LeBron James to donate $100K to help ex-felons vote in Florida
The NBA superstar has launched a non-profit aimed at fighting voter suppression against Florida residents felony convictions.
NBA superstar LeBron James has teamed with several Black athletes and entertainers to launch a non-profit aimed at fighting voter suppression against Florida residents with past felony convictions.
James established More Than A Vote in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith and former NBA player Jalen Rose are among those also involved with the organization.
On Friday, the group announced plans to donate $100,000 toward outstanding court debts of ex-felons so they can cast ballots in the November presidential election, politico.com reports.
“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James told The New York Times. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”
The group’s $100K donation will reportedly go to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which in 2018 successfully campaigned for a constitutional amendment that lifted Florida’s lifetime voting ban for felons, per Politico.
The partnership will help 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.”
“Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us — we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” James said. How long is up to us. We don’t know. But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference.”
According to the Times, More Than A Vote will team up with other voting rights organizations such as When We All Vote and Fair Fight.
“Your right to vote shouldn’t depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it,” Miami Heat forward and More than a Vote member Udonis Haslem said in a statement.
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition already has raised more than $1.5 million for its fees-and-fines fund. The partnership with LeBron James and his More Than A Vote group is expected to increase awareness to the mission.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!