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EVENT: Facing Race to Be Largest, Post-Election Meet-Up of Racial Justice Advocates; National Book Award Winner Ibram X. Kendi to Keynote

For Immediate Release

Sept. 26, 2022

OAKLAND – The national racial equity organization Race Forward today announced their bi-annual Facing Race conference, Nov. 17-19 in Phoenix, AZ. It will be the largest convening of racial justice advocates in the nation and the only such gathering post the Nov. 2022 midterm elections. Thousands of advocates, organizers, educators, funders, creatives, and journalists will attend or participate online with over 500 people registered as of Sept. 20. Accomplished professor, author and National Book Award winner Dr. Ibram X. Kendi will be the conference keynote speaker. Dr. Kendi is a historian and New York Times-bestselling author of “How to Be an Antiracist.” He has written five New York Times bestsellers and is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.

“In this crucial period, we are bringing together racial justice practitioners from all over the country to generate and share solutions for how to move the needle on racial equity in the U.S.,” said Glenn Harris, executive director of Race Forward. “From our keynote speaker to each panelist, this will be an intentional conference designed to strengthen and deepen the racial justice movement. Attendees will leave with their cups filled, their determination sharpened, and their resolved unwavering.”

Facing Race will feature breakouts and special sessions aimed at fueling the work of racial equity. It is a touch point within the racial justice movement to expose advocates, storytellers, creatives, journalists, small business owners and concerned citizens to best practices so they can advance just and racially equitable policies and practices in their respective communities.

“The people who come to Facing Race come from all parts of the nation,” said Leslie Grant Spann, director, Facing Race. “Some live in areas where they feel isolated and like they are doing racial justice work in a vacuum. In this space, they will appreciate that they are part of a national movement that is committed to progress. Our goal is to inspire advocates to stay in the fight.”

Facing Race will educate new and emerging advocates, and persons who want to lead with a racial justice analysis. It will help advocates grow a personal analysis of racial justice while learning about intersectional frames.

The conference will feature two and a half days of collaboration, sound therapy, drumming, music, art, artistic expression, and joy. Organizers will stimulate the senses and offer content beyond presentations and back-to-back workshops. For more information on panelists and breakout sessions, see https://facingrace.raceforward.org/about.

Please note that we have limited space for journalists to attend and cover the Facing Race conference. To receive information on the press credentialing process, please email media@raceforward.org or press@spotlightpr.org by Nov. 5.

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Founded in 1981, Race Forward, which celebrated its 40th Anniversary last year, catalyzes movement building for racial justice. In partnership with communities, organizations, and sectors, we build strategies to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.

 

Black Southern Women’s Collaborative Celebrates National Voter Registration Day

For Immediate Release

Sept. 20, 2022

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Black Southern Women’s Collaborative today celebrated National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), a civic holiday meant to encourage voters to register to vote. The collective, which organizes across the South to improve the material conditions of Black people, pledged to register thousands of voters on NVRD and beyond. They also vowed to address long-standing barriers to the ballot such as felony disenfranchisement, voter purges, and intimidation at the polls. The group released the following statement:

“This National Voter Registration Day comes at a time of increased strife in Florida. Numerous formerly incarcerated persons who regained the right to vote have been viciously targeted for attempting to do just that,” said the Rev. Rhonda Thomas, executive director of Faith in Florida. “This year, our organizing and efforts will go to ensuring that all people who are eligible to vote – including returning citizens – are able to do so, free of intimidation and fear.”

Since NVRD’s inception in 2012, nearly 4.7 million people have registered to vote. That is critical, because communities of color tend to be more transient, increasing the need to update their voter registration, confirm polling place locations, etc., prior to Election Day.

“With so much power on the line this year, we’ve committed to taking a full week to get as many people in our state #VoteReady as possible,” said Ashley K. Shelton, founder and president of the Power Coalition for Equity & Justice. The group is one of several from the South who will head to Washington, D.C. for an Oct. 4th Supreme Court hearing re Alabama’s redistricting lines.

The Black Southern Women’s Collaborative is a network of Black women organizers and executive directors committed to pooling resources and organizing insights to impact change in the South. The cohort includes Kendra Cotton, chief operating officer of the New Georgia Project; Rev. Rhonda Thomas, executive director of Faith in Florida; Ashley Shelton, founder and president of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice; and Tameka Greer, executive director of the Memphis Artists for Change.

