The faith community has an obligation to the people they serve, and Tuesday, February 21st will be the first time voters in the State of Wisconsin will need to show valid photo identification to receive a ballot. The move potentially disenfranchises a significant portion of Milwaukee’s inner city, including the young, elderly, and low income; voiding them of their constitutional rights. Leaders in the faith community are being challenged to make sure the rights of who they serve are being maintained. “With captive audiences around the city, we have the opportunity to ensure that tens of thousands of Milwaukee residents will be able to vote in Tuesday’s primary election” says MICAH Religious Leaders Caucus Chairman, Father Dick Aiken of St. Sebastian Parish.
“Ironically, this election takes place in the middle of Black History Month, and it should not be forgotten that so many have died for the very right that is now being taken away from so many others” said MICAH president, Reverend Willie Brisco.
Congregations of all faiths are asked to participate in this city-wide effort being organized by a number of groups including Citizen Action of Wisconsin. Congregational leaders are also asked to record the names and contact information of those people who do not have an ID. The next step will take place the following day, Monday, where the organizing voter ID coalition will make provisions for those in need of transportation or other services to obtain a photo ID. Participating congregations are asked to submit information for those who do not have an ID to Anita Johnson or Mandela, to make arrangements for them to obtain one.
MICAH (Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope) is a social justice organization comprised of 34 congregations from 11 denominational/ faith traditions. Founded in 1988, MICAH has worked to build community and to bring about a greater degree of justice and equality in the areas of housing, jobs, public school education, incarceration policies, AODA treatment accessibility, health care reform, predatory lending regulation, and the civil rights of immigrants.