FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 1, 2020
In First Public Event of “October is Election Month,” Majority Whip James E. Clyburn Joins Nuns on the Bus and Interfaith Leaders Urging Voters to Make a Plan
Hosted By Nuns On the Bus and Faithful Democracy, Participants Were Told: “Vote in-person early. Have your votes counted on Election Day.”
**Re-Watch the Event Here**
Washington, DC – Today, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and faith leaders joined NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice for a democracy rally as part of the Nuns On The Bus: Who We Elect Matters tour. Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby, brought together Catholics and other community members to register voters and discuss “equally sacred priorities” to Catholics like racial justice, economic equality, health care access, immigration reform, and the housing crisis. The virtual rally was watched over nearly 900 times.
“Our faith leaders will be instrumental in ensuring all Americans have a voice in this election,” said House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC). “Efforts like Nuns on the Bus are crucial in bringing communities together, inspiring enthusiasm, and giving people the tools they need to vote and vote early. Every American should have a plan to vote. Nobody can organize like faith leaders, and with their support October will truly be ‘Election Month.’”
“President Trump is ready to deny people a sacred right: their voice,” said Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. “The most powerful person in the world is questioning the legitimacy of this election, and we cannot stand for it. As Congressman Clyburn says, ‘Voting Month’ has never been more important to ensuring our voices are heard and we can protect our democracy we love. Moral leadership has never been more absent from our country. We need leaders who will defend voting rights, care for those with the least among us, and protect our planet. These are the equally sacred issues that will motivate Catholics to vote throughout this month and on election day.”
The Nuns on the Bus: Who We Elect Matters campaign is led by NETWORK, which was founded nearly 50 years ago to work for justice through education, organization, and lobbying for economic and social transformation. In 2020, the Sisters will host virtual events in over 56 communities across the country in states where the Catholic vote will be critical to the presidential election, including Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Florida, California, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Speakers at each event will encourage participants to vote, and ask guests to take a pledge to speak to their friends about voting.
“We’ve got to use the mechanisms of the governmental process to make it work so we can feed the hungry and clothe the naked,” said House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC). “This year, America’s goodness is on the ballot. If we lose America’s goodness, we’re going to lose this great democracy.”
Congressman Clyburn joined several other speakers at the interfaith rally who included:
Sr. Quincy Howard of Faithful Democracy: “The Sacred Season of Voting campaign begins today… [We are] energizing people of faith around the power of the vote and the need to have a plan to vote early in this extended 2020 election season.”
Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister for Public Theology and Transformation at Middle Collegiate Church: “Voting is not just a political act. It is an act of faith. It is exercising our faith in each other, our faith in love, our faith in the higher power to which we feel related, but also faith in the promise that our democracy can be something else.”
Rev. Tawana Davis, co-founder of Soul 2 Soul Sisters: “Voting gives us an opportunity to voice how we envision personal and collective liberation. Voting is an act of liberation.”
Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. “It is our obligation this year not only to vote but to engage others in their ability to vote… Make sure every voice is heard and every vote is counted.”
Valarie Kaur, founder of Revolutionary Love Project: “The fierce and faithful obligation of voting is sacred.”
As the Nuns on the Bus campaign launched, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi remarked, “Sister Simone is a true champion for justice, whose decades of service are a testament to the power of faith to deliver progress for all Americans. With this year’s Nuns on the Bus tour, Sister Simone is showing our nation the real-life impact of the Trump administration’s failed leadership, making it clear that ‘Who We Elect Matters.’ At this time of crisis, we are deeply grateful for Sister Simone and the Nuns on the Bus for turning their faith into action to build a brighter, more just and equal future for all.”
Next week, the tour will also be visiting Texas and California to showcase what issues are at stake in the election.
Approximately 23% of the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election were by Catholics, and the Catholic vote will play an even greater role in the 2020 presidential election. According to a recent study, 44 percent of respondents said Biden is more kind than Trump, which is the leading cause of defections among Catholics who supported Trump in 2016. The Who We Elect Matters campaign will seek to broaden the tent with a new generation of Catholic voters by calling attention to equally sacred priorities.
In August, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice encouraged its members to vote against President Trump – the first announcement of its kind in the organization’s nearly 50 year history – telling members in a statement: “Catholics cannot be true to their faith and vote for Donald Trump in November.” The group also announced the release of its Equally Sacred Scorecard for voters. This scorecard compares President Trump’s and Vice President Biden’s positions on the issues that Pope Francis names as “equally sacred” to the defense of the unborn, including caring for immigrants and ending economic inequality.
In 2012, NETWORK organized the first Nuns On The Bus tour to speak out against Speaker Paul Ryan’s immoral federal budget proposal that disproportionately favored the wealthy at the expense of average American families. Since then, NETWORK has launched six tours to address deep-rooted issues affecting societal inequity and injustices. Past tours have included lobbying elected officials, issue-driven town halls, and site visits to local nonprofits in Mar-a-Lago, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. Most recently, in 2018, the Nuns visited 13 Republican members of Congress who supported the unjust 2017 Republican tax law and helped produce 11 Congressional victories in those states in the Midterm elections.
For the full schedule of the Nuns on the Bus campaign visit: https://networklobby.org/bus2020/events/.
About NETWORK Lobby
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice – advocates for justice inspired by Catholic Sisters – educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social transformation. They have a nearly 50-year track record of lobbying for critical federal programs that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good. www.networklobby.org