‘Democracy is on the ballot’: Durham church hosts Souls to the Polls event ahead of 2024 primary

'Democracy is on the ballot' Durham church hosts Souls to the Polls event ahead of 2024 primary

North Carolina gears up for its 2024 primary election slated for March 5, with a notable effort from a Durham-based church to mobilize voters. St. Joseph AME Church witnessed a congregation brimming with enthusiasm as parishioners gathered to receive a stirring call to action.

“Duke professor and President/CEO of NNPA, Benjamin Chavis, delivered a resonant message, emphasizing the significance of the upcoming election. “Democracy is on the ballot,” he proclaimed, underscoring the importance of voting as a means to uphold principles of equality and justice. Chavis, renowned for his civil rights activism, invoked the hard-fought battle for voting rights that spanned decades, urging attendees to honor this legacy through active participation.

“Dubbing Durham as a bastion of political empowerment, Chavis highlighted the city’s pivotal role in shaping the political landscape of not only Durham County but also Eastern North Carolina and beyond. The event served as a rallying point for community members to exercise their civic duty and make their voices heard.

“Amid concerns echoing sentiments from the past, with fears of a repetition of the 2016 election, attendees voiced apprehensions about potential disenfranchisement. Nastasia Watkins, echoing the sentiments of many, emphasized the urgency of voting, particularly in light of ongoing redistricting efforts perceived as threats to the voting rights of Black citizens.

“The event also provided a platform for various candidates vying for positions on the primary ballots, spanning across party lines. Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate, Josh Stein, articulated his vision for a more inclusive and prosperous North Carolina, resonating with the aspirations of the audience.

“As the event culminated, a caravan of cars made its way from the church to a nearby voting precinct at North Carolina Central University’s law school, symbolizing a tangible manifestation of civic engagement. Reflecting on the diverse demographics present at St. Joseph AME Church, Chavis underscored the inclusive nature of political participation, transcending age and background.

“With the momentum building as early voting approaches its conclusion on Saturday, March 2, Chavis expressed optimism regarding voter turnout. Anticipating a robust showing across all demographics, he called upon North Carolinians to seize the opportunity and make their voices count in shaping the future of the state.”