Know Your ABCs

April 12, 2019. Richmondmag.

Sitting inside an empty classroom near the front office, members of the faith-based coalition Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities (RISC) are listening to the Woodville Elementary School morning announcements with Richmond Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Tracy Epp.

“I am somebody. I am proud of myself, and I will act in a way to make others proud of me, too,” Principal Shannon Washington says over the intercom. Within minutes, the second-year principal darts in to greet about a dozen RISC Education Team members who are visiting on this December morning to observe a pilot program called Reading Mastery that debuted at six elementary and two middle schools this past fall. The group pushed for a “proven reading curriculum” for academically struggling schools such as Woodville, where only about a third of students were reading on grade level last year.

Thousands of people plan St. Petersburg rally on lack of affordable housing funds

April 8, 2019. WTSP.COM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Thousands of people are planning to hold a rally because they’re upset about the lack of spending on affordable housing in St. Petersburg.

Around 3,000 people are expected to gather around 7 p.m. Monday at Tropicana Field.

The group, Faith and Action for Strength Together (F.A.S.T.), is upset Mayor Rick Kriseman doesn’t plan on spending $15 million for affordable housing until 2023, according to a news release from Ephiphany Summers. They hope to put pressure on Kriseman to begin spending on affordable housing using Penny for Pinellas funds as soon as next year. The group hopes city leaders find another way to pay for and make affordable housing a priority.

Jacksonville Faith Community To Push City Leaders On Criminal Justice Reform

April 1, 2019. WJCT.

People from more than 38 Duval County religious congregations are expected to come together Monday night to push city officials on criminal justice reform at the Sheriff’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office and in public schools.

The Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment (ICARE) will be hosting what they call a Nehemiah Assembly Monday night, April 1, at the Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church, 10325 Interstate Center Dr., from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to address transparency at JSO and the State Attorney’s Office as well as discipline at Duval County schools.

Seidman: Answering to the common folk

March 31, 2019. The Palm Beach Post.

SURE’s annual Nehemiah Action Assembly is a cross between church social and trip to the principal’s office. The buzz of affable neighborliness within the packed crowd gathered at the Municipal Auditorium last week floated atop an undercurrent of steely resolve.

Each year the members of Sarasota United for Responsibility and Equity (SURE) — a group of 19 area churches working collaboratively to build a more “God-like” community — congregate for this come-to-Jesus meeting, named for the Biblical figure instrumental in the rebuilding of Jerusalem in the fifth century B.C. following the Babylonian exile.

Restorative justice events planned to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

January 19, 2019. Lawrence Journal-World.

Ben MacConnell understands the dangers of attaching opinions on a modern issue to someone who can’t speak for himself, but he believes Martin Luther King Jr. would be a strong proponent of criminal justice reform.

“Given the billions of dollars we’re spending on jails and prisons, and the fact that more people of color are incarcerated than there were slaves at the height of slavery, he would be looking at this and, I think, want to spend a lot of time focused on it,” MacConnell said.