Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities (RISC) is an interracial, interfaith, nonpartisan organization which brings congregations together to build the power to meet God’s call to ‘do justice’. In the books of Micah and Matthew, there is a clear requirement to do three things: faithfulness, mercy and justice. Most congregations are very good at encouraging our walk with God (faithfulness) and they are often strong at demonstrating kindness (or mercy) with ‘direct service’ programs like CARITAS and Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center birthday parties. But when it comes to doing justice—changing the systems in our community that often put people in a position of need—many of those same congregations fall significantly short.
No one congregation or small group of people has enough power by itself to make those systems change. But by coming together with congregations from across Greater Richmond, we can take part in ‘direct action’ to hold responsible officials accountable for justice and fairness in our community.
And since RISC’s member congregations understand that they need the power of more and more organized people to redeem the systems of Greater Richmond—and that God requires all of us to ‘do justice’—BAPC along with many other member congregations is accepting the challenge to turn out its average weekly worship attendance to the annual Nehemiah Action. The member congregations of RISC are building powerful justice ministries so that they can get beyond the symptoms and solve serious community problems.
RISC CELEBRATION! Monday, June 12, 6:60 p.m.
Join our 19 partner congregations as we celebrate successes in health care and education at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, 2712 2nd Ave., Richmond, VA. Sign-up on the bulletin board outside of the church office to carpool Carpools will leave our church at 6:00 p.m.
The Problem: 15 elementary schools are unaccredited in reading in Henrico, most in Eastern Henrico. More than 1/4 of the students in these schools failed reading, which increases their risk of dropping out of high school and going to jail.
RISC’s Proven Solution: Direct Instruction reading curriculum has shown 40 years of impressive results in teaching struggling students. Buckingham County, VA reports student reading proficiency increased from 40% to 98% in 2 years!
What Now? Richmond Public Schools & City Council officials recently approached RISC to work on a pilot program of Direct Instruction in RPS! At the Action, we will ask Richmond and Henrico schools to implement this reading curriculum.
HEALTHCARE JOBS HOTLINE
The Problem: In Richmond’s most distressed neighborhoods, only 10% of adult residents have a full-time job with benefits.
RISC’s Proven Solution: A healthcare careers pipeline connecting our community’s workforce centers (which provide training and support services) with our region’s hospitals, where 500+ entry-level jobs go unfilled each year and promising career paths abound.
What Now? Because of RISC’s work, HCA Hospitals and VCU Health have committed to recruit employees from the workforce centers to fill these in-demand jobs! At the Action, we will ask the hospitals and other stakeholders to follow-through on their commitments.
The Problem: 90% of children and youth treated for mental illness in our region have experienced trauma; including abuse; neglect; witnessing domestic or community violence; divorce, death, or incarceration of parents; and living in poverty. In Chesterfield County, 1 in 12 children lives in poverty and the effects of poverty, community violence, and other possibly traumatic experiences is evident.
RISC’s Proven Solution: In communities like Walla Walla, WA, schools have trained their staff to respond to traumatized children resulting in school suspensions dropping from 798 to 135 in just one school year!
What Now? At the Action, we will ask Chesterfield schools to acknowledge the impacts of trauma on their students and take steps, in collaboration with other county agencies, to explore an evidence-based trauma training for school staff.