THE RACE IS ON: Obama/Biden vs. Romney/Ryan. At stake is the direction we as a nation move in on job creation, education, healthcare, the economy and too many other issues that affect our daily lives and future. But over the next 83 days, campaigns, parties, and super-pacs will be on a “hundred-thousand-trillion”, while many of our organizations and people will allow others to lead during this time of crisis.
There are however, many that are taking this crisis diagnoisis seriously, and in response have called a Code Red Strategy and Action Conference. Faith leaders, congregants, and concerned citizens will gather in Baltimore this week to learn how to and be certified to register voters, connect evangelism and mobilization, receive tech tools to protect voters and develop election-day plans.
This conference which is being called by the Empowerment Movement will be this Thursday through Saturday and will have the likes of Roland Martin, Bishop Vashti McKenzie, Rev. Freddie Haynes and myself providing strategy recommendations. But the real meat of the work will come from professionals like Barbara R. Arnwine of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, who will breakdown the attack on our voter rights and what we can do to hit back.
Family, this work is essential because the black church has an opportunity to be the difference maker, not just in this election, but in serving as the institution that serves more than its congregants, but truly the communities in which they reside. Many churches have stayed back from political engagement because of the attacks by the IRS on their 501© 3 status. Others debate if the church can be the force we need it to be politically. Barbara Dianne Savage, a brilliant scholar at UPenn stated in her book, "Your Spirit Walks Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion": “In the first half of the twentieth century, the dominant political narratives treated African-American religion with despair and disdain. The emergence in the late 1950s of a Southern civil rights movement with churches, church people, and church culture at its center was a powerful and startling departure from that story, rather than a natural progression. In many ways, the movement is best thought of not as an inevitable triumph or a moment of religious revival, but simply as a miracle. It was brief, bold, and breathtaking, difficult to replicate or sustain, and experienced firsthand by only a small remnant of true believers.”
Perhaps that is why we so lift up those times and all that many people of faith worked to change in America. But now is not the time for debate on this history of black faith activism. Now is the time to live what we want to next chapter to be. For more info or to participate in the free Code Red Conference go to www.Empowermentmovement.org<http://www.Empowermentmovement.org> if you want to do it your way…DO IT. We are all together.
The black church is as diverse as the black community that makes up its congregants and their political views are equally as diverse. Regardless of your political affiliation, shouldn’t we and not a party or campaign be the front line of voter registration, education, GOTV, and protection? It's Code Red time, family. Will you be part of the team that sits back in crisis or the one that shows up? Your Call.
As Always, I’m Jeff Johnson and that’s my truth.