WASHINGTON — Following historic voter mobilization and turnout across the country, the American people elected Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. What has been underscored in the long ballot-count process since Election Night is the importance and power of Black and Brown voters.
Faith in Action played a key role in mobilizing Black, indigenous and other people of color people through its Rise + Vote initiative, a comprehensive voter education, registration, and mobilization campaign. The goal is to encourage people often politically redlined to turn out to the polls. As a result, Faith in Action held more than 1.3 million sacred educational conversations across many faith traditions with voters across the country.
“Voting is a critical part of our work to preserve the civil liberties of historically marginalized communities,” said the Rev. Alvin Herring, executive director of Faith in Action. “But our activism is not and cannot be limited to the ballot box. Now we have to get to work and build a beloved community that is rooted in peace, justice and equity.”
This turnout happened in spite of a global pandemic that fundamentally altered how grassroots leaders organize, moving many integral in-person voter engagement events to virtual only. With the election behind us, faith leaders and organizers across the networks are urging those energized by the election to continue this work and not become complacent.
“James 2:26 says faith without works is dead; this is at the crux of Faith in Action’s mission. Our faith traditions are diverse and all compel us to work toward justice, equity and liberation for all. It is not enough to believe these ideals, we must do all that we can to organize for a better future. And we cannot solely rely on our leaders to achieve this vision. We must use every tool in our toolbox and continue the fight for civil rights,” Herring said.
The election is not an end-point — it is a starting point, a road map for how we can strategize moving forward to achieve racial justice, win compassionate immigration reform, create a criminal justice system rooted in dignity, and remove the far-too-many barriers to voting. Our work did not end on election day. If anything, it started anew the day after, Herring said.
Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.