Mt. Enon Missionary Baptist Church Hosts Rock The Vote Rally In West Dayton
This weekend, there was a Rock the Vote rally in West Dayton. Hundreds rallied on Saturday at Mount Enon Missionary Baptist Church. People wore masks and were socially distanced. Still, there was food, live entertainment, and Halloween activities for the kids.
Chaz Amos is the organizer and assistant project coordinator for the church. He says the event was all about educating people in West Dayton about the candidates and getting them out to vote.
“This is probably one of the most consequential elections. Our vote is our voice. It sounds so cliché but literally if we do not vote we do not have a voice, especially in West Dayton." Amos said, "for a place that has been neglected for as long as it has, whether it’s vacant homes or trash, we need leaders who can help clean that up who can not just focus on downtown and East Dayton.”
Representatives from the Ohio Organizing Collaborative were in attendance—a statewide organization that brings together labor unions, faith groups, and students to fight for everyday Ohioans.
Prentiss Haney is Co-Executive Director of the non-profit and grew up in Dayton's Westwood neighborhood. He said his organization was excited to be partnering with Mount Enon.
"People of faith, especially black churches, have always been at the heart of helping black folks cast their ballot and lift up their voice," he said.
Edwin Fuller is another organizer with the OOC who was there. He focuses on criminal justice. Specifically, he works with returning citizens (i.e. folks who were previously incarcerated) and their families. He says there are two main obstacles to getting returning citizens to the polls: misinformation and reminding them that their voices are important.
"Returning citizens are frequently told that you don't have the right to vote or they're told that you can't vote until you're off probation. In the state of Ohio, that's not true. If you are not incarcerated, you have the right to vote." He said, "We want your voice to be heard because your voice is just as important. And it's important because you've got the lived experience that says some of these things are not working and your vote is what can put the candidates into office that can help us change those things and make them work for our communities."
Close to a dozen local candidates spoke to the crowd, including Montgomery County Treasurer Russ Joseph, Montgomery County Recorder Brandon McClain, Second District Court of Appeals candidate Marshall Lachman, Probate Judge Candidate Arvin Miller, Common Pleas Court Candidate Susan Solle, District 39 State Representative Candidate Willis Blackshear, Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Candidate Zach Dickerson, Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge, Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman and congressional candidate Desiree Tims. There was also a shuttle running voters to the Montgomery County Board of Elections to vote early.
For entertainment, renowned Gospel artist Tiffany Andrews performed.
Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.