Peace & Justice = Community Outreach to Silicon Valley

PEACE & JUSTICE COMMITTEE

The Peace and Justice Committee is a key component of St Thomas’ outreach to support the Silicon Valley community.

Founded upon Our Baptismal Covenant (BCP – Book of Common Prayer, Page 305), which calls us to this work:
Celebrant: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?
People: I will, with God’s help.

Community Issues

There are many issues confronting people in Silicon Valley that need addressing: housing, immigration, education, and police accountability. Additionally, we are confronted with environmental issues such as global warming and pollution that affect so many.

COMMUNITY ORGANIZING – MOBILIZE FOR CHANGE

Community organizing for public ministry is a proven way to affect change. Some examples are the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and civil rights.

Organizing on a smaller scale may involve how to get better crosswalks in a neighborhood or increasing safety for cyclists. Community organizing works because many people get involved in action to change. It mobilizes the people most affected by an issue to take charge of getting the change to occur.

THE CRUX OF IT

What community organizing entails:

First – Relationships
It depends greatly on relationships with between individuals, team members, allies and others who can help.

Second – Details
To address any issue, we need to know details to understand its complexities.

Third – Leaders from Those Most Affected
Our job as organizers is to help the people who are most affected by an issue to select leaders from their own group. Then we help those leaders get their people to cause change.

The people most affected by an issue have the most passion and stories about how the issue is affecting them.

Stories are very important because they are powerful tools in getting decision-makers on the right side of an issue.

SOME OF THE STEPS WE’RE TAKING

Contacting allies and building relationships
Training committee members on the principles of organizing.

WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW

The next step for the peace and justice committee is to reach out to folks who are having difficulties right now with Covid-19, the economic virtual collapse and the state of racism in our country. We will do this by contacting folks by phone. This is called phone banking because we will have a bank of phone numbers of folks who are believed to be having difficulties right now.

We will be working with People Acting in Community Together (PACT https://www.pactsj.org ) as we have in the past. The purpose is to understand what’s happening with people who are hurting right now and what they think would help.

We and PACT will use that information to help decide on next steps. Many times just knowing someone else cares is a help.

A couple of weeks ago, we began with a course on phone banking from Christopher Logan of PACT. Watch for updates here for additional course offerings…

Last week we supported PACT (People Acting in Community Together) by making phone calls to voters to hear their stories about issues and concerns that they have. Each of the callers was given a list of 15 -20 numbers to call.

We found that it was very difficult to get folks to answer their phones so, we had very few conversations.

This week we each got another list of names to call.

RECENT VICTORIES
One out of ten workers in California is undocumented, and their labor has largely fallen into work deemed “essential” throughout the pandemic—inagriculture, food distribution and service, elder care and child care among other occupations. They pay billions in local and state taxes, and they contribute over 180 billion dollars to our California economy. And they have been ruthlessly left out of federal relief even though they pay federal income taxes.
 
On May 5, 2020, over 1,200 California IAF leaders convened on Zoom, along with 10 Bishops (including Bishop Lucinda of El Camino Real) and 9 state legislators to press Governor Newsom to expand the Cal EITC. More than 1,000 faith and community leaders signed on to a letter in support of the expansion, and in the thick of budget negotiations organized hundreds of leaders to send letters to the Governor and to the top leadership of the senate and assembly. St. Thomas parishioner Cal C. was also a participant in this meeting and called Gov. Newsom and local assembly and senate members urging this legislation be passed.
INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING/LEARNING MORE?

If you are interested in participating or learning more, please Contact Pastor Salying.

GOOD TOPICAL READS

Stand Up! by Gordon Whitman

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