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

Last October, Tuấn ĐinhJanelle from PACT (People Acting in Community Together) gave a sermon on community organizing. 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.

On a smaller scale there has been organizing to get better crosswalks in a neighborhood. 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

Here is the crux of 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.

PROGRESS UPDATE from CAL

The St. Thomas Peace & Justice group is happy to report that, working together with PACT, they participated in a successful effort to halt the deportation of Duc Nguyen, a Vietnamese man who was brought to this country as a 12-year-old. In the 15 years since a brief juvenile incarceration, Nguyen has married, and contributes to his community, as well as caring for his daughter and a special needs stepson. A full description of the successful demonstration is in the December issue of Beyond A Doubt.

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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