KEMBA Center Leader Endorses “A Call to Colors” Civic Engagement – GDN Exclusive “A Call to Colors” Vol. II, Part XXIIby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer September 11, 2019
Rev. Dr. A. J. Connors, Senior Pastor at Hills Chapel Baptist Church in Faison, N.C., and moderator (or Bishop) of the 48-church member Kenansville Eastern Missionary Baptist Association (KEMBA) Center in Warsaw, agrees that a civic engagement strategy employing nonpartisan voter registration, education and mobilization geared to empower the faith-based community is needed, and tells GDN it is something he encourages all churches to be a part of.
“I think this is doable as long as [churches] get it into their minds that this is a must for success in the future,” Dr. Connors told GDN.
The KEMBA Center consists of 48 churches that span Wayne, Duplin, Sampson, Pender and New Hanover counties.
Rev. Connors indicated that he was already planning to reach out to the pastors of larger church facilities affiliated with KEMBA Center in those districts, about allowing the NC Board of Elections to conduct training sessions on Saturdays for residents to learn more about the requirements to vote for the 2020 elections.
That training is needed, Dr. Connors says, because there are many residents who previously had lost their right to vote because of convictions, and have now paid their debt to society, but are unaware that they are eligible to vote once again.
“That teaching hasn’t been out there,” Dr. Connors said.
In addition, Dr. Connors can encourage district churches to also adopt the five-point “A Call to Colors” Community Voter Mobilization Model.
Churches and other faith-based institutions should…
- Create a standing voter participation committee within the organization.
- Ask each committee members to volunteer 8, 16, 24 hours or more per election cycle for voter registration, education and mobilization activities.
- Volunteer in partnership with the local NAACP branches or other nonpartisan community-based organizations (Divine Nine, HBCU alumni chapters, college student groups) which will help coordinate area efforts.
- Have a church committee member assigned to local NAACP or community-based organizational meetings to help keep your church committee abreast of its civic engagement activities.
- Keep record of all volunteer hours.
Dr. Connors, who is also in the middle of his first term as Mayor of Warsaw, NC., added that a successful civic engagement empowerment strategy must also be employed to involve the Latino congregations who use many of the affiliated churches for their worship as well.
Connors noted that many of them are, indeed, American naturalized citizens, who certainly face important public policy issues as their community grows in KEMBA Center districts. Thus, “A Call to Colors” nonpartisan voter registration, education and mobilization empowerment strategies needed to be shared with the Latino communities his churches work with.
“They need to be involved in this and reached out to,” Dr.
According to Peter Grear, “A Call to Colors” leadership team is in full agreement with Dr. Connors and will replicate the NAACP’s Latino outreach program.
Special note – GDN Publisher Peter Grear, sponsor of “A Call to Colors” effort, asks each participating voter mobilization group to email ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ and request that Greater Diversity News publish an article about its efforts to be included in GDN’s updated information and features about “A Call to Colors.”
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