In a spirited show of unity and community activism, the fight for democracy throughout Georgia kicked into overdrive with a rally and march, beginning in front of the Reflection Pool at the King Center. Faith groups, elected leaders, and voting advocacy organizations throughout the State of Georgia stood together at The King Center to launch a massive voter planning and education drive for the 2022 election. Organizations that were on hand included brothers and sisters from Jewish, Muslim, Baptist, Protestant, and other faith-based communities.
The event was organized by a coalition of Georgia faith leaders, including Bishop Reginald Jackson, AME, 6th District Bishop. “For the last year, a group of desperate elected officials have put their own self-interest ahead of the facts, the rule of law, and our very democracy. As we all now know, they stream rolled legislation without debate or discourse to rig our election laws keeping black and brown families from voting,” stated Bishop Reginald T. Jackson.
Also participating and joining forces in a unifying show of strength, an array of voting rights groups coming together to combat the voter suppression bill known as House Bill 202 in the State of Georgia. The list of groups attending has been hard at work and updated the community on their progress in pushing back against the controversial legislation, which included the massive numbers of volunteers that have already been mobilized for phone banks and canvassing and the efforts to get more voters registered and on the voting roll, especially those who many believe were unjustifiably removed during the 2018 Governor’s race in Governor Kemp narrowly defeated challenger Stacy Abrams.
Latosha Brown, from Black Voters Matter, says “It’s never just been just our political strategy, it’s been our political strategy aligned with our faith”, referring to the amazing turnout in the last two election cycles in Georgia and the fact that the 2020 election victories of Senator Jon Ossoff and Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock directly lead to the Nomination and subsequent appointment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.
Along with representation from the Dekalb Pastors Christian Alliance, the voting rights groups included the Black Push, Georgia Stand-Up, The New Georgia Project, Concerned Black Clergy, ACLU, Fair Count, Black Votes Matter, Atlanta Urban League, The People’s Agenda, Atlanta NAACP, all joining forces to help overcome the hurdles and get voters to the polls. Rally attendees also heard about the frightening new methods being utilized to keep voters of color away from the polls including the lack of funding for vans and buses to get voters to the polls. The crowd also reacted with dismay and frustration at the fact that in Gwinnett County and in Fulton County early drop box locations have been reduced by nearly 65%. Those two counties are home to nearly 2 Million Georgians, as the two most populous counties in the state.