Michael Jordan, Jordan Brand donate $2.5M to fight voter suppression

As part of a commitment to donate $100 million over the next decade to fight systemic racism, Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand announced Wednesday that they are donating $2.5 million to three partners to combat Black voter suppression. 

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement will each receive $1 million, while Black Voters Matter will receive $500,000. These organizations will focus on areas in the U.S. where “Black people are underrepresented in registration and turnout numbers, relative to their share of the overall population,” Jordan and the Jordan Brand said in a statement.

In the statement, which is posted on Nike’s website, Jordan and Jordan Brand explained that they picked these organizations “based on their ability to take action that can create impact now.” 

“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,” Jordan said in the statement. “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’s voice to be heard.”

More than six million people are not allowed to vote because of laws that disenfranchise people with felony convictions, according to a 2016 report by the Sentencing Project. Most of those facing voter disenfranchisement are Black, the report found.

On July 16, the Supreme Court ruled that Florida can legally prevent more than one million people from voting if they had felony convictions and have outstanding court fines and fees. The state accounts for more than a quarter of the disenfranchised voters in the country, according to the Sentencing Project.

Jordan announced his and his brand’s $100 million commitment at the beginning of June, saying, “Black lives matter. This is not a controversial statement.”

Jordan Brand president Craig Williams said that the 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,” Williams said. “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.”

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