Pastor Jay on “A Call to Colors” – “We’re in it Together” – GDN Exclusive “A Call to Colors” Vol. II, Part XXIby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer August 30, 2019
What role would faith-based community institutions like mosques, temples and churches play in nonpartisan “A Call to Colors” civic engagement strategies to empower the African American community statewide to participate in voter registration, education and mobilization efforts headed in the 2020 elections?
According to Rev. Jonathan C. Augustine, Pastor at St. Joseph A.M.E. Church in Durham, an important and critical role if faith-based institutions are fulfilling their missions not just to strengthen the path for their worshippers to God, but also become an intricate part of social justice movements in their communities.
And when it comes to his commitment to social justice by way of “A Call to Colors” – the nonpartisan civic engagement strategy targeting black voters across North Carolina through voter registration, education and mobilization for the 2020 elections, Rev. Augustine told GDN recently, “We’re in it together,” when it comes to alumni associations, Divine Nine groups, community-based organizations, student engagement efforts, and faith-based institutions.
“Pastor Jay,” as Rev. Augustine prefers to be called, further explained the role of the religious sector during Aug. 3rd’s National HBCU Alumni Associations Foundation Civic Engagement & Advocacy Committee (CEAC) Summit at NCCU School of Law in Durham.
“If the preacher is not relevant on Sunday, how can the preacher possibly be relevant on Monday through Saturday?” Rev. Augustine asked rhetorically, then making clear that the black church must be relevant in the body politic every day, not just on Sunday.
“That means collaborations with nonprofit organizations…and HBCUs in particular,” he added, like NCCU-CEAC, which is a nonpartisan 501(c)3.
Rev. Augustine used the example of how St. Joseph A.M.E. – historically one of North Carolina’s most activist black churches – will now be joining forces with North Carolina Central University, it’s alumni association, and it’s CEAC to civically engage students. Additionally, he is encouraging all churches, AME included, to join “A Call to Colors” social justice and civic engagements efforts.
Rev. Augustine also reminded all that he is the national chaplain of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and later this fall, the Alphas will implement the “Andrew Young Social Justice Initiative.”
“We will be on HBCU campuses engaging with fraternal organizations and sororities, ensuring that we’re not here to talk partisanship, but we are here to talk politics. We’re here to make sure you’re relevant and staying engaged.”
5-PT. COMMUNITY VOTER MOBILIZATION MODEL
- Create a standing voter participation committee in your church, civic groups, student organizations, Divine Nine-chapter, alumni chapters or community-based organizations.
- Ask each organizational member to volunteer 8, 16, 24 hours or more per election cycle.
- Volunteer through the NAACP or other nonpartisan organizations.
- Have a member assigned to NAACP meetings to help keep your organization abreast of
its civic engagement activities.
- Keep records of your volunteer hours.
Pastor Augustine has only been at St. Joseph A.M.E. in Durham since last May, and he has already held two “Social Justice Sunday” services, recommitting the church and his congregation to its biblical mission of not only saving souls, but also seeking justice.
On Sunday, August 25th, “Pastor Jay” welcomed NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, and state Sen. Erica Smith, candidate for the U.S. Senate, to share “Social Justice Sunday” with the Durham community.
Rev. Augustine encouraged his congregation, along with the hundreds of guests—including the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha, who were observing their International Day of Prayer—to not only be registered to vote and well-informed on the issues, but also active this coming electoral season.
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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