All for nothing: Unless you register to vote



  • 11:59pm on Monday 19 April marks the deadline for registering to vote in the 6 May 2021 elections
  • 9 May 2021 sees the first major vote in the UK since George Floyd’s murder
  • Lord Woolley urges to register now and demand to be heard
  • Awareness campaign ‘All for nothing’ by Saatchi & Saatchi has been created to support Operation Black Vote


Friday 16 April: As the deadline for registering to vote in this year’s UK May elections comes closer, Lord Simon Woolley, the founder and director of Operation Black Vote, is actively encouraging underrepresented communities across the country to register, before it passes on Monday 19 April. His plea comes after a year of tragedy across the world and the emergence of a new generation of anti-racism rallies and voices.

The campaign focuses on the importance of registering to vote and delivers a stark message. By not exercising a power to vote, the 200,000 people that attended mass rallies, the 135 arrests, and the on-going campaign to tackle racial injustice, can be seen as ‘all for nothing’.

“The 6 May 2021 elections gives people across England the chance to vote for their local government, local mayors and referendums, have a say in Police and Crime Commissioner elections and most significantly, vote for the Mayor of London and London Assembly. These hold important and powerful roles – from being responsible for issues that affect all their constituents including job inequality, policy, housing, immigration and racial discrimination. Operation Black Vote is urging underrepresented people, not just Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals, but also young people too, not to underestimate the power of their vote to help create real change.

Lord Simon Woolley said: “Voting absolutely makes a difference. Look no further than what occurred last November in the US. The voters voted for an end to racial division, and for racial equality for all communities. We’ve seen people here protest for change. The most radical political act you can do, is to register to vote, use your voice, and vote.”

“Since Covid-19 and the death of George Floyd millions of have protested for change, systemic change that will tear down barriers and unleash talent, particularly for young men and women and those from Black Asian minority ethnic backgrounds. The crucial way we can create the change we desperately want to see, is through voting. It is a small individual action, that can have a huge collective impact.”

Mete Coban, CEO of My Life My Say said: “Our votes really do matter. We must never underestimate our voices politically and what happened in America can happen in Britain too. At a time where Coronavirus is infringing on our abilities to continue with life as normal, let the American Presidential election be a solace, that despite a pandemic, we can encourage mass voter registration and postal ballots, we can work with community and activist groups and we can rebuild a base with young people at the helm to reshape Britain, and truly make our society work for those who have too long been neglected and unheard. That’s why Operation Black Vote’s voter registration campaign is vitally important to give those who are often overlooked a voice to stand up and be counted.”

Operation Black Vote has been dedicated to encouraging political and civic engagement by black and ethnic minorities and tackling all forms of racism for the past 25 years. As part of Lord Woolley’s ongoing commitment and activity to encourage and inspire more people from BAME backgrounds to register to vote, Saatchi & Saatchi has created advert “All for nothing”. The creative idea brings to life the spirit of 2020 and 2021, raising the importance of communities continuing to speak (and vote) and appears on Instagram @opblackvote and Lord Woolley will also be taking part in a Clubhouse debate on Saturday 17 April at 8pm, with Dayo Okewale chief of staff in the House of Lords.


A call to action...

For nearly 25 years OBV have fought to ensure black and minority ethnic participation and representation in civic society. Efforts in continuing to do so though, relies on your help. That way we can continue this fight for greater race equality. What would give us a tremendous boost is if today, you made that small donation yourselves, but even more importantly if you encouraged others to do likewise.