• Demand Secretaries of State ensure fair and just statewide elections
    To: Secretaries of State More than 222,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. We are faith leaders who face this election with the gravity of burial rites, sitting virtual shiva, and praying the Janazah for our people. Before this pandemic began, we were wary of the death toll. Nearly 700 people a day were dying of poverty before the pandemic. 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions teeter on the edge of losing health insurance now. 140 million Americans, and growing, are low-income or poor. In 2016, over 1 million voters were denied their right to vote because of systemic racist voter suppression laws. As of today, the Senate has failed to renew the Voting Rights Act for 2,680 days. We cannot face this election season without their voices and stories within us. We cannot silently bury another member of our church, mosque or synagogue. We know who we are voting for this election season—every one of the 222,000 forever silenced. Every one of the 1 million-plus disenfranchised from voting. Every one of the 133 million, of the 140 million. Every one of us. Among our spiritual ancestors are those who endured violence and intimidation at every turn in order to vote: Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Sister Antona, the Rev. James Reeb, and Jimmie Lee Jackson. Protecting our democracy and the right to vote is our sacred duty. We call on you now drawing from our collective moral center to insist that you fulfill your duty to execute a fair and just election that protects our democracy. We implore you to count every vote and ensure that voters are free of intimidation and harassment. As faith leaders in communities, we know that people are scared. We implore you to ensure voter safety in your states. It is our collective sacred duty to ensure a just democracy. In his famous line which has echoed across generations, the English poet John Donne wrote that we should “never send to ask for whom the bell tolls / it tolls for Thee.” When he wrote those words, church bells in an English village were used to call the community together for funerals. This year, as more than 7 million Americans have contracted covid-19 and over 222,000 have died, we have used bells, pots and pans to mark the evening shift changes by honoring the frontline healthcare workers who risk their lives every day to care for the sick. They do not have to ask for whom the bells toll. They toll for everyone who has stepped up to do their part in the midst of this global crisis. On November 3rd, in each of the 50 states, faith leaders and their communities will ring the bells, cast votes and publicly pray for a just democracy. We petition you to fulfill your role in this Election Season by ensuring all votes are counted and the election is free of intimidation and harassment. In the abiding Spirit of Love and Justice, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II President, 
Repairers of the Breach Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: 
A National Call for Moral Revival 
 Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis 
Executive Director, Kairos Center Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival 
 
Rev. Dr. Iva Carruthers 
General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Rev. Dr. Alvin O’Neal Jackson, D. Min. National Executive Director, Poor People’s Campaign Min. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove School for Conversion Rev. Abhi P. Janamanchi Senior Minister, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church Bethesda, Maryland Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson Minister, Palomar UU Fellowship Vista, California Rabbi Rick Jacobs President, Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner Director, Religious Action Center Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism
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  • Tell Congress to Create the Reparations Commission for Black Americans
    The poison which resides in the soul of America is being exposed in this moment of proclamation that Black Lives Matter. It is in this moment that U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has embraced Rev. Martin Luther King's “Why We Can't Wait” as the framing for the passage of HR-40. HR-40 demands remedies and reparations for the centuries of injustice and trauma suffered by African Americans in the United States. The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and faith partners affirm the historic and continuing commitment and role the faith community plays in the advancement of reparatory justice and reparations for people of African descent. In 1894, Ms. Callie House and Rev. Isaiah H. Dickerson, along with four other pastors, launched the reparations movement, incorporating the National Ex-Slave and Mutual Relief Bounty and Pension Association. And with each generation thereafter, efforts have persisted to advance the call and cause to amend for the wrongs, repair the damage, and reckon with the past to right the future. People of faith are uniquely called and positioned to stay the course. Voices of the Black church, and recently, over the past twenty years from spaces within the white church, have pierced the silence around the complicity and role of the Church in the Transatlantic Slave Trade system, it's sacred rhetoric, academic institutions and their enduring consequences. The time for reparations is well overdue. In his 1964 watershed book, Why We Can't Wait, Martin Luther King declared: “While no amount of gold could provide adequate compensation for the exploitation of the Negro American down through the centuries, a price could be placed on unpaid wages.” The late Black theologian ministry leaders like James Hal Cone, Katie Cannon, Gayraud Wilmore, Robina Winbush, James Foreman and Theressa Hoover, to name a few, made the case and call to the Church. Denominations, including the United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalians