In October, CTS announced that its Faith & Action Project awarded grants totaling $100,000 to four poverty-fighting organizations in central Indiana. The Project was specifically looking for proposals that would make a difference in taking steps toward racial equity and removing barriers for those confronting poverty. Read the full announcement here.
Among this year’s recipients, Faith in Indiana was awarded $30,000 to support its programs and policies aimed at reducing incarceration and its impact on long-term economic wellbeing. Faith in Indiana is a faith-based community organization network with local chapters around the state working “to revitalize our state’s democracy” by empowering Indiana residents to positively impact their communities, equipping religious leaders to take public stands on issues important to our common life, and bringing people together across lines of difference.
According to Faith in Indiana, “the single fastest and most efficient way to reduce poverty in Marion County is to reduce incarceration.” Faith in Indiana’s Executive Director Shoshanna Spector explained, “We need to address the root causes of poverty by reducing our reliance on jails and prisons, building community capital, and responding to the underlying problems that trigger incarceration.”
Faith in Indiana has spent the last five years building support for a non-carceral approach to crime and has “reached a critical moment of opportunity when well-placed support can reduce jail and prison populations, make communities safer, and allow more people to find or keep jobs.” The organization is partnering with nine African American faith communities to swell public support for these reforms.
Criminal justice reform has been a topic of focus for the Faith & Action Project since its inception. For its 2018 fall event, the project featured a conversation with Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. At that event, Alexander emphasized the connections between criminal justice and economic justice. Although she stressed the critical need for better policies, Alexander explained that, “What we need isn’t just a political or economic revolution. We need a revolution of values.”
In step with Alexander’s message, the Faith & Action Project is dedicated to empowering faith communities to be an important part of that revolution. For that reason, the project was especially excited to support Faith in Indiana’s criminal justice initiative, which attends directly to the important role that religious leaders and communities can play in publicly advocating for progress on this front.
Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch, Director of the Faith & Action Project, said that she was particularly grateful for Faith in Indiana’s commitment to train faith leaders to use their voice to swell public support for criminal justice reform. Rabinowitch shared that this is a critical opportunity to bring people together to take action, across lines of race and faith, to advocate and be a driving force for real change. “Their voices are indispensable to social justice movements on behalf of the poor, the marginalized and incarcerated,” she said.
And progress is already being made. Following years of organizing by Faith in Indiana, the cultivation of key civic and political relationships, and the vital work of partner organizations, a number of important changes have been recently made to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s policies and governance. Among them, the IMPD updated its use-of-force policy and the Indianapolis City-County Council passed the nation’s first co-governance structure over the police department.
Through the Faith & Action Project, CTS is supporting and resourcing organizations generating real change in central Indiana.
Learn more about CTS’s Faith & Action Project here.
Also included in the November 2020 Christian Theological Seminary Connection
- Faith & Action Project November 2020 Newsletter - Read the newest edition of the Faith & Action Project’s monthly newsletter!
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- Faith & Action Project Invests in Community Change - In October, CTS announced that its Faith & Action Project awarded grants totaling $100,000 to four poverty-fighting organizations in central Indiana. The Project was specifically looking for proposals that would make a difference in taking steps toward racial equity and removing barriers for those confronting poverty. Read the full announcement here. Among this year’s recipients, […]