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In 2020, there was a presidential election. Airwaves were filled with political advertisements, and social media was saturated with misinformation and efforts designed to misdirect the voting public. Stairstep/HWU worked to fight voter suppression tactics by providing accurate input on voting options and candidate positions on important community issues. In our GOTV campaign pastors and designated laypersons developed communication trees to convey information on early voting procedures, registration, and locations where ballots could be cast. 

Church Election Beacons

Rev. James Alberts – Higher Ground COGIC

Rev. Alfred Babington-Johnson – Grace Temple Deliverance Center

Rev. Donnell Bratton – Overcomers PAW

Rev. Demetrius Chester – New Covenant COGIC

Dr. Margaret Frye – Word of Life COGIC

Rev. Rozenia Fuller – Good News Baptist Church

Apostle DeWayne Hill – High Praise Ministries

Dr. Ora Hokes – Greater Friendship Baptist Church

Mr. Larry McPherson – St. James AME

Rev. Tyrone Maxwell – Reconciliation PAW

Bishop David Johnson – Grace Apostolic PAW

Rev. Runney Patterson – New Hope Baptist

Dr. Russell Pointer – Minneapolis Central Church of Christ

Ms. Elizabeth Reed – St. James AME

Mr. Mike Reeves – Mt. Olivet Baptist Church

Rev. John Robinson – St. Peter’s AME

Ms. Bridgette Shepherd – Greater Mt. Vernon Baptist

Ms. Macarre Traynham – St. James AME

Bishop Fred W. Washington – New Covenant COGIC

Supt. Celester Webb – United COGIC

Because of the pandemic, by July of 2020, it became apparent that students might not be able to return to their schools full time.  Prompted by the concern that African-American students are at the greatest danger of long-term loss from disruptions in the educational system; community education visionaries, Louis King and Eric Mahmoud were stirred to action.  They created S4 Learning Labs, an effort to create a model for safe and conducive learning environments for the children of our community. 

The model involved an ability to leverage access to the best instructors around the country through virtual tools and paired that access to the use of underutilized facilities in the community.  As they presented this concept to Stairstep/HWU we happily embraced the opportunity to have our church network as a partner in this important undertaking.  Of the first seven pods created for the pilot, three of our churches are involved.

Church Learning Pods

Family Life Center – Pastor Chris Thibodeaux

St. Peter’s AME – Pastor Jon Robinson

Zion Baptist Church – Pastor Brian Herron

We ♡ Community

We concluded that restoration of a spirit of community requires intentional approaches to encourage people to act as if they believe they belong together.


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