Religious leaders like the Bishop Reginald Kennedy of Gospel Tabernacle Baptist Church do not want the “spirit of apathy to possess” voters in this election season. To encourage voting in the upcoming gubernatorial election, New Shiloh Baptist Church hosted a press conference on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, along with leaders from different denominational faiths across Baltimore City and the county.
“Whatever your sphere of influence may be, this is the season to push that,” Kennedy said.
The conference focused on mobilizing churches in the area to encourage their congregants to vote. Rev. Robert Young of Wayland Baptist Church challenged other churches in Baltimore to hold a get-out-to-vote service on the third Sunday of July.
Project Safe Haven, an afterschool/summer camp program created by the Koinonia Baptist Church in 1992, brought kids to attend the press conference. They ranged from ages five to 15 years old.
Pastor Dante Miles, also the leader of Project Safe Haven, wanted the children to “see the importance of voting and meet some of the clergy that [he has] known for at least forty years.” Miles also wanted to educate the youth on the importance of voting.
“Votes translate to roads that are improved, schools that are improved, jobs that are provided, and different resources that are provided to our communities,” Dr. C. Anthony Hunt, head pastor at Epworth United Methodist Chapel, said.
In a slight pivot from the encouraging words, speakers such as Bishop Anthony Palmer, President of United Black Clergy of Anne Arundel County, announced that he and the Caucus of African American Leaders, Transformative Justice Coalition, and the NAACP worked together to provide van transportation services to help voters without transportation get to the polls. The Souls to the Polls campaign that started in Florida in the 1990s recently met this need locally for all seven days of early voting. Transportation will be provided again on the upcoming Gubernatorial Primary Election Day, which is July 19, 2022.
Palmer said this campaign was designed to aid marginalized communities located in the Anne Arundel County area such as Meade Village; Pioneer City; Still Meadows; Spring Meadows; Freetown Village; and Brooklyn Park. Palmer also remarked that transportation service was provided to individuals in the Curtis Bay area in South Baltimore. Hunt said there was a similar service provided by the Port Chapel United Methodist Church; in partnership with Epworth Chapel United Methodist Church; Martin Luther King Memorial United Methodist Church; Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church; Milford Mill United Methodist Church; and Salem United Methodist Church. All these churches are located within Baltimore County. Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the vans ran on an as-requested basis.
Palmer explained that this transportation service for voters would be available on July 19, 2022, for the primary election, as well as to aid individuals who need rides during the general election on November 1, 2022.
Individuals who are interested in finding out more about transportation service should call the United Black Clergy of Anne Arundel County and ask for Palmer at 410-672-2006. For transportation inquiries, or general Baltimore County polling place questions regarding November 1, 2022, call Port Chapel at 410-944-1070 .