by Doug Greco
“Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards. It requires passion as well as perspective.”
-German Sociologist and Philosopher Max Weber.
Last month I wrote about the launch of our 500 Leaders Campaign: our effort to double the Central Texas Interfaith (CTI) leadership base by November of 2019. This past week will give you a peek into the organizing and leadership development work, mostly behind the scenes, that makes this happen.
Tuesday night, June 11, ATT Governmental Relations Director Eva Muñoz presented the Central Texas Interfaith Strategy Team with a $15,000 check to support its work in training Spanish-speaking and immigrant parents to address education issues that their children face (photo right).
On Wednesday, June 12, Rabbi Alan Freedman of Temple Beth Shalom and Rev. John Elford of University United Methodist Church Co-chaired the CTI Clergy Caucus. Guest speaker Rev. Melanie Jones presented on the role of race in the story of Hagar in scripture (photo below).
On Thursday and Friday, June 13-14, over 25 CTI leaders converged on Austin City Hall to advocate for Living Wages, pro-Affordability policies, funding for workforce and Education, and to reform policies that criminalize people experiencing homelessness. Leaders met with Mayor Adler, and Councilmembers Alison Alter and Greg Casar (see photo at right).
On Saturday, June 15, 25 leaders from CTI University-area and Downtown congregations and other organizations gathered for a day-long training on institutional organizing, building organizing teams, and conducting House Meetings. These leaders committed to a campaign of listening sessions in Central Austin leading up to a planned CTI Delegates Assembly in November (below right).
As the Max Weber quote at the top of this post implies, the lasting work of political change is built on hundreds of small actions, interactions, and attempts to advance ideas, relationships, and issues. Please continue to follow the work of Central Texas Interfaith this year, and we invite you to participate in and support our efforts to build a stronger Central Texas.
For more information on how to participate in CTI, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To support the work of CTI financially, please donate below:
In a year when countless political campaigns are “staffing up”, recruiting volunteers, and raising money, Central Texas Interfaith is doing the same, but with a different focus: aggressively building a broad and diverse collective of 500 leaders. Over the next 7 months, CTI will attempt to double its base of core leaders at its congregations, schools, unions, and social service organizations to fight for families and the issues affecting them: affordable housing, workforce development, living wages, local control, immigration, safe neighborhoods, and healthcare. Simply put, the goal of our “500 LEADERS CAMPAIGN” is to build the largest non-partisan, broad-based political organization in Central Texas.
Central Texas Interfaith is now a 5 county organization with plans to expand further into the Waco and Bryan-College Station areas this year. This Central Texas region contains 3 million Texans, roughly the size of states like Iowa, Arkansas, Nevada, and Mississippi. It is culturally, politically, racially, and ethnically diverse, and is dissected by over 15 Texas House Districts and 10 U.S. Congressional districts. Our leadership base needs to be just as broad and diverse to make an impact on our democracy.
Leaders are developed through ACTION. Not just action at City Hall, Commissioners Court, and the Legislature, but also through small group House Meetings, one-on-one relational meetings, research actions, training sessions and civic academies. Last year, leaders from Central Texas Interfaith successfully fought the Bastrop County Sheriff to stop traffic stings that led to deportations. They fought to protect the living wage requirement for companies receiving tax abatements. And they fought to secure funding for after school programs, Parent Support Specialists, and Capital IDEA at the City of Austin.
Building RELATIONAL POWER, which is power among and between citizens around shared interests, requires a broad and diverse collective of leaders committed to the hard work of building capacity, a shared strategy, and the courage to act. We ask that you join or support our “500 LEADERS CAMPAIGN” by participating in CTI through your member institution, recruiting your institution to join us if they are not already a member, or investing in this work through our Individual Giving program we launched this month. This is a campaign of the people, by the people, and for the people of Central Texas.
By Doug Greco, Lead Organizer of Central Texas Interfaith