Baptist Convention Brings 20,000 to Atlanta
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was particularly busy on the Labor Day holiday as more than 20,000 people arrived to the city for the National Baptist Convention’s 132nd Annual Session. The convention returned to Atlanta after a seven-year hiatus for its annual event, Sept. 3-7. Conference programming took place at the Georgia World Congress Center.
The National Baptist Convention USA Inc. is the nation’s oldest African-American religious convention with a membership of 7.5 million. Most convention business and member voting on motions takes place at the annual mid-winter meeting, while the annual session focuses more generally on topics affecting the nation’s black population and member churches. With the election looming, one key issue speakers focused on at this year’s event was voting rights and voter empowerment.
At a press conference during the event, leaders of the National Baptist Convention announced a partnership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to promote voter registration through the “This Is My Vote!” campaign organized by the NAACP. “From voter registration to voter education to voter protection, this powerful alliance will allow the African American Baptist Conventions to engage our congregations in the electoral process,” Dr. Julius Scruggs, National Baptist Convention President and member of the NAACP National Board of Directors, said at the press conference.
Religious events account for a noteworthy amount of Atlanta’s meetings visitors each year. In 2011, religious meetings made up about 6 percent of total conventions for the year, drawing more than 100,000 attendees to the city.
Photo: National Baptist Convention USA/Religion News Service