Hope inspires the good to reveal itself. Attributed to Emily Dickenson.
I just got back from a DART Clergy Conference in sunny, warm Orlando. DART, the Direct Action and Research Training Center, is the umbrella organization for a network of 21 grassroots, nonprofit, congregation-based community organizations including BREAD in Columbus and CLOUT in Louisville. Ministers from all over the United States gathered to pray together, share best practices, and celebrate achievements from the past year. They represented diverse faith traditions, worship styles, and races and were all committed to improving the lives of the people in their communities. The preaching was tremendous!
There are many common problems in our cities including homelessness, the school-to-prison pipeline, the lack of affordable housing, out-of-school suspensions, and mental illness. Members of DART affiliates raise up issues and solutions that address problems specific to their communities. They meet with city/school officials to present their concerns and hopefully, work with them on research based solutions. Sometimes officials are not interested in these issues and so DART affiliates bring their members to a NEHIMIAH Action. Hundreds, sometimes thousands (BREAD turned out over 2500 last May and are looking for 3,000 this May) individuals who believe in justice show officials their support for solutions and demand their participation. It’s peaceful and powerful.
As your justice promoter, I’m often the bearer of bad news but participating in this conference helped me see much good news. The DART affiliates do grassroots advocacy at its finest. The clergy conference demonstrated to me how seriously many leaders of faith take the justice message of Jesus and of their own faith traditions seriously. It was an experience of great HOPE and much good was revealed.
There are other interfaith grassroots organizations around the country. Together people of faith can work for the common good and bring hope to their communities.
The Columbus Nehemiah Action is Monday, May 6, at the Celeste Center. If you would like to be a part of this action or of BREAD, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can be a part of the good that our city needs now.