Minority community voters are being urged to engage with the political process and use the ballot box next month in a high-profile campaign featuring ex-footballer Sol Campbell,.
The Operation Black Vote (OBV) posters shows Campbell, musician Tinie Tempah, acclaimed actor David Harewood and others painted white with the stark strap line “don’t take the colour out of Britain.”
In the build-up to the elections, OBV also launched an eXpress bus which toured major cities, and was decked out with computers where locals could register to vote.
Only one in four black and minority ethnic (BAME) adults is registered to vote compared with one in 16 white voters.
“It’s one of these paradoxical things where many people from black minorities, especially young people, look at institutions like Westminster and they don’t see people that look like them, that talk like them, that come from where they come,” Ashok Viswanathan, deputy director of the campaigning group, told Eastern Eye.
“Their immediate response is often to turn away from the democratic process. What we’re saying is yes these institutions have to be transformed, but it’s also incumbent on our communities to engage with the political process as it is, in order to change it.
Over the last three general elections, approximately 20 million voters out of an electorate of 49 million did not go to the polls.
Campbell said: “Apathy and cynicism towards politics is a problem which cuts across age and race. But the sad fact is that this problem is magnified in minority communities.
“Why? Because they don’t think the political system in Britain has anything to do with them and it’s never going to change. Because what matters to them is unrepresented by politicians. They don’t think their vote will make any difference, so why bother?
“The reality is this couldn’t be further from the truth – especially right now. There’s never been a time when the black and minority communities have had an opportunity as big as this to shape the future of Britain. This upcoming general election will be won and lost on the smallest of margins.”