Phillip Baber was asked by Rev. Reginald Gundy to represent The People’s Church of Jacksonville and speak in solidarity with a group of amazing community leaders demanding greater voting accessibility from the Duval Supervisor of Elections. Here is the statement Phillip shared:

I am here today in solidarity with these community leaders expressing grave disappointment in the failure of the Supervisor of Elections to protect what is perhaps the most sacred of all rights enjoyed by American citizens: the right to vote.

As a result of the COVID pandemic, we are facing an unprecedented challenge to our way of life and an unparalleled threat to our democracy. Nevertheless, we know there are common sense, pro-active measures that other SOEs across our state have already adopted to protect the health and safety of voters. Yet Mike Hogan has refused to enact these measures.

My faith compels me to speak against this injustice. Because I serve a God who says, “Whatever you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto Me.”

Failing to safeguard the health of voters is a de facto form of discrimination, because it serves to suppress the vote of the most vulnerable and marginalized in any democratic society: The sick, whose immune systems are already compromised; the impoverished, who can’t afford the cost of being hospitalized; the elderly, who are at greatest risk of death.

The most vulnerable members of our communities should not be asked to choose between their lives and their right to vote. And if you force them to make that choice, Mr. Hogan: You are taking away their voice. So we are here to remind you, that you have a duty to all voters—not just the healthy, rich, and White. And we call upon you to use the power of your office for good so that every voter gets a fair chance to be heard.