Wilmington church gets ‘Souls to the Polls’

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hundreds of predominately black Christian congregations across the country launched “Souls to the Polls,” a get out the vote campaign, on Sunday.

New Hanover NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell says she’s proud of the turnout at St. Stephen’s A.M.E Church.

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“Everyone needs to exercise their basic right,” Maxwell said. “John Lewis and Martin Luther King went across the Edmund Pettis Bridge on a Sunday, so we do not think it wrong on a Sunday after church if we go out and cast our vote.”

The event’s goal was to empower black men and women to vote. Men and women like Odell Graham who says for him it is about more than just a ballot.

“I’m voting today not just for myself, for my family,” Graham said. “I’m voting for black people in general. There’s a lot of people who have concerns, but if you don’t vote then, how can you complain?”

Before leaving, Rev. Thomas Nixon led the group in prayer, thanking God for their right to vote, a right gained only after so many sacrificed their lives for it.

“And therefore I think it behooves all of us, and especially in these troublesome times in which we are now all living, is to cast a vote for those persons who we feel best are going to represent not just SOME America but everyone,” Nixon said.