Rev. Dr. Jamal H. Bryant has been active in a number of social causes over the course of his pastoral career as leader of Empowerment Temple A.M.E. church. Bryant’s relatable preaching style, propensity to minister to youth and fiery sermons have attracted a mass following.
Along with marching and organizing a rally for slain teen Trayvon Martin in Florida last month, Bryant led a voter registration drive along with 30 other church leaders nationwide over the weekend.
NewsOne visited the Empowerment Temple on Easter Sunday and Bryant took time to address the importance of voting rights and granted a brief interview shortly after a 50-minute sermon.
NewsOne: We understand that you undertook a nationwide calling to get church attendees to registered to vote. What does “Resurrect The Vote” ultimately mean for you?
Bryant: “Resurrect The Vote” means what was once dead is coming back to light. This is an awakening for the Black church to become involved and engaged in social and civic issues. And we begin this process with an en masse voter registration drive. Literally, thousands of churches across the country interrupted their regular worship program to direct people, just as we did here in Baltimore, through the voting process of registration. Earlier this morning, our system almost crashed because we had so many people trying to register so my heart is really delighted to know that we’re making traction.
NewsOne: Why did you decide to do “Resurrect The Vote” on Easter Sunday?
Bryant: Easter Sunday is more like a friends and family day more than any other Sunday. People populate the pews, so no church would have an excuse whether you’re a mega-church, small church or storefront church. We wanted a day where we could make the most bang to roll out the project, so this was the best day to do this project.
NewsOne: How are the other churches and partners faring on this day? What has been the response, if any?
Bryant: The response has been overwhelmingly supportive, and surprised. The Black church has not been on the main line of the political discussion, so to see that happen in the middle of a worship service where people are not expecting it really has come as a sigh of relief. The older saints and the younger ones have been waiting for a call to activism.
NewsOne: Switching gears just a bit, in your service you said that you’ll be heading to Sanford this week in support of the Trayvon Martin case. Tell us a bit about that.
Bryant: We’re praying that this week that the grand jury will be called into session and that there will be an arrest. We’re being very optimistic. If not, we’re moving to escalate civil disobedience by organizing sit-ins across the state of Florida [in hopes] that justice will prevail.