Color Of Change PAC Endorses Kim Gardner, Monique Worrell, Victoria Burton-Harris, and Joe Kimok
Color Of Change PAC intensifies campaign to elect powerful progressive district attorneys with real plans to protect Black people across the country with a slate of endorsements through the summer
New York, NY — Today, Color Of Change PAC announced it is endorsing Kim Gardner in St. Louis City, Missouri, for City Circuit Attorney and Victoria Burton-Harris in Wayne County, Michigan, for Prosecuting Attorney, as well as Monique Worrell in Orange & Osceola Counties, Florida, and Joe Kimok in Broward County, Florida, for State Attorneys. Color Of Change PAC will announce additional endorsements over the next couple of months in key races to help make the case for progressive candidates to voters, and to further build on the work the organization has led nationwide for years to elect progressive District Attorneys.
With the tragedies of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor bringing more visibility to police violence and systemic injustice, Color Of Change PAC’s goal to shift how the public views prosecutors and how prosecutors do their jobs is even more salient. Many of the barriers to racial justice in this country, particularly those who hold power, are more evident now than they have ever been. Prosecutors are mostly white and male, and nearly 85 percent run for DA positions completely unopposed. With these endorsements, Color Of Change PAC continues its tradition of endorsing district attorney candidates offering plans that can help move Black people forward.
“No one holds more power in our justice system than prosecutors. They decide who to prosecute, what the charges will be, and routinely make decisions that destroy Black people’s lives,” said Rashad Robinson, spokesperson for Color Of Change PAC. “This is why it is essential that we elect candidates like Gardner and Burton-Harris, who are committed to reforming the system to keep people out of prison. For Black people, it’s the difference between freedom and imprisonment, and life and death.”
St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has been working to change our criminal justice system and has already improved the lives of thousands of people. During her time in office, Gardner has championed bold reforms that address racial inequality and prejudice in the criminal justice system. Color Of Change endorsed Gardner in 2016, after which she established a Conviction Integrity Unit, a division of the prosecutorial office whose mission is to relitigate cases with suspected misconduct. The unit continues to play a crucial role in the case of Lamar Johnson, who faces a life sentence for a murder conviction despite the many holes in the state’s case. Gardner has demonstrated that she is committed to upholding and continuing efforts to end mass incarceration that people in St. Louis City deserve.
Monique Worrell is an advocate who has fought for her community for over 20 years. She is a former public defender, law professor, and assistant state attorney for Orange & Osceola counties. Worrell has the experience and is committed to making our communities safer. At the State Attorney’s Office, Worrell’s reform work included reviewing wrongful convictions and returning innocent people back into their community.
Victoria Burton-Harris is the only candidate committed to ending cash bail, addressing unfair disparities, and restoring trust in our criminal justice system. Under current PA Kym Worthy’s leadership, Black people, despite making up nearly 40% of the county’s population, make up for more than 70% of those detained in Wayne County jail on any given day.
Joe Kimok is an experienced criminal defense attorney, former teacher, and Assistant State Attorney for Broward County. After years of fighting on the frontlines for his clients, Kimok has a deep understanding of the problems that plague our communities. This will be the first open race for Broward State Attorney in more than 40 years.
Color Of Change PAC, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, plans to support these candidates by building enthusiasm and mobilizing voters who are often left out. The organization leads an education campaign which informs voters about the link between criminal justice reform and voting. One of the first-ever political organizing groups to figure out how to reach and engage its members online, Color Of Change PAC has ramped up its digital tactics, including digital ads, virtual phone banking, and town halls in response to the limitations COVID-19 has put on in-person advocacy and voter engagement.
“As we move through this critical moment in racial justice, communities nationwide are witnessing the power and purpose of local representation in real-time,” said Arisha Hatch, Executive Director of Color Of Change PAC. “Amid the upcoming influx of local races, it is imperative that Black communities are especially aware of the key role of District Attorneys.”
Color Of Change PAC draws the link between voter turnout in district attorney races and real change in Black communities. The PAC seeks to endorse candidates that support the criminal justice demands which will bring about essential reforms; these include ending money bail, reducing collateral consequences for immigrant defendants, protecting kids within the juvenile justice system, holding police accountable, and being more transparent with the public.
Color Of Change PAC is a Political Action Committee focused on building independent Black political power, amplifying Black voices, electing candidates who share our values, and holding them accountable to our communities. For more information on Color Of Change PAC, visit votingwhileblack.com.