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Official Statement from The A.M.E. Zion Board of Bishops on Voting Rights


“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24 NRSV)

On Sunday November 6, 2022 much of our country will turn back clocks marking the end of Daylight Savings; however, on Tuesday November 8th there are forces attempting to turn back the clocks of justice, equality, and the shared wellbeing of our people.

We have witnessed over the last decade coordinated, targeted, and intense efforts to rollback the gains in voting rights, confronting systemic racism, and economic advancement for historically disadvantaged populations. Black people are the soul of America and the most consistently Christian people in this country, not from a place of privilege, prestige, and possessions rather due to a deep spiritual power forged through struggle, resistance, and resilience. But for more than 400 years in this land, we’ve endured and survived in the face of forces designed to destroy and discourage us. First it was slavery, then the Ku Klux Klan, then legalized lynching and Jim Crow, then housing, employment, and educational discrimination, mass incarceration, health disparities, environmental racism, and police brutality.

The tools being employed to hinder the long delayed and denied rights promised by the ideals of America have always and continue to include voter suppression. Our fore-parents laid their very lives on the line to confront these insidious structures and yet, many remain and new suppression efforts are evident.

We are aware and actively work to confront these often subtle, sometimes blatant, strategies to silence the voices and dilute the impact of the people we serve; however, the focus of this statement is to remind us that a great danger is when we allow apathy or despair to cause us to fail to vote.

The largest portion of Americans don’t vote as Democrats, Republicans, or even as Independents. Those who don’t vote outnumber any other single group. This reality has profound consequences for our nation, our world, and especially for us as a people.

When we do not vote it is actually a vote for the very forces and policies that have erected obstacles in the path of our progress for generations. When we do vote, we can continue to demand investments in underserved communities, we can advocate for the expansion of voting rights, equal protection legislation, investment in education, healthcare, and police reform. While we are aware that measurable achievements in these priorities is painfully slow, we must not become weary in well doing. There are important successes we can build upon if we stay engaged as well informed voters.

While staying on the sidelines is an option, it is an option that those who seek to oppress and dismiss us are counting on you to choose. We are counting on you, in the spirit of our fore-parents to engage in the struggle for justice and the uplift of our people. Make a plan to vote, get out and cast your vote, and be sure that your family and friends are voting too.

Your Board of Bishops, as we pray earnestly for our nation and the world, we strongly encourage each of you as members of the AME Zion Church, The Freedom Church, to make your voice heard and make your vote count.

Bishop Dennis V. Proctor, President of the Board of Bishops

Bishop Kenneth Monroe, Senior Bishop

Bishop Darryl B. Starnes, Sr.

Bishop W. Darin Moore

Bishop Michael A. Frencher, Sr.

Bishop George D. Crenshaw

Bishop Hilliard Dogbe

Bishop Uduak Effiong

Bishop Brian R. Thompson, Sr.

Bishop Eric Leake

Bishop Joseph Johnson, Retired

Bishop Marshall H. Strickland, Retired

Bishop Nathaniel Jarrett, Jr., Retired

Bishop George W.C. Walker, Sr., Retired

Bishop Samuel Chuka Ekemam, Sr., Retired

Bishop Warren Matthew Brown, Retired

Bishop George Edward Battle, Jr., Retired

Done this the 3rd Day of November, 2022


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