500 Leaders Campaign
By Doug Greco, Austin Interfaith Lead Organizer
In a year when countless political campaigns are “staffing up”, recruiting volunteers, and raising money, Austin Interfaith is doing the same, but with a different focus: aggressively building a broad and perse collective of 500 leaders. Over the next 7 months, AI will attempt to double its base of core leaders at its congregations, schools, unions, and social service organizations to fight for families and the issues affecting them: affordable housing, workforce development, living wages, local control, immigration, safe neighborhoods, and healthcare. Simply put, the goal of our “500 LEADERS CAMPAIGN” is to build the largest non-partisan, broad-based political organization in Central Texas.
Austin Interfaith is now becoming Central Texas Interfaith, as it expands into five surrounding counties and will soon extend even further into the Waco and Bryan-College Station areas. This Central Texas region contains 3 million Texans, roughly the size of states like Iowa, Arkansas, Nevada, and Mississippi. It is culturally, politically, racially, and ethnically perse, and is dissected by over 15 Texas House Districts and 10 U.S. Congressional districts. Our leadership base needs to be just as broad and perse to make an impact on our democracy.
Leaders are developed through ACTION. Not just action at City Hall, Commissioners Court, and the Legislature, but also through small group House Meetings, one-on-one relational meetings, research actions, training sessions and civic academies. Last year, leaders from Central Texas Interfaith successfully fought the Bastrop County Sheriff to stop unwarranted traffic stings in a Latino community. They fought to protect the living wage requirement for companies receiving tax abatements. And they fought to secure funding for after school programs, Parent Support Specialists, and Capital IDEA at the City of Austin.
Building RELATIONAL POWER, which is power among and between citizens around shared interests, requires a broad and perse collective of leaders committed to the hard work of building capacity, a shared strategy, and the courage to act. We ask that you join or support our “500 LEADERS CAMPAIGN” by participating in CTI through your member institution. This is a campaign of the people, by the people, and for the people of Central Texas.
For more information see www.austininterfaith.org or www.facebook.com/AustinInterfaith.IAF, or contact any member of the All Saints’ Austin Interfaith Core Team: Michelle Carlson, Tracy Cornelius, April Floyd, Michael Floyd, Charlotte Frazier, Nancy Lynch, Tom Pollan, Anne Province, Richard Ribb, and Merry Wheaton.