The Power of the Heart
Fact of the Month
Central Indiana is the nation’s sixth most economically segregated region (up from 53rd most segregated in 1990).
Source: Urban Institute
(The Cost of Segregation)
As I have had the privilege on the Faith & Action Project Fall Events and Spring Conferences, I have heard powerful visions for how we might collaborate to overcome poverty. I have listened as people who live each day with the poor detailed their approaches to daily challenges, and I have listened as people who run big organizations offered macro-level plans.
Through all of this, a number of repeating motifs emerged. But one message rises above them all: Real change begins in our hearts.
I was first struck by this theme at our first event. Deep into a wide-ranging discussion between Tavis Smiley and David Brooks about data, social movements and the causes of poverty, Brooks paused, took a breath and said that he felt that what the nation really needs is more love and compassion. The comment drew immediate applause.
Since then, I’ve heard that same theme weave its way into conversations over and over. Regardless of the specific discussion of poverty, it seems that love and compassion always play a role.
It happened again at our Oct. 23 Fall Event, as panelists wove calls for greater compassion into their remarks. Featured speaker Michelle Alexander might have underscored this best by, along with her learned appeals to audience members’ minds, called for a collective change of heart. Creating real change, she said, “requires a moral and spiritual revolution even more than a political one,” she said.
The Faith & Action Project has worked hard to present new and innovative approaches to the fight against poverty, but we are constantly reminded that the best idea is the oldest one and one found in all faith traditions: We must love one another. If we embrace that idea, if we truly put the needs of others alongside those of our own families, then poverty won’t stand a chance.
Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Project Director, Faith & Action Project
Miss the Event? Watch the Videos!
If you couldn’t join us last week for the Faith & Action Project Fall Event, no problem: Click here to view a 7-minute video of highlights from our lively panel discussion featuring Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness), Indy Chamber President and CEO Michael Huber, EmployIndy President and CEO Angela Carr Klitzsch, and Frank Thomas, Director of the PhD Program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric and the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics at Christian Theological Seminary. Click here to view a video focusing on our 2018 grant recipients.
The Business Case Is A Moral Case
One of the questions the panel discussed at the Faith & Action Project Fall Event is whether one should try to make the “business case” for fighting poverty, or whether the moral imperative to fight poverty should be enough to compel the business community to action. Indy Chamber President and CEO Michael Huber continued to wrestle with this question in a recent piece on Inside INdiana Business. One of his key points: “An inclusive economic agenda curbs poverty and creates new business opportunities.” Read his thoughts here.
The Fall Event’s featured speaker, Michelle Alexander, also addressed questions about the best approaches to fighting poverty in a conversation with The Indianapolis Recorder. Read that Oct. 25 article here.
Continue the Conversation
On Oct. 30, some 50 community members gathered at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church to continue to process and reflect on the messages shared at the most recent CTS’ Faith & Action event. Using the “Lessons Learned” from the Faith & Action team, they created discussion questions to encourage deeper dialogue and contemplation, and individuals shared actions they plan to take in response to new information from Michelle Alexander.
Sheila Kennedy offered her reflections on the Faith & Action event in her most recent IBJ column. Read here for her event “takeaways.”
Save the Date: May 2
Mark your calendar now for the Faith & Action Project Spring Conference, a time for sharing ideas and equipping those who work on the front lines to turn back poverty. The 2019 Spring Conference will feature Father Gregory Boyle, the Jesuit priest who launched Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles and the author of two books, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion and Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship. Founded in 1992 to give gang members an alternative to street life, Homeboy Industries has grown into a $16.6 million program with a bakery, catering service, silk screening operation and more.
This month, we’re turning “Worth Reading” into “Worth Viewing” to encourage everyone to get a glimpse of the view of poverty from Indianapolis’ City Hall. On Sept. 28, the United Way of Central Indiana brought together four Indianapolis Mayors – Steve Goldsmith, Bart Peterson, Greg Ballard and Joe Hogsett – to discuss poverty in Indianapolis. View the video here (the content starts at about the 18-minute mark).
Mark your calendar for these important dates.
May 2 – Faith & Action Project Spring Conference, featuring Father Gregory Boyle.