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Georgian Black Church Leaders on the Importance of “Souls to Polls”: NPR

Voters will enter the polling place of the Zion Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia on January 5. Black churches have often played a role in mobilizing and voting for their followers.

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Voters will enter the polling place of the Zion Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia on January 5. Black churches have often played a role in mobilizing and voting for their followers.

Sandy Huffaker / AFP via Getty Images

One of the measures under consideration by the Georgian Parliament is to limit early voting on Sundays. It is in a state.

Sunday voting is especially important for black church members who regularly hold “souls to polls” events after Sunday worship.

“We meet in our church on Sunday morning for morning worship, and after worship, we get on church buses, church vans, cars, and people go to vote.” 6 Bishop Reginald T. Jackson of the Anglican District says. Of the African Methodist Episcopal. Jackson is a prelate in more than 500 churches in Georgia.

“It’s a very effective way the Black Church has to win our vote,” he tells Steve Insky. Morning Edition..

Republican-led Georgia The House of Representatives passed HB531 earlier this month. One of its provisions largely standardizes county-wide voting and limits the ability of some counties to increase the number of days they vote.

Previously, the Church could offer to take members to vote on multiple Sundays of early voting. In the new proposal, early voting will take place on at most one Sunday, and local authorities will choose whether early voting on weekends in the county will take place. Saturday or Sunday. Proponents of the change argue that it will bring more uniformity and less confusion to state elections.

Black Church Politics and Voter Involvement Mobilization dates back to the years following the Civil War. But they became a major force during the civil rights movement.

“When we were fighting for the right to vote, the soul of polls was directly related to Jim Crow,” said Christie, the director of the Sixth Diocese, who is married to Bishop Jackson. Jackson says. “At that time, joining and voting with a group in our church was comforting to us.”

In modern times, says Christie Jackson Morning EditionThe soul of polls is for the larger community, not just the members of the church. “They may just be community members who, if you do, get on the bus knowing they have a kind of secure means of transportation to polls.”

Christie Jackson says the church is especially important for mobilizing African Americans in rural counties. “There are several polling stations, such as polling stations that are 10, 15, or 20 miles away from where people live. So, for example, these centrally located churches are what we call neighborhood hubs. Become.”

The Georgia Parliamentary bill, which raises barriers to voting, is primarily endorsed by the Republicans.

Republican criticism is that black church leaders influence members on how to vote. Senator Larry Walker had previously told NPR that he was concerned about the “excessive impact” on voters with other people helping fill out ballots.

Black voters have been heavily devoted to democracy for decades.

Reginald Jackson argues, “The goal is to get people to vote. You don’t teach them how to vote, but we encourage them to vote.” He says he is not afraid to advise people when asked. “It’s commonplace,” he says — adding that it also happens in white, highly Republican, evangelical churches.

Bishops say African Americans will be patient if Sunday’s voting restrictions and other measures are enacted.

“Returning to Jim Crow’s early days, they did everything to make it harder for us to vote, but our ancestors nevertheless made every brave effort. They voted. Blacks are elastic, “he says.

Christie Jackson adds that it is imperative to tell young activists about past struggles. “You have to tell the story so that you can see the through line to the other side.”

Victoria Whitley-Berry and Jacob Conrad created and edited an audio interview.

Georgian Black Church Leaders on the Importance of “Souls to Polls”: NPR

Source link Georgian Black Church Leaders on the Importance of “Souls to Polls”: NPR

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