LeBron continues his promise to help Black communities in America.
A group formed by the Los Angeles Lakers star and other Black athletes and entertainers are using their platforms to fight to register Floridians with felony records by offering to help pay court debts and fees so they can cast ballots in the crucial November presidential election.
More Than A Vote was established by James and others as a result of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The group announced on Friday that it will donate $100,000 to help pay outstanding court debts for ex-felons so that they will be allowed to register to vote, Politico reports. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The funds will go directly to Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which in 2018 successfully pushed a constitutional amendment that lifted Florida’s lifetime voting ban on people who had felony convictions.
After the passing, the Republican-led state Legislature decided to raise the bar for felons to vote, the law that is currently be heard in a federal court.
“Your right to vote shouldn’t depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it,” Miami Heat forward and group member Udonis Haslem said in a written statement.
One goal of the partnership is to ensure that “formerly incarcerated American citizens — many of them Black and brown — are able to pay their outstanding fines and fees and register to vote in the 2020 election and beyond.” The coalition has raised $1.5 million already for its fees and fines fund, and the partnership with Lebron’s group is to help push the awareness and effort surrounding the issue of ex-felons voting.
Desmond Meade, executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, is hopeful that the partnership will not only strengthen democracy but also make more voices heard.
Democrats and civil rights groups have argued that the voting requirements are similar to an unconstitutional poll tax, which has resulted in a bitter legal battle. A study conducted projected that more than 775,000 people in Florida that have felony convictions have financial obligations that deem them ineligible to vote under the law.
More Than a Vote has also teamed with Magnolia Pictures and Participant, a media company that shares the socially-driven mission, and will host an online screening of a new documentary centered around the late Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon who passed last week.
Athletes, as well as artists, will promote the screening and will use the proceeds for the coalitions fees and fines fund.
Another goal of More Than A vote, which was formed in June, is to educate and protect the rights of black voters, James and other athletes say they are dedicated to Black political empowerment. James is acting on his promise to use his social media platform to combat voter suppression and draw attention to efforts intended to restrict the voting rights of minorities.
A U.S. District Court judge ripped Florida’s voting law in May, calling it unconstitutional to make people pay to vote, despite that they are felons and have fees related to their crimes.
However, Republic Governor Ron DeSantis appealed the ruling in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which put the hearing on hold. A hearing is scheduled for August 18, the same date as the Florida primary.
Keep going, LeBron.