Black pro-life leaders developing new strategy to reach black community
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The National Black Prolife Coalition will tighten their focus in 2013 in light of election results that showed pro-life Republican candidates were shunned at the polls by black voters in favor of pro-abortion Democrats.
Coalition leaders, including the Rev. Walter Hoye, met last week in Washington to discuss their strategy for the coming year. Rev. Hoye told LifeSiteNews that conventional pro-life tactics aimed at white voters were “developed for the courtroom, not the culture” and don’t work well with the black community.
“There’s a real need to communicate our life message to the community of color,” said Rev. Hoye, who believes most black voters aren’t currently factoring in pro-life issues when they go to the polls, despite statistics showing that black children are aborted at a much higher rate than children of other races.
“This will be the year for us to double our efforts in our own community,” said Hoye. “We’ll be using strategies designed to start a conversation in our community about the life issue and ending abortion.”
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Hoye said a major focus of that conversation will be fetal personhood. Hoye compared the personhood movement to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and suggested that drawing parallels between black civil rights and rights for the unborn may resonate strongly with a community that still strongly feels the sting of past debasement.
“There are some big anniversaries this year,” Hoye said, referring in particular to the upcoming 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He said he hoped to use such commemorative events to highlight the similarities between the civil rights efforts of the past and the fight today to stop the slaughter of the unborn.
Hoye said he felt that in recent years, the Coalition’s focus had been diluted by trying to reach out too far beyond its own community. He sent LSN a link to a graph produced by FrontPageMag that showed the dearth of nonwhite support for Republican candidates.
“I don’t agree with a lot of the article’s conclusions,” he said, “but the graph is striking. The reality of the election data is that traditional conservative strategies didn’t work on people of color.” He said his group would be focusing exclusively on reaching those communities in 2013.
“There are plenty of great pro-life groups out there reaching out to white Americans, and they are doing good work,” Hoye said. “But we want to refocus on our people.”
Hoye said the first and most important way his group plans to reach black voters is to drop the focus on elections and voting and just “literally help people.” He said the Coalition has a “We Care” program that provides tangible help to women and their babies so they know they are supported and loved by the pro-life movement. He said they plan to go into the “toughest cities in America” and find out what people need. Then, he said, “We will literally solve their problems.”
“Until people know how much you care,” Hoye added, “they’re not going to care how much you know.”
Hoye also stressed the importance of black pastors in carrying the pro-life message into their communities. “Black pastors are the gatekeepers to our communities, and always have been,” he said. “They must be a part of any strategy to spread our message. If you go into these communities and you don’t have the pastors on your side, you’re going to get doors slammed in your face.” He said his group will be reaching out to these community leaders and asking for their help as they start the personhood dialogue.
Asked how other pro-life groups can help reach out to the black community, Hoye said it was important for them to “add color to their programs, add color to their organizations.” He said it’s critical for the black community to be able to relate to the pro-life movement. “It’s not that the message is different between us and other pro-life groups,” Hoye said. “The difference is who’s giving it. Sometimes it’s not the message, it’s the messenger.”
Hoye says the Coalition plans to make its members more available to other pro-life groups to help them target their strategies to communities of color.
For more information about the National Black Prolife Coalition, visit their website.