JUNE 21, 2012 / BY KIM LEHMKUHL State Farm says it helps Black youth, but funds ALEC?

Capitalizing on LeBron James' heightened visibility during the much-hyped NBA finals — which is enjoying its highest ratings in eight years — State Farm is heavily promoting an eye-catching public service announcement featuring the celebrity spokesman. The ad graphically illustrates the devastating effects of a stunted education on a young Black man's life prospects, then reassures us: "State Farm and LeBron are helping kids graduate."

But if State Farm cares so much about our kids, why is it still funding ALEC?

The shadowy lobbying organization seeks to radically privatize every aspect of the education system. Some observers have said the group is "starving public schools" of resources in abject disregard for student learning and employment prospects. And as ColorOfChange members know well, ALEC is also the driving force behind "Shoot First" laws that put young Black men (like Trayvon Martin) at particular risk, and discriminatory voter ID laws that work to disenfranchise people of color and students. LeBron has — famously — spoken out on Trayvon's behalf, and it's likely that he understands well the importance of these critical issues to our communities. State Farm? Not so much.

More than 100,000 ColorOfChange members have taken action to urge State Farm and ALEC's other corporate funders to disassociate themselves from the group. Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and even Wal-Mart have all stepped up and done the right thing, so why not State Farm?

How much does State Farm really care about our kids' futures? Give them a call and ask them yourself — and please let us know what they said in the comments.