#12DaystoShowUp Day 11: Initiate Justice Voting Restoration and Democracy Act of 2018

As a part of SURJ Bay Area’s #12DaysToShowUp Fundraising Campaign — and our ongoing commitment to racial justice and reparations — 50% of all donations raised for SURJ are passed on to local POC-led organizations. The other 50% will be used to fund under-resourced rural SURJ chapters and to support our own work mobilizing white people in the Bay Area.

Donate to SURJ Bay Area before December 31 to help us reach our year-end fundraising goal of $20,000.

In addition to your donation to SURJ, we encourage you to match donations directly to POC-led organizations like those we’ve featured each of the 12 Days of this campaign.

Voting Restoration and Democracy Act

Stripping communities of their voting rights is a centuries-long tool used to silence and disenfranchise people of color – and it must stop now.

The passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 was a major victory of the civil rights era. But in the decades since, attacks on voting rights have been endless. In California, 162,000 citizens – mostly people of color – can’t vote today, simply because they are in state prison or on parole.

The good news is that Californians have the opportunity to change this. Our partners at Initiate Justice – a policy-driven, POC-led organization built by and for people directly impacted by incarceration – recently launched a statewide ballot initiative known as the Voting Restoration and Democracy Act of 2018 (VRDA). This initiative will ensure that all US citizens 18 years of age and older in California can vote, even if in prison or on parole, ending the unjust removal of basic civil rights when a person goes to prison.

When this ballot measure gets passed, California will join Maine and Vermont (and virtually all other countries with elected governments) and send a powerful challenge to our national system of white supremacy.

But getting the VRDA passed is an uphill battle. We need to get over 800,000 signatures from registered voters in California by April 17, 2018 to get on the ballot. To some, this may seem like a herculean task, but we believe this is something we can – and must – accomplish. SURJ is supporting this campaign by organizing a fleet of signature gatherers, but also with our financial resources, to help print and distribute petitions, and support Initiate Justice in hiring folks to collect signatures to meet this huge goal in a short time frame.

So today, we’re asking for a massive outpouring of support from you--both with your pocketbook and with your time, to help undo a great injustice and “pay back” to black and brown communities for centuries of racial injustice and massive inequality perpetuated by our system of white supremacy and a history of white silence and indifference.

Donate to SURJ Bay Area before December 31 to help us reach our year-end fundraising goal of $20,000.