Resisting Voter Suppression
Sojourners’ Lawyers and Collars initiative brings together faith leaders, attorneys, and civic engagement organizations to involve faith communities in voting rights education and protections. Exercising the right to vote is an act of righteous resistance and liberation — one that affirms the image of God in each voter. This initiative expands upon Sojourners’ long history of supporting a fair and just democracy through advocacy and nonprofit journalism. Click here to donate to our Lawyers and Collars initiative and all of our work.
Make no mistake, voter suppression is real.
It has decided far too many races in recent elections.
States have enacted laws that have carelessly, and in some cases maliciously, purged voters from the voting rolls.
State and local governments have closed polling sites in black and brown communities, andmoved others to places with little or no access to public transportation.
Robo-calls filled with disinformation have targeted voters of color to suppress turnout.
Some states have enacted new voter ID laws, even during a pandemic.
These tactics directly impact the elderly, students, immigrants, and voters of color.
They are modern-day forms of voter suppression. And sadly they are growing.
The right to vote in this nation was won through struggle and it must be preserved through struggle. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders led thousands marching from Selma to Montgomery in their fight for voting rights after facing attacks and police violence. They were joined by allies from other religions and races who united to show that voting is both a constitutional right and a sacred act.
But inequity persists.
We still see structural barriers to housing, health care, employment, education, and other vital quality of life services. People of color face a crisis in the criminal justice system that has decimated communities. Horrifying acts of racial violence and police brutality continue.
This is why we all must vote.
Many things can go wrong in November.
We know this because many things have gone wrong in the past.
And in 2020 we face an unprecedented challenge as the COVID-19 crisis further jeopardizes the election. Medical experts anticipate that the virus will not be eradicated before the fall, which poses additional barriers to the ballot box and could be leveraged by bad actors seeking to manipulate the election.
More than ever, we need every leader to take a stand and ensure that we have a safe, free, and fair election and to fight to protect every voter and every vote.
Sojourners, Skinner Leadership Institute, and the National African American Clergy Network have partnered for TurnOut Sunday / Lawyers & Collars, an effort designed to mobilize historic African American turnout and to protect at risk communities from voter suppression tactics.
We are holding secretaries of state and election officials accountable, and are recruiting and deploying an army of pastors and church-based lawyers to protect the election. We are uniting with poll workers to increase capacity at polling sites and are educating churches and church leaders about what is at stake in this next election.
Never before have we needed the faith community to come together as we do now: to make sure that every person created in the image of God can participate in our democracy.
Help us to ensure that every American has a say and that every vote is counted!
Visit us online at lawyersandcollars.org to join the growing movement!