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 Conversation Nights


“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
    to break the chains of injustice,
    get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
    free the oppressed,
    cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
    sharing your food with the hungry,
    inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
    putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
    being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
    and your lives will turn around at once, Your righteousness will pave your way…

You’ll be known as those who can fix anything.” Isaiah 58 (MSG)

In October of 2017, we had another powerful conversation on the issue of racism. It’s an uncomfortable, yet much needed conversation that the church needs to have. We were joined by four expert panelists: Dr. Melina Abdullah, Daniel Castillo, Ashley Abercrombie, and John Williams, all of whom had powerful things to say. We want to see love and peace win, not hate and judgement, and you can be a part of this by starting conversations with your friends and family and sharing this video.

Below, the panelists provided information on how YOU can get involved in combating racism.

As a church we do not endorse or support all of these organizations as some don’t line up with our beliefs, but we do believe they’re doing good work so check them out and see how to get involved.

Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI)

At the Social Justice Learning Institute, we are dedicated to improving the education, health, and well being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training, and community mobilization. We envision communities where education empowers individuals to use their agency for the purpose of improving each other’s lives.

We work to, build capacity for individuals and communities to advocate for their needs, train and build leaders, educate and empower youth and community members to identify and rectify injustice; and to deliver effective programs, resources and support that help advance our mission.

National Foster Youth Institute

The National Foster Youth Institute envisions a nation where all children are raised in safe and loving families and where the child welfare system serves as a beacon of hope for families in need.

To achieve our vision, we aim to transform the child welfare system and vastly improve outcomes for foster youth by empowering the youth and their families, building a grassroots movement in 435 congressional districts across the country, and partnering with committed policymakers. Truly transformative foster care reform will not come to fruition until the individuals who have personally experienced the child welfare system have a strong voice in the policymaking process. And NFYI is dedicated to ensuring their place at the table.

Youth Justice Coalition (YJC)

The Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) is working to build a youth, family, and formerly and currently incarcerated people’s movement to challenge America’s addiction to incarceration and race, gender and class discrimination in Los Angeles County’s, California’s and the nation’s juvenile and criminal injustice systems. The YJC’s goal is to dismantle policies and institutions that have ensured the massive lock-up of people of color, widespread law enforcement violence and corruption, consistent violation of youth and communities’ Constitutional and human rights, the construction of a vicious school-to-jail track, and the build-up of the world’s largest network of jails and prisons.

Community Services Unlimited (CSU)

Our mission is to foster the creation of communities actively working to address the inequalities and systemic barriers that make sustainable communities and self-reliant life-styles unattainable. 

We are committed to supporting and creating justice-driven community-based programs and educational initiatives, which seek to foster dialogue, and create awareness and critical consciousness. 

We envision equitable, healthful and sustainable communities that are self-reliant, inter-relating and where every individual has the support and resources needed to develop to their fullest capacity.

Our Vision:
We envision equitable, healthful and sustainable communities that are self-reliant, inter-relating and where every individual has the support and resources needed to develop to their fullest capacity.

Centinela Youth Services (CYS)

The mission of Centinela Youth Services (CYS) is to strengthen families and communities by empowering Los Angeles area youth (7-21 years of age) to peacefully resolve conflicts and challenges and to become successful and productive students and adults.

Our Vision:
Our vision is to use the principles of Restorative Justice and Trauma-Informed Care to empower youth, families, and crime victims to become accountable, to heal and to realize their full potentials.

Brotherhood Crusade

Its mission is to improve quality of life and address the unmet needs of underserved, under-represented and disenfranchised South Los Angeles residents. Self-help – assimilating fiscal, in-kind and volunteer resources from within the community to help the community – is the organization’s model and mantra.

The vision of that group of courageous and dedicated men and women began to flourish, as the community responded by supporting their efforts through charitable giving.

InnerCity Struggle (ICS)

We organize youth and families in Boyle Heights, unincorporated East Los Angeles, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights to work together for social and educational justice. InnerCity Struggle provides positive after-school programs for students to become involved in supporting our schools to succeed.

We have empowered students to reach their family’s dream of college. The work of InnerCity Struggle demonstrates that youth and parents working together are a powerful force for improving their communities and making real change.

Community Coalition Substance (COCO)

Community Coalition works to help transform the social and economic conditions in South LA that foster addiction, crime, violence and poverty by building a community institution that involves thousands in creating, influencing and changing public policy.

Khmer Girls in Action (KGA)

Khmer Girls in Action is a community-based organization whose mission is to build a progressive and sustainable Long Beach community that works for gender, racial and economic justice led by Southeast Asian young women. Our vision is a safe, healthy and just world where all people are free from oppression and are able to determine their lives and communities. The focus is not just on individual behavior change, but systematic change and approaching this change in a comprehensive manner through our organizing model that incorporates the strength of youth, gender, culture, and community.

Community Build Inc.

Its youth outreach prioritizes comprehensive and wrap-around services for at-risk youth, out-of-school youth, foster youth, youth offenders, gang-involved youth, and first-generation college bound youth. Community Build believes that youth, young adults and their families are a tremendous resource deserving investment and enabling their active participation as contributors to the local and global economies.