and Presbyterians have even offered resolutions of confession, apologies for slavery and /or calls for dealing with reparations. Further, The 2004 Accra Confession attests that the issue of justice and reparations in the United States is also wedded to issues of reparations, debt relief and justice in Africa. In this evidentiary moment of racialized police violence, consequences of a global pandemic and political arguments for authoritarianism over democratic principles, America cannot wait and the world awaits. We, the undersigned faith leaders and organizations, declare that the moral compass and agency of religious institutions and leaders must be on the right side of the sacred texts and history. The silence of faith communities, old and new, must be pierced to unleash a new way forward toward reparatory justice and reparations. The evil causes and consequences of the enslavement of people of African descent, the truths about the original sins upon which the nation was founded must be acknowledged and addressed. Reparations requires truth-telling and a historical reckoning, justice not charitable giving, confession and atonement, commitment to non-repeat and restitution in a myriad of ways. The fact that the New York Stock Exchange sits upon a burial ground of enslaved Africans is quite telling and symbolic, but it must be understood that reparations can never be reduced to a heartless apology and a financial transaction. As an issue of justice, reparations is a journey of healing. We join the efforts of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, the National African American Reparations Commission and the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America to advance the cause for reparations and bring the light and works of true healing and justice to this nation. We support HR-40, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and the Congressional Black Caucus as they continue the forward movement of the national legislation. “We Can't Wait” because we have waited long enough. For this nation and all who are heirs to its legacy, “This is the Overdue Season!” Rev. Dr. Iva E. Carruthers General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. Chicago, IL Bishop Leah D. Daughtry Co-chair, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. National Presiding Prelate, House of Lord Churches Washington DC Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III Co-chair, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. Senior Pastor, Friendship West Baptist Church Dallas, TX Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II President, Repairers of the Breach Goldsboro, NC Rev. Traci Blackmon Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries United Church of Christ Cleveland, OH David Crawford President, McCormick Theological Seminary Chicago, IL Rev. Ronnie Galvin Vice President for Racial Equity and the Democratic Economy Democracy Collaborative Washington, DC Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Church Evanston, IL Bishop Frank Madison Reid III Ecumenical Officer, A.M.E. Church Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church Baltimore, MD Rev. Dr. Robert Turner Pastor, Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church Tulsa, OK Dr. Jim Winkler President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches USA Washington, DC Learn more by visiting http://sdpconference.info
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  • I pledge to help get out the vote!
    Some states are already casting ballots. We are calling on you--people of faith and moral conscience--to pledge to register voters in your home state and help with efforts to get out the vote! You can check this website (https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/) to see the registration deadlines in your state. Volunteer efforts to phone bank, organize, and register voters are critical in the final few weeks before the general election. If we work together, we can change the course of history and save the soul of this nation from extremism. If allowed to persist it will continue to tear this nation apart. Thank you for being a part of this movement and for pledging to help get out the vote! -Groundswell Team
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  • VOTE and become a VOTER's Advocate: Make this election a RESTORE HOPE and JUSTICE campaign
    This nation is in peril. We are a divided nation. We must come together to save the integrity of our constitution. We have lost ground and dignity in the past four years due to unimaginable corruption and lack of leadership. We must pause the hate and systematic injustices. We must press forward to a nation of integrity that welcomes racial, religious, and LGBT equality. We must stop the tendency to go back 100 years and instead adopt policies that will honor science, save the integrity of the vote and bring together a divided nation for the sake of our children and their children's children. This moment is bigger than US. This is a deciding moment in the history of this nation. Will we stand up against white supremacy's threat to rear its ugly head? Will we stand for women's hard earned rights? Will we push back on foreign governments' attempts to control the White House? Will we honor those who protect our borders and have lost their lives for this country? Who will speak for the homeless? We are a better people when we vote our values that protect human rights, rather than destroy human rights. When it's all said and done which side will you choose to stand on? Will you be on the side of justice, freedom, and people's rights? Will you choose to vote for Humanity and Freedom, for all children and people regardless of sexual preference, race, creed or other qualifiers? Please join me and others in taking a stand for the right side of Justice by joining me and others who are set on causing as the late Congressman Lewis encouraged us to do... Causing GOOD TROUBLE. Vote your conscience on November 3rd and bring others along to save this nation from itself.
