Nearly a month ago, American voters showed up at the polls and delivered some big wins: the first openly transgender person was elected to a statehouse—Danica Roem in Virginia. Roem defeated an incumbent candidate who authored an anti-trans bathroom bill. Also in Virginia: the boyfriend of a reporter shot and killed on live TV, Chris Hurst, won a seat to the statehouse on a gun-control platform, defeating the three-term NRA-backed incumbent. And Hoboken, New Jersey, got its first Sikh mayor: Ravi Bhalla. These and others are encouraging signs that love and tolerance are gaining ground in the public sphere. But there’s still so much work to do. White Supremacists and Nazis still walk boldly in the streets, LGBTQIA teens still face bullying and higher rates of self-harm, women are still paid less for equal work and harassed in every arena, sea levels are rising at faster rates than we previously thought, people of color are still being killed by police, mass shootings are still a regular part of our news cycle, refugees are still waiting in camps around the world for a chance at a better, safer life.
Activists and advocates have been working for justice in these and other areas for decades. In the last year, spurred on by events like the Women’s March, a growing group of would-be activists has emerged. These allies are a welcome addition to the justice movement, but many worry they won’t do or say the right things, and want to have their perspectives deepened on important issues. They need guides and resources to give them the knowledge, tools, and confidence to make a real impact.
Faith in Action is a book born out of this need. I am honored to serve as editor for Faith in Action and thrilled to share this book with FAR readers. This book offers primers on a whole range of topics, from racial justice, to environmental concerns; from women’s equality to disability rights; from mass incarceration to immigration; from LGBTQIA equality to Native people’s rights. But none of these topics operate in a vacuum. In fact, there is significant overlap between topics. The wage gap between women and men is made much starker when racial differences are taken into account. The causes of disability are deeply rooted in issues of environmental misuse. We are not singly defined by our gender or our socioeconomic status or our race. Each of these elements in our identity makes up part of a greater whole with intersecting implications for our privileges and our disadvantages.
One person couldn’t create this resource alone. It took a team of contributors, with varied experiences in activism, faith, policy, and social change. Contributors representing the communities and groups most impacted by the political realities the book addresses.
Marques Armstrong is a trained community organizer and public policy advocate. Sharon Betcher is a scholar specializing in the areas of disability theology. Bethany Bradley was a cofounder of the Women’s March on Washington: MN March. DeWayne Davis is a pastor and public policy advocate. Christopher Zumski Finke is a freelance journalist and a renewable energy advocate. Sonja Hagander is a university pastor and interfaith advocate. Jaylani Hussein is executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Jim Bear Jacobs is a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation and a cultural facilitator in the Twin Cities. Nekima Levy-Pounds is an attorney, scholar, and national expert on issues of race. Dee McIntosh is a founding member of Black Clergy United for Change. Kellie Rock is a refugee resettlement advocate. Javen Swanson is a pastor and LGBTQIA advocate.
These contributors are all people of faith. Our values—equity, justice, human dignity, care for the earth—are all rooted in our faith and in the belief that all people are beloved children of God. Readers who are similarly rooted in faith will recognize those themes and values throughout the book. But there are countless pathways that lead a person to work for justice, and many have nothing to do with faith. We hope this book will be a resource for all kinds of communities.
Faith in Action provides four-page offerings on nearly thirty essential topics for would-be activists in today’s world. Each topic includes practical suggestions for what you can do to make a difference in your community. But more than a to-do list, this book will broaden and deepen your perspective on these issues and challenge your assumptions.
Lisa Kloskin earned a masters degree in systematic theology from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, in 2012. In her work as Acquisitions Editor at Fortress Press, she works closely with authors, manages contributor teams, and assists with all aspects of the publishing process to produce lively and needed resources. Her favorite part of working at FP is her brilliant, fun, and quirky colleagues. Lisa loves to spend time outside hiking and biking with her husband.