Reviving the Heart of Our Democracy: Our Work Matters More Than Ever
Great news! A federal appeals court has struck down what Ari Berman calls “The Nation’s Worst Anti-Voting Law“ in North Carolina and we see progress all over the country in pushing back against the tide of voter suppression. This is an exciting and critical time for our work. I hope you have heard Rev. Barber’s stirring call to be the “moral defibrillators of our time” and shock our democracy back into life. There is no better way to describe our mission at the Reeb Project, and no more important time than the days from now until Election Day.
We will carry out this call to “revive the heart of our democracy” by mobilizing people of faith to defend the right to vote at the most basic level. We will be making sure that every person can exercise their right to vote, and has the information they need to participate in this historic election with so many critical issues and important choices. As the summer comes to a close, and the election draws nearer, we will be moving into high gear with many opportunities to get involved and carry out our legacy.
And even as we rejoice at recent court decisions striking down egregious voter suppression, we cannot be complacent. Rapidly changing rules, even when those changes expand opportunities, can still create confusion. Direct engagement with voters to ensure they understand how, when and where to vote will counteract that confusion and realize the full potential of those legal rulings. Our work matters now more than ever.
About the All Souls Church Reeb Project for Voting Rights
The Reeb Project is named in honor of former All Souls associate minister James Reeb – beaten to death in 1965 when he went to Selma, Alabama, to march for voting rights. The Project has four goals for its work through 2016:
- Have impact on the national discussion on voting rights by leveraging our unique history, DC location and influence within Unitarian Universalism.
- Increase voter turnout in a specific North Carolina community during the 2014 and 2016 election cycles by working in solidarity with local UU congregations and people of color and progressive partner organizations.
- Continually raise consciousness of the injustice of our own disenfranchisement as DC residents and seek remedies to this injustice.
- Build the Beloved Community within and beyond our walls by developing a multiracial, multicultural voting rights team at All Souls and by working in solidarity and partnership with communities of color.
2014 – 2016 Accomplishments
- February 2014: More than 200 All Souls members and friends march in Moral March in Raleigh, NC with the UUA as part of the Forward Together/Moral Mondays movement
- June 2014: Flashmob on Supreme Court steps to mark gutting of Voting Rights Act
- Summer 2014: Teach-ins with national voting rights organizations
- September 2014: Voter registration weekend in Charlotte, NC, with UU Church of Charlotte and Piedmont UU Church registers hundreds of new voters
- October-November 2014: Get out the Vote phone banks with Democracy North Carolina make thousands of calls, successfully increase turn out of African-American first time voters and others
- February 2015: Reeb project returns to Moral March in Raleigh
- March 2015: All Souls delegation travels to Selma for 50th Anniversary of bridge crossing
- July 2015: Reeb Project joins NC NAACP for a massive teach in and Raleigh in Winston-Salem, NC to mark start of trial of Monster NC Voter Suppression law
- Fall 2015: Reeb Project volunteers make calls with Democracy North Carolina to learn more about how to get voters to support voting rights and other progressive issues.
- February 2016: Seventy-five member All Souls delegation, including Youth Group, travel to Raleigh for the Moral March and team with UU Fellowship of Raleigh for voter registration drive.
- April 2016: Reeb Project supports Democracy Spring/Democracy Awakening week of action; members help lead huge teach-in at All Souls, dozens join rallies and demonstrations, and over 20 are arrested.