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  • I Pledge To Register Two Voters In Florida!
    We are calling on people of faith and moral conscience to pledge today to register two voters in Florida, for each formerly incarcerated person the governor is attempting to disenfranchise. By signing below, we’ll send you an email with step-by-step instructions on how you can register people to vote in Florida. Thank you for pledging to stand up for all Floridians and to protect the vote in this critical election! So much as at stake and we need every vote possible to advance true justice and equality for all. Will you take the pledge?
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  • Take The FOR Truth and Reparations Pledge
    The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), the Truth Telling Project (TTP), Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), Coming to the Table (CTTT), representatives from the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), and others have come together to think about how reparations in our lifetime might be possible. It will be possible with you. Take the pledge today! * I pledge to approach reparations as a spiritual journey that speaks to my own humanity and liberation of myself with those most impacted; * I pledge to learn more about how structures and institutions built on slave labor continue to disenfranchise people in the African diaspora and devalue Black lives; * I pledge to learn more about America’s history and its foundation of chattel slavery; * I pledge to acknowledge, I benefit from this gross moral and material harm just by being white in this society; * I pledge to acknowledge and work to heal the moral and material harm of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which continues to manifest harm in Black communities; * I pledge to follow the leadership and be patient with those who are impacted by slavery and its legacy; * I pledge to learn how to participate in reparations in my local community and encourage my networks to do the same; *I pledge to act in ways that limit my complicity in violence against Black People (this may mean divesting in investments that harm Black People); * I pledge to give and support (healing, material goods, assistance) without expectation on how these should be used; * I pledge to give and support in ways that may not always make me feel good, but help me develop as a person and put others first; * I pledge to take this message to my family, friends and community, calling those in with love rather than through guilt; * I enter into this pledge to be a part of the healing necessary to transform this nation’s and my relationship with descendants of the transatlantic slave trade.
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  • Remove the Deadline on the Equal Rights Amendment
    The Equal Rights Amendment is a U.S. Constitutional amendment that will empower women, reaffirm the rights of men, and allow for the U.S. Supreme Court Justices to provide protections for those persons in the LBGT Community as all people should be treated equally under the law.
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  • It is just to investigate allegations against Brett Kavanaugh before final vote
    Without a proper investigation, the Senate Judiciary Commiteeman and the full Senate can not possibly render a just and informed opinion on the standing of Kavanaugh as a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Evidence could include witnesses accounts, medical records, and other sources that we can not possibly know of at this time. The Supreme Court renders decisions that impact every aspect of the day to day lives of all Americans. It is unfair to rush an appointment through without deference to collecting the facts that will allow a reasoned vote for or against a person being considered for such a position of power for decades to come. The American people deserve to know that any SCOTUS justice has the highest legal and moral integrity in serving the country in such an impactful way.
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  • Tell PA's State Legislature and Governor: Let Pennsylvania Drive Forward!