“Imagine receiving pamphlet after pamphlet encouraging you to turn out and vote only to show up and be denied the opportunity to do so. You haven’t moved. Your rights haven’t been revoked. Nothing about your voting,” said Tameka Greer, executive director of the Memphis Artists for Change. “Your eligibility has changed. And yet, you’re denied the right to vote outright or offered a provisional ballot because you’ve been erroneously purged from the rolls. That is the plight of far too many voters in Tennessee. And this National Voter Registration Day, our goal is to engage as many voters as possible and help them if they’ve been purged.”

They outlined the following goals and events:

  • Faith in Florida will host a series of events and will register 500 people to vote. They are also working with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to support formerly incarcerated persons whose rights have been restored but who are facing intimidation by the Ron DeSantis administration when they have attempted to register to vote.
  • The New Georgia Project has pledged to register 5,000 people to vote before Monday, Sept. 26. They have partnered with 100 small businesses and schools for the effort.
  • Power Coalition for Equity and Justice is hosting events across Louisiana, are working with high schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to get them registered to vote. The Power Coalition is also working with clergy in Monroe on a Turn Out Sunday Service on the Sunday before the Nov. 8 election.
  • Memphis Artists for Change will canvass and knock on 500 doors in the most impacted areas. They are particularly concerned about the 1 in 5 Tennesseans who are unable to vote.

“This is an opportunity to continue the conversation we began long ago with voters,” said Kendra Cotton, chief operating officer of the New Georgia Project and member of the BSWC. “Today is part and parcel of a broader plan to engage voters, defend democracy, and continue outreach with officials who are aligned with our vision and values.”

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With Latest Gift, United Women in Faith Hopes to Spur Investments in Entities Led by Women of Color 

For Immediate Release

July 12, 2022

NEW YORK – United Women in Faith today announced a second grant in furtherance of its commitment to racial justice. After granting $250,000 to Girls Embracing Mothers last month, the organization’s executive for racial justice, Emily Jones, disclosed that United Women in Faith is also granting $250,000 over two years to the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples. Tia Oros Peters, chief executive officer, leads the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, which is the oldest organization of its kind and is dedicated to Indigenous peoples’ self-determination and Native nations’ sovereignty.   

“We not only want to support the leadership of women of color, but we want to encourage others to do the same,” said Harriett Jane Olson, general secretary and CEO of United Women in Faith. “We want to increasingly affirm our belief in the leadership of women of color and the critical role they play in the uplift of communities and society.”  

The gift aligns with United Women in Faith’s desire to support the leadership of Native women and capacity building for movements furthering racial and gender justice. It is also a tangible demonstration of the organization’s belief in indigenous self-determination and the importance of acts of repentance for this nation’s history of genocide toward Indigenous communities.   

“Our nation has a horrible history of genocide, erasure and violence towards Indigenous people,” Jones said. “Apologies without restorative action are short-sighted and meaningless. With this gift and our commitment to continued learning and action, we hope to be an example for what true repentance looks like.”  

The gift is unusual in its size. Typically, United Women in Faith issues grants ranging between $500 and $10,000. This is one of the largest grants the organization has issued. And it is the second grant of size that United Women in Faith has awarded in recent months. In May, it granted $250,000 to Girls Embracing Mothers, which Brittany K. Barnett founded and runs.  

“We know that structural racism is evident in every facet of life, including grant-making. As such, women of color-led organizations are not funded to the level that their white counterparts are, even though their work is no less significant and their leaders equally competent,” Jones said. “When organizations led by Black, Indigenous and Latinx women do receive funding, there are often onerous application processes and stringent reporting requirements. This limits the pool of leaders who could avail themselves of such funds and robs leaders of precious time that could be spent on service delivery.”  

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United Women in Faith Opposes Supreme Court EPA Ruling 

For Immediate Release 

July 1, 2022  

United Women in Faith Opposes Supreme Court EPA Ruling 

NEW YORK – After the Supreme Court ruled, in a 6-3 opinion, to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate emissions from power plants, which would help address the climate crisis, United Women in Faith Director of Mobilization and Advocacy Elizabeth Chun Hye Lee issued the following statement:  

“The Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. EPA signals a major setback in the fight against the climate crisis. It limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to set effective standards needed to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from coal and gas fired power plants under the Clean Air Act.

