Faith in Action Encourages First Church Involvement in Mental Health Pilot Program
Members of First Church met again with Faith in Action East Bay community organizer Yuri Sadiki Torres on Wednesday to continue to imagine and discern ways to collaborate in building the beloved community in Oakland and beyond. Faith in Action is a coalition of churches committed to influencing public policy in the areas of gun violence, health care, immigrant justice, mass incarceration, and voting rights/democracy. For the second meeting of this group, those present shared who first taught them about God’s desire for justice and who inspires them to put their faith into action by loving their neighbors.
Yuri shared about numerous state legislative measures for public safety and housing. There was an invitation to learn about and support MACRO (Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland), a new pilot program that will assign emergency response teams on call to help residents in mental health crisis rather than police. A Community Intervention Specialist, Emergency Medical Technician, and a Case Manager would respond to non-violent crisis calls, rather than a police officer; this would simultaneously free police to respond to violent crimes and help reduce incidents of police violence. The program will be administered by the Oakland Fire Department, with the assistance of state funding. Despite being supported by the City Council, the program has not yet been implemented by city administration.
Many members are discerning the possibility of supporting work around public safety and affordable housing. The group will gather again in October to imagine ways of putting our faith into action together.