Brevard County


Brevard Righteously Igniting Good Hope Today


What is BRIGHT?

In 2020, BRIGHT (Brevard Righteously Igniting Good Hope Today) was started by local congregations to help everyday people build the power necessary to confront injustice in Brevard County, Florida.

While our congregations differ in terms of theology, race, socio-economic status, and location, we are united in our Biblical call to do justice. Unlike direct service agencies or mercy ministries, BRIGHT does not work to address the immediate needs of individuals. Instead, BRIGHT is a direct action organization made up of justice ministries that work together to address the root cause of community problems by using the power of organized people to hold public leaders accountable for fair and just policy.

Current Membership

  • Suntree United Methodist Church
  • Truth Revealed International Ministry
  • Grace United Methodist Church
  • Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church
  • Greater Mt. Olive AME Church
  • Christ the King Baptist Church
  • Greater Allen Chapel AME Church

About Brevard Justice Ministry


Lead Organizer: Brittany Pendergrass
Associate Organizer: Caitlin White


(321) 242-2585 ext. 1137

What we do

Our Work

Currently, BRIGHT is building power to fight for justice on two issue areas: affordable housing and increasing reading achievement.

Affordable Housing

Since 2021, BRIGHT has been working to address the affordable housing crisis, meeting with public officials, service providers, and local and national experts to learn about the issue and potential solutions. Our member congregations and local nonprofits are doing all that they can to help those who are struggling to pay rent and utilities. Some even build new affordable homes. However, this isn’t enough to make a dent in this systemic problem.

Our community knows that we have an urgent affordable housing crisis, and often the most vulnerable are renters, who typically have lower household incomes and whose costs can skyrocket with annual rent increases. 25% of all renter households, more than 13,000 families, are paying more than half their income on rent, which means making trade offs like paying for rent rather than for medical care and groceries. Homelessness in our community has become so rampant that there is even a school bus stop at a local park where children are living in the woods.

BRIGHT has helped bring the conversation about affordable housing to the forefront over the past few years. In that time, Brevard County has created an affordable housing trust fund, a pool of money used for the creation, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing. This is an important first step, however they have not yet property funded this resource. That is why BRIGHT is calling on our county commissioners to fully fund our trust fund with $10 million each year.

The county spends tens of millions of dollars to restore beaches for the benefit of tourists. However, the county has to date not financially prioritized affordable housing for the people who work directly in tourism and other low-wage essential work. Not prioritizing the housing crisis hurts hard-working families.

The HUD Median Income for a family of four was $89,600. An affordable housing trust fund serving those from 30% to 60% of the average median income would be accessible for families making roughly $26,880 to $53,760. These are seniors on fixed incomes and working people with jobs in the service and tourism industries, healthcare, and city services; they are even teachers and first responders!

Like air to breathe and food to eat, shelter is a basic human need. All children deserve a roof over their head and a safe place to live. We believe that Brevard County would be a better place to live if everyone could afford stable housing. We have a vision for a community where children play in the park instead of living there. When families have a safe place to sleep, their children can thrive in school. With dependable housing, seniors can thrive in their golden years. We need policies that ensure housing is within reach for everyone!

Reading Achievement

There are serious problems with reading achievement in Brevard County Public Schools. The third-grade language arts exam is considered a “gatekeeper” state-mandated test because it is a deciding factor regarding whether students can move on to the fourth grade. Last year, 44% of children could not pass this important state reading test, and over 2,000 third graders were at risk of being held back. This is up from 42% just the year before!

This is an alarming problem because children who cannot read by third grade face significant hardships in their education. They are four times less likely to graduate high school. For children living in poverty, the long term impact of lower reading achievement is even worse. Low-income children not reading by third grade are 13 times less likely to graduate from high school. Our kids deserve a better, brighter future!

Since BRIGHT began studying reading achievement in 2022, we have learned that reading is a skill that has to be taught. However, this is not a teacher problem. Our teachers are dedicated, hardworking, and committed.

BRIGHT’s education committee has met with public school officials and national experts in this field to better understand how people learn to read, why some have difficulty, and how we can more effectively assess and teach reading. In this process, BRIGHT learned about the science of reading, a growing body of research spanning over five decades which determines methods that best help children learn to read.

Our education committee began to look at Brevard’s own reading instruction curriculum and found that it does not fully align with the science of reading. Some reading curriculum is based on the “3 Cueing Strategy” and utilizes balanced literacy. The science of reading has widely debunked the 3 cueing strategy showing it to be less effective in teaching children to read. Evidence-based instruction that utilizes the science of reading has been proven to be more effective.

One example of the success of this kind of curriculum comes from the state of Mississippi. Called the “Mississippi Miracle”, a Mississippi statewide initiative has been in place over the past ten years that has significantly raised reading achievement. The “Mississippi Miracle” organized the entire education department to focus on implementing literacy standards backed by the science of reading. Holly Korbey, a reading researcher and journalist, examined this initiative and found that Mississippi’s statewide fourth-grade reading scores rose by ten points. Between 2013 and 2019, the state showed more growth in reading than any other state, and Mississippi was one of the few states whose reading scores bounced back in 2022 after prolonged Covid school closures. The same success is possible in Brevard County!

At our 2023 Nehemiah Action Assembly, we won commitments from three school board members to hire a School Superintendent who supports science of reading backed curriculum and to meet with BRIGHT regularly to ensure we are making progress on this issue.

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