Labor Community Strategy Center

The Strategy Center is a Think Tank/Act Tank for regional, national and international movement building, founded in 1989 and based in the 10 million-person world city of Los Angeles. Our campaigns, projects, and publications are rooted in working class communities of color, and address the totality of urban life with a particular focus on civil rights, environmental justice, public health, global warming, and the criminal legal system. We build consciousness, leadership, and organization among those who face discrimination and societal attack–people of color, women, immigrants, workers, LGBT people, youth, all of whom comprise our membership. Linking mass struggles to the need for radical, structural change, we develop campaigns and demands that help build a revitalized world united front that can stop the rising tides of war, racism and imperialism, the ecological crisis and the growing police state.

I Have a Dream Foundation - LA

The mission of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA) is to work with at-risk youth in their schools to help them get through high school and into college or vocational school. Our Dreamers, like other students from economically disadvantaged households, are at risk of failing to meet state standards; many of them are also at risk of dropping out of school before completing high school.

IHADLA is here to make sure that that does not happen – to break the cycle of poverty driven by economic disadvantage, which leads to poor academic performance and eventually dropping out of high-school. As this cycle is perpetuated, it in turn circles back around to feed into severe poverty, gang life, violence, and even jail time for the next generation.

Dignity and Power Now (DPN)

Dignity and Power Now (DPN) is a grassroots organization based in Los Angeles that fights for the dignity and power of incarcerated people, their families, and communities. In doing so DPN wages a fight for everyone because the prison industrial complex forms an imaginative limit on everyone’s capacity to envision freedom and liberation.

Dignity and Power Now has several projects including an activist coalition, an artist collective, a zine, a research and wellness group, a leadership institute, and a reentry program inside a state prison. Immediate campaign focuses include establishing comprehensive and effective civilian oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and allocating the money from the two billion dollar jail plan into mental health diversion programs and community health centers.

Children's Defense Fund- California

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor children, children of color and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown.

2nd Call

2nd Call is a community based organization designed to save lives, by reducing violence and assisting in the personal development of high risk individuals, proven offenders, ex-felons, parolees and others who society disregards.

2nd Call provides an alternative to violence and abuse through intervention, counseling and support. We provide a series of classes aimed to promote positive growth as well as post release mentorship. Everyone deserves a Second Chance at Loving Life.

2nd Call has been able to place formerly incarcerated individuals into sustainable careers instead of low-paying jobs–which is generally what is offered to this population or no job at all.

Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC)

ARC believes that reentry begins well before an individual leaves prison. Our model of support combines educational and rehabilitative programming inside detention facilities, with comprehensive reentry services upon release.

ARC provides its membership with mentorship, mental health services, supportive housing, access to jobs and education, and opportunities to advocate for criminal justice reform. This comprehensive approach to reentry improves individual outcomes and increases the health and safety of communities throughout California.

ARC staff and members regularly travel to prisons and detention facilities across California to provide rehabilitative programming, host policy workshops, and bring hope to incarcerated men and women.

HOOP Foundation

To foster a positive connection between young men and their male mentors, a connection that supports the development of the values, knowledge, skills, and maturity needed for transition into full, responsible manhood. To provide young males with exposure to life-affirming possibilities available to them, along with coaching on how to examine these possibilities, determine personal goals based on these possibilities, and to develop the personal strategies necessary to achieve their goals. To have fun and develop positive, lasting relationships.

Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN)

The mission of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) is to help people dealing with poverty create & discover opportunities, while serving as a vehicle to ensure we have voice, power & opinion in the decisions that are directly affecting us.

Our overarching social change goals are to:
Organize and empower community residents to work collectively to change the relationships of power that affect our community.
Create an organization and organizing model that eradicate the race, class, gender barriers that are used to prevent communities from building true power.
Eliminate the multiple forms of violence used against and within our community to maintain status quo.

The Rightway Foundation

The RightWay Foundation works with current or emancipated foster youth to move from a point of pain and disappointment to a point of power, productivity, and self-sufficiency. Without confronting their past trauma in a healthy way, it is difficult for our youth to hold a job, support their families, or have a rewarding future. Therapy and counseling are a major part of the employment model at The RightWay Foundation. They are laced within the initial ‘Operation Emancipation’ job training services and are continued in one-on-one and group settings for program participants.

What are Conversation Nights? Watch this video!
Previous Conversation Nights:

Statistics suggest 1 in 3 women in church have had an abortion. The issue of pro-life vs pro-choice is not exclusive of the church. It’s time to talk. The conversation of pro- life vs pro-choice is one that is often fueled by hurt, anger and confusion. Join us for our very first “Conversation Night” where we had a panel of Christian experts with varying perspectives ready to participate in a discussion led by Jennifer Toledo. Listen and be inspired on how you can be a part of the solution. Our Panelists included: Kathleen Domingo– Office of Life, Justice, and Peace Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Talitha Phillips–CEO of Claris Health, Rebekah Weigel–Child Share LA, Teresa Archer– Writer and Managing Editor of Darling Magazine. 2) The panelists were chosen because of their history and experience working to bring solutions to the issues of women and unwanted children. Our pastors carefully considered who to invite and selected people who not only “have an opinion” but can respectfully communicate, are incredibly knowledgeable, and can help offer ways for people to get involved to be a part of the solution here locally in LA.

Join us for the next Conversation Night on October 20th, 7p as we get real about racism. Bring a friend!

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