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To Democratic Party Candidate Joe Biden

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The Democratic Party chooses a Non-Black VP Candidate At Its Own Peril

We, as African American clergy leaders, are writing this open letter to Mr. Biden in response to the broad cross-section of intergenerational voices we have heard from throughout our community that cannot be ignored if the Democratic Party wants to galvanize the most passionate and engaged base possible for a November victory.

Despite the polls showing presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, Vice President Joe Biden, with a substantial lead, the key for victory is turnout.  Turnout is propelled by a deeply energized and highly motivated base.  The enthusiasm in the Democratic base currently does not match the negatively inspired, race-baiting campaign of the opposition.  Strong sentiment against the opposition alone is insufficient for victory.   All of the African American women on the potential VP list are amazingly strong and exceedingly talented.  They would bring assets and benefits for a  historic victory---benefits other candidates  lack, that will be absolutely critical to Mr. Biden's success in what will be one of the  most  contested and consequential presidential elections ever.  

A strong Black woman VP candidate will provide:
1.     Heightened enthusiasm and energy not currently present, 
2.     Increased Black turnout surpassing to the turnout for President Obama, 
3.     Greater support and messaging of candidate's policy proposals, 
4.     Enhanced social media messaging energizing African Americans across multi-generations, 
5.     Elevated engagement of Black thought leaders on issues critical to vulnerable communities, 
6.     Assurance to a new generation of diverse advocates for racial equity that Black Lives Matter in the new administration,
7.  A stronger voice for diversity, equity, and inclusion at every level of government; to name a few, for example, health care, education, housing, pay equity, closing the wealth gap, criminal justice reform, environmental justice. 

To be clear, nominating and appointing African Americans to other positions in a Biden Administration, although important, would be no substitute for a Black woman VP running mate electorally or morally.  We are writing to caution the Democratic party that it takes Black enthusiasm, the key determinant for turnout, for granted at its' own peril.  The party will make a fatal mistake in assuming that sentiment against the opposition will be enough to motivate African Americans to overcome the most organized voter suppression apparatus in history to surpass Obama-era levels.  

The moral moment of racial reckoning has defined 2020 and ignited multi-racial and generational Americans in ways that even the pandemic had not and demanded expression on the Democratic ticket.  As streets all over America continue to teem with racially diverse Black Lives Matter protesters, change is becoming evident: corporations are repenting for structural racism, confederate names and monuments are being removed by the military and from public spaces, professional sports including  NASCAR  got woke, state and local governments are wrestling over racialized policing reform, and race-baiting is dramatically escalating. Choosing a non-Black VP candidate would be more than politically short-sighted and a grave mistake.

In the coming election, nothing less than the soul of America, and the future of our democracy are at stake.


Washington Post Article "Joe Biden Nears Final Decision on Running Mate"

Bloomberg Article "Democrats Ply Biden with Running Mate Alternatives to Harris"

Roland Martin Unfiltered "Black Clergy to Joe Biden: If you really want to win, Pick a Black Women for Vice President"


Dr. Iva Carruthers, Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference

Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Cleveland, OH

Bishop Frank Madison Reid, III, 3rd Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Charles Wynder, JR, Washington, DC

