SIGN NOW: End felony disenfranchisement!

Congress and state governments

Voting is the most fundamental right of democratic citizens and yet, in America, SIX MILLION VOTERS[1] are prevented from participating in this vital act- the act which separates a free country from an unfree one. As the late great Congressman John Lewis said: “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.”

And in a country which locks up more Black people than anyone [2], it is absolutely no accident that those same Black citizens are then stripped of their civic rights.

Our mass incarceration system is silencing the voices and communities most impacted by it. And that’s by design – dating back to the Jim Crow era, felony disenfranchisement laws are one of many tactics used to attack Black people’s political power.

We have come too far as a country to let any party – Republican or Democrat – get in the way of voting. This isn’t about partisanship. Voting is a fundamental right for our democracy, it is fundamental to our power. We must end felony disenfranchisement now!

As seen in Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us, five children were locked up for a crime they did not commit when they were mere children. Scared, terrified, children, locked away in terrifying torturous conditions for the crime of being Black and walking through Central Park.

The treatment of the Exonerated Five, and so many other innocent Black children, is a stain this country will never fully shake.

Yusef Salaam, a member of the Exonerated 5, is partnering with Hip Hop Caucus’ Respect My Vote! campaign to raise awareness of the rights of returning citizens. As Salaam has said about the tragedy of his wrongful incarceration:

“The system put a mark on’re not the same as everyone else. And nobody ever asked who we were. As black and brown people, it’s as if we were born guilty.”

Stand with the Exonerated 5: Demand the end of felony disenfranchisement, so that returning citizens can exercise their rights to vote!

To: Congress and state governments
From: [Your Name]

End felony disenfranchisement and let returning citizens exercise their right to vote!