Faith group wants Lawrence residents to vote yes on affordable housing sales tax

September 25, 2017. Lawrence Journal World.

The faith group Justice Matters wants Lawrence residents to vote yes on a special citywide sales tax to support affordable housing.

Purple signs with the words “Vote yes on question 3” have begun popping up in Lawrence to support repurposing a sales tax that will more than triple the funding for affordable housing projects.

Katie Sears, associate organizer for Justice Matters, said the shortage of affordable housing has been affecting Lawrence for at least 25 years with little progress toward a solution.

Advocates call for release of federal report on North Charleston police

September 20, 2017. The Post and Courier.

Staking a public claim to a yearlong assessment of North Charleston police, local civil rights advocates demanded the review’s release, despite the federal government’s decision to abandon the effort.

Their call came days after the Department of Justice announced an overhaul of the Collaborative Reform Initiative at the agency’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, essentially excising the reform component.

The program’s end shouldn’t stop federal officials from releasing a document that could highlight shortcomings of the North Charleston Police Department and aid local reformers’ mission to bring lasting change, the advocates argued.

Editorial: BREAD plan offers hope

September 9, 2017. The Columbus Dispatch.

It’s hard to grasp the carnage in Columbus this year. As of midweek, the city had suffered 91 homicides; last year at this time, there were 65. Just three years ago, there were 91 homicides for the entire year.

Police are baffled. They say they don’t know why. Columbus City Councilman Mitchell J. Brown, a former Columbus safety director, is also frustrated, noting that a disproportionate number of the victims are black males; they accounted for at least 58 of this year’s homicides, he said. And homicide isn’t claiming just those who make themselves vulnerable to violence by participating in gangs or the drug trade; innocents have become collateral damage.

Clearly, we’ve got to find a better way. The faith-based, social-justice group BREAD thinks it has one.

Columbus hopes new program will reduce recidivism among violent offenders

August 25, 2017. The Columbus Dispatch.

The city will soon be rolling out a new anti-crime initiative offering violent offenders a chance to change.

The catch?

Shootings and violence must stop, said Columbus’ Public Safety Deputy Director George Speaks.

The program, called the Safe Neighborhood Initiative, is the result of a three-year grassroots effort led by BREAD — Building Responsibility, Equality And Dignity — to lobby the city and other government agencies that violence could be reduced by intervening with violent offenders. BREAD is a faith-based social justice organization made up of 40 congregations and 20,000 members.

Spiritual Shenanigans: When Christians (and people of other faiths) actually act the way Jesus suggested, here’s what happens

August 6, 2017. CLTampa.com

The desire to bring about change is perhaps greater this year than it has been in decades in this country.  But finding ways to make a positive difference can be difficult. For some religious residents of Pinellas County, banding together has been a key to getting their voices heard to meet the needs of the community through the organization FAST (Faith and Action for Strength Together). 3,000 diverse members of FAST came together most recently on April 24 in Tropicana Field to meet with local politicians, including St. Pete’s mayor, Rick Kriseman, and ask for action on three chosen issues in an annual event they call the Nehemiah Action Assembly.