Faith in New York 'Turning the Tide March'
by Rev. David H. Rommereim
On Wednesday July 31, 2013, I was privileged to represent the leaders from Faith in New York (our PICO effort to bring the values of our faith community into the public square).
Along with Bishop Clarke from our Harlem leadership (above), we opened this March at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The March was called 'Turning the Tide' and included over 100 leaders from the five boroughs - many from the Sandy affected regions. Sandy survivors and their supportive networks marched up Broadway to City Hall for a press conference which was intended to tell the aspiring mayoral candidates that the relief monies entering the city must consider the most vulnerable.
It was the Faith in New York (FiNY) community which partnered strategically with other secular efforts, such as Occupy Sandy, in organizing first response efforts after hurricane Sandy. Good Shepherd partnered with Occupy Sandy by offering space for an emergency tool shed (below) and helping to network volunteers into the devastated regions.
This week leaders joined together from such secular organizations as: Align,Vocal NY, Community Voices Heard, NY Community for Change, Make the Road, Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, SEIU, and the Day Laborers Group. There was a joyful, powerful, and hopeful voice directed toward the mayoral candidates demanding that the next mayor place the most vulnerable on their radar. We heard stories, sang songs, and peacefully marched to City Hall where the hot sun burned down upon my hat-less bald head.
Bishop Clark and I, together with Deacon Rice from Holiness Temple in Far Rockaways, opened the March. I spoke about the prophetic voice from our biblical tradition. I reminded the people that the faith community of FiNY seeks a partnership with these efforts across the city to dispel the economic disparities that have effected 46% of our beloved city. I said, "prophesy does not predict the future. Prophesy speaks about the present and challenges leaders to direct a divine agenda that partners with those whose backs are against the wall and in harms way. I read form Isaiah 10:1-2 where the prophet chides the leadership who enact evil statutes, who constantly record unjust decisions so as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of their rights.
The March offered four values that the candidates must lead us with as the recovery monies are spent: 1. Make clear commitments to good affordable jobs, 2. affordable housing, 3. sustainable energy, and 4. community empowerment.
I am pleased to partner with FiNY and these organizations who take their spirit, hard work, and passion for justice, so that we may all seek the welfare of this beloved city.