Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Friday, Aug. 19 1:30 PM (Eastern)
Ends: Friday, Aug. 19 2:30 PM (Eastern)
“In Florida, since the end of the Civil War, politicians have attacked the political rights of Black citizens. In Florida, though we have come far, the realistic fact is that we still have a long, long way to go.” Those were the words of Chief Federal Judge Mark E. Walker when he issued his ruling invalidating Senate Bill 90—a suppressive law approved by the conservative-led Florida legislature in 2021. This panel will highlight the victory of the SB90 trial, the history of intentional discrimination of voting rights in Florida and across the country—and how you can use this victory to fight against voter suppression laws in your state.
Kadida Kenner is the CEO of the New Pennsylvania Project and the New PA Project Education Fund, both are voting rights organizations modeled after the successful New Georgia Project. The New Pennsylvania Project’s primary focus is to civically engage, register, mobilize and empower often-ignored constituents, especially the youth, and communities of color in rural, urban, and suburban Pennsylvania to transform and expand the electorate in the Commonwealth.
Kadida is a tireless advocate for social and economic justice issues and is motivated to empower and excite the electorate to enthusiastically vote in every election — all the way down the entire ballot. In addition to working on voting rights, Kadida also serves as co-chair of Why Courts Matter – Pennsylvania, an advocacy campaign seeking to protect the independence of our state and federal courts, and educate the electorate about their importance. The Temple University graduate resides in the Philly suburbs and counts civil rights organizing icon, and Pennsylvania native Bayard Rustin as her hero.
Other sessions: Our State Courts: The Sleeper Seats of Power
Jasmine Burney-Clark, is a civic engagement professional who has dedicated her personal and professional career to social and electoral justice across the state of Florida. She’s the Founder of Equal Ground Education Fund and Action Fund, a Black-led community centered civic engagement organization prioritizing voter registration, education and turnout.
Most recently she was a Senior Advisor to the NAACP(National) and Executive Director of the Florida 501c3 Civic Engagement Table where she advanced work through three (3) statewide programs: Civic Engagement (voter registration and turnout, issue advocacy, and constituency engagement), Civic Access (voting rights and election administration) and Civic Representation (census, redistricting and “clean elections”). She worked to expand equal access to the ballot box on behalf of the New American Majority.
Notably, she has worked in Florida politics since 2010 for Alex Sink for Governor, Geraldine Thompson for Senate, Tom Steyer’s NextGen America, Democracy at Stake – Florida’s Supreme Court Judicial Retention initiative and Faith in Florida an affiliate of Faith in Action.
She’s a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and resides in Orlando, FL with her husband Dominic Clark.
Roni Druks is a Staff Attorney for the Advancement Project’s Power and Democracy program. At the Advancement Project her work supports grassroots partners who are fighting against felony disenfranchisement laws designed to suppress the voting power of people of color in the United States. Previously, Roni served as a tenants’ rights attorney at TakeRoot Justice where she worked alongside tenant associations and tenant organizers in their fight against landlord harassment and displacement in New York City. Roni is a graduate of Harvard Law School where she served as a student attorney in the International Human Rights Clinic and Legal Services Center. She is a member of the New York bar.
Andrea Cristina Mercado, Executive Director of Florida Rising, leads scaled civic engagement programs, and strategic campaigns that center Black and brown communities. Florida Rising is the result of the merger of New Florida Majority and Organize Florida. Under her leadership New Florida Majority registered over 150,000 Floridians to vote. The daughter of immigrants from South America, who made South Florida home, Andrea has been organizing in communities of color and immigrant communities for twenty years, she helped build Mujeres Unidas y Activas in the San Francisco Bay Area. Andrea is one of the co-founders of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and led the California Domestic Worker Coalition, a statewide effort to include domestic workers in labor laws, which successfully passed Domestic Worker Bill of Rights Legislation in 2013, seven states have now passed similar legislation. She went on to lead nationally recognized campaigns for immigrant and worker rights such as We Belong Together, and the 100 women 100 mile pilgrimage for migrant dignity. She is a graduate of Brown University, Fulbright Scholar and Emily’s list awardee, recently named best South Florida Activist by the Miami New Times.
Kira Romero-Craft is the Director of Legal Strategies at Demos. Kira has led critical democracy and economic justice work, including combating anti-voter laws in Florida, ensuring voting rights for Spanish-language dominant voters in Florida and Georgia, advocating for the re-enfranchisement of over one million voters, challenging discrimination against Puerto Ricans, and protecting and promoting the rights of immigrants in housing and education. Kira was also part of the team that filed a legal challenge against FEMA on behalf of Puerto Rican evacuees to extend temporary housing assistance across the country post-Hurricane Maria.
Prior to joining Demos, Kira was the Director of the Southeast region at LatinoJustice PRLDEF (formerly the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund). She also served as the Director of the Children’s Legal Program at Americans for Immigrant Justice, in Miami, Florida, where she oversaw the expansion of the legal team representing immigrant children in removal proceedings before immigration and family court proceedings.
Kira is a former Equal Justice Works fellow for the Legal Aid Society of the OCBA. Her fellowship project focused on representing immigrant children in juvenile and immigration courts. Additionally, Kira also serves as a member of the advisory board at the Fordham Law School Voting Rights and Democracy Project. Kira is a graduate of Rollins College and received her law degree from the Florida State University College of Law.