Three prominent Nashville pastors, along with the Equity alliance, held a ‘TEAm’ meeting at Lee Chapel AME church to discuss faith-based political engagement.
The Equity Alliance is a grassroots nonprofit advocacy group that seeks to equip African Americans and other communities of color to take action on issues affecting their daily lives.
The Equity Alliance hosts a ‘TEAm’ meeting on the last Tuesday of each month at 6 pm at Lee Chapel AME Church. This meeting was to recap the Equity Alliance’s ‘Soul to the Polls’ rally and to gear up for the August midterm election.
“This month’s meeting was a call to action for faith leaders of any denomination to get involved with nonpartisan voter registration and turnout,” said an official. “Black and Brown citizens, particularly those in North Nashville, live in precincts with the lowest voter turnout. This is not by accident.”
Tennessee ranks 40th in the nation in voter registration and last in voter turnout. The May 24 election had a record low voter turnout.
“The best way to get your congregation engaged is to partner with the Equity Alliance and make sure that those who are 18 years or older are registered to vote,” said Rev. James Turner II of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.
Turner also said that churches need to do what they can from the pulpit to encourage their members to vote and be prepared to use their buses and vans to take people to the poles.
Bishop Joseph Walker III of Mt. Zion Baptist Church said: “Folks are not going to the poles because they feel their votes don’t’ matter, and that they are not educated on the issues.”
Rev. John Faison, Sr. of Watson Grove Baptist Church agrees with Turner and Walker.
“It’s important to educate people about the issues and create a platform where congregants can be informed,” he said. “We need to be visible and use our platform to encourage people to go out to the poles. We also need to provide transportation.”
All three pastors agree that partnering with the Equity Alliance is important for increasing the Black vote.
“I believe it is important for us to do this together with the Equity Alliance. The power of collaboration presents a great opportunity,” said Bishop Walker. “If we are able to have real conversations with those who are willing to engage our community, we can get so much more done.”