    Driver's licenses help meet basic needs. The right to mobility, to move freely, is inscribed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many other fundamental needs — to work, to education, and to human dignity — are only accessible via valid identification and adequate transportation. When surveyed, nearly 300 people said that due to lack of a driver's license they have: *Taken work with less pay or fewer hours *Had difficulty renting an apartment/house *Had to give up educational opportunities, a better school or a scholarship *Children are scared of losing parent from driving without a license Our Public Safety The roads and highways are safer when everyone behind the wheel has a license, insurance, and identification. For this reason, police officers and sheriffs around the country are in favor of this right being granted to all people. An unmarked license is necessary to encourage all drivers in Pennsylvania to obtain a license. A marked license would perpetuate the fear many immigrants have of deportation and family separation. Our Economy The ability to legally drive allows immigrants to fully contribute to the local economy. Access to transportation is necessary for the many immigrant workers, business owners, parents, and students in Pennsylvania. Undocumented Pennsylvanians contribute an estimated $139 million in taxes in PA annually. The first year of enacting proposed legislation could see between $2.76 million to $4.14 million in revenue from licensing fees alone, with a possible $2.36 to $3.54 million in subsequent years — a number that far outpaces the cost of implementation. ESPAÑOL Las licencias de conducir ayudan a cubrir necesidades básicas. El derecho a la movilidad, a moverse libremente, esta inscrito en la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos. Muchas otras necesidades fundamentales - trabajar, educación, y la dignidad humana - sólo son accesibles a través de una identificación válida y transporte adecuado. Casi 300 personas al ser encuestadas dijeron que debido a la falta de una licencia de conducir han: *Tomado trabajos con menos paga o menos horas *Tenido dificultad para alquilar un apartamento o casa *Tenido que renunciar a oportunidades de educación, una escuela mejor o una beca *Los niños tienen miedo de ser separados de sus padres por conducir sin licencia Nuestra Seguridad Pública Las calles y autopistas son más seguras 
cuando la persona detrás del timón tiene una licencia, seguro e identificación. Por ésta razón, policías y sheriffs alrededor del país están a favor de que éste derecho le sea otorgado a todas las personas. Las licencias sin marcar son necesarias para animar a todos los que manejan a obtener una. Las licencias marcadas perpetuarían en los inmigrantes el temor a la deportación y la separación familiar. Nuestra Economía Poder conducir legalmente permite a los inmigrantes contribuir a la economía local. El acceso a transporte es necesario para muchos inmigrantes trabajadores, empresarios, padres y estudiantes en Pensilvania. Residentes indocumentados de Pensilvania contribuyen un estimado anual de $139 millones en impuestos estatales. Durante el primer año de la promulgación de la legislación propuesta, ésta podría generar entre $2,760,000 y $4.14 millones solamente en el costo de la licencia, con la posibilidad de $2.36 a $3,54 millones en los años siguientes, -una cifra que supera con creces el costo de la implementación.
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  • Tell Congress to Stop Violence Against Children and Families
    Dear Senate Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader Pelosi, We are religious and moral leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. This summer, the Campaign launched the most expansive wave of nonviolent civil disobedience in the 21st century. In more than 40 states and Washington, D.C., thousands of people participated in this season of moral resistance, calling attention to the ongoing War on the Poor. This war, fueled by policies passed and endorsed from the state house to the congress to the White House, is especially violent towards our children. To address this pressing moral failure, we invite you to convene a hearing in September to focus on the policy violence against our children. We refuse to let our faith be used as a justification for policies that harm the most vulnerable in our society. We cannot tear families apart, nor can we jail them together. Children must be released to their families and families must be allowed to proceed through the asylum process outside of a jail cell. We must preserve foundational programs to children’s health and well-being such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). And all children deserve a quality public education free from fear of being pushed out and locked up. Anything less is a modern day form of violence and abuse against children. Our Campaign is made up of mothers in Flint whose children still cannot drink or bathe in clean water; fathers who fear police violence against their young boys; undocumented parents whose children have been taken away from them; indigenous communities whose next generations live and play in contaminated lands; youth who have lived in homes where their heat was turned off during the winter; low-wage workers who have skipped meals to feed their children; homeless teenagers abused by the juvenile justice system; veterans sent off to war that perpetuates violence against school children in countries halfway around the world, while their own families struggle to make ends meet; parents who have lost custody of their children