Ashes to Go on Ash Wednesday was a meaningful ministry for Pastor Dana and Lita as we literally took the ministry outside on our street. People stopped all through that hour to receive ashes, to pick up prayer cards and ask for prayers. A driver of a mobile van service parked out front hopped off while she waited and asked for ashes and prayers…..
WHAT’S AN ORGANIZING CAMPAIGN AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Venus Jones, our Arts and Culture Organizer, and I took a training with Sacred Heart in December that was full of insight. There are so many issues in front of us, how do we choose an issue focus? We learned that they use these criteria for choosing an organizing campaign. They ask, is it/ does it…
- deeply felt
- widely felt
- create meaningful change
- winnable in a year
- a clear demand
- grow our base
- develop new leaders
We can work hard at speaking out for social justice, but if we don’t create new policies, initiatives and change really broken systems, we are just speaking into air. So having these criteria is such a gift in focusing our actions! Here’s how that works related to campaigns we are connecting with these days….
“TRUST” – WHO YOU GONNA CALL FOR MENTAL HEALTH?
As a nation, we have witnessed repeatedly the challenges of police responses to some 911 calls. Many situations need a mental health response. As a result of the efforts of MH advocates we have a 988 number. But it isn’t working as it should yet, and there is a number with good support by a team called TRUST (Trusted Response Urgent Support Team). Our county won’t publish it now. While we work on making 988 better, this campaign is led by people who want the TRUST number to be public now.
THIS! AND THIRD ACT DAY OF ACTION MARCH 21
Efforts are being joined with already 54 events planned in 20 states. People are moving money out of climate destroying banks and and will take direct action outside of banks in communities all over the country on that day. THIS! gives people support in moving their money and growing the base through climate conversations.
THE PEOPLES’ AGENDA ON HOUSING
Housing advocates came together to create the Peoples’ Agenda asking City Council for three things this year that could abate the growing housing disparities in San Jose:
- right to legal counsel for those facing evictions 2. strengthen the Community Opportunity to Purchase Agreement so that individuals and non-profit organizations have a first option to buy property, which is often swept up by investors and developers 3. end the criminalization of homelessness
The picture below marks the kick-off of this campaign and the presentation of these 3 demands to the City Council
Welcome Venus Jones
Venus Jones , Arts and Culture Organizer, Center for Spirituality, Arts and Activism
Venus is a poet, educator, and social justice advocate. She speaks passionately and poetically about social justice issues and deeply connects with the pillars of our emerging Center – spirituality, arts and activism. She is author of several volumes of poetry including She Rose and Lyrics for Langston. Venus is eager to learn more about community organizing and to work with us to develop new leaders and deeper social justice collaborations at the Center.
One of her favorite quotes is by Alice Walker – “The most common way people give up their power is by believing they don’t have any.”
Pastor Dana’s New Hours
Pastor Dana has expanded her hours from .5 FTE to .75 FTE at Urban Sanctuary. In October, she stepped back from her PT role as Regional Catalyst with the Recovery Café Network, to focus her efforts completely on supporting Urban Sanctuary is this important moment in our congregation’s life. She will work 40 hours a week, 3 weeks per month, then have a week off each month.
THE PEOPLES’ AGENDA ACTION
THE PEOPLES’ AGENDA ACTION
The Peoples’ Agenda Event was held at Urban Sanctuary and San Jose City Council on January 10, 2023
The early experience of what it might mean to be a gathering place for community organizing and art happened in a powerful way on January 10. Sacred Heart’s Housing Action Committee brought 100 people together to ask for three specific action items on housing on the day that new City Council members sworn in.
The people gathered at Urban Sanctuary to hear stories of those most impacted. Fans made through an art project that showed a home and a heart were distributed to open in a silent action in Council Chambers. Together we walked to City Hall and stood in line for some time to get through security. There were so many of us. We had let our community leaders know we would be there. A paper was handed to the Mayor and Council members outlining the action items we will be addressing with them in the months ahead. Then we silently raised our fans and left, singing.