Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image


27 Feb


February 27, 2013 | By |

Report Highlights Efforts to Combat Voter Suppression and Ensure Ballot Access

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, Wednesday February 27, 2013, as part of its #VoteReady campaign, IMPACT released its 2012 year-end report on the organization’s efforts to combat voter suppression and guarantee ballot access for young professionals of color during this past election cycle. The report is unveiled as arguments will be heard today in the Supreme Court in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, a case that challenges key provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a landmark civil rights law designed to make voting a reality for African Americans in the south and discontinue voter suppression tactics, which kept them from the polls nearly 100 years after the Constitution guaranteed them the right to vote.

Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, which is a case challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Section 5 puts safeguards in place to prevent racial discrimination in elections by requiring many local areas (and some entire states) to seek approval from the Justice Department before implementing any election-related changes. Shelby County, Alabama, which is southeast of Birmingham, is one of those covered areas.

“After the surge of Voter ID laws proposed and passed along with incredibly long waiting times for voters in the 2012 election cycle, it is clear the Voting Rights Act remains a relevant and necessary tool for protecting voters rights,” said IMPACT Deputy Director Nina Smith. “Our #VoteReady report demonstrates the need for vigilance on the part of the federal government to ensure that all communities have the access and opportunity they need to be full participants in our democracy — a right millions have fought and died for.”

Last year, after recognizing the potential for voter suppression across the country, IMPACT launched #VoteReady, a campaign to inform and empower young professionals of color about their voting rights. Goals included registering eligible voters ages 40 and under, re-registering voters, encouraging early and absentee voting, educating peers about onerous voter ID laws, and leveraging social media to raise awareness and educate voters about how to exercise your right to vote. Specifically, the campaign utilized social media, including holding Super Twitter Tuesday Town Halls; targeted students with an IMPACT toolkit; and researched the impact of newly-enacted voter suppression laws to inform the broader public policy debate.

Partners of the #VoteReady campaign included the Congressional Black Caucus, Coalition for Black Civic Participation, Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights, AARP, SEIU, as well as celebrities and other notable figures including the Reverend Al Sharpton. In all, over a ten week period, IMPACT generated nearly 19 million impressions reaching an audience of almost 6 million followers through its Twitter town halls. In addition, through the IMPACT College Series, the organization supported efforts across ten college campuses to prepare young people to cast their ballots for the first time. Finally, shortly before Election Day, IMPACT released a report analyzing the effects of recent voter suppression efforts enacted by state legislatures.

To read the year-end #VoteReady report click here, and to read our voter ID report, click here.

IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit           




07 Feb


February 7, 2013 | By |

 IMPACT logo

Contact: Sarah Misailidis
Phone:  (202) 643-1340

IMPACT Releases Comprehensive #IMPACTHIV Year-End Report
on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

WASHINGTON – Today, as an acknowledgement of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, IMPACT, a nonprofit organization for young professionals of color, released its inaugural #IMPACTHIV year-end report (CLICK HERE) highlighting HIV/AIDS. The report details the scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among young minorities and provides IMPACT’s strategy to foster active engagement with young professionals throughout the year. Specifically, IMPACT intends to leverage their social media reach to increase awareness of resources and statistics to educate, inform, and spark conversations amongst young professionals of color; challenge youth populations to get tested at least twice yearly; and develop an international engagement program for young professionals in the United States to raise cognizance about the HIV/AIDS issues in Africa.

To date, HIV/AIDS remains a serious health challenge globally and, in particular, for young minorities in the United States. Of the nearly one million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, seven percent are youth, many of whom are unaware that they have the virus. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25 percent of people who do not know their HIV/AIDS status are responsible for 50 to 70 percent of new HIV infections. In addition, almost half of new infections among youth occur in African American males, and of the 500,000 people infected with HIV each year, one in four is between 13 to 24 years old.

“The unconscionable effect that HIV/AIDS has caused in communities of color not only in the U.S., but globally, was the genesis for the #IMPACTHIV initiative,” said Nina Smith, IMPACT’s Deputy Director. “Through our vast network of young professionals committed to enacting change in their community, IMPACT is taking an integral role to empower our peers to envision and create a world free of HIV and AIDS in our lifetime.”

Throughout 2012 and 2013, IMPACT has created an agenda of events to continue the momentum of the #IMPACTHIV campaign including, hosting the “Champions of Change” reception during the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., which honored 14 individuals for their efforts to eradicate HIV/AIDS in communities of color. One honoree, Lisa Bediako, of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation also participated in the #IMPACTHIV Twitter chat on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, last Tuesday, to educate and encourage young professionals to create change in their respective communities. Bediako was joined by Dr. Rani Whitfield, the Hip Hop Doc, the Magic Johnson Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., The National Hispanic Council on Aging, and the official host organization for National Black HIV/AIDS Day, Healthy Black Communities, Inc. Participants answered questions pertaining to HIV/AIDS as well as learn about the importance of testing, reducing the HIV/AIDS stigma, and informing their peer groups about important risk factors.

Additionally, this year IMPACT will continue further social media involvement through #IMPACTHIV; launch the #IMPACTHIV Campus Challenge, a push designed to increase the testing rates of young people by organizing leaders on college campuses to host testing events as part of a larger effort to establish a national youth testing day by 2014; and organize a travel group to Africa in order for young professionals to receive a global perspective on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in countries with some of the highest infection rates in the world.

Access the entire 2012 #IMPACTHIV year-end report HERE!

IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit


IMPACTHIV 2012 End of Year Report