Efforts toward voter suppression have been ramped up under the presidency of Donald Trump. Gerrymandering, closing polling places, and requiring state-issued ID to vote have been part of the Republican strategy since well before the current president, but new efforts to institute what amounts to a poll tax on felons who have served their sentences and to restrict mail-in voting are the newest ways to ensure that not all Americans, and disproportionately black Americans, cannot vote.
Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand are donating $2.5 million toward fighting Black voter suppression https://t.co/Cnv6XK4HsV
— CNN (@CNN) July 30, 2020
A number of familiar faces have spoken out on voter suppression measures in recent days, including President Barack Obama, but another familiar face joined the crowd on Thursday. Through his company, Jordan Brand, Michael Jordan pledged to give $100 million over the next 10 years to organizations fighting to end voter suppression.
A press release by the Jordan Brand said that the efforts will focus on three areas:
Social Justice: Seeking to increase civic engagement from the Black community to address issues that disproportionately affect them, such as voter suppression and criminal justice reform.
Economic Justice: Working to eliminate the wealth gap through partnerships that create access to capital, improve the quality and delivery of financial literacy and education programsÂ and build generational wealth in Black communities.
Education and Awareness: Creating greater awareness of the role race plays in our history and drive a deeper understanding of the effects and consequences of racism.
Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand announced three partners that will receive a total of $2.5M to combat Black voter suppression as part of an initial $100M commitment to fighting systematic racism. pic.twitter.com/3C9LsdrwEZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 30, 2020
Jordan has in the past been reluctant to address political issues, but the death of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), the man who was willing to lay down his life for the rights of all Americans to vote, has inspired new activism. Jordan Brand chose three partners, each of whom works to address issues of voter suppression, to ensure that the funding is used effectively.
In a statement, Jordan said:
‘I’m all in with Jordan Brand, the Jordan family and our partners, who share a commitment to address the historical inequality that continues to plague Black communities in the U.S. There is a long history of oppression against Black Americans that holds us back from full participation in American society. We understand that one of the main ways we can change systemic racism is at the polls. We know it will take time for us to create the change we want to see, but we are working quickly to take action for the Black community voice to be heard.’
Former US President Barack Obama calls for end to voter suppression https://t.co/f4un9QqFJd
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 30, 2020
The efforts, according to Jordan Brand officials, are the beginning of a new campaign to ensure the right to vote for every American citizen. In a democracy, and the United States has fought on the side of ensuring democracy across the world for many years, the right and opportunity to vote is guaranteed. Jordan will help make sure that that promise is upheld.
Craig Williams, President of Jordan Brand, said that:
‘The $100 million commitment was just the start. We are moving from commitment to action. Our initial partners can directly impact the social and political well-being of the Black community. We will have a disciplined focus on social justice, economic justice and education, as the most effective ways for us to eliminate the systemic racism that remains in society.’
President Obama is absolutely right. It is an outrage that modern-day poll taxes, gerrymandering, I.D. requirements, and other forms of voter suppression still exist today. If expanding the Voting Rights Act requires us to eliminate the filibuster, then that is what we must do. https://t.co/4pLb1rZCSj
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 30, 2020
Featured image screenshot via YouTube