Since 2012 Faith in Action has had over 5 million conversations with voters across the country focusing on Black and Brown communities that are not only ignored by political campaigns, but also communities that are targeted by decision-makers who use voter suppression as a weapon to steal ballots right out of the hands of our loved ones. Our work this year could not be more important since we’re up against voter suppression rooted in white supremacy and also white Christian nationalism.
People of faith know that voting rights are sacred. We know that faith leaders, leaders of color, and countless others have fought tirelessly for generations to bring the right to vote to our communities. We have also witnessed an egregious assault on Black and Brown Americans’ access to the ballot box. My colleagues and I at Faith in Action are doing our part to call out the white supremacy and white Christian nationalism that are the driving forces behind these attacks and deeply influencing voters.
These attacks are not an accident– they are a coordinated effort, a backlash against our work and the work of our partners in the movement over the last several decades. In the 2020 election, we saw record voter turnout among Black and Brown Americans. Our communities must leverage our collective power this midterm season, despite targeted voter suppression schemes, and vote to uphold our rights and keep democracy safe.
Faith in Action’s Rise+Vote campaign was created to educate and mobilize Black and Brown voters and work to safeguard our democracy. This year’s Rise+Vote initiative will show the impact of elections not only on voting rights but racial justice more broadly. We are aiming to speak with one million voters and to register tens of thousands more, to ensure that politically redlined communities have equitable access to the ballot box.
More than twenty Faith in Action federations across the country will be leading Rise+Vote programs, many in states that will impact the future of our nation, like Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida, and Ohio. With election deniers being voted into office, we are already hearing rumors about attempts to decertify elections before they even happen. Congregations are historically one of the most powerful organizing and mobilization tools and equipping our communities with tools to advance voter engagement and protecting and expanding democracy are our key priorities this November.
Over the years, our Rise+Vote work has led to millions of Americans having access to living wages, paid sick leave, funding for education, and resources to end urban gun violence. These wins impact and transform the justice system, while also challenging the notion that only white swing voters matter. So, with the moment of past wins, and the lessons of our ancestors, our push for democracy continues.
This year we are increasingly seeing how white Christian nationalism is dominating midterm election campaigns and contributing to voter suppression tactics. White Christian nationalism is inherently anti-democratic and rooted in racism. Conflating Christian faith with a political agenda could have dangerous consequences, and Faith in Action’s Rise+Vote work aims to overcome and dismantle Christian nationalism this election season and beyond.
By mobilizing thousands of voters across the country and engaging in productive dialogue with potential voters we’re confident that we will once again deliver pro-democracy results in the midterms and keep pushing for policies that support the dignity of all people. While advocacy efforts cannot be limited to the ballot box, voters of faith, especially Black and Brown voters, will ensure elected officials are held accountable and everyone’s sacred right to vote is protected.
Andrea Marta is the Chief Strategy Officer for Faith in Action and the Executive Director of the Faith in Action Fund.