet by Time Magazine in 2016.
He previously taught 6th grade math in New York City as a Teach For America Corps Member, worked for the Harlem Children’s Zone and TNTP and opened an academic enrichment center in West Baltimore. He has also worked with Baltimore City Public Schools and Minneapolis Public Schools leading systemic human capital change.
“Power rests with the people. The people we elected are in those positions because of our collective power – our vote. When we vote, we are making a decision about the people and issues that will continue to shape our lives.. Young people are leading the fight on issues that impact our communities and our country. That is why I am proud to be joining Rock the Vote as it channels the energy and activism and continues to help people find and own their power through the vote and in ways that will ultimately decide our collective future.”
Russell Glass is a serial technology entrepreneur, having founded or held senior positions at four venture-backed technology companies and sitting on the boards of numerous others. Russ founded and led Bizo from 2008 to $50mm+ in revenues and over 160 employees before being acquired by LinkedIn for $175mm in 2014. He then led products for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, more than doubling growth to $800mm+ in revenues. Since leaving LinkedIn in June 2017, Russ has been focused on using his experience with technology, data science, and narrative/branding tactics to developing novel strategies increase engagement and turnout among young voters.
“I am thrilled to be joining the board of directors at Rock the Vote, an organization whose innovation and expertise in mobilizing young people to vote and increasing their access to democracy is unparalleled. As a respected and powerful brand, Rock the Vote has the ability to partner with corporations, entertainment and distribution channels, influencers and even government agencies. With young people comprising over forty percent of the electorate by 2020, Rock the Vote’s work is critically important to the health of our Democracy.”
About Rock the Vote:
Rock the Vote is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to building the political power of young people. For over 25 years, Rock the Vote has revolutionized the way we use pop culture, music, art and technology to engage young people in politics, registering and turning out millions of young voters on campuses, in communities, and online. Learn more at rockthevote.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @rockthevote.