(Washington, D.C.) – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law announced today that it has received a $500,000 grant from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to support our work to strengthen democracy for all, specifically our work to fight online misinformation and election interference targeting Black communities and other communities of color.
The 2020 election season tested the strength of our democratic institutions and their voters. As the country saw record voter turnout, we also witnessed an abundance of barriers to voting such as intimidation and rampant misinformation that attempted to suppress turnout in communities of color. Election officials also faced a global health crisis, forcing many voters to access information online and over the phone. Anti-democratic and racist opportunists saw this as a convenient moment to spread lies about voting and voter access.
Combating voter misinformation will be key for the national Lawyers’ Committee’s goal to provide equal justice for all, especially voters who have historically been targeted for misinformation like Blacks, immigrants, and other communities of color.
“We monitor elections nationwide and hear from voters daily about the challenges they face, including misleading robocalls, deceptive e-mails, and false advertisements. Those problems did not stop with the 2020 election,” said Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “With support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, we will continue our nationwide push to counter and stamp out voter misinformation and disinformation campaigns that harm voters and undermine our democracy.”
The grant is needed now more than ever, especially as the country recovers from the pandemic. Social media platforms, robocalls, and even text messages are routinely deployed to drive voter suppression by attempting to misinform and intimidate Black communities, promote digital redlining, and even promote false conspiracy theories that can cost votes and lives. The rights of Black and Brown communities should be protected at all costs as we work to advance equal justice for all.
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About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (national Lawyers’ Committee), is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.
Craig Newmark is a Web pioneer, philanthropist, and leading advocate. Most commonly known for founding the online classified ads service craigslist, Newmark works to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. In 2016, he founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies to advance people and grassroots organizations that are “getting stuff done” in areas that include trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, food insecurity, voter protection, women in technology, and support for veterans & military families. At its core, all of Newmark’s philanthropic work helps to strengthen American democracy by supporting the values that the country aspires to – fairness, opportunity, and respect. For more information, please visit: CraigNewmarkPhilanthropies.org. Craig can be found sharing his personal perspective on the issues of the day at @craignewmark.