Racism, early childhood education, and youth violence prevention are the three issues chosen Thursday evening for the 24 congregations and organizations in ISAAC to work on together for the next two years.
After six issue presentations, including also housing, poverty and jobs, the 150 people present voted for the one issue most compelling to them by going to one of the issues posters on the walls of the sanctuary at Tabernacle Church, 3210 Virginia Ave. in Kalamazoo.
“Racism has its nasty head in every issue,” said the Rev. Jo Ann Mundy in the presentation given by ERACCE (Eliminating Racism and Claiming/Celebrating Equality.)
“Change the first five years and you change everything,” was the message of the Early Childhood Education presentation led by Regena Nelson, professor and chair of the WMU Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Studies.
“Abandoned at birth by a father who didn’t want me. Visions of my mother being beaten still haunt me. But I broke my mother’s heart. I was delinquent. It was frequent,” said Michael Wilder, reciting his own story and calling for youth violence prevention.
A new task force was formed on each of the three issues chosen.
ISAAC President Pastor Matt Weiler invited everyone to join one of the new task forces. Their work is to interview people with expertise on the issue — from elected officials and other community leaders to those most impacted by injustices — to learn about policy changes that would address the issue and to build partnerships to adopt those policies.
Dr. Charlae Davis, executive director of ISAAC, delivered the call to action.
“As Zechariah 7:9-10 teaches us, ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor.’ Now is the time for us to act. You are going to be used to administer true justice.”
ISAAC (Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy & Action in the Community) is an interfaith community organizing network of congregations and organizations working together to build a more just community.
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