Expanding democracy: Voting rights, restoration and education
Protecting the right to vote has been a cornerstone of NewFM-EF ever since the organization's founding. Our long-term vision is to have that right enshrined in our state and federal constitutions. Full access to the voting booth is one of our core issues due to the significant impact it has on our target communities. We're an anchor and hub for the statewide voter restoration campaign to restore the franchise to 1.6 million returning citizens in Florida. The majority- about 58% - of Miami-Dade residents struggle to meet basic needs. People participate in democracy with not only their votes, but also their wallets, providing financial support to candidates and issue platforms that speak to their needs. Changing campaign finance rules in Miami-Dade County will pave the way for locally-elected officials to be truly beholden to the people from the communities that both elect them and finance their campaigns.
Since Hurricanes Andrew, Wilma, and now Irma, we know that the heavy cost of climate devastation in underserved communities of color is counted in jobs, affordable housing, and families' financial resilience lost or put at risk in the wake of the storm.
NewFM-EF is educating and mobilizing frontline community groups to win climate resilient jobs, housing and equity in disaster response. We work with a broad spectrum of partners both inside and outside the traditional environmental movement and are led by frontline communities that include African American, Caribbean and Latino residents, all of whom are most affected by the triple effects of rising sea levels, catastrophic effects of a giant storm and poverty.
The core components of our program include: a) non-partisan voter education and mobilization on climate change within low-income communities of color; b) developing equitable disaster preparedness plans within communities for climate catastrophe; and c) advocating for Green Economy skills training and green enterprise development in order to build climate resilient jobs within low- and moderate-income communities.
Criminal Justice Reform
Our criminal justice work builds off our work in expanding democracy. Our ongoing effort to restore voting rights to returning citizens – a key issue for our communities – is an essential component of our work on decriminalization. So too are our coalition work on restorative justice in schools and focused on reproductive justice. We also develop state and local policy with community partners, encouraging police departments, public defenders and courts to develop restorative alternatives to the criminal justice system for issues of community violence.