FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2020
‘NUNS ON THE BUS’ CAMPAIGN TO ENGAGE CATHOLIC VOTERS LAUNCHES NEXT WEEK WITH SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, SPEAKER PELOSI, SEN. BOOKER, SEIU PRESIDENT MARY KAY HENRY, REV. OTIS MOSS III
Seventh Iteration of National Tour Will Host Virtual Events in 56 Swing State Communities Designed to Register Voters and Raise Awareness of “Equally Sacred” Catholic Priorities Ahead of 2020 Election
Catholic Group Recently Asked Members Not to Vote for President Trump, A First in NETWORK Lobby’s 48 Year History
Washington, DC – Starting on September 23, 2020, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice will launch a virtual tour across the nation, entitled Nuns On The Bus: Who We Elect Matters. Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby, will join over 50 Nuns from across the country, bringing together Catholics and other community members in political swing states – including Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan – to register voters and discuss “equally sacred priorities” to Catholics like racial justice, economic equality, health care access, immigration reform, and the housing crisis.
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi will join NETWORK at the opening rally to speak about how her Catholic faith guides her political vision and to encourage fellow Catholics to mobilize and vote in this election. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) will deliver closing remarks and call the community to action. Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry and Rev. Otis Moss III will also address guests.
“Four years of the Trump administration has torn our country apart, divided our neighborhoods, and ravaged our economy,” said Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby. “Catholics cannot support policies that ignore the growing income and wealth gap, turn a blind eye to racial discrimination, fail to protect women and families, or rip children from the arms of their parents. Our nation is in a spiritual crisis, and needs moral leadership and just policies. President Trump must be held accountable for his failures.”
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.
“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,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “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.”
The tour will also conduct virtual site visits designed to showcase what issues are at stake in the election. These include:
- Flint, MI – St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center (9/29)
- Rio Grande Valley, TX – Angry Tias and Abuelas (10/5)
- Columbus, OH – Faith in Public Life’s Harm Reduction Program (10/12)
- Nogales, AZ – The Kino Border Initiative (10/19)
- Milwaukee, WI – Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (10/20)
- Kansas City, MO – Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund (10/21)
- Detroit, MI – Cass Community Social Services (10/22)
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.
The 2020 tour is coupled with Sister Simone Campbell’s new book, Hunger for Hope: Prophetic Communities, Contemplation, and the Common Good. In her new book, Sister Simone Campbell offers ‘expressions of hope’ for vexing issues in a trying time, including income inequality, human dignity, and the protection of life. Sister Simone Campbell encourages Catholic voters to unify behind a positive vision for our communities and our nation, rather than hate and anger, writing:
“When I consider the human being who is at the core of ‘Trumpism,’ I find a seriously flawed man. He has no trust of others and has no plan or interest in policy. It appears that he is interested only in destruction, chaos, and division. Radical acceptance does not accept his hate and fear mongering, or that of his followers, but it does accept the people underneath the hate. Only a contemplative practice, only glimpsing the Divine, can even make me think of such a proposition.”
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.
The Kick-Off Rally will be streamed on NETWORK’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/NETWORKLobby/live) at 10:00 AM Eastern on Wednesday, September 23.
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