“As women of faith called to steward the earth and care for one another, we are deeply concerned about the Court’s low regard for frontline communities. Extreme heat, wildfires, and intensifying storms are already disproportionately impacting women and girls around the world and devastating Black, Indigenous, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander and low-wealth communities in the United States. As the largest cumulative climate polluter, this is a significant blow to U.S.’s ability to reduce climate pollution and keep the fossil fuel industry in check.

“The Court’s decision raises many uncertainties and could impact more than just climate; it could threaten the government’s ability to enforce laws surrounding public health, worker’s rights, clean air and water, and much more. The decision could result in reduced funding for national clean energy transition.

“With oil and gas prices rising and climate impacts intensifying, it is even more imperative that Congress pass ambitious climate justice funding so that the nation can jump-start a clean renewable energy transition. For their part, states must redouble their efforts to drastically reduce emissions in their states. And the EPA still must exercise its authority to cut climate pollution.  

“We urge the Biden administration to use all the powers of the executive office to act quickly and address the climate crisis.” 

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Education Justice Groups Demand Police-free Schools, Highlight Importance of Investing in Community Solutions

For Immediate Release

June 9, 2022

WASHINGTON – Black Swan Academy, Dignity in Schools, Center for Popular Democracy, Communities for Just Schools Fund, Education for Liberation Network, Gwinnett SToPP, LA Students Deserve, and Advancement Project held a media call in the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. The leaders cautioned against school hardening proposals that call for arming teachers and increasing police in schools. They elaborated on their concerns in a June 8, media call: https://youtu.be/E1uzPx_18NU.

“There have been a series of horrid acts of violence this past month alone,” said Cierra Kaler-Jones, director of storytelling for Communities for Just Schools Fund. “No teacher, child, administrator or loved one should fear violence when sending a child to school.”

In the aftermath of the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, many are wondering where we go from here. Education justice groups are calling for the removal of police in schools and the creation of a culture of connectedness in schools.

“I want to take this time to lift up the victims, survivors and people who are holding the grief of loss to the horrendous act of violence that took place in Uvalde,” said Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price, executive director of the Education for Liberation Network. “We have been here before. We have seen countless times when children have been murdered in our sacred places and this speaks to the foundation of violence at this nation’s founding and grounding. The violence that made this country will be the violence that destroys it unless we wake up and act. We must be collectively invested in creating a world where children are unapologetically cared for. The presence of police is a public health issue because they add to the violence.”

“I want to emphasize that the hardening of schools, the militarization of schools and increasing school police will not work,” said Ashley Sawyer, senior attorney at Advancement Project. “Police do not keep us safe. “Police do not prevent or end school-based shootings. Studies show that increased police and increased training for police does not stop school shootings. Instead, we should invest robustly in the types of things young people need to feel safe, whole, and invested in at school is the key. Police are purveyors of physical assaults and sexual assaults of students in schools.”

The groups shared their vision for holistically safe schools and communities.

“I want to extend my deepest condolences to the victims and survivors of the mass shooting epidemic that has gripped this nation,” said Marlyn Tillman, federal strategies co-chair for the Dignity in Schools Campaign and the executive director of Gwinnett SToPP. “Our ‘Communities not Cops’ campaign calls for safe, supportive, police-free schools. We are calling for the removal of all law enforcement from schools and the creation of safe schools through positive safety and discipline measures such as restorative and transformative justice. Police are not and will never be the answer to preventing violence in schools. We must work to prevent violence before it happens. Relying on police to stop violence in schools does not work. Mass shootings stop when the shooter decides to end them, not police. There were at least three police jurisdictions on the scene, and they did not stop the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. Police in schools lead to a criminalizing environment, targeting of Black students, LBGTQIA+ students and students with disabilities. There are alternatives that don’t rely on policing or hardening of schools.”

“Since 2018-2019, young folk have been calling for city leaders in D.C. to love us not harm us,” said Samantha Paige Davis, founder and executive director of the Black Swan Academy. “This includes a broad vision calling for investment in all polices, procedures, and resources to create safe, healthy and equitable learning environments. We also called for a divestment in policies, practices, procedures and resources that caused violence, harm and fear in our students in school buildings. This is what led us to call for police-free schools. In D.C. when we look at the impact of police in schools, we see that 100% of school-based arrests in our last school year prior to the pandemic were of students of color, 92% of arrests were of Black students and 32% of arrests were of students of color with disabilities. When we say police-free schools we are centering the most marginalized students in our schools and communities.”

