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 103.

    I used to think everyone should vote, but now I think if people choose to abstain it's their choice. I don't know how many of you have seen the episode of south park inspired by the 2004 US presidential elections where both candidates in any vote are likened to 2 things which I can't name on here due to moderation, but basically was equivalent to a rock and a hard place!

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Fits into the picture of stereotypes: Black people...
    - don't vote,
    - start riots;
    - are poor and disadvantaged because of their skin colour;
    - can't swim because they never liked to learn it;
    - are one community which speaks with one voice.

    "Operation Black Vote" uses these stereotypes and fosters division.

    Glad the reality is different and there are self responsible individuals of all races.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    It's obviously very clear why Tory/UKIP Voters want to slam this story.
    Weylan Bennet , Lee Jasper, Darcus Howe...All prominent activists who are left wing and socialist...

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    We all need a very open debate about the nature of a pluralistic society. While I feel it is NOT wrong to generalise care should be taken. I would imagine that generally non-white citizens DO face real barriers due negative discrimination. However, it would be wrong to imply an inductive argument for each and every member of that group.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Their call boils down to: "Go to the polls, because your skin is coloured black". That's pretty racist right there. There is no negative or positive racism; there is just racism, and they're clearly being racist.

    I mean, imagine if a group called "operation white vote" wanted to do the same, but for people with white skin. Everyone would attacked them for racism. Double standard? YEAH IT IS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    If the business of religion was contributing to the country, by paying its fair share of taxes, it would command a little more respect from the non-religious majority. But as tax-avoiding parasites, they are an irrelevant minority, which tries to have political influence, over both their own members, and the non-delusional majority of people.
    I hope people do vote, their skin colour is irrelevant

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    You can't vote if you are not on the voters' roll ? And you can't get on the voters' roll if you are an illegal immigrant ? Or can you ? As for discrimination against black people, sometimes it seems the opposite is true.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    2. MinnieQ
    Every person over the age of 18 should make it his / her duty to vote. If you stay at home on polling day, you then have no business moaning about the government.
    Or at least scrawl "no suitable candidate" or sign your name. A spoiled ballot is still counted in the UK. At least that way we would see how people really feel about politics in this country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    The black community is by far the largest minority in the UK so if smaller minorities like Muslims can get mosques built in cristian communities and the gay community can buck the church and get rights to same sex marriages just think what the black community can do. United they will be the most powerful and influential minority in the country, about time too they have been suffering long enough.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    #85 Dave. Why should I hang my head in shame. I have lost relatives in various conflicts but I do not need David Cameron out waving his flag to remind me. I too wear a poppy proudly but I think it is wrong to 'celebrate' a conflict in which so many young lives were lost. Maybe 2018 is the time for a commemoration for the end of the carnage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    Ignoring those who did not vote, for what ever reason such as not liking any of the main parties or wanting to vote for a no-hoper fringe choice, 59% voted for this coalition. Include those who abstained, only 38.5%.

    Those who did not vote do have a right to complain about politicians despite an early posters comment saying voting should be compulsory. Tweedle Dee and Tweedele Dum parties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    78 Victory_Parts

    You are wrong, the black population is a recent immigration outcome, immigrants do not represent the whole of society because those that are doing all right don’t emigrate.

    Therefore a higher percentage of black people are in the same social economic situation as poor whites. Colour has nothing to do with it.

    Black or white if you are in that group you have a problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    "Inspiring black communities to engage with our public institutions in order to address the persistent race inequalities" is surely a recognition of problems within their own community? Cultural choices towards education and life-style surely have a major contribution towards their problem, and help drive racism and discrimination in the workplace. It's just the church bit that bothers me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    Black church leaders urge black vote? That strikes me as uber-racist.

    White church leaders should be urging the whites to vote. Or could it be that the blacks have already sussed what's what along with the whites? That it's hardly worth voting these days?

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Black people, like everyone should be able to vote, but I'm not so sure we should be encouraging people who believe in ideas such as Young Earth, ID and mystical forces to be playing to big a role in decision making..

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    We could just set up a system where ANYONE eligible to vote can register. Current news coverage and press releases would inform us of the government's progress.The politicians could publicise their intentions at conferences. The BBC could even introduce a specific channel.
    Since all the above already exist, one should ask why is a campaign required? Not bothered to vote? Don't bother whingeing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.


    The very idea of a "black vote" is utter nonsense.

    It's everyones individual decision what he/she makes out of his/her chances.
    If you like to base your decision on the colour of your skin- that's your own responsibility and you can't complain about it.


  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    I can see very soon we might have a NEETS non-party lobby group because they have no Hope of a Future when you end up with no Hope of a Job, No Hope for a Home, No Hope for any Handouts, No Hope to live on the Streets in any City of the UK. #GlobalNoise might WAKE THE PEOPLE UP! If Loud enough.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Why is it always 'discrimination' and never 'self-responsibility with ethnic minorities?

    Why are students of Asian descent able to get the best marks at schools, go to the best universities and then get good jobs, why are they not 'discriminated' against by 'racist whitey'?

    I'm sorry, but the black communities of America and Europe need to start taking a look at themselves and stop the excuses.


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