Lee County group holding action meeting in hopes to keep kids out of jail

March 20, 2018. ABC 7.

Up to 1,000 people are expected to pack the pews at St. Columbkille Catholic Church Tuesday night for the Seventh Annual Nehemiah Action meeting.

The goal of the meeting is for citizens to confront the county commission and police chiefs from Cape Coral and Fort Myers about keeping children who make minor mistakes out of the criminal justice system.

One local man will share his son’s story. The boy could have been arrested for bringing a toy gun to school, but instead had the opportunity to take part in a diversionary program. Because of that, he was able to go on to play football and graduate.

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.

Group pushes for more Tampa Bay affordable housing

March 19, 2018. ABC Action News.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Monday night, 3,000 people plan to pack Tropicana Field to make their voices heard. The organization, FAST (Faith and Action for Strength Together) is drawing attention to the need for more affordable housing in Pinellas County.

1,600 people are on a waiting list for affordable housing in Pinellas County and the problem is multiplying as rent continues to rise across Tampa Bay.

Janice Olson is constantly worried. She’s just one lot rent raise away from becoming homeless.

Here’s a movement to stop gun violence in our own backyard

March 16, 2018. The Miami Herald.

The issue of guns has filled our thoughts, prayers, conversations, and debates.

With over 680 people shot in Miami-Dade in 2016 and the unwavering average of 200 people shot and killed each year since 2011 in our community, there is a crisis that begs for intervention.

A year ago, members from People Acting for Community Together (PACT) asked the Miami-Dade, Miami and Miami Gardens police to seriously research three gun violence intervention program and choose one for implementation.

We are proud of our police departments for doing just that. They chose: John Jay College’s Group Violence Intervention program (GVI).

Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz pledges support for social justice group’s homeless-family initiative

March 14, 2018. The Lakeland Ledger.

LAKELAND – Fourteen hundred church congregants cheered when Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz said he would meet their demands to develop housing for homeless children and families in Polk County.

Mutz was the only government official who attended the Polk Ecumenical Action Council for Empowerment’s 18th annual event Monday night. The social justice group was seeking commitments from eight officials on three goals: housing for homeless children, funding for two mental health teams to serve seriously ill children and adults, and continued diversion of children from the court system.

The Nehemiah Action night was held at Resurrection Catholic Church and involved members of 18 churches from Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow and Lake Wales.