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The SPLC Action Fund is looking to support candidates in eight Alabama cities

The SPLC Action Fund plans to support candidates for municipal office in eight Alabama cities in 2025, focusing on underrepresented Black communities and enhancing local representation.

The logo of the SPLC Action Fund
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In a first for the SPLC Action Fund, the political arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the organization is looking at supporting candidates for municipal office in Alabama in 2025.

While the Action Fund has endorsed Alabama candidates for judge and district attorney before, the 2025 elections will be the first set of municipal races in Alabama since the Action Fund began endorsing local candidates.

In a press release, the SPLC Action Fund stated it is considering supporting candidates in eight cities where “Black residents have been historically underrepresented” in local government.

The eight cities are Adamsville, Anniston, Atmore, Greenville, Livingston, Oak Hill, Pleasant Grove, and Thomasville. All of the cities are relatively small, with an average of around 6,400 voting age residents, and Oak Hill has only 119.

The Action Fund specifically highlighted in its press release that despite having a 69 percent non-white population, Livingston has never elected a Black mayor.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s director of political campaigns, Brandon Jones, told APR that the SPLC is “a civil rights organization and so we believe that people seeing themselves in their representation and making sure that those local officials are responsive to Black voices is crucial in how policy outcomes play out.”

Representation for Black citizens is especially important in states in the Southeast, Jones said, because of the checkered civil rights history of these places.”

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Jones stated that just how the Action Fund gets involved in each city will “really depend on the community.” However, “making sure that [voters are] aware of what the stakes are in these local races, what these jobs do, what municipal governments are responsible for, will be a big part of what we do.”

Candidates seeking endorsements will need to fill out a questionnaire to receive the Action Fund’s support, with Jones explaining that “before we endorse, we look for some ideological alignment.” If no candidates are great matches for the fund’s platform, Jones says the fund may decide to not endorse any candidates.

The SPLC Action Fund’s 2024 policy platform was released in April. The platform’s four focus areas are: “Strengthen Democracy,” “Eliminate the Reliance on Criminalization and Incarceration as a Public Safety and Immigration Solution,” “Eradicate Poverty,” and “Combat Hate and Extremism and White Supremacy.”

Specific policies listed in the platform include opposing racial gerrymandering, supporting alternatives to the criminal legal system, establishing guaranteed income programs, and enforcing hate crime laws.

Jones told APR that the Action Fund will likely begin holding community forums over the coming months, and possibly running polls, in order to better understand the eight cities it has selected.

Chance Phillips is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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