TANGIPAHOA PARISH, Louisiana – The SPLC Action Fund today endorsed Joyce Jackson for sheriff and John “Tree” Smith for clerk of court in Tangipahoa Parish’s upcoming Municipal Elections.
Joyce Jackson, the first Black woman to run for this office locally, is focused on addressing the urgent issues of over-incarceration and racial inequity in the criminal justice system.
“For too long, the criminal justice system in Louisiana has been riddled with racial inequities that is no doubt linked to the lack of diversity in these key positions of power,” said Madison Hollon, program manager of political campaigns for the SPLC Action Fund. “We are proud to endorse Ms. Jackson, who is both committed to addressing these inequities head-on and whose very candidacy provides an opportunity for the system to finally be truly representative of the communities it serves.”
In February, the SPLC Action Fund released a report on the racial disparity among sheriffs and prosecutors across Louisiana. While the state has a Black population of 33%, only 6% of Louisiana sheriffs are Black. The report, Out of Balance: Racial Disparity Among Louisiana’s Sheriffs and Prosecutors, illustrates that while the vast majority of Louisiana’s district attorneys (DAs) and sheriffs are white, Black residents are starkly overrepresented in the state’s criminal legal system.
John “Tree” Smith, who has served as deputy clerk, is committed to bringing transparency to the Clerk of Court’s office while increasing voter protections to ensure all voters can exercise their most fundamental right to vote.
“Over the past decade, we have seen growing efforts to create barriers to voting. Election officials are on the front lines of responding to those efforts,” said Hollon “Mr. Smith has pledged that he is prepared to take on those efforts and will remain steadfast in protecting the rights of all voters.”
The SPLC Action Fund is focused on lifting up communities of color, particularly in the Deep South, who face systemic oppression, poverty and structural racism. To overcome these injustices, the organization is committed to reimagining the political, economic and social systems that sustain them to create a world where all people can thrive.
In pursuit of this bold agenda, the SPLC Action Fund supports candidates who share its commitment to reducing the deep inequities that plague our nation.
About the SPLC Action Fund
SPLC Action Fund is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. SPLC Action Fund is the 501(c)(4) affiliate organization to the Southern Poverty Law Center. For more information, visit www.splcactionfund.org.