Two of the largest Black church groups in Georgia are formally uniting for the first time to mobilize Black voters in the battleground state ahead of the November presidential election.
The two congregations, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, plan to combine their resources and their more than 140,000 parishioners in the state for the get-out-the-vote program, which they are set to announce on Monday at the Georgia Capitol.
Their efforts, which for now will be concentrated only in Georgia, are meant to reinvigorate the Black church as a powerful driver of voter turnout at a time when national polls point to lagging political energy among Black Americans — and slipping enthusiasm for President Biden, who owes his 2020 rise to the White House to their support.
The two churches have long broadly pushed to expand and protect civil rights and voting rights across the country, but they have generally not coordinated their messages or shared resources.
Now, however, their leaders, Bishops Reginald T. Jackson and Thomas L. Brown Sr., say they see the stakes of this year’s election, as well as recently passed laws restricting voting rights and restructuring congressional districts in Georgia, as compelling reasons to work toward a shared goal.
“This is serious, critical,” said Bishop Brown of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, who presides over its roughly 300 churches in Georgia. “We have to take leadership, and we have to make sure that our people are empowered, and, particularly in rural Georgia, we have to make sure that we’re on the ground.”