Ben Hill United Methodist Church is hosting a virtual experience Stay Woke, Be Vocal, Go Vote on Sunday, July 26. Organizers said the event was created to equip members of the community with information and resources needed ahead of the November election. Stay Woke, Be Vocal, Go Vote is a FREE, non-partisan, event open to the public on Sunday, July 26. It will stream 2-5 p.m. on Facebook, YouTube, and on the Ben Hill website BenHillUMC.org.
While Ben Hill United Methodist Church is sponsoring the online workshops, several participating organizations include the Fulton County Board of Elections, Census 2020, and Atlanta City Council. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta Civil Rights attorney and activist Gerald Griggs, and Atlanta City Council Member Marci Overstreet (District 11) have signed on to serve as guest speakers.
“Many people go to the polls but aren’t always clear on the issues they are voting on, or the agendas of the candidates. For some people, being at the ballot box is almost like a guessing game,” said Tanja Goode, event coordinator. “It’s more than just who is the next president. But who are the next judges, and senators? We want people to feel empowered and informed when they cast their ballots this fall.”
“Whether our youth’s voices need to feel empowered or our residents need clarification on voting, voter rights, or details on candidates, this virtual experience will be one-stop shopping for the entire family,” Goode added.
Stay Woke, Be Vocal, Go Vote will feature a special breakout youth summit to address the protests, civic unrest, and racial justice facing the city and the country. It will navigate through complex issues with youth, such as how to protest peacefully, or how to conduct yourself when stopped by the police.
Adult sessions will focus on voting, issues that impact schools, youth social services, senior citizens, healthcare, and legal matters. With the Covid-19 pandemic, health and safety issues will be discussed as it pertains to voting.
“We have two major pandemics on our hands,” said the Rev. Byron E. Thomas, senior pastor of Ben Hill UMC. “The first is the pandemic of white supremacy that has a sustained legacy of over 400 years of racial injustice that has eroded every sector of our democracy. The second is COVID-19 which is disproportionately affecting African Americans and Latinos. Both of these are costing lives daily.
“This is a critical time in our history where we are in a position to save ourselves,” he added. “What we do at the polls on and beyond will determine how both of these issues are addressed and whether or not we will be on our way to healing emotionally, mentally, socially, and economically as a nation.”