Elections

Preacher mobilizes voters in Pennsylvania

The Rev. Judith Moore spent her days leading up to the midterm elections energizing Black voters in the Pittsburgh area. She stood on a street corner holding a “Your Vote Matters” sign. She led poll monitor training sessions. She made phone calls.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore speaks at a get-out-the-vote “souls to the polls” event at Bethel AME Church in Tarentum, Pa.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

“I drove by the polling stations and I rarely saw our voters,” the 69-year-old AME church preacher said.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore has led “souls to the polls” events at AME churches for 24 years.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Congregants sing hymns at Bethel AME Church in Tarentum, Pa.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore wants people “to understand their power and their strength and to make sure they are heard.”

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

“And the only way to do this is to get out to vote. Your voice matters. Your vote matters.”

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Inside Bethel AME Church. Moore was born in Mims, Fla., to parents who were teachers and community leaders in the NAACP. They inspired her to become a civil rights activist, she says: “We just grew up knowing that is who we were. We were going to be serving leaders.”

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore laughs with volunteers as she leads a poll monitor training session at Bethesda Community Church in Pittsburgh.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Volunteers at a poll monitor training session.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore and another volunteer with signs to encourage voting. “Your vote has power. We need to figure out how to leverage that power,” she says.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Twice a week for more than a month before Election Day, volunteers stood streetside to energize voters.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Bethesda Community Church is in the heart of Homewood, a predominantly Black neighborhood in Pittsburgh.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore spent hours driving around Pittsburgh on Election Day to mobilize voters.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore chats with a co-worker in Pittsburgh.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore works at home in New Kensington, Pa., talking with voter mobilization coordinators around the state.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

“What is the next step?” Moore said in an interview. “We want to make sure the voting process is a portion of advocacy. It is important to push those people in the office to understand what our needs are. We want to be included in their agenda.”

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

“This shirt reminds me why I do what I do and how important voting is,” Moore says.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

A voting rights button with a picture of the late congressman and civil rights champion John Lewis sits on a table at Moore's house, along with some candy.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore giggles with her husband, Leo. They have been married for almost 37 years. “He has always pushed me to become whoever I want to become,” she says. “He sees me more than I see myself.”

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Moore looks out her door after a long day of work. She is also the founder of Sisters Saving Ourselves Now, an organization that aims help women of all colors.

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

Shuran Huang for the Washington Post

More from the Post

Photos from the midterm elections across the U.S.

The faces of the voters who helped decide this year’s election

The latest from The Washington Post

Credits

Photo editing and production by Christine T. Nguyen