Faith-Based Coalition Works for Social Justice in the Community

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 10:16 am
Heather Paris

Above: Kit Carlson of All Saints Episcopal Church

A faith-based coalition dedicated to eliminating racial and social inequities will meet this week to report on their progress. Action of Greater Lansing (Action) welcomes the public to join them this Thursday, October 20 at their annual Nehemiah Public Assembly. This year, Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, 125 S. Pennsylvania Ave in Lansing will host the meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Registration starts at 6 p.m. 

Action has four task forces, which meet individually throughout the year to address a social justice issue identified by the organization. Some of the areas of inequity assigned a task force include Civil Rights for Immigrants, Children’s Health, and Accessibility. As reports are shared at the Public Assembly, attending public officials may be challenged to take specific action to help address the issues.

The Nehemiah Public Assembly is the culmination of a year’s worth of work to enact change in the community, and this year’s theme is Justice Lights the Way.

Pastor Kit Carlson of East Lansing’s All-Saints Episcopal Church, said she was first contacted by an Action of Greater Lansing organizer in 2007. Carlson had just moved to East Lansing from Maryland, where she had been involved in a similar organization, Action of Montgomery. She was glad to find there was such an organization here to “make positive changes.”

Action is an affiliate of Gamaliel, a nationwide faith-based organization with the mission “to empower ordinary people to effectively participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives.” According to Gamaliel, organizers and lead staff across the network at year’s end found that Gamaliel’s national staff is majority women, and that people of color are about 40 percent of organizers, lead organizers, and directors across the network (56% of organizers across network are women; 26% are women of color).

Pastor Carlson urged the public to attend Thursday’s gathering in order to be informed of the issues, be active audience members, and sign available petitions.

New organizations or congregations are welcome to join Action as well to take part in a task force or take action in another way. Eastminster Presbyterian Church of East Lansing is another local member congregation.

For more information, please see the Facebook page for Action.

[Disclosure: the reporter’s husband is involved in the coalition as a board member and liaison for Red Cedar Friends Meeting in Lansing.]


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