Faith-Based Organizers Announce Campaign to Mobilize 1 Million Voters for Economic Fairness in 2012
***For full audio of today’s press conference, click here***
In a press call today, clergy leaders in key states such as Missouri, Ohio, Minnesota and Florida announced an unprecedented voter-contact effort that will mobilize 1 million people of faith to vote for economic justice this November. The call was organized by PICO National Network, the largest faith-based community organizing group in the country.
“There is a growing sense of moral outrage among people of faith who see working families losing their homes, their jobs, their health care and their retirement savings,” said Gordon Whitman, director of policy, PICO National Network.
Whitman added that clergy see the pain of families up close, and they are compelled by those stories and their sacred teachings to offer moral leadership in this critical election season.
Under the voter-contact effort, known as the “Land of Opportunity” campaign, PICO faith leaders pledge to reach out to under-represented communities and register 75,000 new voters. By November, the coordinated mobilization will contact 1 million religious voters.
This week thousands of clergy in 10 states are holding events to unveil civic engagement plans preparing for the election. Clergy will work on a number of issues and ballot initiatives, including capping payday loans in Missouri, fighting back a dangerous budget cap that puts schools and essential community services at risk in Florida, and protecting voting rights in Minnesota. Clergy will engage their congregations and communities in events such as trainings, rallies, and voter registration drives.
“Economic fairness and opportunity for American families are the top moral priorities for religious voters in the 2012 election,” said Jennifer Butler, executive director of Faith in Public Life, a strategy center that works with faith organizations. “Religious voters care about making ends meet, ensuring that everyone has a fair shot, and making sure the poor and vulnerable aren’t left in utter destitution.”
Rev. Errol Thompson, pastor of New Fellowship Baptist Church in Orlando, FL, spoke about his commitment to fighting Amendment 3, which would create a new state revenue limit based on a flawed formula.
“Instead of strengthening families and communities, Amendment 3 deepens cuts to schools, healthcare, public safety and senior services. Making tough times even tougher in this difficult economy, it places a greater burden on families at a time when they can least afford it. As clergy concerned about our state’s families and communities, we oppose Amendment 3,” said Rev. Thompson.
The Rev. Paul Slack from New Creation Church in Minneapolis said that as a member of the clergy, he became involved with the efforts to defeat an amendment that would require state ID to vote, because he has to oppose any measure that would further disenfranchise poor, elderly and minority populations.
“The right to vote should be a basic human right. Everyone should have the opportunity to vote and work to make Minnesota a better place,” he said.
The launch events for the “Land of Opportunity” campaign are being held in Orlando, FL; Aurora, CO; St. Paul, MN; Las Cruces, NM; Sacramento, CA; Kansas City, MO; Cincinnati, OH; Reno, NV; Flint, MI and New Orleans, LA.
PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at www.piconetwork.org.
FOR MORE DETAILS: http://www.piconetwork.org/news-media/news/2012-news/clergy-to-engage-faith-voters-on-the-economy