Local church leads voters to polls

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church will host its first campaign rally at the Leon County Courthouse this Sunday.

The rally, led by Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr., pastor of the church, was organized to ensure members of the church and community vote.

“Rev. Holmes is expecting more than 1,000 people to attend the rally,” said Lucretia Collins, chair of social justice ministry at Bethel.

After church service, the rally will begin, Collins said.

Collins said Bethel planned the event for six weeks as a part of their Voter Mobilization and Participation Initiative.

She said the church already registered a number of voters.

However, Collins said the church still has a duty to encourage more voters to go to the polls.

“We can register as many people as we want, but it doesn’t mean a thing if they don’t vote,” said Collins. “We have to get people out to vote so their voice can be heard.”

From 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., participants will walk from the church to the courthouse. Transportation will be provided for those who are disabled.

Collins said students are encouraged to participate in the rally.

“Campaigners have been targeting college students to vote because students are the ones who will have to lead this country next,” he said.

Local figures were invited to speak once the marchers arrive at the courthouse.

“Outside the courthouse, Rev. Holmes and local figures like Bill Proctor and Stanley Walker will speak about the importance of voting,” said Charles Wright, a deacon at the church.

FAMU student Shaquana Harper, 21, said she will participate in the rally because she needs extra encouragement to get to the polls.

“This is my first time voting in a presidential election, and I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” the senior political science student said.

Wright said the church wants everyone to come out and vote early to avoid problems that may arise on election day, Nov. 4.

“If there is a problem when someone goes to vote, that person only has 48 hours to correct the problem,” said Wright. “Voting early can eliminate those problems,” he said.