May 17, 2017. Hollywood Gazette.
The BOLD Justice (Broward Organized Leaders Doing Justice) recently held its Justice Ministry Celebration at Little Flower Catholic Church. Community activists and faith group leaders representing a wide variety of religious organizations joined together to celebrate their accomplishments and discuss their goals for the upcoming year. Throughout the night people shouted out, “We are Bold.”
December 25, 2016. The Sun Sentinel.
The latest statistics on how police treat kids in Palm Beach County are encouraging to a group of local religious leaders who have been critical of juvenile justice practices.
Youth arrests in Palm Beach County dropped by roughly 31 percent between the 2011-12 and 2015-16 fiscal years, according to state data. Instead of making arrests, Palm Beach officers issue civil citations to most eligible kids, state data show, at a rate greater than most counties in Florida.
But some members of People Engaged in Active Community Efforts, a group of Palm Beach churches, say they want the county to do even better.
April 12, 2016. Broward New Times.
Waffling, flip-flopping, failing to deliver… These are common problems among politicians.
So, once a year, churchgoers from about 20 Broward congregations come together to put those leaders on the spot. Typically they choose one issue of importance, devise a solution, and then ask the leaders publicly: Are you going to support this or not?
Florida — Florida arrests more youth under the age of 18 than almost any other state. In 2012 Florida arrested 78,195 youth, 73,371 for non-violent offenses. Many of those youth are arrested for minor offenses (throwing an orange on a bus, stealing a candy bar, etc). These arrests follow them for life locking them out of jobs, the military, and sometimes even college scholarships.
Broward County, FL – In Broward County 54,000 people are unemployed. Some areas of the county have unemployment rates as high as 28%. This presents a challenge for parents trying to feed their families and stay in their homes. At the same time, Broward County’s Commission spends over $2 billion every 5 years on county contracts. These are contracts paid for with Broward County citizens’ tax money, but there have historically been no policies requiring that companies hire local residents. Local hiring agreements have been shown nationwide to get people back to work and to benefit the local economy as a whole, since these employees that live in Broward are more likely to spend that money in Broward. BOLD Justice pushed for over two years to get the County Commission to pass the “Workforce Investment Act.” This ordinance stipulates that company receiving county contract worth $500,000 or more is required to: 1) for a period of 5 days exclusively interview Broward County Residents (after that time they can interview whomever they want), and 2) make a good faith effort to fill 50% of new positions with people traditionally “hard to hire.” Hard to hire includes: veterans, people who are economically disadvantaged, long term unemployed, people with felony convictions, people who did not graduate high school, people who have been homeless for the last 6 months, and people with a mental or physical disability. The Workforce Investment Act was voted into law at the April 8, 2014 County Commission meeting after two and a half years of pushing from BOLD Justice. This new policy went into effect January 1, 2015 and has already impacted $230 million worth of county contracts.