As early voting in New York’s upcoming Primary Elections begin, Faith In New York along with other local faith leaders are looking to mobilize the local voters through their “Souls to the Polls” voting campaign this weekend. The two days will include “action, civic engagement, and advocacy to engage low-propensity voters, increase turnout, and ensure Black and Brown constituents are heard.”
Faith In New York’s campaign kicked off Friday with a press conference at City Hall where the group demanded that Mayor Eric Adams adopt an equity-centered budget.
Adam’s deadline to submit a budget is July 1.
Saturday will feature a “citywide day of action” including various events across the five boroughs. Scheduled events include a non-partisan Harlem City Council candidates forum, a “Souls to the Polls” block party, and an immigration resource fair.
“We’ll be engaged in community outreach, making sure that people are registered to vote, making sure that people know where their polling location is, that their voter registration status is up to date. We’re at community events, at workshops, at different congregations, at block parties interfacing with the community… I would say the biggest thing with all of this is working to disrupt the narrative that our vote doesn’t matter,” said Crystal Walthall, executive director of Faith In New York.
Participants and volunteers are able to register and see the list of events here.
New York voters will be deciding critical positions in the City Council as well as the District Attorney in The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.
Early voting period officially begins June 17. The primary election is on June 27 with the general election being held on November 7. Voters can learn more at NYC.gov.
The push to get New Yorkers to the polls for the Primary comes following the release of Adams preliminary fiscal budget proposal for 2024 which included significant cuts to city agencies like the Department of Education, public libraries, and social services.
“This proposal would further marginalize the city’s most vulnerable populations who have historically been impacted by systemic inequities, particularly Black and Brown communities,” the organization said in statement.
As a member of the NYC Budget Justice Coalition, formed by Communities United for Police Reform, the organization supports the outline laid out in the CPR’s FY24 budget justice platform.
“We are one of many organizations that endorse CPR’s FY24 budget justice platform and we are calling on the mayor to reallocate an overinflated NYPD budget to true public safety solutions. When we invest in education, mental health services, public libraries and jobs, we will see true public safety and improvement in quality of life,” Walthall said.
Withall says they are educating New York community members most impacted by these cuts in resources on the issues.
“Faith in New York is doing citywide outreach, both virtual and in person, to the communities that would be the most negatively impacted by Mayor Adams’ budget proposal: especially Bed-Stuy, South Jamaica, South Bronx and Harlem,” said Walthall.” “Our goal is to make sure that the information our communities need is going directly to the people, and to ensure that our communities know how to harness the power of their voice and their vote.”
The campaign is geared toward reaching the low-propensity voters as well as the Black and Brown communities that ill be most affected.
“We hover around 20% which means around 1 in 5 New Yorkers is actually voting. Our vote is our power when it comes to our budgets, our legislations…A lot of people still don’t know how ranked choice voting works. We want to make sure that all of our community members are equipped to make the right choices for their communities at the polls.” Walthall said.
Faith In New York is collaborating on voter events with other local organizations such as Bronx Defenders, Latino Justice, Mott Haven Reformed Church, among others.
Walthall noted they will continue to ramp up organizing events and mobilizing voters throughout the summer and the fall ahead of the general election in November.