“So many of us from across the country have been pushing for police-free schools for decades, said Joseph Williams, director, LA Students Deserve and organizer with Black Lives Matter in LA. “There has been a long history of organizing against school hardening and school police within LAUSD. We ended daily random searches where students were taken out of class and searched and criminalized. We ended ‘willful defiance’ as a category for discipline. We stopped the Los Angeles Police Department from receiving tanks and grenade launchers.”

Kaler-Jones added, “we’ve seen time and time again that police do not protect us but do the exact opposite – enact physical and psychological harm on Black people, students with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ students and others. Schools should be safe spaces where young people can learn and grow. This is not possible if police and policing infrastructure are present. Police cannot just be reformed or simply receive more training because their very existence was designed to preserve the system of enslavement. Policing as an institution has always operated in lockstep with its origins – to terrorize and control Black people.”

“We’ve done it your way – metal detectors, bullet proof doors, more police, surveillance – and the killings keep happening. How many more babies must die? It’s past time to try our way, with fidelity,” Tillman said.

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Black Southern Women’s Collaborative Urges Unused ARPA Dollars to Go to Community-Centered Public Health and Gun Violence-Reduction Strategies

For Immediate Release

May 16, 2022

Contact: press@spotlightpr.org

ATLANTA – The Black Southern Women’s Collaborative (BSWC) today called for trauma-informed and culturally relevant mental health services for Buffalo, New York, following the white supremacist terrorist attack at a Tops grocery store. Members of the group also urged local officials to direct American Rescue Program Act funds to community-centered public health and gun violence-reduction strategies. The entity issued the following statement:

“Healing doesn’t happen overnight,” said the Rev. Rhonda Thomas, executive director of Faith in Florida, organizer for LIVE FREE Florida and member of the BSWC. “It is a day-by-day process. I know this from losing a loved one to gun violence and also from supporting the Parkland community in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Florida. We need to be mindful that everyone coming into our community is not safe. We must also be mindful of the impact of this trauma on young people, who are hurting. We need to be conscious and patient with them. We don’t want our young people arrested for reacting to trauma – we have to offer them trauma-informed support.”

BSWC joined the gun violence intervention and prevention group LIVE FREE in making four demands:

  • Provide fully funded mental health and healing services for Buffalo’s Masten neighborhood, prioritizing Black therapists and doctors.
  • Activate Victims of Crime Funds to support families and residents in impacted neighborhoods that are coping with gun violence.
  • Leverage unused American Rescue Plan Act dollars for public health and community-centered peace and public safety strategies.
  • Call for New York Governor Kathy Hochul to fully fund violence prevention strategies.

“We join our LIVE FREE partner in noting that there is currently no apparatus for culturally relevant and culturally competent mental health services for Black communities,” said Tameka Greer, executive director of Memphis Artists for Change and a BSWC member. “It does not exist. There is no coordinated network of Black mental health networks although our communities are being devasted. There may be a two-day response, but healing doesn’t happen overnight, especially given the compounded trauma of COVID-19, job loss and trauma related to gun violence in our communities.” Greer is also a peace pursuer with LIVE FREE in Memphis, Tennessee.

 

The Black Southern Women’s Collaborative is a network of Black women executive directors in the South who share resources, insights, communications and other strategies to improve the material conditions for Black people in the South. The group is designed to be a soft space for Black women leaders where members are valued not only for what they do but for who they are.

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LIVE FREE, Life Camp to Hold Virtual Space to Lament White Supremacy, Racial Terror in Buffalo, New York

For Immediate Release

May 16, 2022

BUFFALO, NY – LIVE FREE, Life Camp and several members of the Black and Brown Peace Consortium again expressed condolences to victims and their families who were killed or impacted by the white supremacist domestic terrorist attack at an upstate New York grocery store. The groups decried the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 people – all Black – dead and three people wounded. In a virtual space, leaders from the organizations vowed to marshal mental health, food and physical resources to members of the Buffalo community.

