The Presbyterian Office of Public Witness (OPW) recently conducted a webinar titled “Faith, Democracy, and Justice: Understanding Why Election Issues Matter in 2024,” emphasizing the significance of individual efforts in voting. The panel, including Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, highlighted the crucial role of local elections in shaping future political landscapes. Hawkins stressed the need for intentionality in voting, noting that candidates at the local level often advance to higher offices, influencing societal directions.

Addressing concerns about voter suppression laws, Hawkins pointed out the disproportionate impact on marginalized groups. Despite challenges, efforts to strengthen voting laws and reduce barriers have emerged, with nonprofits playing a vital role in facilitating voter engagement. Utilizing places of worship for voter registration and education was highlighted as a pivotal strategy for ensuring fair elections.

Panelist Salina Brett raised concerns about threats to women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQIA+ communities, emphasizing the link between personal freedoms and political engagement. Brett and fellow panelist Rev. Jed Koball emphasized the importance of Indigenous voices in addressing climate change, advocating for respectful listening and support for Indigenous-led initiatives.

Koball urged caution in transitioning to renewable energies, emphasizing the need for a just transition that prioritizes vulnerable populations. The webinar underscored the responsibility of faith communities in advocating for justice and upholding democratic principles in electoral processes.