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SPLC Action Fund pursues systemic change in Congress

Despite shifting political winds on Capitol Hill, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s lobbying arm, the SPLC Action Fund, will continue advancing federal policies in 2023 dedicated to racial justice and creating a fair and inclusive nation.

“Our nation is at an inflection point,” said LaShawn Warren, SPLC Action Fund chief policy officer. “Systemic change is desperately needed on numerous fronts as we’ve seen extremist ideas enter not only the mainstream but elected office. Only strong civil rights protections, robust voter participation, public accountability and the willingness to grapple with and learn from hard history will foster a healthy society where everyone can thrive and succeed.”

• SPLC Action Fund will address issues affecting Southern states

The SPLC Action fund has set the following policy priorities during the118th Congress:

Decriminalizing and decarcerating Black and Brown people

Twenty-three states allow the incarceration of children in adult facilities. The SPLC Action Fund will advance policy requiring states to end such practices to receive federal funds. It will pursue policies to end marijuana as a driver of incarceration, including marijuana’s removal from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the federal category of controlled substances physicians cannot prescribe. The SPLC Action Fund will advocate for police reform to ensure oversight and accountability. It is dedicated to ending forfeiture and property seizure policies that encourage “policing for profit.”

Protecting voting rights

The SPLC Action Fund will pursue policies to restore and strengthen laws to end voting discrimination, guarantee equal access to the ballot and fair representation for communities of color. It will advocate for federal funding to increase voter registration, expand and protect voting access and implement oversight measures to ensure equitable allocation of resources. The SPLC Action Fund will work to prevent criminal convictions from barring citizens from the political process. It will work with legislators to implement policies to hold tech companies accountable for disseminating misinformation that harms voters, particularly voters of color.

Fighting extremism and white supremacy

The SPLC Action Fund will support legislation to mandate hate crime reporting by law enforcement agencies to improve the FBI’s incomplete and unreliable hate crime statistics. It will support efforts conditioning federal funding to local law enforcement on criteria including credible hate crime reporting. It will promote anti-racism education efforts and improving government response to domestic extremism.

Eradicating poverty

The nation must ensure Temporary Assistance for Needy Families reaches families in need. The SPLC Action Fund will advocate for requiring states to provide direct cash assistance to families, remove barriers rooted in racism and for strong oversight of these federal funds distributed by the states. It will promote expansion of the Child Tax Credit to alleviate child poverty.

At top: SPLC illustration