Educate, Organize and Mobilize: A Matter of Faith
Throughout my coverage of voter suppression, I’ve tried to identify and define what a successful campaign to defeat voter suppression looks like. Throughout the time that I’ve been writing about voter suppression (November 2013 – to date), I’ve addressed targets and tactics of voter suppression activist. I’ve also reviewed and analyzed news and other information that I considered important for a good understanding of our challenge. I trust that our readers will refer to my earlier articles for more details. Earlier articles are archived on GreaterDiversity.com and can also be located on the Internet by searching #defeatvotersuppression.
In my article last week, the African American Caucus, which as all are, was posted on Facebook, drew a comment from Vivian Brenner who said “Good read! You're organizing and getting momentum, and the word is getting out. I'm still very concerned that so many people of color in my office are uninformed and unaware of the laws passed in NC last year. People around me in Charlotte are just not interested. Can we reach folks through their churches? It's frustrating for me.” She added that she’d thought about this a bit over the last six months and that she'd love to volunteer to speak at churches in the Charlotte area. Of course, I agreed with her every word and in next week's article plan to address “low information voters” and our need for more volunteers and outreach.
On Thursday, March 13, 2014, I was pleased and privileged to attend another Operation Jumpstart meeting with fellow advocates that are engaged in the campaign to defeat voter suppression. As we go forth I will connect our readers with some of these advocates and help to build the network of these advocates. I continue to see a successful campaign to defeat voter suppression emerging and also areas that need to be addressed and supported.
Although the campaign to defeat voter suppression is totally multi-ethnic, I’m always looking at the level of participation by the black community and doing outreach to improve it. The support of the faith community is essential to the success of our efforts and this week we’ve highlight some efforts and urge the Black faith community to get much more involved. It is important to note that Operation Jumpstart is spearheaded by Democracy NC, which is a non-partisan 501(c) (3) as are most of the other coalition partners.
Black churches and other community organizations have historically and rightfully concerned themselves with operating within non-partisan 501(c) (3) boundaries. To that end, I recommend the Election Activity Guide for Faith-Based Communities which is published by Democracy NC. The NC Council of Churches and Carolina Jews for Justice are Operation Jumpstart Partners and are aggressively engaged in educating, organizing and mobilizing to defeat voter suppression. The NC Council of Churches represents “17 Christian denominations and through its Governing Board recently reaffirmed its decades-long commitment to the right of all citizens to vote under rules that are fair, reasonable and wholly in the spirit of America’s representative democracy.”
As a part of their campaign to defeat voter suppression the NC Council of Churches has produced a flyer that will shortly be available at democracy-nc.org. In it they declare “There’s nothing Christian about making it harder for people to vote.” In an excerpt from Statement on Guaranteeing Suffrage, the Right to Vote, NC Council of Churches, December 10, 2013 they said, “The right to vote of every citizen is fundamental to democracy, rooted in the principle of consent of the governed, a core concern of Christian ethics as it is of American political history. It is a primary means in a republic to allow the dispossessed, the poor, and racial and ethnic minority groups a voice in the public square. Indeed it is what guarantees that there is a public square for all citizens.” On Friday night I did a presentation to the Northhampton County and Vicinity Missionary Baptist Association. I repeated the message of the NC Council of Churches which was well received by the church association that had invited me and that was anxious to learn more about how they join and support the defeat of the most relentless assault on Black Civil Rights in the last 50 years.
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on voter suppression. To join the campaign to defeat voter suppression please “Like” and follow us at www.facebook.com/votersuppression, “Share” our articles, and your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our website www.GreaterDiversity.com. Also, to promote the campaign to defeat voter suppression, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to follow the above-referenced recommendations. Additionally, please follow us on Twitter at @yourrighttovote: (https://twitter.com/yourrighttovote)