Academy Award-Winning Actress Ariana DeBose Named ACLU Artist Ambassador for Voting Rights

NEW YORK - March 13, 2024 - The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that Academy Award-winning actress Ariana DeBose will join the organization's Artist Ambassador Program to advocate for voting rights.

She joins the Artist Ambassador Program during a pivotal year for voting rights - which includes several high-profile voting legal challenges, among them a pending ruling in a South Carolina redistricting case before the United States Supreme Court; the reintroduction of vital federal voting rights legislation; and a critical upcoming national election.

DeBose received an Academy Award in addition to BAFTA, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and SAG Awards for her star-turning role as Anita in Steven Spielberg's reimagining of West Side Story. In winning her Oscar, she became the first openly queer Afro-Latina to win an Academy Award.

Statement from Ariana DeBose, award-winning actress and ACLU Artist Ambassador for Voting Rights:

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the ACLU around an issue that is one of the single most important rights that we hold as citizens of this country: the right to have our voices, values, wants, and needs heard at the ballot box. I belong to so many communities: I'm an Afro-Latina, mixed race, queer woman from North Carolina living in New York City. I've witnessed the effects of gerrymandering and voting restrictions on many of my communities. My goal in partnering with the ACLU is to provide trusted information, debunk myths, and get into the 'how-tos' and ins and outs of voting rights. There are no dumb questions when it comes to something as vital as our right to vote, and I look forward to working with the ACLU during this very critical time."

In addition to her many accolades on stage and screen, DeBose currently sits on the International Board of Covenant House advocating for homeless youth, many of whom identify as LGBTQ. She is also a board member of A is For, a reproductive rights organization started by Martha Plimpton and Kellie Overbey that works to ensure that all women have access to reproductive and abortion care free of stigma.

More about the ACLU's voting rights work:

The ACLU is a leader in fighting for people's fundamental and essential right to vote. Its multifaceted approach aims to defend and expand voting rights through legal action, policy advocacy, state-level engagement, federal lobbying, and community mobilization.

This work includes successfully challenging restrictive voting laws, discriminatory practices, and advocating for fair representation; influencing and shaping legislation that protects and expands voting rights, including advancing policies that enhance accessibility, fight against voter suppression efforts, and promote inclusivity in the electoral process; and building a broad-based movement to amplify the voices of impacted communities, drive positive change in voting policies, and protect democracy.

Statement from Jessica Herman Weitz, director of artist & entertainment engagement nationwide at the ACLU:

"Ariana DeBose is a force of nature and a once-in-a-generation talent. She is also representative of so many voters in this country who have more questions than answers, and are the sum of all the different parts of their identity and lived experience. We are honored to have Ariana join us as our newest Voting Rights Ambassador so she can be the eyes and ears for voters across the country, asking the questions and getting the answers from ACLU legal experts, activists, and others. It's not news that 2024 is an important election year; but the work of advocating for the rights of everyone happens every day, every month, and every year whether there's a presidential election or not. Ariana understands this, and we are grateful to partner with her in this work."

The ACLU Artist Ambassador Project ties influential creative artists and influencers in film, television, music, comedy, and literature with public education and advocacy for key ACLU issues.

Each ambassador works with the ACLU on specific civil liberties issues, which include immigrants' rights, voting rights, rights of LGBTQ people, women's rights, reproductive rights, reducing mass incarceration, racial justice, and privacy and security.

Other examples of how artists work with the ACLU include:

This press release is online here.

Watch the video here.

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