October 20, 2020
- Nine state voter protection campaign rises against voter suppression and intimidation to steal the black vote
- Effort part of 2020 Turnout Sunday and Lawyers & Collars Campaign
- Clergy election day Hotline & Command Center will support on-the-ground efforts
WHAT: Three national faith-based nonprofits have joined forces to connect a network of clergy across the U.S. that will ensure all voters have access to a fair, free and safe voting experience. Organized under the brands of 2020 Turnout Sunday and Lawyers & Collars Campaign, the effort is recruiting “poll chaplains” among interfaith leaders along with church-based lawyers to provide moral and legal support at polling sites of vulnerable voters. It will address suppression tactics in nine battleground states at 60 polling sites in four key cities in each state. They will be fully equipped by election protection lawyers through the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to address suppression tactics and voter intimidation. A clergy election day Hotline & Command Center will support their efforts. Currently, the nonprofits have already organized nearly 700 Black clergy and allies, who are actively engaged in a 40-day fast for a free, fair, and safe election.
WHERE: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
- National African American Clergy Network, which leads the year-round coordination of Turnout Sunday, a civic engagement and public policy information-sharing network of its 15 million denominational and independent church leaders
- Skinner Leadership Institute, aims to produce high performing morally and professionally excellent, civic-minded executive leaders
- Sojourners, a Christian social justice media and mobilizing organization
- The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is providing training for volunteers and an Election Day hotline staffed by legal professionals.
“Turnout Sunday/Lawyers & Collars is rooted, not just in politics, but in the theological belief that every person is created in the image of God and deserves to vote in free and fair elections,” said Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, CEO and co-founder of Skinner Leadership Institute and Co-Convener of the National African American Clergy Network.
“Safeguarding against a stolen or tainted election is not a partisan exercise. It is about exercising our faith and protecting our democracy,” said Sojourners President-elect Rev. Adam Russell Taylor.
“This is theology for us, not just politics. White Supremacy and systematic racism must be named as the religious issue of this election with blatant efforts to steal the Black vote reminiscent of suppression tactics of old like the poll tax and violence against voters for which civil rights trailblazers like John Lewis gave their lives,” said Sojourners Founder Jim Wallis.
“We, as young senior pastors, must connect the dots for Gen Z and millennials between their vote and securing jobs, justice, small business support, and health care, during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sojourners Racial Justice Mobilizing Director, and AME pastor, Rev. Terrance M. McKinley. He notes that an exciting feature of Turnout Sunday is Turnout YP1000, a social media campaign and monthly briefings that reach young senior pastor and influential millennial pastors.
For more information on Turnout Sunday/Lawyers & Collars, visit: turnoutsunday.com and lawyersandcollars.org