By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service
Back when so many thought Hillary Clinton would be the next president, two dozen African-American leaders wrote to the Democratic nominee asking her to explain her policies related to the poor and the police.
African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Frank M. Reid III said black clergy will make some of the same demands of President-elect Donald Trump.
“Mr. Trump, you’ve said that you want to bring jobs into the black community, strengthen the education system, etc.,” Bishop Reid said, imagining a future conversation after the “mind-blowing” election. “Purely as a political arrangement, we’re saying, ‘Let’s work together to do that.’ ”
Some African-American faith leaders, reeling from the election of Mr. Trump, say they intend to soldier on, reach out to those with whom they disagree and continue to fight for the social issues they care about, such as increasing the minimum wage and improving public schools.
After concerted get-out-the-vote efforts — from “text-a-thons” to phone banks — by black denominations, PICO National Network and other groups, some leaders say they’re still trying to figure out why Mr. Trump won.
“It’s like a mourning. It’s like a funeral in some parts of America, in black America, among Muslim Americans and among immigrants I’ve talked to this morning,” the Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair of the National African-American Clergy Network, said the day after Election Day.
She noted that the presidential election had an undertone of racial animosity and took place for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated portions of the federal Voting Rights Act that provided voter protections.
“It makes a difference when your polling place moves to the suburbs and … when there’s no Sunday transportation where pastors can take their people to the polls after a service,” she said.
The Rev. James C. Perkins, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, voiced similar concerns.
“Despite the election conclusion, the PNBC will still pursue our social justice agenda to get the Voting Rights Act restored,” he said in a statement. “It was clear during this election that voter suppression impacted African-Americans, seniors and others negatively.”
Evangelical Ralph Reed, chairman of the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition, noted that exit polls indicated that Mr. Trump received 8 percent of the black vote, 2 percentage points more than GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney gained in 2012.
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