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“We’re not trying to make everyone Democrats or Republicans, just to vote this one time,” says Dr. Larry Macon, United Pastors In Mission (UPM) president. The UPM organization of Greater Cleveland allowed more than 100 leaders from various groups in a packed room to commit to doing all they can to encourage the vote, register for the census, and support Issue 33.

The message that UPM and their partners across the region which include the Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Buddish to Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelly as well as County Democratic leader Shontel Brown among others, is the urgency that everyone must vote in the primary. They encourage voters to not allow their vote to not be counted and to stay true to filling out the census information.

The voting initiative is being championed by a “Soul to the Poles” initiative led by Pastor Aaron Philips of the Sure Baptist Church and other prominent pastors. They are asking churches with vans and bright colored buses to transport voters to and from their churches to the board of elections.

United Pastors in Mission hopes is to convince people that this year will be one of the most important elections in all of history. The pastors believe these are moral imperatives that determine who eats or not, who receives a good education and that our seniors will be taken care of. “I am a Christian pastor and I believe as a black person everyone is privileged by God to vote, in spite of the light or darkness we find in our world,” said Bishop Gerard Mirble who traveled from Painesville to attend the meeting.

Dr. Otis Moss Jr. spoke about how his owned father was denied the right to vote in LaGrange Georgia. He explained the mistreatment given by those who worked the polls who not only gave misinformation, but refused to accept his ballot. Dr. Moss declared we must protect the right to vote and vote!

The United Pastors In Mission hopes to challenge everyone in the community to be heard through their vote and census participation and to never weaken the people’s citizenship and religious freedoms. It brings together the ultimate community that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King called the beloved community.

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