Virtual campaign urges Presbyterians to exercise their right to vote

PC(USA) Votes 2020 will emphasize ‘sacred duty’ and marginalized communities

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

Go to www.pcusa.org/vote to see the launch video, featuring Christian Brooks of the Office of Public Witness. (Screen shot)

LOUISVILLE — With the Nov. 3 presidential election just around the corner, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has launched a campaign to increase voter turnout, particularly among people of color.

The online campaign officially kicked off Monday with a video featuring Christian Brooks, Associate for Domestic Issues in the Office of Public Witness (OPW).

“We are so excited to kick off our virtual PC(USA) Votes 2020 campaign, which was created to engage and motivate people to exercise their right to vote, especially those who are a part of marginalized communities,” said Brooks, one of the lead organizers.

The Rev. Shanea Leonard, Associate for Gender & Racial Justice for Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries, explained, “There is an undeniable history in this country of voter suppression of Black and brown people that cannot be ignored, and although we cannot erase the past, we can do all we can to help shift the narrative in the present and future.”

The new campaign, which includes a website, webinars, a social media campaign, “Did You Know?” facts and various educational resources, is a follow-up to the recent Presbyterian Week of Action, which affirmed that Black lives matter and that violence against oppressed people must stop.

“As a denomination, we have affirmed our commitment to justice and ending racism,” said Leonard, co-organizer of the PC(USA) Votes campaign. “Therefore, it is in alignment with our core values and policies to promote justice and equality, even in our legislative system.”

Presbyterians and other like-minded individuals with a desire to end structural racism and see the country change for the better can take a step toward making that happen by showing up at the polls or requesting and completing their absentee ballots.

“As people of faith, it is our sacred duty to participate in the electoral process,” Brooks said. “We are called to vote by our faith convictions at the polls — convictions that are grounded on principles of a faithful commitment to beloved community. By participating in the election on November 3, 2020, we are continuing to take a stand and bear witness to issues of justice.”

OPW will host a webinar Tuesday to educate the public about voting methods and why it’s important for people of faith to vote. The 1:30 p.m. (EST) event, “Engaging in the 2020 Election,” will feature Sister Quincy Howard of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, and Brooks of OPW, which is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Register for Tuesday’s webinar here.

“We’ll go over vote by mail, early voting, in-person voting … and then we’re going to go over what folks can do to make sure this election runs smoothly,” such as signing up to be poll workers and reporting voter suppression, Brooks said.

Some other events include a Faith and Voting Bible Study on Oct. 13; a Faith Perspective on Voting Rights webinar Oct. 28; and an election night special featuring the Rev. Lee Catoe and Destini Hodges, the hosts of “Just Talk Live.”

The PC(USA) Votes 2020 campaign is being done in partnership with Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries, which is holding its own October Election-Fest.

Throughout the four-week PC(USA) Votes campaign, the Presbyterian News Service will publish various articles on voting, highlighting themes including diversity and voter suppression. There also will be a film showing, and the Presbyterian Historical Society will be highlighting the church’s history of advocacy, action and voter engagement.

The organizers want to uplift a variety of Presbyterian voices and call attention to “obstacles faced within our denomination,” Leonard said. “Voting is still not an equal playing field for all.”

For a full listing of events and themes for PC(USA) Votes 2020, go to www.pcusa.org/vote.


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