The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was hailed as a landmark piece of federal legislation in this country which sought to prohibit racial discrimination in voting. As landmark as that act was considered to have been, it has endured many reauthorizations, renewals, extensions, and amendments during its history. And here we are in 2022 and despite this act and its intent, the voting rights of persons, especially those of black and brown hue, is once again up for debate and vote. We are saddened and disappointed at both the need for such legislation as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act in 2022 and the fact that their passage is dependent upon whichever way the winds of partisan politics blow. We believe it is important that these two significant pieces of voting rights legislation become law in this forthcoming session of Congress. To this end, we call upon President Joe Biden and senators of goodwill to do all in their power to move these crucial pieces of legislation to vote during the early days of the next session of Congress. The voting rights of many of this nation’s minority citizens are at risk the longer these pieces of legislation remain stalled in the United States Senate.
Therefore, we the members of the College of Bishops of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church urge all members of our Zion to do all in your power to push for the passage of these legislations. In addition, we are encouraged by the various efforts we are seeing in this regard. We are pleased to stand in solidarity with faith leaders, media personalities, college students, and others who have committed themselves to engage in a hunger strike as an effort to push lawmakers to pass federal legislation to protect the vote. We encourage members of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, who feel called to this form of social activism to consider joining the hunger strike efforts of others. In addition, whatever form of social activism one feels called to engage in, we encourage you to do so in efforts to push lawmakers to pass these legislations designed to protect the sacred right to vote by all citizens of this nation.
In addition, as we embark upon the 2022 observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us use this day to recommit ourselves to doing whatever we can to raise the awareness of the need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Bill and the Freedom to Vote Act in this forthcoming Congress. We recommend the following actions to the members of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church:
a. Pray for those who have committed themselves to engage in a hunger strike and other forms of social activism in support of the passage of these legislations.
b. Send an email or some form of a message to members of your legislative delegations encouraging them to bring these bills to the floor of the Congress and for its passage in this Congress.
c. Post on social media that as a member of the CME Church, you stand in support of the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Bill and the Freedom to Vote Act in this January 2022 session of Congress.
d. Participate to the extent that you are able in public forms of activism in support of the passage of this legislation.
e. Make plans now to participate in the 2022 Mid-Term Elections. This is not an option, it is essential that we vote in these elections.
Thank you very much for your support and activism, with best wishes for the passage of this legislation, we the undersigned members of the College of Bishops remain
Lawrence L. Reddick, Senior Bishop
Henry M. Williamson, Sr.
Thomas L. Brown, Sr.
Kenneth W. Carter
James B. Walker, Chair
Sylvester Williams, Sr.
Godwin T. Umoette
Marvin Frank Thomas, Sr.
C. James King, Jr.
Paul A. G. Stewart, Sr.
Othal H. Lakey