Voter Engagement

Faith Groups Win Key Initiatives in Four States, Intend to hold Electeds Accountable

No Time for a Victory Lap; People of Faith Intend to Hold Elected Leaders Accountable

WASHINGTON – Following the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States, PICO National Network, the nation’s largest network of faith-based groups, released the following statement:

“Following a presidential election cycle marred by vitriolic and harmful rhetoric, this election surfaced deep divides” said PICO National Network Executive Director Scott Reed. “As people of deep faith, we are uniquely poised to not only help our nation heal, but to serve as a moral compass for the country. To that end, we are committed to dialoguing with those who think differently and will attempt to engage President-Elect Trump. But President-Elect Trump should be forewarned that our faith will not allow us to permit him to fulfill his promise to criminalize immigrants by conducting mass deportations, or sit idly in the face of racial profiling of African Americans, Latinos and religious minorities.

“We know there is much work to be done, especially around creating a society that is inclusive for all people. Regardless of the challenges ahead, I am confident that we will prevail. If there’s anything I know about myself, it is this; I am a fighter. If there’s anything I know about the American people, it is this; Americans are fighters as well. Put us in front of an obstacle and rest assured, we will overcome.”

“While it may be tempting to focus on the presidency alone, we should look down ballot,” said Denise Collazo, PICO National Network Chief of Staff. “People of faith voted for ballot initiatives -- such as pre-K expansion in Cincinnati and Dayton, public transit in Indianapolis, living wages in Colorado, and juvenile justice reforms and revenue for education and health in California. These measures show that Americans, even in states that voted for Donald Trump, will vote for measures that give all families a chance to thrive. Regardless of what happened at the top of the ticket, we are more committed than ever to pushing an agenda that leads to a more inclusive America.”

“We’ve shown through our ballot measure work that voters support policies that raise wages, create jobs and provide all families with opportunity,” Collazo said. “Moreover, we made strides this election cycle and are organized to hold President-Elect Trump and other elected officials accountable.”

“A national network of 45 state and local organizations in 22 states and over 150 cities and towns, PICO federations made impressive strides at the local level,” Collazo continued. “The network had 815,620 live, person-to-person conversations with voters whom others typically ignore -- communities of color and persons living in poverty. PICO affiliates Faith in Florida Action Fund and Stand Up for Ohio also ran spirited accountability campaigns to force prosecutors to end mass incarceration and hold police officers accountable for lethal shootings.”

“While there may be temptation for newly elected leaders to perform a victory lap of sorts, there is much to be done to ensure this nation works for everyone, and not just for the very wealthy,” said Bishop Dwayne Royster, PICO National Network Political Director. “Our faith will not allow us to rest until America lives up to its promise to become a nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

“We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and we take this sacred admonishment to heart as we move into the months ahead,” said Pastor Michael McBride, PICO National Network LIVE FREE Campaign Director. “We are committed to guard against scapegoating the poor, people of color or marginalized communities for the challenges our country faces.” 

Tom Steyer with Faith Based, Latino & Community Leaders stand up against the divisiveness of the election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN JOSÉ, CA

Clergy “Bless the Ballots” to proclaim Voting is a Sacred Act & call for unity in the face of intolerable levels of economic and racial inequalities.

WHO:              Tom Steyer, President of NextGen Climate, friend and supporter of voter empowerment confirmed to speak. Dozens of Latino, immigrant, low income, voters of color and clergy who have engaged marginalized communities through sacred conversations, voter registration, and voter education.

WHAT:            Faith and community leaders proclaim that voting is a sacred act and that a moral agenda brings about policies for strong families, economic dignity and racial justice.

Diverse faith and community leaders pledge their commitment to building an inclusive community - transforming the electorate to reflect the diversity of our community, standing up for those who are forgotten and scapegoated.  We reject politics of hate and fear.  No matter what happens on Election Day, we will work as multi-faith, multiracial partners to build a community that respects, includes and values all our people

WHEN:           Monday, November 7th, 5:15pm

WHERE:         St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 405 S. 10th St San Jose 95112

VISUAL:         Clergy leaders and community members of racial and religious diversity “Bless the Ballots,” a basket of ballots and voter materials that represent our hopes for our struggling families, on this eve of the election.

WHY:              Our Latino, immigrant, low income and faith communities have mobilized in response to the vast economic and racial inequalities in our valley that shows up as an affordable housing crisis, exploitation of workers, inequity in public education and need for justice system reform.

We are transforming the electorate to reflect our diversity by holding sacred conversations, registering marginalized communities and offering voter education in immigrant, low income, and communities of color.

“As a faith community we believe that every person is valued. Their story is valued, their concerns are valued and their vote is valued,” said Pastor Jennifer Goto of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

“In 2014, only 35% of eligible voters in Santa Clara County vote, and those most marginalized are Latino voters, people of color and low income voters. We are making sure everyone is part of the democratic process. Especially when such critical issues like affordable housing, worker exploitation, education funding and mass incarceration are all on the ballot and decided by narrow margins.”

South Bay leaders urge their community to vote and volunteer to get out the vote in Gilroy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN JOSÉ, CA                                           

WHO:         More than a hundred community members from St Mary Parish and Gilroy concerned for their community who want a high voter turnout during these important Mayoral and Presidential Elections.

WHAT:        Faith leaders in Gilroy will hold a Community Forum to teach people that their voice matters. Even if they've never voted, can't vote, or haven't voted in a long time, to come and learn how to exercise their voice during these elections.

WHEN:        Monday, April 25 7:00pm

WHERE:      St. Mary Church, 11 1st St, Gilroy, CA 95020

WHY:          Faith leaders in Gilroy united for a better future for everyone facing injustices like eviction, low wages, and the impact of discriminatory immigration policies urge their community to stand up and vote because their voice matters. People who’ve never voted, can't vote, or haven't voted in a long time, will come and learn how to exercise their voice during these elections.

After the pope’s visit to the United States and of his message to a young undocumented immigrant that, "The world has to be more aware that the exploitation of each other is not a path… All of us have responsibility for everyone. No one can say: 'my responsibility reaches here.' We are all responsible for everyone, and to help ourselves in the way that each one can…"

Faith leaders will bring their community together united for a better future for everyone to give powerful testimony, provide information about voter registration and important laws, and how to become a Citizen.