A coalition of African-American clergy is behind the launch of a new faith-based voting initiative, "The Empowerment Movement," which endeavors to get one million people across the country registered to vote on Easter Sunday.
The Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant, pastor of the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, Md., has been named president of the organization. Its mission in the massive undertaking --which came to fruition when Bryant met with Baltimore-area ministers to discuss highunemployment and restrictive voter ID laws -- challenges every black church in the United States to register 20 people on April 8.
"In 1965, Rev. Martin Luther King, a Baptist, Rev. Joseph Lowery, a United Methodist, and Andy Young, a Disciples of Christ preacher, walked out of an AME Church and marched together in Selma for voting rights," Bryant said in an interview, that also alludes to the several denominations that support the Empowerment Movement.
The non-partisan effort has the backing of the AME , AME Zion, Cogic, Progressive, Bible Way, Full Gospel, CME, and United Covenant churches, to name a few. Political supporters include Rep. Elijah Cummings, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.