Two Pinellas School Board members split on FAST questions

March 19, 2018. TBO.com

ST. PETERSBURG — A crowd of 3,000 peered down Monday evening on two Pinellas County School Board members faced with two questions regarding discipline and school data.

Will they advocate for a specific restorative practice program, different from the one the school district contracts now? And will they advocate for publishing quarterly reports detailing suspensions, arrests and reading scores broken down by school and race?

After two roundabout answers, a hand-drawn tally reflected the results: Two “yes” answers for Joanne Lentino; two “no” answers for Linda Lerner.

CAJM Moving Past Its Successes Onto Affordable Housing In 2018

February 16, 2018. The Charleston Chronicle. 

Charleston Area Justice Ministry President Rev. Charles Heyward thinks the network of faith-based congregations ended 2017 on a high note, though there were some disappointments. Currently some 28 congregations are members of the organization formed in 2011 to address social justice issues. Its first initiative in 2012 was to address Schools/Education and Crime/Violence.  Each year since CAJM successfully has challenged issues that include wage inequity and police bias. Last November members voted to address affordable housing and gentrification in 2018.

Bullying, restorative justice, equity work among issues discussed at school district’s Community Conversation

December 14, 2017. Lawrence Journal-World.

Around 50 people filled the Lawrence Public Library’s auditorium Thursday night for a public discussion on challenges facing the Lawrence school system.

The Community Conversation took place nearly a year after the district hosted its first event, which came after a tumultuous semester dominated by talk of racial equity and drew hundreds to Lawrence High School’s cafeteria. Race and other overarching equity issues were once again the focus Thursday night, along with concerns ranging from bullying and mental health services to curriculum and limited classroom resources.

Justice Knox Follows Micah’s Directive To Be Community Organizer

November 22, 2017. Patch.com

KNOXVILLE, TN — They call themselves Justice Knox. They live by Micah’s words: “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly.” They are the parishioners of 20 Knoxville churches–black and white, rich and poor–who have come together to speak directly to local government officials about how they believe problems in the community should be addressed.

The issues they speak about are selected by asking each other to identify the most important problems and then doing in-depth research as to what solutions should be recommended. Working on an academic year calendar, last April they asked law enforcement to look at how they dealt with the mentally ill and the school system to commit to how it dealt with students who had behavioral problems.

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.