By Kris Berggren | There is something powerful about being in a room of hundreds of people who care about the same thing you do, and who believe that faith is not only personal but can inform our choices about public priorities.
Acting on Faith is that kind of gathering. It's coming up May 12.
Last year, more than 400 people chose to spend two hours together on a spring evening hearing how Better Futures changes the lives of men who participate in their programs, then inviting public officials to support for Great River Landing, our proposed supportive housing for men leaving prison where Better Futures will provide a program of support.
Four Minneapolis city council members were there to dialogue about the importance of this housing. In part because of the momentum generated that night, many people reached out to their council members and others to urge support and today we have financial commitments from city and county toward its capital funding.
Last year, I noticed something else – the way the event brought together people from different backgrounds with shared interest in expanding opportunity for people with limited doors open to them.
Among the many white churchgoers, some black church folks, some elected or appointed officials, sat maybe a dozen men, Better Futures participants, dispersed at various tables. After the official program was over, some of us greeted and thanked them for showing up and for their interest. And I felt a bit of an epiphany: The men I spoke to seemed both surprised and pleased that so many folks – many of them white folks – showed up, interested in their lives and fired up to do something to help other men in their shoes – African American, formerly incarcerated, cast by society as outsiders in a big way.
That evening we all could imagine ourselves as part of something much bigger and claim the power to make something better.
This year, Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Johnson-Piper and Hennepin County Board Chair Jan Callison will join us. This is a tremendous opportunity to be in the room with the people who have the most influence on funding for supportive housing in our state. The more people we have in the room, the more powerful our voice will be to ask for funding that could directly help those who will live at 66 West and Great River Landing by paying for the staff who support people as they rebuild their lives.
Will you be there? Register now and bring a friend.