Pastor John White, II, Pembroke Pines, FL, Immanuel Temple

Rev. Stacey Hamilton, Galloway, New Jersey, NJ

Rev. Frank Coleman, Jr., Yonkers, NY

Rev. Margaret Fountain Coleman, Yonkers, NY

Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, Greensboro, NC

Bishop Timothy Clarke, Columbus, OH

Dr. Haywood A. Robinson, III, Silver Spring, MD

Dr. Ralph McCormick, Concord, NC

Rev Eddie R Williams III, Chicago, IL

Dr. L. Bernard Jakes, Chicago , IL

Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Canal Winchester OH

Pastor Craig Harcum, Arlington, VA

Mr. Peter Walls, Los Angeles, CA

Pastor Anthony Maclin, Upper Marlboro, MD

Dr. Cheryl Sanders Washington, DC

Dr. Christopher Zacharias, Washington, DC

Dr. Anika Wilson Brown, Washington, DC

Ms. Frenchettia Payne, Upper Marlboro, MD

Pastor Tony Lee, Hillcrest Heights, MD

Dr. Cynthia Turner Wood, Silver Spring, MD

Pastor Anthony Moore, Ft. Washington, DC

Pastor James Gailliard, Rocky Mount, NC

Pastor Paige Harris, Washington, DC

Dr. Rodney Patterson Chicago , IL

Dr. Essentino Lewis, Jr. Lanham, MD

Rev. Iris Savage, Round Rock, TX

Rev. Grainger Browning Fort Washington, MD

Rev. Dawn Sanders, Washington, DC

Pastor Oscar Banks, St. Petersburg, FL

Dr. Tyrone Jones IV, Columbia, MD

Rev. Arnette Georges, Bowie, MD

Renee Williams-Thomas Upper Marlboro, MD

Bishop Leah Daughtry, Brooklyn, NY

Rev. Dr. Gladys Long, Durham, NC

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Chicago, IL

Rev. E. Terri LaVelle, Washington, DC

Rev. Dr. Jesse Wood, Silver Spring, MD

Pastor Nawanna Miller, Atlanta, GA

Reverend Ebony Grisom, Washington, DC

Dr. Timothy James, Indianapolis, Indiana

Rev. Thomas Barnes, Cincinnati, Ohio

Rev. Dr. William E. Crowder, Jr. Chicago, IL

Bishop Dwayne Debnam, Dayton MD

Dr. Eric Brown Blacklick, Ohio

Rev. GJ Barnes, Baltimore, MD

Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Mt. Vernon NY

Pastor Steven Eugene Carter, Brooklyn, NY

Bishop Walter Thomas, Elliott City, MD

Dr. David Seymour Sr., Dekalb, IL

Dr. D.K. Kearney, Hyattsville, MD

Dr. Della McKinnon, Raleigh, Wake

Dr. Reginald Thomas, Baltimore, MD

Rev. William H. Lamar IV, Washington, DC

Rev. Dr. Leslie Braxton, Seattle, WA

Dr. Lucius Dalton, Alexandria, VA

Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Washington, DC

Dr. Jamal Bryant, Atlanta, GA

Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary, Baltimore, MD

Dr. Ralph West, Houston, TX

Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr.

Bishop Dwayne Royster, SFJ, Rockville, MD

Dr. Charley Hames, JR, Oakland, CA

Rev. Solomon Kinloch, Detroit, MI

Rev. Dr. Alvin O'Neal Jackson, Jacksonville, FL

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, Calumet City, IL

Dr. Maurice Watson, Odenton, MD

Rev. Mark Tyler, Mother Bethel AME Church, Philadelphia, PA

Bishop Michael Kelsey, Washington, DC

Dr. Jo Ann Browning, Ebenezer AME Church, Fort Washington, Maryland

Dr. Renita Weems, Ray of Hope Community Church, Nashville, TN

Dr. Delman Coates, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Clinton, MD

Rev. Jessica Ingram, African Methodist Episcopal Church – First District, Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Claudette Copeland, New Creation Christian Fellowship Church, Windcrest, Texas

Rev. Elaine Flake, The Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, Queens, NY

Dr. Gina Stewart, Christ Missionary Baptist Church, Memphis, TN

Dr. Kevin E. Donald, Sr. Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Herndon, VA

Dr. Zina Pierre, Bethel Restoration Church, Lanham, MD

Bishop Dennis V. Proctor, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church - North Eastern District, Baltimore, MD

Bishop Lanier C. Twyman, St. Stephens Baptist Church, Temple Hills, MD

Dr. Keith W. Byrd, Zion Baptist Church, Washington, DC

Rev. Traci Blackmon, Christ The King United Church of Christ, Florissant, MO

Rev. Dr. Alvin Jackson, National City Christian Church, Washington D.C.

Rev. Terri Hord Owens, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Terre Haute, IN

Bishop William Barber, Repairers of the Breach, Greenleaf Christian Church, Goldsboro, NC

Dr. William Curtis, Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Rev. Marcus Cosby, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Houston, TX

Rev. Martha Simmons, Rush Memorial United Church Of Christ, Atlanta, GA

Rev. Dr. Charles Hames, Beebe Memorial Cathedral, Oakland, CA

Dr. Kendrick Curry, Pennsylvania Baptist Church Washington, DC
Dr. Cynthia Hale, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, GA

Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX

Bishop W. Darin Moore, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District, Upper Marlboro, MD

Dr. Dexter Nutall, New Bethel Baptist Church, Washington, DC

Dr. Walter Thomas, Sr., New Psalmist Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD

Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune, Silver Spring, MD

Dr. Matthew L. Watley, Kingdom Fellowship A.M.E. Church, Silver Spring, MD

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, National African American Clergy Network, Washington, DC

Bishop Joseph Walker, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Nashville, TN

Dr. Samuel Tolbert, Greater St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church, Lake Charles, LA

Bishop Alfred Owens, Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church, Washington, D.C.

Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Go Tell It Ministry Worldwide, Detroit, MI

Dr. James Perkins, Greater Christ Baptist Church, Detroit, MI

Bishop Greg Davis, Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International Detroit, MI

Bishop Paul S Morton, Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International Detroit, Atlanta, GA

Dr. Paul Booth, Sr., Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Paul Booth, Jr., Legacy Pointe Church, Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Todd Davidson, First Baptist Church of Hampton, Columbus, OH

Dr. James Dixon, The Community of Faith Church, Houston, TX

Dr. Calvin McKinney, Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, NJ

Bishop David G. Evans, Bethany Baptist Church, Lindenwold, NJ

Bishop Timothy Clark, First Church of God, Columbus, OH

Rev. Jennifer Watley Maxell, The Breakthrough Fellowship, Cobb County, GA

Rev. Charles A. Maxell, The Breakthrough Fellowship, Cobb County, GA

Dr. Jawanza Colvin, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Cleveland, OH.

Bishop George Crenshaw, Shaw Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, Atlanta, GA

Bishop Darryl Starnes, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – Mid-West District, Charlotte, NC

Bishop Michael Frencher, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – South Western Delta District, Greensboro, NC

Rev Dr. William Watley, St. Phillip A.M.E. Church, Atlanta GA

Bishop Vashti McKenzie, African Methodist Episcopal Church- 10th District, Dallas, TX

Bishop Charles Ellis, Greater Grace Temple, Detroit, MI

Dr. Walter Malone, Canaan Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky

Bishop Edgar Vann, Second Ebenezer Church, Detroit, MI

Bishop Millicent Hunter, The Baptist Worship Center, Philadelphia, PA

Bishop Reginald Jackson, African Methodist Episcopal Church- 6th District, Atlanta, GA

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