LOS ANGELES – With the 2006 midterm elections only weeks away, Guerilla News Network filmmaker Ian Inaba today announced his partnership with major national groups including SEIU, the Rainbow Push Coalition, the National Urban League, ColorOfChange.org, Rock the Vote, Ruckus Society, ACORN, the Advancement Project and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation to launch the national END THE BLACKOUT Campaign. The Campaign is a major grassroots effort to inform and invigorate a sleeping electorate. Partnered with these groups, the End the Blackout Campaign will coordinate a nation wide series of screenings to raise awareness about voter disenfranchisement and set the stage for sustained nationwide activism against voter suppression and for voting rights.
At the heart of their effort is Inaba’s Sundance award-winning voting rights documentary American Blackout. The campaign’s creators will utilize the film through coordinated home viewing parties as a tool to facilitate discussion, and begin working towards fair and honest elections.
“It’s with an amazing sense of gratification that all of these great partners understand the importance of my film,” said Inaba. “Now we have to turn that understanding into action by using American Blackout to change the way all of us look at our democracy and measure its successes and failures.”
American Blackout, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, was theatrically released September 8th, in Los Angeles, Cleveland and Houston. It saw an expanded theatrical release throughout September and October, and will continue to open in new markets in October (details below). The majority of viewers, however, will see the film as part of the End the Blackout program.
“Voter suppression has existed for people of color in America since the birth of the nation,” said Reverend Jesse Jackson founder and President of Rainbow/PUSH coalition. “The documentary American Blackout excellently exposes the color consciousness in the American electoral system and the inordinate impact states have on federal elections.”
End the Blackout Campaign supporters around the nation are lining up to support American Blackout:
“It’s a disgrace that American citizens are still being turned away from the polls,” said Wyatt Closs, Director of the SEIU Community Strengths Division. “Any person who has been turned away from a poll or knows someone who had difficulties a polling location should see American Blackout. SEIU is dedicated to distributing DVD’s of the film to our members and our community partners, helping to secure film screenings in churches, beauty and barber shops and living rooms across the country.”
“Any effort that sheds light on the very crucial issue of voter disenfranchisement is a helpful educational tool in 21st century America,” said Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League. “The National Urban League has a longstanding commitment to full participation by all Americans in our voting process. American Blackout should be seen by all who share this commitment!”
“Many of us watched the elections of 2000 and 2004 in horror, but getting a comprehensive view of the disenfranchisement that took place was near impossible. American Blackout provides such view and connects the dots,” said James Rucker, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org. “American Blackout should serve as a wake-up call to all Americans who care about democracy. Our goal with the End the Blackout campaign is to make sure as many Americans as possible hear the alarm.”
American Blackout is a multi-year effort that chronicles the recurring patterns of minority disenfranchisement witnessed in the 2000 and 2004 elections. The film follows former Rep. Cynthia McKinney as it critically examines the contemporary tactics used to control our democratic process and silence voices of political dissent. Many have heard of the alleged voting irregularities that occurred during the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. Until now, these incidents have gone under- reported and are commonly written-off as insignificant rumors or unintentional mishaps resulting from an overburdened election system. Whatever you think you know about our election systems or Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, American Blackout will make you question further why the news media fails to accurately inform the public of what’s really going on inside our democracy.
Featuring: Congressional members John Conyers, John Lewis, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, Bernie Sanders and jounalists Greg Palast and Bob Fitrakis.
American Blackout is directed by Guerilla News Network’s Ian Inaba, the creator of the controversial pre-election music video in 2004 for Eminem’s “Mosh” and features music from: DJ Shadow, Soulsavers and Thievery Corporation, among others. GNN.tv is an independent news organization with headquarters in New York City and production facilities in Berkeley, California. GNN’s mission is to expose people to important global issues through cross-platform guerrilla programming.