On Monday morning, a collection of clergy and community leaders from across Georgia, including the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta, called on African Americans to vote in this November’s elections.
The group also announced they will visit Randolph County voting commission to petition against the pending closures of seven of nine polling places in that county.
Lastly, the group reaffirmed its earlier statement that denounced the actions and words of President Donald Trump toward the Rev. Omarosa Manigault Newman and many prominent African-Americans.
Members of the CBC will travel to Randolph County when the county’s election commission meets on Aug. 24 to voice their concerns regarding these potentially racist actions.
“Randolph County is predominantly Black,” said the Rev. Reginald Jackson, the presiding bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church of Georgia. “If they succeed in this effort, it will nullify and make voting almost impossible for thousands of blacks. Many of those who are senior citizens would have to walk miles to get to their polling places.
A rural, impoverished, and predominantly black county in Southwest Georgia, Randolph County has only nine polling locations. Every voting location was open during the May primaries and July runoffs.
However, the county’s election commission is considering closing seven of them, including one in a precinct where about 97 percent of registered voters are African-American.
The plan would force residents, many of whom have no car or access to public transit, to travel as much as 30 miles round trip to reach the nearest polling station.
Jackson and others also called upon current Georgia Nathan Deal, U.S. Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson and the entire Georgia congressional delegation to denounce Trump’s behavior and speak out boldly against voter suppression.
“We will not sit idly by and let this happen,” Dr. Jackson said. “What they seek to do in Randolph County which as a result of the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Randolph County was one of those areas which before they could change voting procedures had to get concurrence from the federal government.
“We want the State of Georgia to know that leading up to this November election, we refuse to sit by while the votes of African-Americans are suppressed.”
“While the Concerned Black Clergy recognize Manigault Newman’s credibility issues, they also understand President Trump’s actions have been a vehicle to divide the country racially.”
“I simply refuse to refer to him (President Trump) by his title,” said Jackson, who also serves as president of the African Methodist Episcopal Council of Bishops. “I call him our ‘International Embarrassment. Again, he has demonstrated his racism, this time calling Omarosa a ‘lowlife and a dog’.
“The Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln,” Jackson read from a statement the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta issued last Friday. “It is unconscionable to refer to Blacks the way he does and there is little outrage.”