BOLD JUSTICE

Broward Organized Leaders Doing Justice

Background

Broward Organized Leaders Doing Justice (BOLD Justice) is an organization of religious congregations throughout Broward County which are working together to solve critical community problems. We are not a service provider, but a grassroots, direct action, multi-issued organization, which has come to be a powerful force for improving the quality of life in our community.

Accomplishments

Since BOLD Justice’s beginning in 2007, we have brought people together from different religious denominations, different areas of the community, and different races to work together on issues of common concern. These are just a few of the community improvements resulting from BOLD Justice’s work:

Florida arrests more youth under the age of 18 than almost any other state. Many of those youth are arrested for minor offenses (throwing an orange on a bus, steeling a candy bar, etc). These arrests follow them for life locking them out of jobs, the military, and sometimes even college scholarships. The state has a program called civil citation, which allows law enforcement the ability to divert first time youth who commit a minor offense out of the criminal justice system and into community service programs without receiving an arrest record. In 2015 BOLD Justice worked with 9 other DART organizations across the state of Florida to pass SB378. SB378 expands the state’s civil citation program. Previously youth could only receive one civil citation, now they can receive up to three.

In 2014, after two and a half years of pushing from BOLD Justice, the Broward County Commission passed the Workforce Investment Act, which stipulates that any company receiving a county contract worth more than $500,000 must give preference during their hiring process to Broward County residents and ‘hard to hire’ candidates. It is estimated that this law will impact approximately 45 contracts worth $290 million in just its first year.

In 2012, BOLD Justice got a commitment from the Superintendent to pilot Direct Instruction in underperforming schools in Broward County. It was launched at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in January 2013 and at Dillard Elementary School in August 2013, and will serve approximately 500 students between these two schools. Direct Instruction is a research-based reading curriculum that has been shown to raise the literacy rates of low-performing students.

In 2011 BOLD Justice worked with five other DART affiliates to pass SB400. SB400 changed several “red tape” problems with admitting non-violent drug offenders into Drug Courts in Florida. As a result of the work of these DART affiliates (including BOLD Justice), Governor Scott signed this bill into law on May 5th, 2011. Over a two year period of time, as a result of the changes this bill implemented, drug court was able to serve 2,000 people and save the state of Florida over $95 million.

Over a three year period of time, culminating in 2011, BOLD Justice worked on Affordable Rental Housing. Broward County is 6th in the nation for households paying more than half of their income for housing. We have 42,000 households that report paying more than half of their income for rent. BOLD Justice was able to get the County Administrator to prioritize rental housing, place funding for gap financing so that developers could build affordable housing, and secure additional revenue to build affordable rental housing. As a result, 2,322 new affordable rental projects have been funded across Broward County and all of these are currently open. Two of the projects that are open can be found at 7481 NW 33rd St, in Davie and the corner of NW 8th St and NW 10th Terr in Ft. Lauderdale. The remaining projects stretch over the entire county.

In 2010, the Broward County Administrator committed to invite a non-profit organization with a track record for successfully modifying home mortgages in danger of foreclosure to South Florida to hold an on the spot mortgage modification event. The event was held in August of 2010. 3,544 families received on the spot mortgage modifications allowing them to stay in their homes.

Also in 2010, BOLD Justice identified 44 high crime areas (“Hot Spots”) near our congregations. The majority of these hot spots were in Ft. Lauderdale near the Sistrunk neighborhood. BOLD Justice was able to get the Chief of Police for Ft. Lauderdale to commit to increase police protection in these areas resulting in 40 arrests.

In 2009 BOLD Justice got a commitment from a representative of the local Work Force One board to implement a service to get training for Work Force One employees to correct flags in the unemployment database – streamlining the unemployment process. Employees received this training in May 2009 and serve approximately 900 people a week.

Current Membership

Presently, 20 congregations and groups with over 30,000 members are members of BOLD Justice. We come from all parts of Broward County, and we represent a diverse mix of African American, Anglo, Hispanic, Haitian, and Islander persons, coming from different religious traditions, including Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Jewish, United Methodist, AME and Presbyterian.

Board of Directors

  • Co-President – Rev. Michael Anderson, New Jerusalem Baptist Church, Hollywood
  • Co-President – Sally Wolfer, Little Flower Catholic Church, Hollywood
  • Vice-President – Jean Anderson, First Lutheran Church, Ft. Lauderdale
  • Treasurer – Roland Abel, Miramar United Methodist Church, Miramar
  • Secretary – Rev. Andreas Thode, Living Faith Lutheran, Pembroke Pines
  • At-Large – Rev. Gail Tapscott, Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Lauderdale
  • At-Large – Rev. Hervin Green, Metropolitan Baptist
  • At-Large – Joseph Lawrence, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic, Pompano Beach
  • At-Large – Fr. Robes Charles, St. Clement Catholic Church, Wilton Manors

Contact Us

441 NE 3rd Ave
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
Tel. 954-463-2322

Andy Lee
Lead Organizer
boldjustice1@gmail.com

Greer Aeschbury
Associate Organizer
greer@thedartcenter.org