Michael Jordan Pledges $2.5 Million to Legal Defense Organizations and to Protect Black Voting Rights
The funds will go to three recipients that were chosen "based on their ability to take action that can create impact now"
Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand have distributed donations to three organizations this week after committing $100 million toward fighting systemic racism over the next 10 years.
On Wednesday, the NBA legend and Jordan Brand announced the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement will both receive $1 million in support. The Black Voters Matter Fund, which advocates for voting rights and access, will receive $500,000, bringing the total for the first round of funds to $2.5 million.
"I’m all in with Jordan Brand, the Jordan family and our partners, who share a commitment to address the historical inequality that continues to plague Black communities in the U.S.," Jordan, owner of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, said in a statement. "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."
"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," the 57-year-old NBA Hall of Famer added.
With the presidential election only three months away, ensuring all Americans have an easy path to the ballot box is gaining increased attention from prominent figures.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, millions of Black voters have fallen victim to strict voter ID laws, which require voters to have a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot.
States will often argue these regulations help to combat votes being placed under false names, but voter fraud is rare during elections, the Brennan Center says. What is real is that voter ID laws keep millions of Americans who don't have an ID — Americans who are disproportionately people of color — from voting, according to the group.
Jordan Brand — a subsidiary of Nike — said the three groups who received funds were chosen "based on their ability to take action that can create impact now."
"The $100 million 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," Craig Williams, President of Jordan Brand, said in a statement. "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."
Jordan isn't the only basketball personality to turn their attention to helping Black voters — in June, LeBron James helped to form the nonprofit, More Than a Vote, to thwart voter suppression efforts ahead of the election.
James formed the group with a mix of current and former NBA players including Draymond Green, Stephen Jackson, Jalen Rose, Eric Bledsoe, Trae Young, Alvin Kamara, Udonis Haslem and Sam Perkins. WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith and comedian Kevin Hart also joined.
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To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.