Photo of Mitchell D. Brown

Mitchell D. Brown

  • Hosted by Southern Coalition for Social Justice
  • Sponsored by The Ottinger Foundation
  • Service location Durham, North Carolina
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Voting Rights/Electoral Participation
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Mitchell will help community members with felony records in North Carolina who have completed their sentence restore their right to vote and re-engage with the political process.

One of the biggest voting rights issues in North Carolina is that many community members with felony records who have completed their sentence do not know that they are able to restore their right to vote, and thus, they are absent from the political process. This lack of knowledge is intertwined with acts of intimidation aimed at preventing them from utilizing their right to vote and letting their voice be heard. Felon disenfranchisement and voter intimidation disproportionately affects community members in Black and Brown communities.

During Mitchell’s time at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, he learned the value of community engagement and the value of the right to vote. While in college, Mitchell fought against a North Carolina Voter ID bill that sought to disproportionately disenfranchise communities of color and college students. Mitchell is grateful for the opportunity to return to North Carolina as a civil rights lawyer, the place of his familial roots and the place where he learned the value of letting his voice be heard.

Fellowship Plans

Mitchell’s project aims to help community members with felony records who have completed their sentence restore their right to vote, and aims to combat any efforts to intimidate them as they seek to exercise their right to vote. Additionally, Mitchell’s project seeks to replicate restoration efforts made in North Carolina, in Alabama and Texas, utilizing the Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s sister organizations in these states. Mitchell seeks to address the aforementioned issues through educational outreach, litigation, and advocacy. Mitchell will hold a series of educational seminars regarding voting rights restoration, litigate against those who would seek to intimidate community members, and advocate for changes in North Carolina, Alabama, and Texas felon disenfranchisement laws regarding each law’s requirement that a person’s fines and fees be completely paid before their voting rights are restored. The ultimate aim of Mitchell’s project is to help remove the barriers that prevent community members with felony records from engaging in the political process.

Without the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, community members are not able to express their opinions about issues that directly affect their communities. Without the right to vote, many community members are silenced and forgotten. That must change.

Mitchell Brown /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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