The Social Advocacy Network has been working hard this past month trying to turn our advocacy ideas into action!
Welcoming Minister de’Angelo Dia
In December, we welcomed another advocacy member to our team, Minister de’Angelo uses photography, performance art, and creative writing as catalysts for dialogue and public concern around cultural, social-political, and theological issues. He received his Bachelor of Science in Applied Communication and Sociology from Appalachian State University, a Master of Arts in Literature from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Master of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary. Currently, he serves as the Middle School Chaplain and Dean of Community Life at Trinity Episcopal School. He is the co-chair of the Political Action Committee of the Beta Nu Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Social Justice Ministry leader for St. Paul Baptist Church, and a member of the Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice.
Advocacy Initiatives: Affordable Housing, Criminal Justice, 287g
We are enthusiastic about the start of our organizing work on affordable housing. This advocacy group chose to start with three topics:
- Advocate to fund scattered-site rental subsidies in 2018 for immediate impact and expand housing endowment for longer-term.
- Advocate now to increase housing bond amount & add specific language for units serving under 30% AMI households; work to pass the bond issue in the fall.
- Open up zoning laws to allow for housing alternatives, such as accessory dwelling units (garage apartments), tiny houses, micro-units, etc. Legalize existing secondary units in affluent neighborhoods.
During the planning session on January 16th, the criminal justice advocacy group discussed the following goals:
- Coordinate Community Engagement and Awareness Sessions (teach-ins, panel discussions with local experts)
- Advocate for reducing bonds, court fees and fines
- Advocate for Felon Voting Rights
One particular area of focus is the Bail Fairness Act. Congressman Danny K. Davis introduced H.R.4833, Bail Fairness Act of 2018, which is designed to encourage the states to replace unfair money-bail procedures with diversion programs such as mental health, drug or alcohol abuse, community service, or other state diversion program, in the case of first-time, nonviolent, low-level offenders. This provides a specific legislation we can advocate for on the federal level.
We are also working in partnership with The Fair Punishment project. You can read more about this amazing organization here.
According to the American Immigration Council, “The 287(g) program is named for Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 287(g) became law as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA). Through the 287(g) program, state and local police officers collaborate with the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws. In the past, the 287(g) program has been costly for localities, has not focused on serious criminals, and has harmed the relationship between police and local communities.” Click through for this fantastic fact sheet on 287g. The Stan Greenspon Center Immigration Advocacy group wants Mecklenburg County to end its participation in the 287g program. We are currently engaged in advocacy efforts towards this goal.
First Annual Arts & Advocacy Conference, April 21st, 12:30pm – 8:30pm
Join Myers Park Baptist Church and Queens University of Charlotte for informative presentations and sessions highlighting the use of the arts to advocate for immigrants. From slam poetry to storytelling, film to photography, and dance to music, experts will be on hand to share their knowledge and tools. The event will culminate in a dramatic reading, followed by live music and food trucks, all celebrating the gifts our immigrant neighbors continue to bring to our community. A pre-conference interfaith service will also be held.
Partnering organizations include Myers Park Baptist Church, Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium – Johnson C. Smith University, Queens University of Charlotte, and University of North Carolina – Charlotte, the Light Factory, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Playing for Others, Youth Exchange Project, MeckMin, Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice, Levine Museum of the New South, and the Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art. Sponsorships are available. We also welcome other partnering organizations. For more information, please contact Talia Goldman, firstname.lastname@example.org.