Yesterday the Missouri House of Representatives gave first-round approval to a proposal requiring voters to present valid, government-issued photo identification in order to vote. As it did in a failed attempt in 2012, it includes both a constitutional amendment permitting a requirement for voter identification (which would be placed on the 2014 ballot) and legislation restricting the types of identification that can be shown at the polls. This change would have a disproportionate impact on African Americans, the elderly, low-income people, people with disabilities, and students, who are twice as likely to lack the required ID.
Reverend Isaac McCullough of St. Louis, MO, a member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action, issued the following statement:
“Faith leaders in my state worked hard in the months leading up to November to get our communities to the polls. It is disheartening to see that some of our Representatives yet again want to discourage, rather than encourage, people from voting. Suppressive voter ID laws fall especially hard on people who are already marginalized, threatening to keep many Missourians from the polls in future elections. That’s not what our democracy is supposed to be about. As faith leaders, we have fought hard to protect the right to vote – and we are not about to give up that fight anytime soon.”
WASHINGTON – People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action today praised the bipartisan immigration framework unveiled today in the Senate, which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and their children.
“For too long, inadequate and inhumane immigration laws have hurt our immigrants and held all Americans back,” said Reverend Timothy F. McDonald, III, chairman of African American Ministers in Action. “Today’s proposal is an important step forward as we strive for an immigration system that helps our country thrive while treating all people with humanity and respect. Our brothers and sisters who come to this country for a better life – from Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and around the world – are as deserving of the opportunity for full citizenship as any of the millions of men, women and children who have come to this country throughout our history. We join others in the faith and progressive communities in expressing our thankfulness to lawmakers of both parties who are keeping this basic principle in mind as they strengthen our immigration laws.”
This week the Equal Justice Task Force of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action released a statement in support of the marriage equality ballot measures in Maryland, Maine, and Washington and opposing a discriminatory marriage amendment in Minnesota.
“At this moment in history, it is important that we stand on the side of faith, compassion, and equality instead of on the side of discrimination and oppression,” said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way. “We’ve seen again and again that when laws prevent gay and lesbian couples from getting the protections that only marriage can provide, all families are harmed and all communities suffer. As an African American and a woman I am frightened when one group attempts to limit or restrict the rights of others. We urge voters in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington to reject discrimination and vote to strengthen and affirm all families.”
People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action, a national coalition of African American pastors, spoke out today on Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan to be his running mate.
“Mitt Romney already had a dangerous agenda for America – especially Black America – and now he’s doubled down,” said Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine, Vice-Chair of African American Ministers In Action. “Paul Ryan’s appalling budget proposal, if enacted, would strike an enormous blow to our social contract. It would absolve the very wealthiest of their obligations to give back to the country that supports them, while increasing the burdens on working people who are struggling to get by. It would rob from health care and food assistance and education to pay for tax cuts for billionaires. It would deny the least fortunate among us the opportunity to change their circumstances, while showering the most fortunate with tax cuts. These skewed priorities do not align with the teachings of Christ or with our highest American ideals.
“Like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, we believe that Paul Ryan’s vision for American ‘fails to meet… moral criteria.’ Now, Mitt Romney, in an effort to pander to the farthest of the far right, has adopted Ryan’s flawed vision as his own. We can’t afford to have Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the White House.”