Monday, January 25, 2021

Black Athletes Pay Debts of Former Felons in Florida So They Can Vote

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

*LeBron James and his More Than A Vote group recently announced a partnership with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help Florida voters with past felony convictions.

James teamed with Trae Young, Skylar Diggins-Smith and other Black celebrities and athletes to form the voter rights organization, with the goal to fight against voter suppression.

The group donated $100,000 for FRRC’s fines and fees fund, which pays off the outstanding debts convicts, who have served their time but are still unable to vote in Florida, reports CBS Los Angeles

“That’s why More Than A Vote is supporting the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help formerly incarcerated American citizens—too many of them Black and brown—pay off their outstanding fines and fees and register to vote in the 2020 election and beyond,” the group said on social media of their donation.

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As noted by Politico, in 2018, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition “successfully pushed to a constitutional amendment that lifted Florida’s lifetime voting ban on people with felony convictions,” the outlet writes. 

“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said to the 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.”

James intends to use his platform to call out voter suppression, and he hopes other star athletes follow his lead.

“Hopefully, someday down the line, people will recognize me not only for the way I approached the game of basketball, but the way I approached life as an African-American man.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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