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Listen to an Interview with ACTS Lead Organizer Rev. Linda Briggs to learn about ACTS History, What ACTS is Doing Now, and What to Expect from ACTS in the coming year!
Episode 2. of University United Methodist Church's Podcast Series -- Conversations with Pastor Alicia
Dear Faith & Social Justice Leader YES WE MEAN YOU ! In a true social justice movement we are all leaders.
We believe you are concerned about injustices in your community and that you want to make a difference. ACTS is a local grassroots interfaith network that seeks to address systems of oppression and exclusion and make real local change. We are committed to being a moral voice in difficult community decisions, increasing the power of previously marginalized voices, and drawing on the moral potential in communities of faith together with persons of moral courage. We want to develop leaders who speak strongly for themselves and their community, who tell the truths some may not wish to hear, and who believe in working for the common good in partnership with allies and friends. We know that this fundamentally requires us to confront racism, challenge white privilege, and defeat white supremacy in ourselves and in the power structures of our community. This work is not easy, but it is NECESSARY.
ACTS’ diligent work over the past several years has led to significant strides in these areas:
Ending solitary confinement of youth in Onondaga County and ensuring that youth are no longer housed at the Onondaga County Correctional Facility in Jamesville, NY
Identifying food deserts in the city of Syracuse and returning full service grocery stores to neighborhoods
Enrolling eligible children in health insurance – As a result of our efforts, 8,000 kids were added to Child Health Plus & Medicaid
Creating more Pre-Kindergarten classroom opportunities. Our efforts resulted in more slots are being opened for some 500 unserved city children annually and more than 275 new seats were opened for 4 year olds
Pushing for a “Ban the Box" ordinance for the City of Syracuse – Formerly incarcerated people now have a chance to be considered for jobs in local government.
Supporting grassroots efforts to interrupt community violence. Our Community Violence & Youth Task Force provided support for the development of OG's Against Gun Violence, which is now an independent 501(c)(3) organization.
We pursue our work through task forces and coalitions that focus on local issues of concern identified by the ACTS network. We offer training in how to make connections and building relationships, identify issues and build momentum for change. Currently, ACTS is affiliated with the national Faith in Action Network. Over 60 people in our local network are in the middle of a training cycle led by Faith in Action. We hope to initiate another training cycle again in 2022. At the end of the current training cycle ACTS will take steps to identify the issues we will work on next.
Meanwhile our other work continues. Our Youth Council is focused on creating college and career readiness centers in Syracuse public high schools. ACTS coordinates the Moving People Coalition, which plays a significant role in local transportation issues, especially with the looming construction of a new urban corridor to replace I-81. ACTS staff and activists are also involved in addressing community violence and pushing for meaningful employment for people who previously experienced incarceration. We also lead the Race Matters book discussion group in which a group of 30-40 people consider the messages and lessons in thought provoking fiction and non-fiction that involves issues of race and the treatment of racial minorities in society.
In the past, ACTS task forces focused on areas such as Equity in Education, Criminal Justice & Policing, Transporta- tion, Juvenile Violence and Crime. Currently we are talking about how we might have impact on issues such as access to affordable housing, displacement and gentrification, hunger and urban food deserts, gun violence, and access to healthcare.
STAY TUNED TO SEE WHAT WE CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON IN 2022 AND HOW WE NARROW OUR GOALS DOWN TO MORE SPECIFIC WINABLE OBJECTIVES. PICK YOUR ISSUE AND TIME AND JOIN US TO BUILD COMMUNITY VOICE AND POWER. For more information or to get involved, please e-mail us at email@example.com or call the office at (315) 416 - 6363.
Rev. Eric Jackson Rev. Linda Briggs
ACTS Board President Lead Organizer