The Progressive National Baptist Convention’s Call to Vote the Entire Ballot for the November 3, 2020 Election
In this election, we believe every vote will matter. Since its inception in 1961, The Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. (PNBC) has been committed to urging its members to vote the entire ballot in every election. The PNBC values the privilege and power of voting because at its founding meeting, the Convention was duly organized by just one vote. The PNBC is painfully reminded that our forefathers and mothers bled, died and sacrificed their lives to exercise their right to vote. Hence, PNBC’s commitment to voting was in our DNA and in our annual sessions, the Convention consistently passes resolutions imploring its members to vote on every level, recognizing that the power of the vote brings on change to the national and local level. PNBC has never called on its members to vote downballot, not only because it is counter to our DNA and our Progressive ideals of Fellowship, Progress, Service and Peace, it suppresses votes.
The PNBC provided the spiritual home for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Congressman John Lewis, Rev. C.T. Vivian, and Rev. Prathia Hall; and, continues to serve as the home of Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Otis Moss, Jr. and other Civil Rights leaders perceiving the importance of voting. Voting is our Christian responsibility. Voting is crucial particularly during this time of racial injustice, police brutality, health care disparities including almost 200,000 American deaths by the mishandling of Covid-19, environmental injustice, climate change, the rise of militarism, the growing prison industrial complex, anti-immigration policies, a blatant disregard for international cooperation and the prospect of the next administration’s ability to nominate Supreme Court judges and appoint federal and Court of Appeals judges that will impact criminal justice and our lives for years to come.
Voter fraud, interference with the postal service, intimidation tactics and perceived international and corporate interference in the voting process contributes to creating mistrust, ambivalence and fear that their votes won’t count. We want to reassure you to vote just once; and, that your vote does count, will count and will make a difference in the lives of all Americans including our Black lives. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech in 1957 entitled, “Give us the Ballot.” He knew then as we still believe today that there is power in the Ballot. Let us then “Maximize our Potential” as we move forward together harnessing the power of the Ballot.
Our Convention and those who bled and died over the years, who were determined to vote, are witnesses to the power of the Holy Spirit changing lives and renewing hope by Just One Vote. Therefore, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. calls on all of its members, including first time voters and our youth to join its movement to get out the vote by registering, organizing get out the vote campaigns and encouraging all Americans to vote the entire ballot for the November 3, 2020 election. You must check the voting laws in your state to make sure your vote counts. The future of our lives, our Nation and our world depend on it. It is our Christian responsibility as well as our civic duty. Please vote the entire ballot!
Dr. Timothy Stewart, President
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.