Highlight need for grassroots power in metro Detroit
The Metro Coalition of Congregations, a young community organizing group that is unique across the nation in its mission of suburban grassroots community organizing, is empowering a diverse interfaith group from Oakland, Macomb and Wayne County.In September 2012, there were three times as many foreclosures in suburban Detroit as in the city according to RealtyTrac.“The poor economy is affecting suburban residents. When members of my congregation began coming to me after losing their homes to foreclosure, I knew we could no longer be silent on these issues,” said Rev. Ben Sandin, Pastor of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Shelby Township, and MCC Chair. “The best way to make a difference is for people of faith from across the metro region to collaborate.”While four million people live in Metro Detroit, less than a quarter live within the city limits. The MCC operates under the belief that statewide change can be best accomplished through grassroots empowerment across geographic boundaries, particularly in areas where grassroots organizing has yet to be done. “I’m tired of feeling I have no control and that someone else is making all the decisions. Here, with the MCC, is where we begin taking control back,” said Kathleen Potter, Chairperson of the MCC Foreclosure Task Force and lay leader from Central Woodward Christian Church in Troy.On October 23, 2012, at Clawson United Methodist Church, 100 MCC members met with civic leaders to map out their concerns and see what action can be taken to help. Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner is working to help avoid foreclosures, partnering with the MCC to pressure banks to participate in short sale and principal reduction programs. Governor Snyder’s Special Project Director, Dennis Schornack, committed to bring Snyder to the MCC’s founding convention in February. The Troy Police Department committed to facilitating meetings between the MCC, the Detroit Crime Commission and Police Chiefs from across the tri-county area. State Rep Jim Townsend, Oakland County Commissioner Janet Jackson and Macomb County Commissioner David Flynn all agreed to partner with the MCC to work toward effective regional mass transit.Over the next four months, MCC will also meet with US congressional representatives to discuss an assault weapons ban and improving gun background checks. They will also put pressure on state legislators across Southeast Michigan to expand medicaid to cover the uninsured and to approve a Regional Transit Authority.Photo:
DETROIT OCTOBER 25, 2012 - Foreclosure, health care, gun violence and mass transit are typically problems associated with urban centers. One new organization is giving voice to residents of areas where things are not always as perfect as they might seem.
Caption: Oakland County Commissioner Janet Jackson speaks to the MCC about the need for mass transit.
Credit: Marty Yaple.
MCC.JPGAbout Metro Coalition of Congregations:
The Metro Coalition of Congregations is an interfaith organization of clergy and religious congregations working together for transformative systemic and societal change in our communities. MCC is currently on foreclosure, health care, gun violence and mass transit. The Coalition, representing Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, is seeking partnership with civic leaders from metro Detroit communities, and is committed to building power in order to influence policy and become a strong, unified voice speaking out and taking action on issues that affect all of southeast Michigan. MCC is an affiliate with staff funding of the Harriet Tubman Center. For more information visit www.tubmanorganizing.org.
About Harriet Tubman Center:
Harriet Tubman Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit recruitment and training center for new community organizers. Founded in 2006, HTC seeks to fill a void in the recruitment, training, placement and development of professional community organizers in Metro Detroit and throughout the state. HTC builds power to create change in Michigan’s rules that favor of low and moderate-income people. HTC seeks to create new local organizations, build the organizing capacity of existing organizations and creating statewide issue campaigns and coalitions of partner organizations and allies. Affiliates include: Civil Society in Detroit, Detroit Community Clergy Alliance, Metro Coalition of Congregations, Michigan Organizing Collaborative, Michigan Prophetic Voices, Our Kids Come First and YOUTH VOICE. For more information visit www.tubmanorganizing.org.