Ben Hill Methodist Host Stay Woke, Be Vocal, Go Vote Summit

Amanda Cooper
July 27, 2020 - 1:44 am

Ben Hill United Methodist Church hosted Stay Woke, Be Vocal, Go Vote a virtual experience on Sunday to equip members of the community with information and resources needed ahead of the November election. 

On the heels of the deaths of Congressman John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian, the summit simultaneously featured a special breakout youth summit to address the protests, civic unrest, and racial justice facing the city and country. It also navigated through complex issues with youth, such as how to protest peacefully and conduct yourself when stopped by the police. 

Several participating organizations, including the NAACP, Fulton County Board of Elections, Census 2020, and Atlanta City Council, participated in adult sessions that focused on voting, issues that impact schools, youth social services, senior services, healthcare, and legal matters. 

Award-winning news journalist Karen Geer moderated the event and spoke one on one with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was also a featured speaker. Bottoms spoke on the importance of completing the census and voting. She also spoke more on the ongoing battle between Gov. Brain Kemp, saying, "we have agreed to disagree."

In this social climate, Tanja Goode, event coordinator says, "Where do we go from here. It's important, now, more than ever to be clear on leadership and where we're going as a community." Goode added, "This year, we need to be extremely clear on whom we're voting for and the agendas of the candidates."

In a statement, Rev. Dr. Byron E. Thomas, Ben Hill UMC Senior Pastor stated:  

"We have two major pandemics on our hands," says "The first is the pandemic of white supremacy that has a sustained legacy of over 400 years of racial injustice that has eroded every sector of our democracy. The second is COVID-19, which is disproportionately affecting African Americans and Latinos. Both of these are costing lives daily. This is a critical time in our history, where we are in a position to save ourselves. What we do at the polls on and beyond will determine how both of these issues are addressed and whether or not we will be on our way to healing emotionally, mentally, socially, and economically as a nation."

To register to vote or to check your voting status, visit