Witnessing Civic Engagement
- Created on Friday, 29 July 2011 19:53
The Interfaith Children’s Advocacy Network recently hosted two summer Key Advocate training sessions in the Twin Cities Metro and Rochester at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and The Church of St. John the Evangelist in Rochester. The two hour trainings emphasized reaffirming, renewing and revitalizing what makes iCAN so unique.
Attendees learned about important children’s issues in Minnesota, received updates on legislative happenings and were reminded of skills and tools they have available to make an impact for Minnesota's children. Participants also had the opportunity to meet and network with other Key Advocates. Each recipient received a folder of information containing legislative advocacy strategies, a Minnesota child poverty fact sheet and steps to take to involve their faith communities in iCAN sponsored activities such as Children’s Sabbath, the April Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse, and JRLC’s Day on the Hill.
After participating in the behind the scenes work start to finish and taking part in these two trainings which wrap up my summer fellowship with iCAN and the JRLC, I have a few lasting impressions that will remain with me long after this fellowship is finished. At the outset, I am reminded of the full title of the Chuck Green Fellowship that I am a part of, Macalester’s Chuck Green Civic Engagement Fellowship. I have undoubtedly seen civic engagement and religious organizing at its finest at both of these trainings, and I am most impressed by the Key Advocates and community members themselves. Not only do Key Advocates commit out of their innate sense of civic and religious conviction that it is their responsibility to speak up for children in Minnesota, they don’t wait around for a political party or specific legislator to champion their cause. Instead, Key Advocates take their cause directly to their legislator and to their congregation. Out of their own love for children, they commit to being a passionate, faith-based voice for children experiencing poverty and violence. It is encouraging to see civic engagement in action when we often hear that civic participation is low and church involvement is dwindling.
Second, at our last training, I was reminded of a deeper reason for our activism. That is, the moral motivators behind the work the JRLC and iCAN. As people of faith, it is our responsibility to speak up and have a voice in what happens to our governing. We must realize that the government can be a moral instrument and a force for good. Indeed, it is a moral violation when funding for children and families, the most vulnerable, is cut. It is a moral violation when money is borrowed from tomorrow’s children.
Thankfully, the JRLC, iCAN, and countless other organizations composed of people like our Key Advocates are out there to offer a moral voice for Minnesota’s children. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had to experience this faith-filled advocacy that gets at the heart of true civic engagement.
iCAN Summer Fellow
Recent Blog Posts
- Hey, Legislature: Raise My Taxes!
- Loaves and Fishes and Collective Responsibility
- Introduction to Community Organizing: Social Media and Online Tools
- Taxes as a Spiritual Practice
- Gun Safety and Jesus's Nonviolence
- Top 10 Reasons to Call Your Legislators
- Introduction to Community Organizing: Using the Media
- Taxes for the Common Good
- Day on the Hill From the Other Side
- Introduction to Community Organizing: Strategies and Tactics
- Introduction to Community Organizing: Choosing an Issue
- Introduction to Community Organizing: One-to-One 101
- Top five reasons why I'm supporting the Family Economic Security Act
- Interfaith + Interaction
- Early Intervention Prevents Human Trafficking
- A New Legislature
- Stillwater Candidate Forum
- Faribault Candidate Forum
- Hawley Candidate Forum on Child Poverty
- New Engagement
- A Modern Form of Usury
- Front Line Faith for Many Issues
- Finding Common Ground for the Common Good
- A Betrayal of Interests
- Interfaith Dialogue in Action
- Alternative Concerns
- This is Our Time!
- Tracking the Trends in Greater MN
- Don't cut SNAP!
- That Elusive Term - Justice!
- The Dignity of Work
- Fond farewell
- From Academia to Activism
- My Vikings Headache
- Thinking Outside the Box
- Amber's Day at the Capitol
- Housing vigils abound
- Changing our World: Public assistance or public humiliation?
- Award Winners!
- A Month for Awareness
- Day on the Hill 2012 Recap
- Protecting Dignity, Ending Slavery
- Top 10 Reasons to Oppose More Gambling
- Who's Concerned About the Very Poor?
- Radical Hospitality and Abundance
- What keeps me warm
- Taming the Rhetoric
- Ignoring the Costs?
- Changing Our World: Economic Justice
- The 99% and the Common Good