Hundreds vote on the biggest issue facing Lexington during forum

November 6, 2017. WKYT.

Hundreds of people from 26 congregations gathered Monday to discuss the biggest issues facing Lexington.

The forum was organized by BUILD, Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action, a coalition of people of faith.

“No one single person can bring about change. No one congregation can do this by themselves,” said Consolidated Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Richard Gaines. “We are seeking to do together what none of us can do on our own.”

For kids seeking second chances, Pinellas a better place to be than Hillsborough, study shows

October 27, 2017. TBO.

When it comes to second chances, one side of Tampa Bay is a better place to be a kid in trouble than the other.

That’s according to a report released this week grading Florida counties on how often they use juvenile diversion programs, which send low-level offenders through counseling and community service as an alternative to arrest.

The “Stepping Up” report — conducted by a St. Petersburg think tank and supported by organizations including the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and The James Madison Institute — named Pinellas County one of the top programs in the state with a 94 percent utilization rate between January and December last year, tied for first with Miami-Dade.

North Charleston moves forward with new DOJ agreement as activist groups demand police assessment

October 27, 2017. Charleston City Paper.

North Charleston City Council unanimously voted to approve a new memorandum of understanding with the Department of Justice, further cementing the federal agency’s step away from collaborative reform with the city’s police department.

Faith groups vote to focus on affordable housing

October 24, 2017. The Daily Progress. 

At its 12th annual Assembly on Tuesday, members of IMPACT, an interfaith coalition of nearly 30 congregations in the Charlottesville area, decided to focus on advocating for the development of more affordable housing in the community.

Various congregational caucuses voted on the area of focus after hearing testimonies from community members struggling with social challenges. Following the voting process, the coalition chose housing issues over addressing impoverished conditions for immigrants and access to health care.

PEACE to tackle affordable housing issues in Polk, still advocating for crisis mental health care

WINTER HAVEN — About 400 people from 22 churches gathered Monday evening for PEACE’s 18th annual Community Problems Assembly.

The organization, Polk Ecumenical Action Council for Empowerment, selected the social justice issue it will concentrate its efforts on in the coming year — affordable housing and homelessness. And it reported on the past year’s continuing efforts to improve mental-health services for those cycling in and out of emergency care and on earlier efforts to reduce juvenile arrests.

“During 36 house meetings, more than 250 people gathered to discuss issues they are facing,” said Pastor Eddie Lake, pastor of New Bethel AME Church in Lakeland and the co-president of PEACE. Among 13 issues raised in the house meetings, three were selected for the assembly to vote on to decide the coming year’s focus: affordable housing and homelessness, crime and adult criminal records/re-entry to society.