News & Event
Coming from diverse backgrounds and faith communities, we stand united in our belief that all Rhode Islanders deserve the fundamentals: nutritious food; affordable housing; decent wages; quality education; and accessible healthcare.
We have a responsibility to protect and support all Rhode Islanders, whatever our religion, race/ethnicity, immigration status, gender, age or socioeconomic standing. Working together, we can reduce poverty in our state.
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Ten years ago, a group of 29 faith leaders and advocacy organizations in Rhode Island got together and formed the Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty.
The coalition, part of a national movement, grew from an idea presented at a national meeting of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) in the summer of 2008, according to Maxine Richman, one of the original Rhode Island members.
The coalition is committed to the belief that every Rhode Islander deserves to have the basics, including affordable housing, nutritious food, accessible health care, an equitable education and livable wages.
To achieve this goal, the R.I. group joined together with the JCPA, the National Council of Churches, Catholic Charities USA and other groups across the U.S. in an initiative called “Fighting Poverty with Faith.” The goal was to cut poverty in the U.S. in half by 2020.
Through the years, the coalition has advocated for legislation that helps the poor, including laws that reduce homelessness and increase affordable housing, raise the minimum wage and earned income tax credits, and increase the number of low-income children in Head Start, pre-kindergarten and child-care programs. A key recent issue was advocating for no-fare bus passes for the elderly, low-income and those with disabilities.
On Jan. 3, from 3 to 4 p.m., the group will hold its 10th annual Fighting Poverty with Faith Vigil at the Rhode Island State House. Clergy and faith leaders from across Rhode Island will gather in the State House Rotunda to call on elected leaders to “govern with care, compassion and wisdom.” And, as they do each year, they will propose legislative action to reduce poverty in Rhode Island.
Students from the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island will blow shofars to call together the gathering.
In addition to the vigil and legislative advocacy, the group sponsors a conference each May that addresses poverty issues.
FRAN OSTENDORF (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the editor of The Jewish Voice.
Courtesy of The Jewish Voice