A coalition of more than 400 religious leaders and others across the country have called on the National Football League to change the venue planned for next year superbowl from Arizona because of the series “racist” “voter suppression” laws.
Coalition members, including Dr Cornel West and Reverend Jesse Jackson, also called for a meeting with the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
In one letter from last month in Goodell, the coalition took aim at three restrictive new Arizona laws that purge voter rolls and increase signature and mail-in voting requirements. These exacerbate previous discriminatory laws, they noted.
Pushing is part of “The vote or the blackoutcampaign to pressure Arizona to ensure the right to vote for everyone. The campaign kicked into high gear after federal lawmakers failed to pass a nationwide law protecting the right to vote.
“We are closer to midnight than ever for our democracy because Congress refuses to protect the right to vote,” said Reverend Stephen Green of St. Luke AME Church in Harlem.
“We would all like Arizona to see that kind of revenue, to get so many people here to invest in our state. But I think there are times when you can’t be quiet, and that’s when money should not trump moralityRev. Dontá McGilvery, outreach and justice pastor at First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix, told local affiliate ABC Channel 15 earlier this week.
“We have to show that money cannot be more important than people. And right now the most important thing is the right to vote and how our government restricts that.
“Are we called to be mere spectators of a sport we love – or are we called to act, like the NFL did the last time they held off Arizona? asked the letter.
“As two of the NFL’s slogans this season are ‘Inspire Change’ and ‘It Takes All of Us,’ which are precisely the we to be inspiredbut the spectators themselves who are also voters?
The letter ended with a call for Goodell to “make living words of ‘Inspire Change'” and find a new location for next year’s Super Bowl.
Goodell has yet to respond.
A spokesperson for Republican Arizona Gov. Dough Ducey called the request to move the Super Bowl out of state “beyond belief.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.