by Derek Gilna
LeBron James, known for his skillful brand of basketball and leadership on the hard court, has been using his platform as one of the best known American athletes to advocate for voting rights for convicted felons.
James, who has made no secret of his opinion of several political leaders, has made use of his social media presence to fight voter suppression.
James, who grew up in a one-parent family, has joined with VICE TV’s “Stick to Sports” to work with More than a Vote, a group of Black athletes and artists, to encourage all Blacks to vote.
“More than a Vote is not only about trying to get people in our community to actually go out and vote; it is also giving them the knowledge and the power and the mechanism to know that they can create change,” he said. “That’s all we hear in the Black community all the time, saying that we want change.”
The Black community has been “lied to for so many years … saying that we can’t do this and we can’t do that because we are so bottom-of-the-barrel,” he continued. “Change starts at the very top when it comes to leadership, but it also is going to continue beyond November going into December and also into 2021.”
Although many states, such as Iowa and Virginia, have restored felon voting rights, at least 11 still have some restrictions, including Florida and Arizona.
As James noted, “we’ve had people that have had convictions … they’ve been told they cannot vote because they got a conviction. That is voter suppression.”
More than a Vote is about letting the Black community “know that they matter.”
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