because they could not afford to pay their water bills. These are not just isolated communities and individual stories, according to our research, there are 140 million poor and low-income individuals in this country; 43% of all American children live below the minimum income level necessary to meet basic family needs. There are nearly 14 million families who cannot afford water and at least 4 million families with children who are exposed to high levels of lead. LGBTQ youth represent up to 40% of the homeless youth population. At the US/Mexico border, there are 550 children who are still not reunited with their families. In states across the country, children are being starved and abandoned by pervasive policy decisions that cut vital programs. And around the world, women and children account for 68% of the rising civilian deaths from our wars. The Talmud reminds us “By the breath of children God sustains the world” (Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 119b). “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” Jesus said, warning elsewhere that “if anyone causes one of these little ones who trust me to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Like the prophets before him, Jesus insisted that children matter because they bear the image of God. For far too long, cynical political operatives have exploited our faith communities’ concern for children by claiming to be “pro-life” while supporting policies that harm children. From the border to the dining room table, children are being harmed by policies that put them last, placing boulders in their path. The violence perpetrated against children in these times is a moral emergency. We implore Congress to convene a hearing about this violence against our children. Somebody has been hurting our children and it has gone on far too long and we won’t be silent anymore. Sincerely, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Rev. Traci D Blackmon Executive Minister, Justice & Local Church Ministries The United Church of Christ Colin Christopher Director, Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances Islamic Society of North America Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray President, Unitarian Universalist Association Imam Khalid Griggs Imam, Community Mosque of Winston-Salem Vice President, ICNA Civic Engagement and Social Justice Islamic Circle of North America Rev. Jimmie Hawkins Director, Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness Rev. Teresa Hord Owens General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Bishop W. Darin Moore Chair of the National Council of Churches President of the Board of Bishops of the AME Zion Church Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Rabbi Elyse Wechterman Executive Director, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins National Council of Churches, Truth and Racial Justice Initiative Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove Red Letter Christians Rev. Dr. Anika T. Whitfield Arkansas, Tri-Chair Rev. Eddie Anderson Kait Ziegler California, Tri-Chairs Dr. Chanda Jackson-Short Delaware, Tri-Chair David Borger Germann Iowa, Tri-Chair Rabbi Alana Suskin Maryland, Tri-Chair Krystal Rose Michigan, Tri-Chair Borja Gutiérrez Rev. Ann Keeler Evans Nijmie Zakkiyyah Dzurinko Pennsylvania, Tri-Chairs Rev. Charles H. Rhodes Kerry Taylor South Carolina, Tri-Chairs Martin Hurley Tennessee, Tri-Chair Sherilyn Samuel Texas, Tri-Chair
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  • Safe Passage Program for District 89 (Maywood, Melrose Park and Broadview)
    A group of dedicated parents, youth and community residents with the Coalition for Spiritual and Public Leadership (CSPL) are working cooperatively with the leadership of Maywood, Melrose Park, & Broadview School District 89 to create a Safe Passage Pilot Program that would place trained parents and community residents outside of Irving and Stevenson Middle Schools and their surrounding neighborhoods. We have heard from many parents, students and residents that our youth often face dangers because of the risk of violence, inattentive drivers, bullying, and even ill intentioned strangers. We also believe that a Safe Passage program will create a stronger sense of community and encourage people to walk and be more active. We need to show the community leaders in Maywood, Melrose Park and Broadview that the community supports investing resources into a Safe Passage program. This initiative requires the active support of governmental, school district, community and faith-based organizations. Support the parents and youth leaders of CSPL today by signing the petition and sharing it on your social media page!
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  • We Challenge Trump’s Evangelical Defenders To Live TV Debate About Faith & Public Policy
    As you can watch here (https://on.msnbc.com/2NX9ryx), MSNBC has offered to host this round table on faith in the public square. Please either respond to their producers who have reached out to you or let us know an alternate public venue in which you prefer to “give an answer for everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have,” as Scripture says we must always be prepared to do (I Peter 3:15). Sincerely, Bishop William J. Barber, II, Pres. & Sr. Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis , Co-Director, Kairos Center for Religion, Rights & Social Justice Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries Minister Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Director, School for Conversion
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