Oliver launches campaign with interfaith prayer
Prior to the official announcement of his campaign later today, mayoral candidate Doug Oliver hosted a mass prayer vigil led by clergy and interfaith residents from communities across Philadelphia.
“We started the DO2015 initiative back in November as a voter engagement campaign. We looked at statistics that showed that in the last mayoral race only 18 percent of the city of Philadelphia came out and voted,” Oliver said. “That is roughly 185,000 people out of almost over one million register voters ... and that is a problem.”
The candidate said the goal of DO2015 is to get people to do something in 2015 and change that.
“Voting is how you change things and we want more people to pay attention. The idea of prayer came up because it doesn’t matter if you are a Christian like I am, or a Catholic or a Muslim, prayer is a way of giving voice to the issues that are important to us," Oliver said. "We pray for the things that concern us, for the things that we hope, and how is that any different from elections in Philadelphia when we hope something else happens, something new happens, something different happens.”
Some of the remarks from faith leaders:“I believe in our young people, not because they are the future, our young people are the present. They exist in our schools, they exist in our streets, they exist in our homes and everything that happens in these walls of power impacts and influences the lives of our young people. My prayer is on behalf of our children and youth that means so much to everyone of us” Rev. Ruben Ortiz, Barrio Youth Initiative
“I work in an area where immigrant families are arriving from Indonesia, Vietnam and Central America. Many of them have need for documentation, that is an area where we look for help from the city and the government. They need jobs and housing, they need a better education here in our city. The trust that needs to be grown in different cultures and different communities, we need to try again with brothers and sisters who don’t always understand us.” Rev. Monsignor Hugh J. Shields, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Community
“Every year in Philadelphia parents and children hold their breath while we wait to hear about whether schools will be adequately funded. The last several years we’ve lamented the lost of nurses and counselors in our schools, deferred maintenance in our buildings, lack of support for our most vulnerable children. Some of us have choices about where to send our children and many of us do not, but all of us are here because we are concern about the steep decline of funding for our children’s education" Minister Amy Yoder, Pastor of Germantown Mennonite Church