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
Train committee members on the principles of organizing.

LAST GATHERING

PACT held a gathering at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church with members of our local community on Wednesday July 23. The roughly 50 attendees were a diverse gathering of people from different congregations, organizations and backgrounds. The gathering was the second in a series of training sessions to help us organize to change our local community for the common good. At this gathering we focused on how one person was able to help build an organization that caused changes for improved housing in San Jose.

The community organizing group PACT will hold another gathering with our local community members in August.

The purpose of the gathering will be:
• Engage community members in organizing for economic and social justice
• Prepare participants to begin organizing through sharing and listening to stories about struggles in our community
• Prepare people to move into action, e.g. voter engagement work in August-November

Please join us at on August 22nd. You are encouraged to come even if you missed the previous sessions.

UPCOMING MEETING VENUE

Wednesday August 22: 6:30-8:00PM
Church of the Resurrection
725 Cascade Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?

If you are interested in participating, please contact Vestry Chairperson Cal Cornwell or Contact Pastor Salying.

GOOD TOPICAL READS

Stand Up! by Gordon Whitman

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