Skip to main content
Back to News →
Get Inspired to Change the Narrative
Unacceptable Fact of the Month:
Only 17.7 percent of unemployed Indiana workers received unemployment insurance benefits in 2019, for a ranking of 40th in the nation. In New Jersey, the No. 1 state for unemployment insurance, 57.2% of the unemployed receive benefits.

As we pursue lasting solutions to poverty, how much attention do we give to the intersection of race and economic mobility?

Our Faith & Action Grant recipients remind us that that there are no singular solutions to the complexities of poverty. At the same time, they emphasize the difference we could make if we address institutional and structural racism and acknowledge our shared humanity. Which begs the question, what would that look like?

If we adhere to the wisdom of recent Faith & Action Spring Event speaker Nisha Patel, it would look like a community of people examining their worldviews and putting new perspectives into action.

“The narratives we use to make sense of the world shape our attitudes and ultimately the policies we devise and endorse,” said our recent Faith & Action Spring Event speaker, Nisha Patel. “We must dispel myths about poverty that dehumanize people in poverty, expose structural forces that contribute to poverty, and partner with nontraditional allies who can help reshape the narrative.” (Learn more about changing the narrative here.)

What steps would your congregation, nonprofit or business be willing to take to transform the narrative in your neighborhood and community? How could you and those around you better understand how systemic racial bias contributes to poverty, and how it can be undone?

To address such questions, the Faith & Action project has created a discussion guide for the HBO documentary True Justice. An examination of author Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, the Emmy Award-winning documentary puts a spotlight on poverty, racism and incarceration. It is our hope that the film will spark conversations that lead to advocacy and action while also preparing our Indianapolis audience for Bryan Stevenson’s appearance in October at the Faith & Action Fall Event.

Faith groups that would like to host a viewing of the documentary and a series of discussion sessions can apply for a $200 stipend through Faith & Action. See below for more information, or click here for an application.

At CTS, we believe faith and community leaders are most effective when their visions, decisions and actions are guided by the merciful expectation that what is available to some, should be available to all, and we are confident that God’s transformation of our world will come only when those with resources and power advocate for justice for those at the margins. The road to that day will be long and difficult, but we must never lose hope. If we are willing to change the narrative around poverty, we can change the world for those who live with it every day.

Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Director, Faith & Action Project



Talk About a Better World

Sometimes faith communities, study groups and others would like to have conversations about poverty, but they’re not sure where to start. A video series and discussion guide featuring our 2020 Faith & Action Grant recipients can help. Built around video conversations with people who have faced poverty in our city, this guide addresses issues such as community re-entry after incarceration, the need for mentors for young Black males and the connections between schools and the community. With conversation starters, questions for discussion and facts for context, the guide encourages conversations about the barriers hindering those battling poverty, some pathways to success and ways that organizations can get involved. To learn more, click here for the guide and here for the video.



Support for True Justice Discussions

Is your group or organization interested in providing a forum for meaningful discussions of race, justice and poverty? Apply for a $200 stipend to support the screening of and group discussions surrounding the HBO documentary True Justice. CTS will provide a customized Discussion Guide created by Michael Twyman, who works relentlessly to drive more equitable outcomes for Indianapolis’ marginalized populations, and will help groups prepare for a powerful discussion series. To learn more or apply for a grant, click here.



Lessons Learned, Lessons Shared

When you have the opportunity to hear from a national advocate for economic justice and from people who have experienced poverty in your own city, you can learn a lot. CTS gave the community that opportunity at the Faith & Action Spring Event, as CTS trustee Rodney Byrnes chatted with former Robin Hood Foundation Managing Director Nisha Patel, and Faith & Action Project Director Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch spoke with local residents. We captured 10 lessons learned from that day, and we offer them here as conversation starters, sermon seeds, inspiration and the foundation for your own growth as an advocate for those on the margins.



Worth Reading

Two articles for this month:

  • “Wage Against the Machine,” from Sojourners. While employers have complained about a labor shortage and the challenges of attracting workers who are receiving pandemic unemployment benefits, Sojourners argues that the problem isn’t overly generous benefits, it’s unfair – and, in fact, un-Biblical – wages.
  • “More than 50 years before George Floyd’s death, lawmakers predicted a growing racial divide,” from A year after George Floyd’s last words, Black Americans continue to witness the deaths of their brothers and sisters at the hands of police officers. The most shocking fact? The current state of Black-police relations was anticipated by lawmakers in the 1960s.



Worth Knowing

Seeking to undo damage done by learning opportunities lost to the pandemic, Indy Summer Learning Labs is offering free and high-quality learning programs at 46 sites throughout the city … and you can help spread the word. Click here to download a social media kit with content for Tweets, posts and more, or check out the Indy Summer Learning Lab website in English and in Spanish. Families can start the registration process now. If they need assistance or have questions, they can use to send a message.



Mark your calendar

October 5, 2021, 7 PM: Faith & Action Fall Event