The Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s is “touring” local churches throughout the Queen City to speak about voting.
Worship with the Caucus is part of the BPC’s effort to reach more audiences, increase its membership and increase the number of Black voters in Mecklenburg County.
So far, the BPC has visited four churches, and BPC Chair Caleb Theodros told QCity Metro the organization has received positive feedback from the initiative.
Why it matters: According to the N.C. State Board of Elections, 800,786 are registered to vote in Mecklenburg County. Approximately 30.9% of those voters are Black.
Theodros said people have mostly shown interest in affordable housing policy.
The idea is to share the organization’s values and ideals, like teaching community members how to hold political leaders accountable, with congregations and introduce them to a new way of seeing voting.
“Churches are a place to gather aside from worshiping and communing,” Theodros said. “People think they can’t make an impact, but we want to build those connections [with the community] and help people understand what political processes connect with issues that are personal to them.”
Additionally, Theodros said faith aligns with personal beliefs, and the BPC wants to educate people on how spirituality and real-world issues connect.
The church visits have been based on invitation and typically involve worshiping with church members and speaking with them after service ends.
Historically, Theodros said, churches have participated in march to the polls, but participation has dwindled over the last five years.
“Admittedly, things like that have dwindled down,” Reverend Dwayne Walker of Little Rock AME Zion Church confirmed. “I still push it. Every election cycle, we go to the polling site.”
On average, Walker said, between 20 and 30 people participate in Little Rock AME Zion’s “Stroll to the Polls.”
However, Theodros said, churches are still politically active with membership in groups such as the Faith Alliance, a group of pastors involved in education policy, and Concerned Clergy of Charlotte, a group of clergy members encouraging people to vote.
BPC’s most recent stop was at Weeping Willow A.M.E. Zion Church on May 7.
Two more plans for the caucus to engage the community include a stop at Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern in a district that Theodros said has low voter participation, as well as a visit to a Mad Miles Run Club event that hosts over 400 runners in Charlotte each week, many of whom are Black.
The BPC is also open to attending other religious institutions if invited to do so.
“People are excited about the new direction that the Black Political Caucus is going,” Theodros said.