Florida Clergy Leaders Urge Thousands of African-Americans and Latinos to Vote Early in Statewide “Souls to the Polls” Events

Oct 22, 2014


*Praise in the Park & Souls to the Polls in Eatonville*



Florida Clergy Leaders Urge Thousands of African-Americans and Latinos to Vote Early in Statewide “Souls to the Polls” Events

Praise and Worship in the Park, Part of the Get Out The Vote Efforts to Contact 65,000 Florida Voters Part of the National “Let My People Vote” Campaign in Florida and 14-States



Eatonville, Fla.—With midterm elections less than 15 days away, people of faith will not be silenced when it comes to encouraging voters and acknowledging the struggles of racial, social and economic injustice that impact their congregations. This weekend, as part of statewide Get Out The Vote efforts, Faith in Florida’s clergy leaders will participate in the “Praise in the Park & Souls to the Polls” gospel concert and rally from 2-6 PM at Hungerford Academy in Eatonville, America’s first incorporated black town. Additional activities are scheduled in Tallahassee, Cutler Bay, Belle Glades, Lauderhill, and Daytona Beach.


This event is part of a massive statewide effort by hundreds of congregations to hold transformative conversations across race and faith as a key component of the faith community’s voter engagement throughout Florida.


Faith in Florida is particularly focused on contacting African-American and Latino voters, whose voices have been ignored in the past, and shedding light on its upcoming Live Free campaign to restore the voting rights of formerly incarcerated people—a civil rights ban that affects more than 1.5 Floridians and approximately 6 million disfranchised citizens in the United States.  Recently, Faith in Florida held aFaith Forum in Orlando where more than 1,300 people from diverse congregations and ethnicities came out to support driver’s licenses for the undocumented and rights restoration for returning citizens. Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Charlie Crist, Attorney General Candidate George Sheldon and other candidates participated in the event.  After Governor Scott did not attend, Faith in Florida grassroots leaders and clergy took their message directly to him at a State Clemency Board meeting the following week.


Faith in Florida’s participation in “Praise in the Park & Souls to the Polls” is part of thePICO National Network’s Let My People Vote campaign, a massive multi-racial and multi-faith-based effort, spanning 14-states to engage and turn out 450,000 voters across the country—65,000 in Florida—in the 2014 election and beyond.  To date, Faith in Florida has already spoken to thousands of voters through door-to-door canvasses, phone banks and Sabbath events in their congregations. The goal of Let My People Vote is to engage Latino and African-American faith communities in building cross-racial alliances on rights restoration, sentencing reform, access to driver’s licenses and benefits for low-wage workers.


Nationwide, approximately 400 congregations have signed up to participate in statewide events. In Eatonville, several congregations are expected to participate in “Praise in the Park & Souls to the Polls”, including the Experience Christian Center (Church of God in Christ) and the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. Partnering organizations include, the African American Council of Christian Clergy (AACCC) and The Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Featured speakers include Rev. Derrick McRae, pastor of Experience Christian Center, and Dr. Larry Mills, Pastor of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church and President, African American Council of Christian Clergy.


WHAT: “Praise in the Park & Souls to the Polls” Gospel Concert and Rally; 2 to 6 PM

Continual shuttles will transport faith voters from the praise party to the voting polls in the surrounding area.


WHERE: Gospel Concert and "Souls to the Polls" Shuttle Start Point: Hungerford Academy, 100 East Kennedy Blvd. Eatonville, FL; Polling Locations: Supervisor of Election Office of Orange County, 119 Kaley Street 


VISUALS:  Buses with banners, car and van caravans; clergy in robes and vestments; church members with banners and signs; church members singing and praying outside of polling locations before or after voting. “Souls to the Polls” activities are also scheduled for Sunday, November 2.


For Full Details of Events or Interviews, Contact:

Carlos Vogel, Faith in Florida,cvogel@faithinflorida.org, O (727) 726-8617 ext. 227, M (727) 505-7033; 

Kawana Lloyd, PICO National Network, (202) 544-8411, ext. 110 or (240) 472-2860, klloyd@piconetwork.org



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The mission of Faith in Florida is to build a powerful, multi-cultural, non-partisan network of congregation community organizations in Florida that will address systemic racial and economic issues that cause poverty for our families.  With multiple different religious denominations and faith traditions represented, Faith in Florida seeks to provide a prophetic, interfaith voice on rights restoration, immigrant justice and health care expansion. Faith in Florida is nonpartisan and is not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.



PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at www.piconetwork.org.