Midweek Message

On Voting

Carolyn Matthews

October 1, 2020

Keith Ellison
“Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender.”

We are but one month away from Election Day, November 3.  If not already in hand, you should be receiving your California ballot soon. There has been much wrong information about the security and reliability of absentee (mail-in) voting and ballots.  This past Wednesday LABC held a justice jam on voting. Representative Barbara Lee gave an opening greeting and we heard from a poll worker and a representative from the League of Women Voters who walked us through the propositions on the ballot. (If you would like to see the video click here:  Justice Jam.)

We urge you to exercise your right and privilege and responsibility as a citizen. Every vote makes a difference. If this were not the case there would not be so many nefarious schemes to cast aspersions on the security of the vote; so many efforts to suppress the vote; and once again putting obstacles in the way of people voting.  Consider the following:

Rev. George W. Lee. Rev. Lee was the first African-American to register to vote since Reconstruction in Humphreys County, where Black people were a majority of the population.  He was actively involved in voter registration drives and after many years was allowed to pay the poll tax so he could register to vote. He was warned to remove his name from the voter rolls which of course he did not. He was murdered on May 7, 1955.

Lamar Smith.  Mr. Smith was a farmer, World War I veteran, voting rights activist, and a member of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership. On August 2, he had voted in the primary and helped get others out to vote. There was a run-off primary scheduled for August 23, and, on August 13, 1955, Lamar Smith was at the courthouse seeking to assist black voters to fill out absentee ballots so they could vote in the run-off election. He was shot to death in the front of the courthouse in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, at about 10:00 am that day.

Rev. James Reeb. Rev. Reeb was a Unitarian Universalist minister, pastor, and civil rights activist in Washington, DC and Boston, MA. While participating in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965, he was murdered by segregationists, dying of head injuries in the hospital two days after being severely beaten.

As I previously wrote and will continue to say, if our vote were not important, there would not be so many efforts to keep us from casting our ballot. Each of these and so many others understood that and put their lives on the line to make it a reality for so many. LABC is doing our part to help. Contact Pastor Allison if you need help in carrying out this civic responsibility.

And, we have another information session coming up. Members of Faith in Action East Bay will speak at a forum. They will be discussing propositions and bond measures that are crucial in our fight for equity and justice in our city and state.
Date: Sunday, October 11
Time: 8:45 AM

 Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.” (NIV)

Again, here is the link to Wednesday’s Justice Jam

Blessings and Peace as we journey together,
Pastor Carolyn