“To show up at my neighborhood grocery store and see my neighbors victimized by this racial terror is devastating,” said the Rev. Denise Walden, executive director of Voice Buffalo, the local chapter of LIVE FREE. “My son’s best friend lost his father yesterday. Adding to the pain is that families have yet to see their loved ones who were killed. I am with families who are still trying to identify their loved ones who are among the slain. God help us.”

Voice Buffalo delivered death notifications to the persons impacted by the massacre until 11:00 p.m. Saturday night.

Life Camp, LIVE FREE and Voice Buffalo held a 9:30 a.m. vigil on Sunday. Life Camp also plans to bring its peace mobile to Buffalo to provide on-the-ground trauma assistance. Additionally, the organizations held a virtual space where more than 50 organizers and clergy with Voice Buffalo, LIVE FREE and Life Camp lamented together on Sunday night. They will hold a second virtual space on Monday, May 16 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Registration is required: bit.ly/standwithbuffalo2.

“After such a traumatic event, we are wondering how to shift back into normal life tomorrow, and I don’t have clear answers. I am trying to hold the people that I love close and be there for them. We need prayers and culturally competent support,” Rev. Walden said.

“This is very overwhelming,” said Tyrell Ford, a LIVE FREE organizer with Voice Buffalo. “We are in a state of shock and panic. The community is mourning.”

The shooting comes at a time of increasing mass shootings. As of April 2022, there were already 140 mass shootings in the United States. “This latest crisis comes amid Mental Health Awareness month, and the significance of that is there is a shortage of Black and Brown and culturally competent mental health professionals in Buffalo,” said Rana Ryan, a licensed certified clinical psychotherapist with Life Camp and a Buffalo resident. “Even before this tragedy, there was a dearth of resources to help Black people in Buffalo process grief and trauma. Now, the situation is likely to get worse.”

“What is most troubling about this situation is that this community was already under-resourced,” Ryan said. “The grief and healing work that will be required is massive.”

Part of a Larger Problem

“The Black and Brown Peace Consortium has worked for years to address gun violence in Black and Brown communities across the country,” said the Rev. Michael McBride, executive director of LIVE FREE. “That another instance of white racial terror has been introduced to an already traumatized and under-resourced community is as appalling as it is frightening.”

LIVE FREE and other members of the Black and Brown Peace Consortium have been active in Buffalo for years. LIVE FREE held a Justice & Belonging Lab in the city on May 6 to offer strategies for ending gun violence and promoting stronger communities. “We had no idea that one week after our Justice & Belonging event our community would be once again mourning, this time due to white racial terror,” McBride said.

“As we have spoken to elected officials at the state and federal level, we have been clear that we must get resources to the ground to help people heal,” said Erica Ford, executive director of Life Camp. “We also must ensure that we do not enforce the message that it is OK to attack Black people.”

LIVE FREE organizes communities directly impacted by gun violence and mass incarceration to build the necessary power and influence at the local, state and federal levels to ensure that these solutions are being implemented.

Life Camp is a frontline gun violence prevention and intervention team making our communities.

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LIVE FREE Mourns Another Instance of White Racial Terror

For Immediate Release

May 14, 2022

Buffalo, NY – LIVE FREE, Life Camp, and several members of the Black and Brown Peace Consortium today expressed condolences to victims and their families who were killed or impacted by a domestic terrorist attack at an upstate New York grocery store. The groups decried the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY that left 10 people, all Black, dead, and three people wounded.

“To show up at my neighborhood grocery to see my neighbors victimized by this racial terror is devastating,” said the Rev. Denise Walden, executive director of Voice Buffalo. “I am with families who are still trying to identify their youth and family members who are among the slain. God help us.”

Life Camp, LIVE FREE and Voice Buffalo announced a 9:30 a.m. vigil on Sunday, May 15 at the Tops grocery where the massacre occurred. The event will be led by Rev. Charles Walker. Life Camp will also bring its peace-mobile to Buffalo on Sunday to provide on-the-group trauma assistance.

“This is very overwhelming,” said Tyrell Ford, a LIVE FREE organizer with Voice Buffalo. “We literally do not know if our loved ones or friends are among the impacted. We are in a state of shock and panic.”

