For many, the past two years of the Trump presidency have felt like twenty. Tensions surrounding every issue, from police brutality and immigration regulation to our education system have seemed to be on a constant, and sometimes spiking incline. However, despite the increased feelings of distress and actions of contempt among Americans, there are still people working to combat this country’s general state. Citizens of all ages understand now more than ever the power of their voices, especially the youth. Whether it’s organizing and speaking out at rallies for gun reformation, marching for black visibility, or educating their peers on the vitality of voting, young people are increasingly aware of their power to change the future.
Hundreds of faith-based social justice organizations across the country are working for the betterment of all people, battling systemic racism, sexism, classism, or an intersection of the three. The missions are all the same at their core — to make a difference with the time we’re given by leaving the world better than we found it, keeping faith at the center.
If you’re ready to get active and involved, consider volunteering for one of the organizations listed below that speaks to your own personal values or seek one out with a similar mission in your area. We’re just getting started on this list and will continue to build it out on UrbanFaith.com. If you have one in mind that we should add, please email us at [email protected].
Community Renewal Society
111 W Jackson Blvd #820
Chicago, IL 60604
Mission: To “inform and bring people of faith and congregations together…to intentionally and decisively transform society toward greater social justice at the intersection of racism and poverty.” They affect this refinement of perspective and policy through engagement within their communities, holding policymakers accountable, and helping the public understand that their income is not a restriction on their right to be fully participating members of society.
The Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY)
475 Riverside Dr #540
New York, NY 10115
Mission: Founded in 1997 by the Very Reverend James Parks Morton, this organization has been working to mend the gaps between the various faith communities in New York in order to create beneficial programs for its citizens. In the 21 years they’ve been active, they’ve developed education programs for students, teachers, social workers, and young parolees. Through faith-based retreats, local partnerships, and the recognition of outstanding team members, this amalgam of belief systems, from Christian to Buddhist to Shinto, are able to fulfill ICNY’s mission to “overcome prejudice, violence, and misunderstanding by activating the power of the city’s grassroots religious and civic leaders and their communities.”
Georgia Interfaith Power & Light (GIPL)
701 S Columbia Dr.
Decatur, GA 30030
Mission: Sponsored by the Morningside Presbyterian Church out of Atlanta, this group is dedicated to “engaging communities of faith in stewardship of Creation…as a religious response to global climate change, resource depletion, environmental injustice, pollution, and other disruptions in Creation.” Since its founding in 2003 by Reverend Woody and Carol Bartlett, GIPL has supplied bodies of faith across Georgia with the tools necessary to combat humanity’s affliction on the planet. By standing on their principles of faith including Justice, Community of Life, and Stewardship, they have been able to decrease the energy consumption and cost of their 500+ partners, while also providing them with new earth-friendly initiatives.
The Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)
8121 George Avenue, Suite 310
Silver Spring, MD 20910
WATER is an education center “committed to theological, ethical, and ritual development by and for women.” Their mission is “to use feminist religious values to create social change.” Their work of the past thirty years has included ensuring women’s right to exercise their humanity and spirituality. WATER has implemented a variety of programs, such as WATERtalks, which is a monthly free and open to the public presentation featuring female scholars and religious leaders who create a dialogue with the audience through sharing their experiences in a specific field as a woman. WATER also hosts various collaborations, such as Women Crossing Worlds (WCW), which is an engagement with women from Spain to Mexico through reciprocal visits and teachings intended on strengthening their study of effective enactments of theology.
Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES)
An affiliate of the Gamaliel Foundation
220 Bagley St.
Detroit, MI 48226
MOSES is a community organizing nonprofit that works to help everyday people, particularly in marginalized communities, get the skills they need to effectively address what concerns them most. The organization is “guided by faith-based principles of social justice and fellowship” and believes in developing grassroots leaders. They do this through training leaders in places of worship, showing them how to explain their shared values in the public arena and work together with area residents.
California Faith for Equality (CFE)
3701 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 725
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Finally, Los Angeles is home to California Faith for Equality (CFE), spreading the message of loving they neighbor by helping to bridge the gap between communities of faith and nonreligious LGBTQ+ groups, both on a local and national level. Started in 2005, CFE is a growing network that builds upon other organizations and efforts in order to serve their mission of “educating, supporting, and mobilizing California’s communities of faith for LGBTQ+ people and to safeguard religious freedom.” They are an influential factor is California’s growingly diverse community, serving the members of their community through and for faith.