Justice Knox: Churches press officials on affordable housing, school suspensions

May 1, 2018. Knox News

In pressing public officials to take action on social problems in Knox County, Justice Knox doesn’t shy away from tension — it embraces it.

“Collectively, we raise our voice and call for our public officials to hear their constituents,” Justice Knox Co-president Rev. Meredith Loftis told the hundreds of people who packed into Central United Methodist Church on Monday evening.

“This will cause tension, but let’s be clear, it is tension borne of hearts that care.”

Chesterfield schools to expand trauma-informed training to help reduce minority student suspensions

April 30, 2018. Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Before a collection of more than 20 congregations across the Richmond region, Chesterfield school administrators made commitments to expand teacher training to drive down minority student suspensions that have garnered Richmond-area schools scrutiny from the state and federal levels in recent years.

At the same time, Richmond schools Superintendent Jason Kamras responded with a “maybe” when it came to rolling out a pilot program to improve student reading levels.

Jacksonville sheriff meets with religious leaders

April 23, 2018. News4Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville’s sheriff and other elected officials were pressed on local issues, including “Walking While Black,” at an annual event Monday night that calls elected officials to accountability.

Sheriff Mike Williams attended the meeting of church leaders hosted by the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment (ICARE), an organization of 38 local religious congregations of all denominations representing about 30,000 people in Jacksonville. 

Can ‘restorative practices’ in schools get at the root of bad behavior? The idea is being tested

April 19, 2018. The Post and Courier.

The two boys were play-fighting, until suddenly they weren’t. The slap rang out at Northwoods Middle School.

Students at Northwoods are bound by the same rules and consequences as anyone else in the Charleston County School District. But thanks to a pilot program that started at their school and four others last year, the students also have a unique opportunity to face one another and make amends for their mistakes.

The pilot program is known as “restorative practices,” an approach to resolving conflicts that emphasizes personal responsibility and healing relationships. The approach was developed by Australian police to work with juvenile offenders in the 1990s, and it has since spread to schools worldwide.

Louisville police need to stop shooting the mentally ill and drug addicted, CLOUT says

April 19, 2018. Courier Journal.

Mayor Greg Fischer needs to do more to ensure Louisville police officers will avoid using deadly force when dealing with people coping with drug addiction or suffering from mental illness, a faith-based group said.

Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together, or CLOUT, dropped off about 600 postcards signed by its members at Fischer’s office Thursday over the department’s de-escalation tactics, which the group said will protect law enforcement and vulnerable residents alike.

“We have many loved ones and friends in our congregations with mental illnesses and addictions who live in fear of potential encounters with the police,” said the Rev. Reginald Barnes, pastor of Brown Memorial C.M.E. Church, a co-president of CLOUT.