Image Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/Shutterstock
Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand are donating $2.5 million toward fighting Black voter suppression. It is the continuation of the $100 million pledge to fight systemic racism he made earlier this year.
Here is the breakdown: One million dollars is being donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. Also, $1 million to the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement. Finally, The Black Voters Matter organization will receive $500,000, according to a statement by the Jordan Brand.
The 10-year pledge that Jordan and the Jordan Brand announced on June 5 to “impact the fight against systemic racism” feels like a reversal of the usual Jordan social justice moratorium.
However, with the pledge focusing on three areas: social justice, economic justice, and education and awareness, Michael Jordan is fully into his process to add his remarkable brand into the current institutional change climate.
“We understand that one of the main ways we can change systemic racism is at the polls,” said Jordan via statement.
“We know it will take time for us to create the change we want to see, but we are working quickly to take action for the Black Community’s voice to be heard.”
We are taking action to address the historical oppression against Black Americans, and this is just the first step. pic.twitter.com/wMI6utpR44
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) July 29, 2020
Not The Last Dance
The wildly popular docu-series, The Last Dance, teleported us all back to the nineties where the Chicago Bulls dominated the sports landscape.
Michael Jordan became the indomitable symbol of athletic excellence and he basked in its glow. His family’s penchant for competitiveness in all sports fueled the man we would nickname “Air” but he was noticeably absent when it came to issues of injustice.
Unlike his predecessors in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and the others who took a stand at the Cleveland Summit on June 4th 1967, Jordan was more comfortable staying in athlete mode than a humanized man of color.
Our voices will be heard. pic.twitter.com/Ya0JL2RcYM
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) July 29, 2020
However, with the unrest nationwide and worldwide, Jordan has joined the front lines as a financier of causes working for change of systemic racism. The fact that he made the announcement on June 5th, 2020 whether conscious or not, was an unofficial nod to the Cleveland Summit and perhaps Jordan’s nod to his progenitors.
“I’m all in with Jordan Brand, the Jordan family and our partners, who share a commitment to address the historical inequality that continues to plague Black communities in the U.S.,” said Jordan. “There is a long history of oppression against Black Americans that holds us back from full participation in American society. We understand that one of the main ways we can change systemic racism is at the polls. We know it will take time for us to create the change we want to see, but we are working quickly to take action for the Black community’s voice to be heard.”
We are in a world where Jordan’s biggest corporate supporter, Nike, was the first major corporation to back Colin Kaepernick when many in the world minimized his protest as an affront to the military.
Did that early support lay the groundwork for Jordan to go all in?
But ultimately, Jordan’s conscious, beleaguered for years by the horrors of impoverished kids being killed for his coveted sneakers, took hold.
$100 million is a huge commitment, and although $10 million a year is a drop in the bucket for someone of his financial stature, it is a signal for a shift in his brand’s Switzerland stance.
In fact, the pinpointing of Black voter suppression specifically is an unofficial shot at President Trump who is currently looking to alter the mail-in voting / absentee process via the federal postal system.
For a man who built his name staying far from the controversies of being a Black man in America, Michael Jordan knows he is walking revenue and that it matters in a fight for equality.
The docu-series’ title was misleading. Although, he put down the sneakers and the love of the hardwood, Jordan is showing the world his Last Dance laid the groundwork for his new one.