Franciscans and the Franciscan-hearted are called to be the voice for those in need because that idea was at the heart of St. Francis’ example. Advocating for people often thought of as the voiceless is a primary way to live out the Gospel, especially as Franciscans. More and more Holy Name Province ministries are living out this call through a powerful means: community organizing. The approach works to get those most directly affected by an issue working together with allies to bring about change. This excellent tool gives people who usually don’t feel empowered the means to effect change from a grassroots level.
The JPIC Office hopes that more HNP ministries join community organizations or use the tools of community organizing in their JPIC efforts. For help or advice to this end, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-680-2200. Below are some of the community relationships already forged in HNP ministries.
To add to the list, contact Fran Eskin-Royer in Holy Name Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
CAMDEN CHURCHES ORGANIZED FOR PEOPLE (CCOP)
Parishioners and staff are part of bi-weekly meetings of CCOP
, an organization that motivates members of the city community to hold government officials accountable to help Camden become a beautiful and safe place to live.
Children at St. Anthony of Padua School engaged in the work and focused on a local park, leading to the development of Student Leaders’ Von Nieda Park Task Force; the kids meet weekly to prepare for monthly meetings with government officials. On July 13, 2012, members of the task force visited Washington, DC and gave a presentation to the Dept. of Health and Human Services and toured the U.S. Institute of Peace. To learn more, visit the parish website. In addition, the parish’s local CCOP committee has focused on the Abandoned Properties Act. As a result, beginning in Sept. 2012, 18 local abandoned properties will be up for sale or renovated.
CONGREGATIONS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
The parish is part of this ecumenical group. Congregations for Social Justice is a coalition of faith communities committed to advocating for public policies that create a better Raleigh for all people; working for social justice in solidarity with our most vulnerable neighbors; and building a sustainable, diverse network of relationships across our faith communities and with other partners. For a brief history of the group, visit this link
Through its affiliation with Durham CAN
, the parish works with a diverse group of area community leaders from different religious, denominational and ethnic backgrounds to identify neighborhood and citywide issues and to develop area support and implement solutions.
The NC Latino Coalition
(NCLC) is a broad based, multi-issue coalition of grassroots Latino congregations, neighborhood associations, unions, community centers and sports associations dedicated to building relational power among immigrants in North Carolina. The coalition seeks to strengthen the leadership, voice and participation of immigrants in local, statewide and federal issues. NCLC leaders use relational community organizing and direct action as its main strategy.
SIENA COLLEGE’S ANNUAL COMMUNITY FORUM
The event brings together non-profit professionals, faculty, students, K-12 administration and community members to discuss issues that impact youth in New York’s Capital Region. The gathering is hosted by Siena’s Office of Academic Community Engagement. Newly elected Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan spoke at the inaugural event in 2014. “I believe today’s discussion of ‘Youth as an Untapped Resource’ is an important one, “Sheehan said. “Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, and their choices will shape the development of our city, country and world. As my administration moves into a turning point in Albany’s history, I urge young people to make their ideas heard and be the engine of our progress.” At the 2014 event, participants in the day-long series of workshops discussed a host of critical issues, including financial literacy, common core, Latino and Latina youth, volunteerism in hunger and homelessness, healthy lives and bullying. “The ultimate goal of the day is to have participants brainstorm action plans about how they can increase student engagement, leadership and empowerment through streamlining services and programs or creating new partnerships and opportunities,” said Office of Academic Community Engagement Associate Director and 2014 Community Forum Coordinator Yalitza Negron. The 2015 forum date is February 11, 2015. For an article about the 2014 forum, click here
Contact: Ruth Kassel, Ph.D.
, 2015 Community Forum Coordinator and Office of Academic Community Engagement Assistant Director
SOUTHEASTERN PENN. BUDGET COALITION
St. Francis Inn Ministries’ Urban Center is a member of Southeastern Penn. Budget Coalition, which was formed to address the Pennsylvania state budget. The group is dedicated to ensuring that public officials pass a budget that provides adequate support to vulnerable populations.
VIRGINIA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE (VCC)
Virginia Catholic Conference
is the public policy advocacy organization representing the Dioceses of Richmond and Arlington on matters before the Virginia General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, and the state and federal administrations and their agencies. The Conference advocates for respect life, social justice, and family life and education initiatives. St. Francis of Assisi Parish participates in its annual Catholic Advocacy Day in Richmond, as well as in many of the Conference’s initiatives and efforts.
VIRGINIANS ORGANIZED FOR INTERFAITH COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (VOICE)
Founded in 2008, VOICE
is a non-partisan coalition of almost 50 Northern Virginia faith communities and civic organizations working together in middle and low-income areas of the state. VOICE organizes in Prince William, Fairfax, and Arlington counties, as well as in the City of Alexandria. The independent organization unites people across lines of race, class, religion, political party, and geography to take action on key community issues, including, but not limited to, affordable housing, access to health and dental care, and immigration. St. Francis of Assisi Parish has participated in VOICE since its inception, and is one of the founding member congregations.