Summit on the Intersection of Criminalization and Race

Posted by on April 21, 2014

Interfaith Organizing Initiative
Summit on the Intersection of Criminalization and Race

Thursday May 8 (5 pm) through Friday May 9 (3 pm), 2014
ELCA Lutheran Center, Chicago IL

Dear colleagues,

Please mark your calendar for May 8-9 to meet together at the ELCA Lutheran Center, near Chicago’s O’Hare airport to explore developing abroad and coordinated faith-based organizing initiative to address the
criminalization of race in our nation and its devastating effects on our communities.

We’ve listened, and heard that the intersection of criminalization and race is of deep concern, interest and involvement for the member institutions of the Interfaith Organizing Initiative (IOI). Denominations are using Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow as a tool for study and action, and advocacy.  Organizing networks are tackling criminal justice policies at local and national levels.  Funders are looking seriously at
criminal justice reform efforts.

We’ve learned that with much work going on, there is a hunger for information, connections, and shared strategies.  And at the forefront of this movement are formerly incarcerated people – whose voices we must hear.

Building on our ten-year track record of building relationships and convening important denominational, funder and organizing partners on pressing issues, we believe that the IOI has a role to play in building
this emerging movement. One of our founding members, Center for Community Change, is able to provide expanded capacity for this effort, with seminarian and long-time organizer Charlene Sinclair, Director of the Center for Race, Religion and Economic Democracy working with our IOI leadership and our administrator Kathy Partridge to bring this all together.

This convening will be an opportunity for faith communities and front line organizing efforts to together:

·        Discuss strategies and identify gaps and opportunities.

·        Participate in panels that will examine the theological grounding for our efforts and dig into the accumulated practice of our advocacy and organizing efforts.

·        Engage in power analysis and strategy sessions that will help us determine collective steps for building a broad faith-based movement.

·        Build a curated on-line clearinghouse that will be created from this summit.

This is the first time, (and will not be the last!), that such a broad group from the faith community and organizing world are being brought together to build on the tremendous momentum to address this crisis.

Will you join us for this important conversation?  Please consider who within your institution should be in the conversation and bring them with you.  We especially ask that denominations and networks include a
grassroots leader (pastor, lay leader and/or formerly incarcerated person or family) to keep our conversation “on the ground.”  If travel costs are an obstacle, we plan to offer scholarships so please ask.

The meeting will take place at the ELCA Lutheran Center, 8765 W. Higgins Rd, near O’Hare airport (and the Cumberland metro stop). We are arranging for a group rate at the adjacent Chicago Marriott Hotel.  We’ll email you logistical details when you RSVP.

Please RSVP to [email protected] that you and your colleague will attend.
For more information, you may email or call Kathy Partridge at [email protected]; 720-494-9011.

Yours in our shared work for peace with justice,

Charlene Sinclair & Kathy Partridge on behalf of the IOI Leadership Team:

Rev. April Johnson (Disciples of Christ), Rev. Charles Mock (National Baptist Convention), and Susan Leslie (Unitarian Universalist Association)

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