Let My People VOTE: PICO Leaders Announce New Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday,September 4, 2014

Contact: Kawana Lloyd, 202-544-8411, ext 110 (office); 240-472-2860 (cell)

Let My People VOTE: PICO Leaders Announce New Campaign to Engage

1 Million Black, Latino and Faith Voters this Fall

Civil Rights Leader Rep. John Lewis and President of the North Carolina Chapter of NAACP Rev. William Barber II will Join Let My People VOTE Virtual Faith Summit Tonight

Washington, DC — Today, prominent clergy, faith leaders, and advocates with PICO National Network officially announced a new national campaign called Let My People VOTE. This will be a massive multi-racial and multi-faith-based effort, spanning 15-states, to engage and turn out 400,000 new or low-propensity voters in the 2014 election and beyond, whose voices have been ignored and who have been systematically locked out of the voting process.

The driving goal behind Let My People VOTE is a commitment to engage voters whose voices have been most marginalized in our cities and states. In congregations across America this fall, people of faith will aim to have one million person-to-person conversations about what freedom in America could and should look like, and how to use our right to vote as a way to bring us closer to that vision. To achieve this goal PICO National Network and federations will be training leaders, building prophetic congregational teams, engaging in base building, and meeting voters where they are: in the pews, on their phones, and at their doors.

“What we plan to do is unleash the power of faith voters,” said Michael McBride, Director of Urban Strategies and PICO’s Live Free campaign (formerly Lifelines to Healing). “PICO’s Let My People VOTE campaign is founded on the shared belief that God calls us together across race and faith, knowing that every single child of God deserves to live an abundant life with dignity and respect.”

As part of the campaign, PICO federations recently began roll-outs in several states, in the last few weeks, with the recruitment and training of thousands of grassroots leaders. Local leaders also plan to dramatically increase mobilizing voter registration and voter education efforts in cities such as Ferguson and St. Louis, Mo, because of the recent crisis, and states where the campaign will take root include: California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York.

Tonight, civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis and the President of the North Carolina state chapter of the NAACP, Rev. William Barber II will join PICO clergy and lay leaders from across the country for a Virtual Faith Summit. Speakers will give testimony to the ways we are transforming the lives of their congregations and communities by affirming the humanity of all pf God’s children.

“Faith leaders and advocates will seek to empower and engage voters in black, Latino, and poor communities to realize our power to help heal our nation by voting and encouraging our neighbors to do the same,” said Pastor McBride. “When we show our power as people of faith, we make a profound impact.”

LET MY PEOPLE VOTE PROGRAM GOALS:
•Engage and turn out to vote 400,000 African-American, Latino, Asian-American, and faith voters, who voted in 2012 but not 2010 and are unlikely to vote in 2014 without direct contact by people from their communities and an issue environment that speaks to their identity and economic pressures.
•Collect 187,000 ballot signatures to place measures on the ballot on minimum wage, paid sick days, early voting, sentencing reform and voter re-enfranchisement.
•Register 48,500 new voters in counties with large racial gaps in voter registration and fast growing Latino populations. We will register voters through congregations, aiming for 100% registration of eligible voters in leading congregations.
•Recruit and train 12,600 grassroots leaders in 800 congregational teams to strategically engage their neighbors and congregation-members, with an overall goal of 80 percent of shifts being filled by volunteers.
•Pass pro-working family ballot measures in California (Sentencing Reform), Massachusetts (Earned Sick Time), Las Cruces, New Mexico and Oakland, CA (Minimum Wage).

QUOTES FROM MEDIA CALL:

“After spending time in Ferguson, MO, where we were tear-gassed and saw the pain in the faces of thousands of black youth asking for fair treatment from law enforcement, I came back knowing now more than ever that we are engaged in a battle, spiritually and systemically, against the demons of racism in our country,” said Rev. Mark Tyler of Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia, PA. Rev. Tyler traveled with PICO’s interfaith organization POWER to Ferguson calling for justice and listen to a community in grief. He continued, “We need to bring out faith from the pews to streets. It is a fight for our lives – and voting is one of the primary tools in the struggle.”

Bishop Jaime Soto, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, CA, discussed the importance of civic engagement and voter education around immigration reform and Prop 47 in California. “With faith, we gave birth to this nation. It is takes faith to continue to build the strength of the American union. People of faith cannot let faith be disenfranchised,” said Bishop Soto. “Hard-working immigrant families cannot be left in the shadows and prisons do not make good schools or good health programs. People of faith believe that we Californians can do better than that.”

Jennifer Romero, a DREAMER, immigration reform leader from Aurora, CO, shared the story about losing her mother to deportation. “I’m tired of the pain my community faces. It’s time to go out there and tell our communities that their voices really do matter.”

“In Louisiana, it’s very simple. Our state’s incarceration rate is the highest the nation. But our community has the power to create and systemic change. We have a moral obligation to talk to voters about how some certain policies impact human lives,” said Pastor Antoine Barriere, Household of Faith, New Orleans, LA.

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PICO National Network, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States, working with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations.

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