Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bold Justice 2017

As Christians, we're called not just to do charity work, but also to do the justice work necessary so that our societies no longer need charity work.

In Broward county, in South Florida, BOLD Justice, an ecumenical group has been meeting for ten (!) years to demand justice from our local leaders.  Some years we've worked on housing issues, some years dental issues, and so on.  We make real changes.

Each year, we gather together for a Nehemiah action, where we meet with political leaders to present our findings and our wish for change--and a suggestion about what that change should look like.  Last night was our 2017 action.  We talked about getting training for first responders so that those with mental health issues would be treated more humanely--this training has been happening, but we'd like to see the scope increased and widened.  So would the officials in charge.  The issue comes down to, as it so often does, money.

We continued our focus on the best way to care for the elderly.  We've done some work in past years in the area of abuse of nursing home residents.  Now we're working on bringing alternatives to those nursing homes to our area.  We've been advocating for the green house approach, which gives residents much more autonomy.

We also continue to work on the issue of civil citations, an approach to nonviolent, misdemeanor offenses committed by minors.  Our county, Broward, has adopted this approach, but we'd like to see it adopted state-wide, so that minors who commit these offenses aren't bogged down with a criminal record, as it is increasingly difficult to escape that legacy.  So, we didn't need to talk to local officials, but we did all get information on whom to call in Tallahassee, our state capitol.

We had roughly 67 of our church members at the event--and I go to a church where we have 75-100 members at worship on any given Sunday.  That sentence tells me that a majority of our members are committed to justice, and that fact makes me happy.  We're not attending church in the hopes that we get into Heaven or because we need a social outing on a Sunday.  We're trying to transform not just souls, but whole societies.

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