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Black Leaders Plan Rally at City Hall to Support Pastor Warren Stewart, Representative Equality in District 8 Council Race

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Black leaders are holding a press conference today to urge voters to cast ballots on November 5 and to speak out against what they say are attempts to "turn back the clock on political representative equality."

Standing on the steps of the Calvin C. Goode Municipal Building, representatives are planning to make a final push of support for Pastor Warren Stewart to ensure that the sixth largest city in the nation will have a Black voice on the city council.

Councilman Calvin C. Goode, a former Phoenix official, said in a statement announcing the press conference and rally that "50 years of Black elected representation on the Phoenix City Council is in jeopardy."

Councilman Michael Johnson, the only Black elected member of the Phoenix City Council, has been representing District 8 since 2001. The District is home to the largest concentration of African-American residents, and has been lead by a Black official for about half a century.

Johnson is bound by the city's term limits and can not seek reelection. Pastor Warren Stewart, who is running against Kate Widland Gallego, is the Black community's only hope to retain that seat.

Gallego, however, pocketed 6,207 votes, or 47 percent. Stewart received 2,882 votes, or 21.85 percent of ballots cast.

It is a huge gap to close, but Black leaders are hoping to get community members to the polls to give Stewart a sizable boost.

The press conference is at 1:30 pm. today at the Goode building, 251 W. Washington Street.

Johnson, Goode, State Senator Leah Landrum Taylor, Bishop Henry Barnwell, Educator/Black Sorority Leader LaVern Tarkington, Roosevelt School Board Member Betty Thompson, Rev. Jarrett Maupin, Rev. Benjamin Thomas, business leader Virgil Berry and members of the Black community from across Phoenix's 8th district are expected to attend the event.

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