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FAMM and National Basketball Social Justice Coalition to lobby Congress to pass EQUAL Act
WASHINGTON – FAMM and the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition are launching efforts next week to lobby Congress to pass the EQUAL Act, which passed the House in September by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote.
If passed and signed into law, the EQUAL Act would eliminate the federal sentencing disparity between drug offenses involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine.
“The crack-powder disparity has hurt communities and families, especially Black families, for more than a generation without making us any safer,” FAMM President Kevin Ring said. “There’s overwhelming support for eliminating this disparity. We wanted to make sure lawmakers heard from people who can speak from person experience about the harm the disparity has caused.”
On Monday and Tuesday, affected family members will meet with members of the U.S. Senate and House, as well as Biden administration officials, to discuss the effects the unfair disparity has had on families for the last 36 years.
“EQUAL has made tremendous progress moving through and passing the House of Representatives,” said James Cadogan, Executive Director of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition. “We hope that momentum will continue in the Senate and ultimately to the Resolute Desk. For nearly 40 years, this sentencing disparity has had an extraordinary adverse impact—particularly on Black and Brown families. Passing EQUAL would be a significant step in the journey towards racial justice. Our Coalition is pleased to be partnering with FAMM and the National Civil Rights Museum to try to help make that a reality.”
Panelists include: U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, House sponsor of the EQUAL Act; James Cadogan, Executive Director, National Basketball Social Justice Coalition; Veda Ajamu, Managing Director of DEl Programs and Community Engagement, National Civil Rights Museum; Frank Russo, Director of Governmental and Legislative Affairs, National District Attorneys Association and advocate Sagan Soto-Stanton.
FAMM played an active role in securing passage of the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, which reduced the crack-powder disparity from 100:1 to 18:1. FAMM also pushed Congress to make the new 18:1 disparity retroactive in the First Step Act, a reform that has reduced excessive sentences for more than 3,600 people, more than 90 percent of whom were Black.
Last year, FAMM and Prison Fellowship teamed up to launch the #EndTheDisparity Campaign to urge Congress to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine-related sentences.
For more than three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM has led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.
The National Basketball Social Justice Coalition is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization that leads the NBA family’s collaborative efforts to address racial inequality and advance social justice. Formed jointly in 2020 by the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association, and the National Basketball Coaches Association, the Coalition is a first-of-its-kind entity in the sports and media sector—leveraging the game of basketball’s influence to promote justice policy reforms at the national, state, and local levels.