Raising Our Voice Against Institutional Racism and Inequality: Fall 2015 Public Meetings

Posted by: Gordon on 10/13/2015

This fall thousands of faith and community leaders will turn out to public meetings across the country organized by Gamaliel and affiliates (a few, such as Faith Coalition for the Common Good, have held theirs already).

One thing that will be different this year is the focus at many of these meetings on both fixing some of the worst problems in our cities and suburbs and trying to understand and address underlying systems of racial injustice that lead to the same problems coming up again and again. 

As a leader from Pittsburgh said: “In the past we focused on the consequences of racially-biased systems. This fall we’re declaring our intent to go after those flawed systems themselves, and change them one by one.” Here is a quick run down of the meetings planned for the fall:

Action of Greater Lansing

6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 15, Cristo Rey Church, 201 W Miller Rd, Lansing, MI

Nehemiah Public Meeting: Leaders will celebrate a policy win of insuring families remain eligible for child care subsidy for up to one year, even if their income rises, to provide greater stability for families as people transition into employment. The group will also continue its efforts to educate legislators on disability rights issues, and announce a new initiative as part of the statewide Power to Thrive campaign in partnership with departments of public health across Michigan.

ACTION of Ohio

3:30 p.m. Sunday, October 18, St. Edwards Catholic Church, 240 Tod Ln, Youngstown, OH

Leading with its new work on race and power, leaders will continue their work for re-entry and job creation for formerly incarcerated Ohioans and promote the Kitchen Incubator, a shared-use commercial kitchen that aims to lower the cost for starting or expanding local food businesses to help create jobs working with food, increase food security and promote economic development.

Rochester ACTS

6:30 p.m., Thursday, October 22, In Christ New Hope Ministries, 155 Pinnacle Rd. Rochester, NY

Just a year after holding a covenanting or formal organizing ceremony, Rochester ACTS is calling on county executive candidates to expand access to childcare, after orchestrating a campaign in which thousands of Monroe County residents signed postcards and petitioned leaders to invest in children. 

North Bay Organizing Project

3 p.m. Sunday, October 25, Unitarian Universalist Church, 547 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA

What Side Are You On? - Public Resources for the Public Good: Families in Sonoma County face a crisis with out-of-control rents, an inaccessible transit system and a culturally disconnected education curriculum. In the face of this, public resources are continually being used to concentrate wealth into the hands of the fewer and fewer. Now more than ever it is critical that people concerned with equity and justice assume their public role and responsibility to battle the forces of greed and isolation.

Ezekiel Project

3 p.m. Sunday, October 25, First Congregational Church 403 S Jefferson Ave, Saginaw, MI

Stronger together than apart: In Ecclesiastes 12, it says “…A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” The Saginaw Region has been experiencing revitalization, and so has the New Ezekiel Project. Leaders are coming together to take action for racial and economic justice around education, transportation, and police & community. After winning a transportation millage vote in August with a wider margin than ever supported the fee in the past, came news from the regional transit authority that it was running out of funds and the current funding would be inadequate to support current levels of service. Leaders will use the meeting to focus on the value of public transportation to the community and seek an end to proposals for a high-stakes test in local public schools that third graders would have to pass to avoid being held back a year.


7 p.m., Monday, October 26, Elim Christian Fellowship, 70 Chalmers Ave, Buffalo, NY

Binding the Fabric Together: Two nursing homes in a Buffalo suburb are hiring, but the local transit authority has resisted extending a bus line from the city to carry residents to the jobs there. Advocating a change will be one focus of this meeting, as will support for the Buffalo Peacemakers, who have helped to reduce levels of crime and reduce violence in the city. Announced at this meeting will be a date for an upcoming visit to Buffalo by Labor Secretary Tom Perez in the spring, and a victory in implementing community navigators who can register returning citizens for Obamacare at the county jail, who will then have health insurance upon returning home.

NOAH Niagara

6 p.m. Thursday, October 29 at Bethany Baptist Church, 1328 Calumet Ave, Niagara Falls, NY

Jobs and Justice: Leaders will call for an increase in the number of people of color working on a publicly-funded Amtrak train station project in Niagara Falls and passing a citywide community-benefits agreement that would have strong stipulations for local and minority hiring.


6 p.m., Thursday, October 29 at Tabernacle Community Baptist Church, 2500 W. Medford Ave. WI

The achievements of youth leaders who have been working together for the past year will be a focus of the meeting. The organization will also highlight its Safe Surrender program, coordinating area churches, law enforcement agencies, the county court system and other partners in its 53206 Task Force. Each of MICAH Task Forces will present a issue they are working on and how the plan to over come it.

MCU-St. Louis

3 p.m. Sunday, November 1 at Busch Student Center-St. Louis University 20 N Grand Blvd, St. Louis, MO

Accountability for All: This meeting will be an opportunity to advance some of the key recommendations of the Ferguson commission, Holding ourselves and our regional public officials accountable for: Youth at the Center, Justice for All, Racial Equity , Opportunity to Thrive. These are the priorities that encompass the work of MCU and our partner organizations throughout the region. These are the priorities set by the Ferguson Commission. It's time to make these priorities reality!

Genesis California

10 a.m., Saturday, November 7 at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 525 29th Street, Oakland, CA

After celebrating a victory that was several years in coming last year with its youth winning a commitment to fund transportation to school in Alameda County, leaders will gather to prioritize new issues from among a list they have been winnowing for months: affordable housing and protecting renters, school discipline, access to healthcare, human trafficking, and police accountability.


3 p.m., Sunday, November 15 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church ELCA, 201 N. River St, Ypsilanti, MI

Leaders will advocate for reducing the use of suspensions as a punishment in Ypsilanti, Lincoln, and Ann Arbor Public Schools; following work they’ve already done to get Ypsilanti to make reforms to make discipline more equitable (an October 2015 Center on Reinventing Public Education study found that black students are twice as likely to receive out-of-school suspensions as white students). Leaders will continue their work on a statewide earned sick-time ballot initiative and announce a new initiative as part of the statewide Power to Thrive campaign in partnership with departments of public health across Michigan.


Exact time TBA Monday, November 16 at location TBA

Honest Conversation About Race: the meeting will kick off a series of honest conversations in which congregation members across Kansas City delve into thei history of structural racism in their community, through a series of conversations that lead to action. Last spring more than 40 St. Louis congregations developed this process, meeting within predominantly African-American, white and mixed-race faith communities followed by a mass gathering; these events led to actions for racial justice including meetings with local police chiefs and the mayor of St. Louis. A similar process is planned for Kansas City.


7 p.m., Wednesday, November 18 at Rodef Shalom, 4917 5th Ave, Pittsburgh, PA

Toward The Beloved Community: Fighting For The Dream—PIIN’s public meeting will call for a clear set of standards to define and create more community schools in Pennsylvania. They will announce a Customer Assistance Plan to protect customers of the regional water-treatment utility (after it hiked prices more than 6 percent in each of the past 3 years and will continue for at least 10 years) and commitments from the police chief to change training, hiring and retention of personnel to reform his department. More than that, the meeting will be a declaration of PIIN leaders commitment to racial justice and focus on structural racism.

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