Miami,FL – Nearly 50 volunteers came out last Saturday, Aug 5 to help launch the Voter Restoration Second Chance Campaign that looks to restore the ability to vote to 1.5 million Florida citizens.
Leaving from the offices of New Florida Majority (NewFM), the diverse group of volunteers stretched all over Miami-Dade, helping to gather 330 petitions in under two hours. Collectively, a coalition of state-wide groups led by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition gathered nearly 2,000 petitions and tens of thousands more in pledges.
“Our goal is to get this on the 2018 ballot and in order to do that, we need one million petitions,” said Itohan Ighodaro, the state field director for the campaign.
NewFM Democracy Organizer, Francois Alexandre believes that volunteer engagement is essential to the campaigns success.
“Volunteers are the engine that will drive this campaign to the finish line and ensure that 1.5 million people no longer feel like second class citizens,” sand Alexandre.
MUSIC CAPS OFF SIGNATURE GATHERING
After hitting the streets, volunteers were welcomed back to the office with food catered by Blessing Restaurant & Bar and music by RaRa Rock Roots Rasin. The festive mood helped folks not just unwind, but also share their experiences gathering signatures.
Libby G. came from Coral Gables and was surprised by the good will and positive reception she received from the strangers she met that day.
“It surprised me – an entire restaurant came out and said, yes, this is possible,” she said.
Much of that had to do with the fact that many of the people she spoke to had said that they themselves had not been given a second chance.
“It’s amazing how many people are out there that have been subjected to this, who have made mistakes in their lives and haven’t been given a second chance.” said Libby. “People need redemption and to be given a second chance.”
David Elphant went to the FRRC Convening two weeks ago and has come way more determined than ever to work towards creating a state where everyone has an opportunity to be a part of the political system.
“I joined because democracy only thrives when everyone participates,” said David Elphant from Wilton Manors. “Re-enfranchising those who have served their time is crucial step towards achieving that goal. They deserve a second chance and the future of our democracy will be strengthened by their participation.
Later that evening, NewFM Executive Director Andrea Mercado congratulated not only those that turned out but also the crowd that had swelled to include people who couldn’t make it during the day.
“It’s going to take all of us fighting together,” she said, “for freedom, for racial justice, for economic justice and for Mother Earth to radically transform our society, Florida, our nation and the world.”
The Florida Second Chances campaign works to restore the ability to vote to nearly 1.5 million Florida citizens who have been convicted of a felony offense, paid their debt to society and have earned the opportunity to participate in and give back to their communities. Those looking to get involved in South Florida can join NewFM’s volunteer team by signing up here: http://bit.ly/NewFMVolunteer #DemocracyWins #NewFM