Souls to the Polls event encourages early voting

Press release from the Elders’ Vigil Group Supporting Black Lives Matter:

The NC Poor Peoples Campaign Western Circle and the Elders’ Vigil Group Supporting Black Lives Matter co-sponsor a get-out-the-vote event, Vote to Make the Beloved Community: Souls to the Polls, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday outside the Arthur Edington Education and Career Center, 133 Livingston St., Asheville.

The event features DJ music and a live performance by PICANTE! a five-piece band performing original and uniquely arranged Latin rhythms, Latin jazz, rock and reggae.  (

Participants can take selfies in front of unique pro-voting signs for posting on social media, and walk to the polls at Wesley Grant Center 285 Livingston St. Rides will be available for those who are unable to walk.

“This event has the vision of creating in Asheville what Dr. King called the Beloved Community,” says Cheryl Orengo, a member of the Elders’ Vigil Group and an organizer of this nonpartisan event. “This is the most important election of our lifetimes and we want to get people to the polls.”

Masks and social distancing will be required to participate. Organizers will have some masks to distribute for people who arrive without one.

“We believe every voter needs to participate in this election,” said NC Poor People’s Campaign Western Region organizer, Leslie Boyd. “We know a lot of people are planning to vote this time who might not have voted before and we want to make sure they have what they need to exercise their right to vote.”

Vans with signs will be in the neighborhood inviting people to come, and providing rides to the event and to the polls for those who are unable to walk.

Early voting starts on Oct. 15, and on Sunday the polls will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s description of the Beloved Community:

“But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. The type of love that I stress here is not eros, a sort of esthetic or romantic love; not philia, a sort of reciprocal love between personal friends; but it is agape which is understanding goodwill for all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. It is the love of God working in the lives of men. This is the love that may well be the salvation of our civilization.”

— from “The Role of the Church in Facing the Nation’s Chief Moral Dilemma,” 1957

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