Local voting-rights organization the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has been nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
"It feels just like yesterday, we made history with the passage of Amendment 4 — now this?" said Desmond Meade, FRRC Executive Director, in a press statement. “To say we are humbled is an understatement, especially when we are being nominated during Black History Month by the same organization that nominated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW).”
FRRC was nominated for the Nobel by the American Friends Service Committee and Quaker Peace and Social Witness. Both organizations received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947. As Nobel laureates have nominating power, each year since 1947 the two groups jointly nominate a candidate for the Peace Prize.
"We are nominating the FRRC for their work in building democracy, supporting the human right to representation by government and working towards a better organized and peaceful world," said the AFSC in a press statement.
This Nobel Peace Prize nomination is, per the FRRC, the first to be given to an organization headed up by people who were formerly incarcerated (known as returning citizens) or have been "impacted by the criminal justice system."
Back in 2018, Florida citizens overwhelmingly voted yes on Amendment 4, the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, a state constitutional amendment to restore the voting rights of Florida residents who were charged with a felony and had served out their prison sentences. The grass-roots FRRC has been at the forefront of the effort to see that this amendment is recognized and implemented by Florida's state leadership. Though there is still so much more work to be done, the FRRC is out there doing it.
"We've always been an organization that believed in giving back to the community, we've always been an organization that believed in our advocacy for those people who've been most marginalized," said Meade during a press conference announcing the Nobel nomination. "This nomination serves as a validation of the work we've been doing."
The Nobel Peace Prize winners will be announced in October and awarded on Dec. 10.
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