Leadership Council Meeting:
Our Compass for Social Justice
Four times a year, the Leadership Council of ACTS convenes with social justice activists from all over Syracuse. On Tuesday, March 21st at 7:00 p.m. we gather once again at the University United Methodists Church during an ominous time in American politics. With the change of administrations in Washington it is more critical than ever to unite for just causes in our community. ACTS Member Organizations, individual members, Clergy Caucuses, and those affected by the deep-rooted issues in our society should attend this meeting and wield their voice in the presence of the Mayoral candidates for the upcoming election, who will join the meeting. Vito Sciscioli, a longtime Syracuse civic leader, will also attend.
Together we will discuss the 2017 Spring Banquet, our 2017 Communication and ACTS Community Building Strategy, the Consensus Commission and city-county consolidation, and our thematic focus on race, poverty, and power. The biggest responsibility in accomplishing our mission lies with the people, and we need you to attend the ACTS Leadership Council Meeting. Careful planning is our compass for the stormy seas ahead. In preparation for Tuesday, we have compiled some background information for you to read on each of these topics.
ACTS 2017 Spring Banquet
The ACTS Spring Banquet is an opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate the work done over the previous year. More importantly, it is a time to discover our purpose and renew our commitments for the years ahead. The ACTS 2017 Spring Banquet will be on April 25th, from 6-9 p.m. at the Drumlins Country Club. Our keynote speaker is Kathryn Howe Ruscitto, the President and Chief Executive of St. Joseph’s Health. She will focus on the theme of using our power as citizens, and the financial power of an institution, to democratically transform a community for the better.
Communication and ACTS Community Building Strategy
ACTS is a coalition of 25 Member Organizations, all of which are vital in our strategy to transform Syracuse. Like any community, ACTS is one that will fail or succeed on its communication. The written and spoken word, media, and the transformative power of digital mediums play an ever-important role in today’s society. Moving forward, we will utilize these tools to strengthen the bonds between all 25 member organizations and the Syracuse community beyond. A feature of this renewed strategy is the “Beloved Syracuse Beacon” newsletter, which you are reading now. We also plan to do exciting things with social media, in order to drive participation at events and rallies. Finally, we are taking a greater responsibility in educating people about the ACTS Community and its key efforts.
Consensus Commission and City-County Consolidation
The Consensus Commission is a unique and controversial proposal that aims to reorganize the outdated civic institutions of Onondaga County. Among other things, The Consensus Commission would combine the governmental bodies of Syracuse and the rural countryside. This would mean a unified Onondaga County government of one elected official and a 33-person Legislature. One could also expect institutions as far ranging as law enforcement and infrastructure to be combined. Some say it would save Onondaga County 33 million dollars per year. Others, like Mayor Stephanie Minor, warn that Consensus could “doom Syracuse to eternal poverty.” It is an important question for ACTS to take a stand on, and our Leadership Council Meeting may decide which position we align to. For more information on The Consensus Commission, click here. Or, head to the Consensus Commission official webpage for direct information.
Race, Power, and Poverty
Gamaliel, our parent organization, has identified three themes in its national campaign: race, poverty, and power. The ACTS Task Forces have worked within these themes over the past year and will continue to do so. Featured work in progress includes the ending of Youth Solitary Confinement, expanding cost-free Pre-K transportation, the introduction of an “Alternatives to Violence Program,” and cooperation with the “Raise the Age” campaign. To combat injustices such as concentrated poverty and Mass Criminalization we must support such campaigns.
For more information on “Raise the Age,” and Mass Criminalization:
For more information on the "Alternatives to Violence Project" (AVP):
The world of social justice advocacy is a vast ocean of challenges. We all want to jump to our ships right away and discover a truly equitable society. But, explorers who set off to sea without proper navigation will end up lost. Unorganized action, no matter how passionately done, may lead us back out to sea. Syracuse lies within this ocean, where it is easy to forget proper planning and lose our direction within the inundating tides of change. We must bring a compass
on our voyage. The dialogue and planning at the Leadership Council Meetings will point north, toward the fundamental mission of ACTS: to empower our community on the values of human worth, dignity, and justice and to dismantle structural racism and poverty forever.
Together we will build what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the “Beloved Community,” a sanctuary of justice, equity, and solidarity.