Today marks 57 years since Congress ratified the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, forbidding the use of a poll tax in federal elections.
For 70 years—from the 1890s until this day in 1966—voting fees applied in southern states as a legal means of preventing Black Americans from exercising their hard-won right to vote. A “grandfather clause” exempted some poor whites from payment (if they could prove an ancestor had voted prior to the Civil War), but no such exemptions were made for African Americans.
Recent U.S. Senate runoff elections held in Georgia earlier this month, and the resulting ability to govern that these elections conferred upon the incoming Biden/Harris administration, provides an immediate example of why voting is so important to winning freedoms and rights for all Black and Brown people, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people, people with disabilities, and immigrants. Our fight is far from over.
Every day, the Circle for Justice Innovations, our donors, Circle Members, and grantees work to build power for the Movement. Included in our latest slate of Leadership Circle grants, are first-time grantees Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing of Wisconsin, SOUL Sisters Leadership Collective of Florida, Healing Communities USA – Pennsylvania, and Nation Outside in Michigan, and in continuation funding to The Ordinary People Society of Alabama and I.AM.LEGACY in South Dakota—all working for the restoration of rights, including voting rights for formerly incarcerated people.
In this ongoing struggle, CJI rededicates itself to redefining racial and social justice philanthropy through connection, inclusion, and community. We thank you for your continuing support.