The shooting comes at a time of increasing mass shootings. As of April 2022, there were already 140 mass shootings in the United States. “It also comes amid Mental Health Awareness month, and the significance of that is there is a shortage of Black and Brown and culturally competent mental health professionals in Buffalo,” said Rana Ryan, a licensed certified clinical psychotherapist with Life Camp and resident of Buffalo. Even before this tragedy, there was a dearth of resources to help Black people in Buffalo process grief and trauma. Now, the situation is likely to get worse.

“What is most troubling about this situation is that this community was already under-resourced,” Ryan said. “The grief and healing work that will be required is massive.”

“The Black and Brown Peace Consortium has worked for years to address gun violence in Black and Brown communities across the country,” said the Rev. Michael McBride, executive director of LIVE FREE. “That another instance of white racial terror has been introduced to an already traumatized and under-resourced community is as appalling as it is frightening.”

LIVE FREE and other members of the Black and Brown Peace Consortium have been active in Buffalo for years. LIVE FREE held a Justice & Belonging Lab in the city on May 6 to offer strategies for ending gun violence and promoting stronger communities.

“We had no idea that one week after our Justice & Belonging event, our community would be mourning, this time white racial terror,” McBride said. “Additionally, the city of Milwaukee is also reeling from a mass shooting there that resulted in 17 people wounded.”

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LIVE FREE Celebrates Historic Partnership With the University of Chicago to Not Just Respond to Gun Violence But Prevent It

For Immediate Release

May 13, 2022

OAKLAND, Calif. – LIVE FREE today celebrated a new partnership with the University of Chicago Crime Lab. The gun violence prevention group and 15-19 other Black and Brown-led, community-based groups worked with the university to launch Community Safety Leadership Academies (CSLA). The academies will offer first-of-their kind programs to train the next generation of policing and community violence intervention (CVI) leaders from across the country.

“Everyone wants to live in communities that are safe and free from violence,” said the Rev. Michael McBride, executive director of LIVE FREE. “And that goal is possible, but officials must rethink the over-reliance on police and invest in Black and Brown groups who have long worked to address the root causes of violence.”

The goal of this initiative is to create the most impactful and robustly evaluated public safety training ever offered in the United States. The effort will bring together data and top academics’ and leading CVI and policing practitioners’ behavioral science insights. Housed at the University of Chicago, the CSLA will include the Policing Leadership Academy and the CVI Leadership Academy. It will offer multidisciplinary and complementary curricula that span six months with the first cohorts for both academies graduating in 2023.

“Black and Brown people are more likely to die from gun violence than their white counterparts, but too often, discussions around how to address gun violence occur without the input of the very communities adversely impacted by it and working to end it,” said Dr. Antonio Cediel, managing director of LIVE FREE. “That is the beauty of this partnership; it involves community-based groups who have worked for decades on this very issue.”

“Part of our task is not just to respond to reports about violence but to build a new public safety infrastructure that allows us to better address the ebbs and flows of violence in our community,” McBride said. “This is one of the most important innovations LIVE FREE has helped develop. These interventions are a more cost-effective way to get what we want, which is keeping our communities safe.”

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Florida Rising: Under DeSantis Plan, Black Voters Would Have Had Steeper Climb Electing Candidates of Choice

For Immediate Release

May 12, 2022

ORLANDO, Fla. – On Wednesday, May 11, a Leon County circuit judge issued a preliminary injunction barring implementation of parts of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ newly drawn congressional map. Judge Layne Smith noted the map was unconstitutional under the Fair District amendment because it would prevent African Americans from electing candidates of choice. Florida Rising, a plaintiff in a lawsuit brought by the National Redistricting Foundation, issued the following statement in response:

“The practice of joining districts to favor one political party over another skews election results and deeply hurts communities of color by restricting access to free and fair elections. For far too long and from every angle, Black voting power has been attacked,” said Moné Holder, senior director of advocacy and programs at Florida Rising. “On Wednesday, the court fulfilled their duty to make this right.”

“From the outset, this process has been fraught,” Holder said. “State legislatures typically draw district lines, but Gov. DeSantis drew his own lines. Were his map enacted, Black voters would have faced an even steeper climb in electing candidates of choice. Politicians should not be permitted to draw districts that allow them to stay in power by silencing voters.”

The way district lines are drawn impacts communities’ future. The drawing of districts gives local people a say in their representatives and determines the resources communities receive – the resources include funding for schools, parks, libraries, hospitals and social services.

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