Capital Congregation Social Justice Team

Sign up for the Social Justice Team e-mail list to receive updates, information on how to get involved, and meeting announcements.  To sign up, or if you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Eric Gernaat, Social Justice Team Chair, at gernaate@hotmail.com.

The Social Justice Team is currently working on four primary initiatives in Michigan. Scroll down to learn more about how to learn more and get involved.

Clean Slate Legislation

Support of Clean Slate legislation in Michigan to improve access to housing, employment, and educational opportunities for those with old criminal records who have served their sentences and remained crime-free.

  • We believe in redemption and a restorative justice that allows people to grow beyond their mistakes.
  • This legislation would expand the number of people who qualify for criminal record set-asides and make the process automatic in certain cases if 7-10 years have passed with no other convictions in the interim.

For more information:

Safe and Just MI – Clean Slate for MI

How Michigan Can Help the Formerly Incarcerate Become Gainfully Employed

To take action:

  • Increase awareness by sharing information about the Clean Slate legislation and how it would help remove unnecessary barriers to housing and employment.
  • Contact your state senator:
    • The Social Justice Team is coordinating letters of support (contact Eric Gernaat for information), and individual letters, phone calls, or e-mails are great too.
    • As of February 2020, the Clean Slate legislation has passed the House of Representatives and is waiting for a hearing from the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety: House Bills 4980-4985 and 5120.
    • It needs to be heard by this committee to proceed, and those living in the committee members’ districts are especially encouraged to contact their senators:
      • All of Benzie, Clinton, Crawford, Eaton, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Osceola, Roscommon, Shiawassee , and Wexford Counties
      • Parts of Genesee, Ingham, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties
    • Those not living in these districts are also encouraged to contact their senators to demonstrate widespread support and promote passage of the legislation. Statewide support will be needed to pass the full senate.

 

Expanding Access to Identification

Expanding access to the identification needed to participate in civic and economic life for immigrants and marginalized populations, by restoring previously available access to driver’s licenses and state IDs, with county or municipal IDs as an alternative.

  • This would help build inclusive communities that value the worth and contributions of all people, regardless of origins.
  • County or municipal IDs have been enacted in Kalamazoo and Washtenaw Counties and the City of Detroit.
  • Drive SAFE legislation has recently been proposed in both the Michigan House and Senate to offer driver’s licenses and state IDs to all eligible residents of Michigan, without a proof of legal status requirement for the standard option. Another tier of driver’s licenses and state IDs currently exists, and would remain, for IDs used for federal purposes that do require proof of legal status.

For more information:

Driver’s Licenses/State ID MI Immigrants

Michigan Immigrant.org

Municipal ID Report

To take action:

  • Increase awareness by spreading the word about the difficulties of living without identification and efforts underway to increase access for eligible residents.
  • Sign up for a county or municipal ID if you live where one is offered.
  • Contact your Michigan legislators to express support of the Drive SAFE bills and encourage their passage:

Support Changes to Increase Education Funding

Supporting funding changes and increased revenue for education and other public services.

  • Ensuring a quality education that accounts for the needs of each child promotes just communities where all have a chance to thrive.
  • A petition drive to put a graduated income tax on the November ballot is in progress that would raise money for education and infrastructure in Michigan.

For more information:

Michigan Cut School Funding and School Perform Plummeted

Michigan Infrastructure How to Pay It

Ballot Drive

To take action:

  • Learn about the petition drive and Michigan’s educational and infrastructure needs and share this information with others.
  • Sign the petition when it is available to help place the proposal on the ballot to be decided by voters this fall.
  • Volunteer to collect signatures. At least one team of signature gatherers from the Social Justice Team is planned, and volunteers are needed throughout the state.

 

Ending Hunger

Support efforts to reduce hunger in the United States and throughout the world.

  • Access to nutritious food is a basic human need and human right. No one should go hungry in a world of plenty.
  • The Social Justice team will be working with congregations to encourage support for Bread for the World, a faith-based organization that works to end hunger worldwide.

For more information:

Bread.org Toolkit

National Geographic – Hunger

To take action:

  • Learn about ways to end hunger in your community and around the world and share this information with others.
  • Hold a Bread for the World Sunday in your congregation to support this work through contributions and offerings of letters to elected officials.