> By Photographer Dick Mitchell and Community Activists London Miles and Jeffrey Feliz-Ybes
Alarmed by the decrease in voter turnout amongst black and Latino men in the 2016 election, Jeffrey Feliz-Ybes curated an idea focusing our efforts of reversing this trend and bringing awareness to the political damage that has affected our community.
Our plan was simple: create images of beautiful men to allure the viewer and combine them with links and text to encourage participation in the upcoming midterm election. While conceptualizing the approach to the photography, campaign photographer Dick Mitchell recalled a riveting image of a young African American man at a civil rights march in the 1960s. He was simply staring down the camera with the word “VOTE” painted crudely on his forehead. This image became the inspiration for this series of portraits. From here, some of the best models in the New York City area enthusiastically jumped on board, showed up and painted their bodies to pose a message—simply, “Vote,” not only in this upcoming midterm election, but every election moving forward.
Nov. 6, 2018, will be the midterm election leading up to the 2020 presidential election, and we are encouraging everyone to go out and vote. Before you head out to vote, everyone must first register. Registration is an easy, two-minute process. You can either visit your closest Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or go online using any phone, tablet or computer at www.vote.org. Once you’re registered to vote, you will then have to find your voting station. Finding your voting station is also easy and can be found at www.vote.org or https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search.
We are not here to persuade you who to vote for. We are just simply here telling you to GET OUT AND VOTE! Change the stigma that black and brown people are not aware of politics—we do, and we will have our voices heard. Having your voices heard starts at registering to vote and researching what political issues are most relatable to.
To further spark this movement, follow the social media hashtag #IWillVote2018