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Harris Reaches Out to Faith Leaders as Election Nears
By Cora Jackson-Fossett Staff Writer
Published September 22, 2016
From left are Pastor Larry Campbell, First AME Church - Pasadena; Pastor Kelvin Sauls, Holman United Methodist Church; Attorney General Kamala Harris, Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, First AME Church – L.A.; Areva Martin, Special Needs Network; Elder Joe Paul, City of Refuge; and Mrs. Florence Boyd attend the faith leaders breakfast. (photo by Cora J. Fossett)

From left are Pastor Larry Campbell, First AME Church – Pasadena; Pastor Kelvin Sauls, Holman United Methodist Church; Attorney General Kamala Harris, Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, First AME Church – L.A.; Areva Martin, Special Needs Network; Elder Joe Paul, City of Refuge; and Mrs. Florence Boyd attend the faith leaders breakfast. (photo by Cora J. Fossett)

With Election Day fast approaching, U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris is making every effort to get out the vote.

As part of her outreach, Harris invited L.A. faith leaders to an intimate breakfast Sept. 15 to discuss a range of issues affecting the state and nation, such as religious attacks, criminal justice reform, voter apathy and student loan debt.

The ecumenical audience featured representatives from African American, Latino, Jewish, and Muslim houses of worships and organizations, who shared concerns affecting their communities as well as suggestions to overcome the reluctance to vote.   Harris responded by emphasizing the role that faith leaders play in keeping people focused and uplifted.

“As it relates to the election on Nov. 8, it has to be about letting folks know that they matter.  One of the best ways to be seen and heard and that their voice can be used is by their vote. Our faith leaders are carrying such a heavy burden because we’re at a moment in this election cycle where people are feeling really dispirited, people are losing their faith in our country and in our systems,” said Harris.

“I thank them (faith leaders) for what they are doing to remind all of us that regardless of the God we worship, that we’re all in it together, that we matter and we’re going to fight for our ideals.  We’re a great country and right now I think people need inspiration to be reminded of that and that’s where our faith leaders can play a very important role.”

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

The Rev. Edgar Boyd, pastor of First AME Church of Los Angeles, noted that millennials were not involved in the election process and asked for ideas to engage that demographic.  Harris’ answer was that student loan debt was an issue among young people and she encouraged attendees to support free tuition at community colleges.

Another topic discussed was the lack of information some communities receive about the voting process. Elder Joe Paul from the City of Refuge in Gardena suggested enlisting the L.A. County Recorder’s Office to assist by dispatching mobilized teams to obtain voter affidavits in their neighborhoods.

Another attendee addressed immigration reform, citing Harris’ efforts to aid refugees, particularly children, travelling to the U.S. to escape war and famine in their own countries.  Harris explained that parents in these lands pay strangers to carry their children to Mexico because they believe the risk associated with that was less than having their child grow up in the murder capital of the world.

The common thread throughout the discussion was the importance of voting in the upcoming election to elevate the concerns to the national level.

“Part of the reason I’m running is that we really have to move forward some of the issues that directly impact us as Californians, like passing comprehensive immigration reform, what we need to do to reform the criminal justice system, what we need to protect the climate and work against climate change,” said Harris.

“Those are the issues that I care about, the issues that I have track record of working on, and frankly those issues are not only bi-partisan, they’re non-partisan.  We need more leaders that understand that we are elected to get the job done, not just talk about it.  That’s how I approach my job now and hope to approach the job in the future.”

Categories: Local | News | Political | Religion
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