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Posted at 04:08 PM ET, 03/26/2012

The Empower Movement to register one million African American voters starting Easter Sunday

Black pastors across the country have launched a nationwide campaign called The Empower Movement, aimed at registering one million African American voters this year starting Easter Sunday.

Maryland voters cast ballots. (Michel du Cille - The Washington Post)
Bishop Jamal Bryant, pastor of the Empowerment Temple Church in Baltimore, helped develop the idea and for more than a month has organized members of local churches in the effort.

“Our sole intention and purpose was to come up with a plan to revive the civil-rights movement in our community,” Bryant said.

Last month, organizers held a one-day summit at BWI airport to help participating church leaders organize their efforts. They suggested the pastors teach their members how to register on their smartphones or laptops. They also said church leaders should spread the the word through announcements at their individual churches.

There are about 75,000 black churches across the country, he said. If the clergy manages to get 20 to 25 voters registered voters per church, that brings the total to well more than a million. He said he did not know how many churches were part of the movement, but that 30 denominations were represented.

The effort is aided by a computer application to track the movement’s progress. The first tally will be calculated online, in the immediate days after Easter to see if the effort hit its initial goal of registering 100,000 voters. Easter Sunday was chosen because attendance is highest, creating a much bigger audience for the goal, Bryant said. From there, the application will be open for as long as it takes to reach one million registered voters.

“The black church has historically always been the brain of the black community, the motivator and the heartbeat,” Bryant said. “While we have made significant strides like elect our first black president, our struggle is not over.”

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By Fahima Haque  |  04:08 PM ET, 03/26/2012

Categories:  The Root DC Live

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