While success for most of us comes from making use of the opportunities around us, people in generational poverty find that the most basic opportunities are, from the very beginning, hidden behind a series of barriers.
Calling on the expertise of outside experts and experiences of people working in our own community, this year’s Faith & Action Spring Conference will examine some of those barriers, including the ones blocking access to employment, education and services, and the one created by such challenges as addiction and mental illness, incarceration and a lack of access to affordable housing. However, our point will not be simply to identify barriers but, rather, to consider how people move past those barriers. As such, we’ll also talk about how to remove barriers and how to most effectively use data and community networks in this effort.For conversations like these to be powerful, though, we need a wealth of perspectives. We need input from throughout the community. We need your voice and your ideas. So, please, join us on April 26 for the Faith & Action Fall Conference at St. Luke’s Methodist Church. Learn more about some of our speakers below, or simply click here to register.
From the beginning, the Faith & Action Project has operated on the hope that, by bringing together people from throughout the community and providing the resources for increased impact, the community could push back poverty. One way we will do this is by dismantling barriers. I hope you’ll join us as we work to do just that.
Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Project Director, Faith & Action Project
Conference Coming April 26
With a blend of national perspectives and local insights, the Faith & Action Project hosts its second annual Faith & Action Conference on April 26. The conference’s keynote speaker will be Elizabeth Hinton, a Harvard professor and author whose work on the entanglement of anti-poverty measures and anti-crime measures culminated in the award-winning book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America. Throughout the day, attendees will participate in wide-ranging conversations in a series of break-out sessions before the day concludes with an address by the Rev. Liz Theoharis, founder of the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary, and Willie Baptist, the formerly homeless man who serves as Co-Coordinator of Poverty Scholarship and Leadership Development for the Union Theological Seminary’s Kairos Center. To learn more and register, click here.
||(Rebuilding the Dream: Inclusive Growth in the Indianapolis Region, from Indy Chamber and Indiana University Public Policy Institute|
Poverty and The Brain
While we all are generally aware of the concrete impact poverty can have on a person, we likely are less aware of at least one less-tangible impact: Poverty impairs the way the brain functions. Highlighted in a City Lab article, a 2013 study noted that “the condition of poverty imposed a mental burden akin to losing 13 IQ points.” A follow-up article in The Atlantic sought to introduce humanity into the data by connecting it to the real-life story shared in a blog post (warning: coarse language) by a person living in poverty. The result? The data and the story clearly demonstrate that one-way poverty perpetuates itself is by limiting the ability of a person in poverty to make good decisions.
What would it take to dramatically increase mobility from poverty? That was the question tackled by the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty in a study released earlier this year. Pursuing a definition of mobility built around three factors, the Partnership identified five strategies for increasing mobility: change the narrative, create access to good jobs, ensure zip is not destiny, provide support that empowers and transform data use. The good news? “From those experiences,” the researchers wrote, “came a sense of possibility and genuine optimism, a sense that the nation really can dramatically increase mobility from poverty and restore the American dream.”
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America, by Elizabeth Hinton, and Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor, by Liz Theoharis. Books authored by speakers participating in the Faith & Action Spring Conference, these works, through their different lenses for viewing poverty, demonstrate the breadth of viewpoints surrounding poverty.
Hinton’s work begins with the 1960s in an examination of how America’s declared wars on crime and poverty worked together to result in a system of mass incarceration –primarily of poor and non-white populations – that serves to increase poverty. Theoharis, on the other hand, goes back 2000 years to The Gospel of Matthew to consider what Jesus really meant when he said the poor would always be with us.
Mark your calendar for these important dates.
April 26 — Spring Conference
May 9 — Grant program letters of intent due
Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary 1000 W. 42nd Street | Indianapolis, IN 46208
Phone: (317) 931-2336 | Fax: (317) 923-1961 | Email: LRabinowitch@cts.edu | Web: www.cts.edu/faith-action-project