Ten groups of parishioners from Northside churches gathered in homes during October to build relationships and discuss their vision for the future of Minnesota. The 90-minute conversations, including a DVD about racial disparities in Minnesota, were designed to get people thinking about their opportunities (or lack of such), ways of building a healthy community and messages to send to the new governor in December.
Prominent issues that emerged were education, jobs and transportation. Jeanne Fish of St. Bridget Catholic, who hosted two gatherings, said, “These topics, such as the horrible graduation rates for minority students, are always under the surface in conversation on the Northside. Most of us care about our youth, and when we see some not in school we worry what will happen in the future when they’re unemployed. We hope that all contribute to our society and have an equal opportunity to do so.”
St. Bridget and St. Philip Catholic hosted their own members along with others from St. Austin, Kwanzaa, Sacred Heart and Sanctuary Covenant. Similar conversations have been happening around the metro area and St. Cloud as part of the “10,000 Voices for One Minnesota” campaign of ISAIAH, a faith-based community organizing group of 100 churches. The campaign continues with a letter written by and signed by members of the churches involved to be presented to the new governor on December 5 at a large public meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
“When we join with a group beyond our borders, I feel like we will have a bigger impact,” Fish said. “With ISAIAH we have a chance to go beyond the squeak we make on the Northside and have a much larger impact. It takes everybody to make it happen.”