Clergy group, NAACP hosting major event to get residents registered
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
With the Oct. 11 deadline approaching to vote in the Nov. 8 election, local organizations are making their last pitches to get people registered.
The Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance and Volusia County /Daytona Beach NAACP have planned a voter registration event for Oct. 8.
“This will be a major voting registration push. We are wrapping up the final details. Our preliminary site is Bethune-Cookman University. We will have field reps on hand as well,” said the Rev. Derrick Harris, president of the Black Clergy Alliance and pastor of Master’s Domain Church of God in Christ.
Cynthia Slater, president of the local NAAACP branch said, “We encourage large turnout. It’s very important. This is big. We can’t do it alone. Other organizations can’t do it alone. Together your reach is farther.”
‘Great stake’ in election
The NAACP does voter registration year long.
Slater said, “We are the boots on the ground. We really pick it up during election years. Our office and executive committee staff keep voter registration forms on hand at all times. We even carry them in our cars. We encourage people to register and update their information all the time.”
However, the leaders addressed the issue of traditional low turnout in the Black community.
“Black people have a great stake in this election. It’s as important as both Barack Obama elections.
We can’t sit back and take this one for granted. Those who don’t vote get what they ask for. Also, when you look at exit polls they don’t count Blacks as likely voters,” Slater commented.
Added Harris, “Many feel that their vote won’t count. Many feel forgotten. I believe that just because we’ve been taken for granted in the past, we shouldn’t not vote. We should vote and then hold our elected officials accountable to the pledges and promises made to us.’’
He continued, “We are trying our best to get the students registered and out to the polls as well. We have certain locations in the community where people can come register to vote. Cut Master’s Barber Shop is one.” Harris is the owner of the barber shop.
Slater reflected, “We really need our young people to come out and vote. Their demographic really isn’t showing up to the polls.”
‘Souls to the Polls’
The Black Clergy Alliance and other churches will do their usual “Souls to the Polls’’ event on Oct. 30 at the Daytona Beach Regional Library on City Island.
“The different churches will be using their church vans and we are going to bring in other vans to bring out not only the churches but go through the community to get people out to do early voting.”
That event include food, music and speakers.
The NAACP plans to hold a second community political forum to allow local candidates to speak with potential voters.
It will take place the week before the election at Stewart Memorial Methodist Church in Daytona Beach.
“We are partnering with Stewart-Memorial Church. We haven’t finalized the date and time yet.
People can’t be complacent when it comes to politics. All politics are local,” Slater added.
“These are the people that represent us to make real changes in policy and our community. We must be very careful when voting. Once you mark your ballot and slide it in the machine, it is a done deal.’’
Harris also expressed concern about remarks made by the Republican nominee at Monday’s presidential debate.
“It further lets us know why it is important to get out and vote. Through this debate, we have been able to see how out of touch Donald Trump is when it comes to the blight of African-Americans and American citizens as a whole It also showed a nonchalant attitude being displayed by Mr. Trump.
That is another reason why people should be energized to go to the polls,” responded Harris.
Slater echoed, “Speaking not as the president of the local NAACP but as an individual and a Black woman, Mr. Trump definitely concerns me. He is just unpredictable.”
Hope in Clinton
The Black leaders seemed more accepting to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Slater said, “Clinton seems more informed, polished and well-versed. She has 40 years of political experience. She’s been attacked about her emails, which is concerning but I don’t think it should deter voters from her.”
“During the debate, Clinton showed more compassion and seemed to be more for individuals of all races,” added Harris.
The Black Clergy Alliance is endorsing Clinton.
Harris remarked, “We as an alliance are working very closing and we have voted as an alliance to officially endorse Hilary Clinton for president. We are spearheading an official visit by her campaign.
From the pulpit we can’t tell you who to vote for. As a concerned citizen, I try to go out and educate people on what these candidates are saying and are about.”