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Hip Hop, Faith-Based and Community Groups Descend on Miami
for Sept. 25-26 Summit to Empower, Protect Voters

September 19, 2004, Miami, Fla. -- As campaigns for the November elections heat up, faith and community based groups and Hip Hop artists are coming together in one of the locations where the deciding votes were cast in the 2000 Election -- Miami-Dade County, Florida.

New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International will host a weekend of activities sponsored by the "Let Justice Roll: Faith and Community Voices Against Poverty" Campaign of the National Council of Churches USA and the Center for Community Change; Russell Simmons' Hip Hop Summit Action Network; the African American Ministers' Leadership Council of the People for the American Way Foundation, and others on Sept. 25-26, 2004.

Slated as the "Weekend of H.O.P.E.: Hip Hop, Outreach, Praise & Empowerment," a summit of local and national Hip Hop artists, including rappers from Russell Simmons' Hip Hop Action Network, will take place at New Birth Baptist Church at noon on Saturday, Sept. 25; while renowned preachers Bishop Victor T. Curry, Senior Pastor/Teacher of New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International, and the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister of The Riverside Church in Harlem, New York, will deliver the messages at the 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. services on Sunday, Sept. 26.

The evening service will be broadcast live via webcast over the Internet. "It is essential that we educate and empower voters, especially our young voters," says Bishop Curry, who pastors 13,000-plus members, including an estimated 4,000 between the ages of 18-25. "Our youth are our future and we must ensure that they are equipped as the Next Generation to assume leadership. There is a critical and powerful Biblical message in Hip Hop that all, particularly our youth, receive. The New Birth Family is honored to host this event."

The goal of the weekend is to register and mobilize voters, especially low-income voters and 18- to 25-year olds, and to disseminate information about voters' rights. This is particularly significant in Miami following the debacle that occurred at polling places throughout Florida during the last Presidential Election. In addition, staff from the Miami-Dade Board of Elections will demonstrate how to use new voting machines.

The "Let Justice Roll: Faith and Community Voices Against Poverty" campaign -- -- which was launched in June, is a multi-city effort to press public officials, delegates to the Party Conventions and this year's candidates for public office, especially presidential candidates, on what they will do to end poverty in the United States. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics for 2003, an increasing number of Americans are living in poverty. Through "Let Justice Roll" events, churches, faith-based organizations and community groups in nearly 20 cities have been working to register, mobilize and protect voters, especially low-income voters, whose voices must be heard on policies that affect them.

The Hip Hop Summit Action Network -- -- has also hosted numerous Hip Hop Summits and other events around the country to register and mobilize young voters while spreading the message "Taking Back Responsibility." The African American Ministers' Leadership Council -- -- has been very active in providing voters with election protection information in addition to registering new voters. The groups decided to join forces in Miami to encourage and empower voters (and prospective voters) who may have been left feeling disenfranchised following the 2000 Presidential Election.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information about the Weekend of H.O.P.E., call 305.685.3700.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Media should contact Leslie Tune, National Council of Churches USA at 202.544.2350, or Debra Toomer, New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International, 305.218.2252

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