African-American Churches Vow to Register 1M Voters on Easter Sunday

A coalition of African-American clergy has announced a project titled the Empowerment Movement, an effort to register one million black Christian voters on Easter Sunday.

The group chose Easter Sunday as its goal day because many more people attend church services on Easter than at any other time of the year. They are looking to get at least 20 people at each of the 500,000 black churches to sign up in time for the 2012 presidential election.

The Empowerment Movement is led by Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant, who is the pastor of the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, Md. Bryant met with other black clergy members of various denominations to discuss many issues, from high African-American incarceration rates, to restrictive voter I.D. laws. At the meeting, leading black clergy found a need for massive action, as they claim the black church community contains over five million unregistered voters.

Bryant believes the under-registered black Christian population is an issue that must be dealt with by working together, across denominations.

"Leaders in the black church today must step up in unity," he said in an interview with Black America Web.

The Empowerment Movement believes that with the 2012 election looming on the horizon, now is the opportune time to stress voting within the black Christian community.

"We have to speak up and be vocal. We cannot be on the sidelines. Right now, there's an attack across this country on health care and on programs that help [historically black colleges and universities]," Bryant explained.

The Empowerment Movement is putting special emphasis on the youth vote. Nineteen-year-old pastor and Morehouse College student Steven Green is in charge of the Empowerment Movement's youth outreach.

"Voting is important, especially for our generation because we have never seen a time like this, with so many assaults on a president," Green told Black American Web.

While registering one million voters in one day seems like an ambitious feat, Bryant is confident and determined.

"Let's say we get 700,000 … we'd send people out [to help make up the difference] on the ground," he told The Huffington Post. Bryant and the Empowerment Movement are set on accomplishing their goal of registering one million voters on Easter Sunday.