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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Last year's racial reckoning was a moment. The NBA wants it to become a movement.

Driving the news: Steph Curry last week, on behalf of the NBA's Social Justice Coalition, urged fans to contact their senators about passing the Freedom to Vote Act.

Catch up quick: The coalition — established in November 2020 by the NBA and players union with the goal of turning protest into policy — comprises a 15-person board with representatives from the league, ownership, players and coaches.

  • Since then, it's lobbied for and endorsed four bills that fall under its three areas of focus: voting rights, police reform and criminal justice reform.
  • Those bills — the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the Freedom to Vote Act and the EQUAL Act — have thus far failed to become law, but as the coalition's director James Cadogan tells Axios, that's only part of their mission.
"Our mission is to raise awareness, educate and take meaningful action. Supporting those bills is part of that meaningful action, but ... I think our superpower, if we have one, is bringing more eyeballs onto issues and more people into consistent participation."

The big picture: Last year's upheaval has already led to tangible change across the sports world, including racist mascots being ditched and millions of dollars being committed to aid diversity initiatives.

  • But the next, and perhaps most important step, is ensuring that momentum doesn't fade — a directive Cadogan feels the coalition is particularly well suited to achieve.
  • "That's the reason for institutionalizing this work," he said. "It's an established arm of the NBA community ... and this is how we want to make sure that it sustains and lasts beyond the moment."

Go deeper

House passes voting rights bill

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed voting rights legislation, approving a measure that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Amendment Act.

Driving the news: The package will be sent to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle because of Republican opposition. Democrats are considering changing the Senate's filibuster rules to pass the bill.

Manchin says he won't support "perilous" filibuster rule change

Joe Manchin. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reiterated his stance against reforming the filibuster in a statement Thursday, saying, "I cannot support such a perilous course of action."

Driving the news: President Biden earlier in the day attended the Senate Democratic caucus lunch to make a case for reforming the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker