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ISAAC Newsletter September 2015


2015 Issues Convention

Be part of the fun and lively democratic process to choose which three of these local justice issues ISAAC congregations and organizations will work on together for the next two years!

Come to the ISAAC Issues Convention on
Thursday, October 1st @ 7:00pm
Tabernacle COGIC
3210 Virginia Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49004
(off Mt. Olivet or Mosel)

Here are the top six priorities of the residents of core neighborhoods, whom we listened to door-to- door during Porch Patrol in June or at their Neighborhood Association meetings this summer. But we can only work on THREE at a time. Come hear lively presentations to help you decide which three you will vote for!

 Education — Housing — Jobs — Poverty — Racism — Youth Violence

You are welcome to participate whether or not your congregation or organization is a member of ISAAC. Admission is free, but there will be a good will offering to support this work. Come help us build a more just community in Kalamazoo County!

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President – Rev. Matt Weiler

I am mindful of a challenge recently laid before ISAAC to consider what makes us unique these days in the broad landscape of organizations working for social justice and have come to believe that our budding commitment to the deep work of anti-racism is quickly becoming that unique thing. The contents of our Racial Healing and Action service will lead a racially, economically, and religious body of people to a point of confession that our commitment to the work of social justice cannot continue with any degree of integrity until it locates its core firmly in the work of anti-racism. This work will be perhaps some of the most difficult ISAAC has set our minds on to date, and yet it bears the promise of our deepest realization of God’s beloved community.

CharlaeDavis11:14Executive Director – Dr. Charlae Davis

Resident Engagement

What an awesome Summer of Resident Engagement. ISAAC enjoyed being present in our community!

A special thank you to Yolonda Lavender (BACC), Commissioner Stephanie Moore (Mothers of Hope), Steve Walsh (Vine), Cordelia Greer (Douglass), Tammy Taylor (Edison), Mattie Jordan-Woods (NACD), Pat Taylor (Eastside), Laura Lam and Dorla Coleman-Bonner (City of Kalamazoo) for all of your collaboration, support and leadership.

11921844_10206296217258946_3764387706934976440_oRacial Healing Service & Action

In light of the horrendous massacres of people of color due to racism, we felt the need to have an event where our Kalamazoo Community could acknowledge, heal, unite and act.

Community members have been feeling emotions ranging from anger, hopelessness, fear, guilt, sadness and numbness. We want to take our emotions and propel them into positive actions! Thank you to Clergy and Leaders who shared inspirational words and to our Performers.

Kalamazoo is standing united against racism!

If you are interested in individually signing up for training, signing up your congregation/organization or uniting with another congregation/organization, please contact:

YouthViolenceTF8:15Youth Violence Prevention Task Force

Chair: Wendy Flora

The Youth Violence Prevention Task Force had a powerful August meeting with Travontae McFerrin, Venessa Collins-Smith, and Michael Wilder telling their stories of lives lost and found through the power of God. Their experiences led them to dedicate their lives to allowing youth to understand their worth and realize their full potential. Our task force attended a Police/Community Relations Forum at the Douglass and received information from Chief Hadley, Sheriff Fuller and an ACLU representative. We continue to await word on a grant to fund the Group Violence Intervention strategy here in Kalamazoo where ISAAC will help to bring together people within the community to serve as the Moral Voice.

Our monthly meeting is on the 4th Monday of each month at 5:30pm at St. Luke’s Church, 247 West Lovell. Additional September meetings are planned to prepare for the issues convention. Contact Wendy Flora, for more information.

Vote-YES-for-Kids-logoHousing Task Force

Co-chairs: Al Dixon & Tobi Hanna-Davies

More organizations are adding their endorsements every day to the “Kalamazoo County Local Housing Assistance Fund Millage” proposal that will be on the ballot November 3rd! Over 1,200 K-12 students, from all nine school districts in the county, experienced homelessness during the past school year. Imagine what it’s like for these children, when they can’t get a good night’s sleep, don’t have space to do homework, and feel so much stress. The millage, if it passes, will cost just $5/year for the owner of a house valued at $100,000 ($50,000 taxable value), but it will generate nearly $5 million over 6 years! That’s enough to significantly improve the school success of children from at least 600 families.

Could you ask your congregation or organization to endorse too? And could you make a donation to help us reach the voters countywide? See for the list of endorsers, so far, and all the details about how the millage will be implemented.

Early Childhood & K-12 Task ForceEd&EC TF8:15

Chair: Rochelle Habeck

You’re invited to attend the premiere screening of The Raising of America, Tuesday, October 20th, 6:30pm-8:00pm at Chenery Auditorium.

Please come and bring your organization to see this eye- opening film about children’s early health and development and the compelling case for investing in their well-being (and those who raise and care for them).

We’re part of Raising Kalamazoo County, a collaboration of partners to improve conditions for raising all children in healthy, safe, nurturing environments. We support actions that strengthen families and help ALL children achieve their full potential. We’re part of Michigan Power to Thrive (MPTT), a network of County Public Health officials and community organizers addressing social causes of health disparities. Despite gains achieved for this year’s budget, Michigan ranks near the bottom in overall child well-being. Together, we can do better!

Please save the date and plan to come, learn, and take action on October 20.


Rev. Linda MacDonald, Friends of Transit for Kalamazoo County

New Transit Millage Passes: Now What?

Voters in the new Central County urban transit district passed the FIRST millage for scheduled bus service August 4th. The city of Kalamazoo no longer shoulders the scheduled service alone. Our county is Urban – 270,000 residents live within an area that encompasses the cities of Kalamazoo, Parchment, Portage, and the Townships of Kalamazoo, Comstock, and parts of Oshtemo. A few urban areas opted out, but 2 to 1, voters said “Yes” for public transit to include Sundays, later service hours and more frequency. Taking effect summer 2016, now comes significant planning for added service.

Now What? Join & Attend!

Friends of Transit: Thursday, September 3rd (FIRST THURSDAY monthly) at 10:00am at Disability Network at Vine Street /Crosstown Parkway. We voted something new. Follow your vote to make Public Transit GREAT in Kalamazoo County!

Upcoming Important Dates & Info

Issues Convention – October 1, 7:00pm

Tabernacle COGIC, 3210 Virginia Ave 49004

Save Saturday evening, March 12th for the 2016 Banquet!

Mark your 2016 calendar! Save Saturday, March 12th for the ISAAC 2016 Banquet at WMU Bernhard Center Ballrooms. Last March, close to 550 people filled the ballrooms–a record-breaking number. So many people asked for a DVD of Rev. John Welch’s talk, “On the Road to Justice”, that we made DVD copies for the first time! Watch for details about the inspiring speaker and performers for the 2016 Banquet.

Leadership Board Meeting on 2nd Tuesday – All Invited!

Put the SECOND TUESDAY evening on your calendar every month. We need two representatives from every congregation and organization to be at the Leadership Board meeting to guide ISAAC planning and to be the liaison with your own congregation/organization. One clergy and one layperson is ideal, but what works for you is fine. More than two are always welcome!

ISAAC Leadership Board
Second Tuesday every month at 7:00pm
First Congregational Church UCC
345 W. Michigan Ave, at the corner of South Park St.
Kalamazoo 49007