The Southern Coalition for Social Justice welcomes Mitchell Brown, an Equal Justice Fellowship sponsored by the Ottinger Foundation. As part of the fellowship, Brown will focus on supporting citizens with felony records across the South who have completed their sentence to restore their right to vote and re-engage with the political process so that they may be active participants in their communities.
One significant voting rights issue is that many community members with felony records are unaware of their ability to restore their right to vote at the end of their sentences, and thus, they remain absent from the political process. This challenge is intertwined with acts of intimidation that deters them from exercising their rights. Felony disqualification and voter intimidation disproportionately affects community members in communities of color across the South. Brown’s work has the capacity to become a model of reaching the most marginalized of citizens.
In his fellowship application, Brown noted, “Without the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, community members are not able to express their opinions about issues that directly affect their communities. Without the right to vote, many community members are silenced and forgotten. That must change.”
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in a fellowship at SCSJ, where I am joining a staff that is dedicated to uplifting the community,” said Brown. “One of the most important things that drew me to SCSJ is the organization’s proximity to the communities it serves. Being proximate is a critical aspect of creating lasting change, and I look forward to collaborating with community members across North Carolina and the south to establish a better tomorrow.”
Kareem Crayton, Executive Director of SCSJ, said “Mitchell became acquainted with SCSJ as a college student during our successful litigation against North Carolina’s voter suppression bill. I am so delighted that we now have the opportunity to add his skills and passion for social justice to our team as we address new barriers to the ballot box in the South.”
Brown is a graduate of North Carolina A&T University and New York University Law School.