Our Greater Good tradition here at church invites us to tap out of mindless consumerism that drains our energy and attention and tap into a deeper purpose. We’re asked to examine our holiday spending (gifts, food, decorations, etc.) and cut that in half. We invite you to take the other half that you would have spent and pool it together with the rest of us. For some, it’s hard to cut a single simple meal in half; for others, this has become the annual tradition that forms the bulk of their financial generosity for the year. I encourage you to be generous.
Together, we are going to make some magic happen. No one donation, no matter how big, can change everything, but together we can play our part in the work of justice by resourcing community organizations to continue their powerful work in our wider community. Our youth have selected two great organizations:
The Worker Justice Center (WJC) will collaborate with Mujeres Divinas to bring a leadership development and self-advocacy program to a group of women farm workers in the Rochester area. Immigrant farm workers are subject to exploitive and unsafe working conditions and their situation has been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 within their community. Your gift to Greater Good will help equip the Mujeres Divinas with the information and resources they need to defend their rights to fair wages and safe working conditions leading to greater economic stability for themselves and their families.
City Roots Community Land Trust (CRLT) operates several unique programs for individuals and families who lack housing. For example, they own the land upon which resident-directed Peace Village, a permanent encampment for people experiencing homelessness, is located. They offer rent reductions and rent forgiveness to people renting housing on CRLT-owned land, and they offer families a unique opportunity to buy rehabbed houses at below market rate on CRLT land. Purchasers of these homes buy the building but not the land it sits on. If the owner chooses to sell the house, they may only sell it for 25% of the increase in the assessed value of the property. Under this plan, home owners accumulate equity in their houses and retain the potential resale “profit” while the house remains affordable for the next purchaser. City Roots intends to refurbish a number of houses that will go into this model of home ownership. They will partner with Project Phoenix on the remodeling. Project Phoenix is an on-the job training program of the Rochester Careers in Construction organization. Trainees earn a living wage, and upon completion of the program, can go into Union apprenticeships leading to good jobs.