By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]
A progressive faith organization plans to contact one million people before the Nov. 6 mid-term election to make sure they understand what is at stake for our country on that day.
Faith in Action (formerly known as PICO) announced on Aug. 25 its comprehensive voter engagement campaign, “Faith Votes” in a news conference. The key point persons in the campaign will be clergy with a national network of 39 groups in 22 states and 150 cities.
“Through Faith Votes, we aren’t just interested in voter engagement, we interested in building leaders,” the Rev. Alvin Herring, the executive director of Faith in Action, said. “Rather than focusing exclusively on the need to vote, we will engage voters, many of whom are people of color, around issues that impact them the most such as voting rights, sentencing reform, livable wages, family leave, public education and access to affordable healthcare.”
Faith in Action is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the country with its non-partisan reach of 1,000 religious congregations. Though it is non-partisan, it is progressive in its outlook and seeks to reach voters with independent views.
“We want to continue the work of racial equity and social justice,” Herring said. “We want to continue to build the beloved community.”
The the one million conversations will take place door-to-door, on the telephone and in the community. “We plan not just asking people to vote but asking them what is on their mind,” Herring said. ” We want to know what they want for their communities and families.”
One problem in African-American communities is that many are registered to vote but many don’t. “It was never our intention to create registrants; we want to create voters,” Nse Ufot, executive director of the New Georgia Project, said. “We are organizing in the South to ensure that African Americans can cast ballots. We are seeing sheriffs deployed to homes to verify addresses and if the sheriff doesn’t get the answers he or she deems appropriate, voters are kicked off the rolls.”
Ufot’s organization, affiliated with Faith in Action, played a role in predominantly Black Randolph County, Ga., by keeping the number of voting precincts from going down from seven to two recently. This is critical because the Democratic nominee for governor is Stacey Abrams, who could become the first Black woman elected Governor.