Black voters urged to take part in election by church

Services at the New Testament Church of God in Ladywood, Birmingham Black-led churches are growing in size and influence

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Black church leaders are launching a campaign which they say could inspire a million more black voters to go to the polls in the next general election.

Non-party lobby group Operation Black Vote has recruited church leaders to persuade people to register and vote.

It says having more black voters making their voice heard will end discrimination against the community.

And it says it is confident of meeting the target in time to affect the outcome of marginal constituencies.

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said community leaders had long struggled to persuade black people to vote.

Significant numbers of people among some sections of the community - such as black Africans - had never registered to vote and a lack of confidence in the democratic process meant turnout was often very low, he added.

Operation Black Vote claims black people face discrimination which is built into the social and economic system - illustrated by poor housing, poverty and a 55% unemployment rate among young black men.

But in communities which often suffer high rates of deprivation, black-led churches have been a success story.

Their leaders say they can harness the churches' energy and organisation to create a powerful new electorate that politicians cannot ignore.

Operation Black Vote, which focuses on voter registration, lobbying politicians and mentoring schemes says it seeks "to inspire black and minority ethnic communities to engage with our public institutions in order to address the persistent race inequalities we face in areas such as education, health and employment".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    37.Wicked Witch of the South West - " Operation White Vote would go down...."

    If it were a similar set up in say the estates of Plymouth, where over 99% of residents are white, there wouldn't be an issue - unless some looney brough it up.

    There's no racism in this story, just some community leaders encouraging their local community to use their vote, for whichever party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    People are not being discriminated against for being black.

    There are many reasons for high unemployment rates but being black is not one of them.

    As for black people facing discrimination built in to “the social and economic system” the only people who can legally be discriminated against in this country because of colour are white people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Passive racist campaign! Why not aim to get all new voters from across all spectrums. Makes me sick. If this was aimed at whites and being carried out by white church leaders only, there would be a riots. Maybe its because its being run by black church leaders

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    I hope it works.

    I'm more interested in an analysis of how exactly, these people came to be demoralised, apatheticised, or whatever, into not voting in the first place though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    I hope it works.

    I'm more interested in an analysis of how exactly, these people came to be demoralised, apatheticised, or whatever, into not voting in the first place though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    "Men will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest" Denis Diderot. Churches should not be involved with politics. That this current strategy appears to be based on colour is disgraceful.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Why do they always try to divide & conquor? I would have thought the politicians would want all the votes they can get regardless of where they come from. Positive discrimination is still discrimination. I don't think an Operation White Vote would go down so well, but there's plenty of white folk disillusioned about the way the country is going with no voice to speak up for them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    @19 Voice
    Drawing differences based on race (or any other criteria, for that matter) simply emphasises that there *is* a difference.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Encourage people to vote by all means, but how does any initiative aimed at specific sections of society 'end discrimination'? Any plan that ring fences parts of society into a group is in itself just enhancing divisions and perpetuating victimhood.

    Such initiatives are most welcome but should be fully inclusive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    29.usedtobeBill - "Is anybody else having problems opening, posting and voting on this possibly contentious site?......"

    Only every single HYS today, they;ve all been playing silly buggers.

    People, READ the article. Claims of religious interference/racism are completely & utterly wide of the mark - this is just some churches in poor areas encouraging their members to register to vote.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Frankie and Johncbbc; are you both suggesting that religious people should not be allowed to vote? If not, what exactly are you suggesting?

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Not so long ago politicians would have just thrown money at this non-problem, but not any more .
    We only have ourselves to blame for making any number of concessions to Muslims . Now it seems that black Christians want to try the same tactic. No one should be prevented from voting, and no one is.
    Keep religion out of politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    The only reason the Church wishes to get 'their' black voters to vote is solely to boost their own influence over humanity and not that of the rest of the human race.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    @15 frankiecrisp
    You are SO right!
    Church should have no involvement with politics at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Is anybody else having problems opening, posting and voting on this possibly contentious site? It's not like the BBC is doing anything extra at the moment - oh, hang about, just remembered there's an enquiry or two that might be taking up staff time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    I did not realise we had a two tier voting system in the UK based on colour, creed etc. Everyone who is eligible to vote has the right to vote and if people cannot be bothered then it is their problem. Yet again, over reactive, emotive reporting by the BBC makes out the UK is ignoring the vote of coloured people when every voter could state the same claim.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    I don't understand what you are trying to say here. People should vote for whomsoever they though would be best to manage the country.
    Any group who promotes its members to vote individually is a good thing.
    PS. The leader of the labour party is jewish by birth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I hate to think what would happen if someone set up an Operation White Vote non-party lobby group.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Another step backward.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Voting should be compulsory - just like education for children. By all means 'spoil' your ballot paper - just get out there and make your voice heard.


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