POWER Enlists 'Faith Army' To Engage Philadelphia Voters
- Mar. 7, 2014 - PHILADELPHIA --
Thousands of Philadelphians attending worship services this Saturday and Sunday (March 8th & 9th), in more than twenty interfaith congregations, will enlist in POWER's new campaign aimed at getting more than 5,000 infrequent voters to the polls for the upcoming May primary and November election. This weekend's event dubbed the "Voter Sabbath" will encourage all members of POWER (http://www.powerphiladelphia.org)
congregations to sign voter committment cards agreeing to vote in the upcoming elections. Clergy leaders will give sermons about the importance of standing up for justice at the polls. The faithful will also sign up to take part in POWER's new sophisticated voter targeting and engagement tactics used by successful political campaigns. POWER will use the Voter Activation Network, or VAN, database and predictive dialer phone technology to target voters who do not vote frequently, but who are likely to support school funding and boosts in minimum wage laws. "There is POWER at the polls," says Bishop Dwayne Royster, Executive Director of POWER Philadelphia and pastor of Living Water United Church of Christ. "As people of diverse faiths, races, and ethnic backgrounds, we are united to ensure our laws and policies and structures serve the poor, not hurt the poor. We do that through the voting booth." POWER plans to create teams at each of its 40 member congregations who will make phone calls, and knock on doors, of targeted voters in their communities, each weeknight for the eight weeks leading up to the election in May. In addition to the new high tech VAN phone banking techniques, POWER "Voter Sabbath" volunteers will also take part in more traditional community mobilization strategies including house meetings, congregational gatherings, community forums, and neighborhood canvassing. “We have a faith army in our member congregations and they are ready for deployment. We will show local and regional political leaders that people of faith don’t just pray for an end to poverty and school inequality – they vote to end them,” said Royster.
POWER will encourage voter participation in general. However, POWER's two areas of focus is making sure Pennsylvania's new governor establishes a fair funding formula for our schools, and generating support for a referendum on the May Primary ballot asking Philadelphia voters to strengthen the City’s minimum wage law. POWER – along with labor local SEIU32BJ and other allies – has been pushing for expansion of the 21st
Century Minimum Wage Standard, which requires a $10.88/hour wage to workers on city contracts. POWER and its partners argue that firms regularly, and unfairly, skirt that requirement by subcontracting out large parts of their contracts. If passed, the referendum would close that loophole and extend the higher wage standard to thousands of subcontracted city workers who now live in poverty despite working full time.
A few of the POWER congregations hosting "Voter Sabbath" events this weekend are listed below. Members of the clergy at these congregations will talk about the importance of voting in their sermons, pass out voter pledge cards during service, and encourage members to sign up for phone banking and neighborhood canvassing. The media is invited to the following congregations:
1. Saturday 3/8 - 10am-1pm -
Congregation Mishkan Shalom, at Freedland Ave. & Shurs Lane in Roxborough (19128)2. Sunday 3/9 - 9am Mass & 11am Mass -
St. Vincent's Depaul Catholic Church 109 East Price Street in Germantown (19144)3. Sunday 3/9 - 9am -
St. Martin in the Field Episcopal 8000 St. Martin's Lane Chestnut Hill (19118)4. Sunday 3/9 - 11am -
New Vision United Methodist Church 3259 N Broad St 191405. Sunday 3/9 - 11am -
Mother Bethel AME Church 419 South 6th Street (19147)
For more information or to participate in POWER's "Voter Sabbath" this Saturday and Sunday, March 8th and 9th, go to www.powerphiladelphia.org or call POWER at (215) 215-232-7697. All media inquiries should be directed to Leslie Patterson-Tyler by calling (609) 247-2632 or email Leslie@TylerMadePR.com.