Faith Reflection

Exodus 17:12
“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.”

A well-known saying is, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.” A helpful addition might be, “And, if you want to go powerfully, go together with God.”

The scripture above reminds us, that while God appointed Moses to shepherd the people of Israel, Moses still couldn’t bring them to total victory alone in his own human strength. Moses needed the strength of the community around him. Our call as people of faith is to work collectively together to be those hands and feet of God. Sometimes that puts us in elected political positions of power and sometimes it means lifting the proverbial arms of our elected leaders, so they have the strength to get the things done that we need for our collective victories.

The moral of the story is, we need each other. Let’s go forward, together, with God. We will surely move powerfully in Minnesota.

Qu’ran Reflection (61:4)
“Surely God loves those who struggle for His cause in ranks, as if they were a solid cemented structure.”

This Quranic verse gives the definition of teamwork: working together like a cemented structure. God Almighty has promised sure success for those who work together with team spirit. Team work means making efforts with total unity and solidarity. This kind of work needs conviction, confidence in and emotional attachment to the mission. Dedication in the members of a team is as important as team spirit. Those who are full of this kind of spirit will certainly achieve success.

Brian Fullman and Anita Alexander from Camphor United Methodist Church at the hearing

Redemption Day

Thursday was Redemption Day in the Minn. House Public Safety & Criminal Justice Reform Committee. As people of faith we believe all people are capable and worthy of redemption. We must turn from anger and punishment to reconciliation and redemption.

Brian Fullman, ISAIAH organizer, testified to the committee that the label “felon” hangs over a person for life. The “Clean Slate” bill for automatic expungement stops the barriers in front of people who have done their time and lets people be included in society again. This is important for getting people on track and improving public safety – expungement has been shown to increase a person’s wages by 20%. The current expungement system in most Minnesota counties requires someone having the financial resources to hire an attorney and petition the court.

“Great Start MN” Early Childhood Education Hearing

Mary Solheim, childcare provider in Maplewood and member of our Kids Count on Us Coalition testifies for the Great Start Early Childhood Education legislation. “All kids deserve the best early childhood education but not all get it. Childcare assistance is an important piece of solving opportunity gaps in education and health in Minnesota.”

Act Now – Ask Governor Walz to Put Kids First in the Minnesota Budget

Great news! Minnesota’s budget is still showing a surplus. Now is a great time to make sure all Minnesota kids get off to a great start! Most families struggle to find affordable child care, while workers doing the most important work in the state are among the lowest paid.

Minnesota’s child care assistance program has been under-funded since drastic cuts in 2003. Our kids & families can’t wait any longer – every year we fail to fund child care, we are continuing to fuel opportunity gaps in education and well-being.

The Minnesota House is leading the way with the #GreatStartMN Early Childhood bill, HF1.

Call Governor Walz and ask him to prioritize a $500 million investment in early childhood so all Minnesota Kids get off to a great start! Office of Governor Tim Walz (651) 201-3400.

Sample message: “Hi, my name is ______________ and I’m calling from ________________. I am calling because all Minnesota kids deserve to get off to a great start. But too many families can’t find affordable childcare, while many early childhood teachers are living in poverty. Minnesota families and child care teachers need our help. I would love to see Governor Walz make a major increase in child care funding this year, as a down payment to even bigger investments in the budget next year. Thank you!”

Minnesotans need Paid Time To Care – get ready to show your support at the Capitol

All Minnesotans need time to care for themselves or loved ones when they’re sick or going through one of life’s most tender moments. The Minnesota House is getting ready to send Paid Family & Medical Leave and Paid Sick Days to the House Floor. Due to author illness, a previous plan was delayed. The bills will coming up this Thursday, March 5. Plan to come to the Capitol that afternoon to show your support!

Across races, religions, coalitions organize for solidarity | Washington Post & MPR News

“I’m not taking you to an interfaith dinner. I’m taking you to work that can change your life and my life and our neighbor’s life. And that’s resonating with a lot of people,” Muslim Coalition of ISAIAH co-founder, Imam Mohamed Omar.

ISAIAH executive director Doran Schrantz and Imam Mohamed Omar were featured in a national story speaking about building multiracial democracy in faith communities.

For us, it’s always been about intentional relationships, not just surface interactions for the sake of being “interfaith.” When we realize that our futures are interconnected, then we aren’t only working for justice for others, but for ourselves.

Please note: The article was published in both the Washington Post and MPR News. The link will take you to MPR because the Washington Post is behind a pay wall.

ISAIAH caucus goers in Savage

Precinct Caucuses Matter

by Doran Schrantz, ISAIAH executive director

I know there is a lot of grumbling about precinct caucuses across our country. And with the pressure of a high stakes Presidential campaign, I can understand why it looks and feels archaic and absurd, especially in the gaze of the nationalized media machine.

But there is something about a space, where people can participate in a real 3-dimensional and human-scaled political process and experience politics first-hand.

When you go together, with a mission (like Caucus for Climate and Claiming Our Voices), there is nothing quite like it. Obviously, it is sometimes boring and/or weird. But, on the other hand, it’s where regular people, especially as part of an organized effort, can shape a local or a state party. That is tangible and real. It has stakes and it matters, which is why people can experience a lot of joy and wonder at the experience.

If caucuses were gone, what would replace this potential for authentic ownership and collective agency in the architecture of party politics? Simply voting as an individual does not produce this. Donating doesn’t. Even volunteering doesn’t. Although these actions are meaningful and important, they don’t offer the opportunity to exercise power in a party. If there was something else we could invent that was better than caucuses to provide a pathway to power—human-scaled, democratic power in relationship to a party—I would be open to it. But we have to take responsibility to solve that problem before we simply write off what we have.

In the meantime, we will do this caucusing thing with gratitude and joy.

Claiming Our Voices – Tuesday’s Precinct Caucuses

On Tuesday we sent over 5,000 Minnesotans to caucus on our shared agenda for a multi-racial democracy and caring economy that works for ALL Minnesotans, not just a small few. We caucused for BOLD leadership on things like Paid Family and Medical Leave, Universal Childcare, Climate Justice, Immigrant Justice and making Minnesota a place that honors every person’s dignity, whether fifth generation or newcomer.

Below are some field reports and highlights from our social media accounts in pictures and words.

Mayo High School (Rochester) students Rachel and Rebecca preparing to caucus for the first time
“Got to caucus with my girlfriend and mother today!! It was their first time and they enjoyed it!!”   ~ Christian
200 Muslim Coalition of ISAIAH leaders attended the caucuses held at Roosevelt Middle School in Blaine.
“My sons and I attended our very first Caucus as a family in District 40 tonight. I wanted them to experience their Political Power as young adults and how to make your voice heard. They met Senators, City Councilman and many others running for election and re-election. They learned a lot about how the political process works and how important it is to Caucus.” ~ Donald
Chisago County caucuses NAILED it tonight!! These three ladies had never heard of ISAIAH before tonight. Now they can’t wait to get involved in creating a caring economy and multi-racial democracy for all!
“It was great to meet Ilhan Omar this evening at the caucuses. We spoke for a few mins and she wanted us to keep encouraging more people to stand up and fight for their community, especially us young adults, we have a lot more power than we think. Huge S/O to brother Brian Fullman for the amazing work and impact he’s making out here. We officially became delegates. We are the help we’ve been waiting for! See you at the next level”   ~ Emmanuel
Corinne in SD66 signed up SEVEN new people at her precinct caucus to join our movement!!
Virgil and Marlys from 41B enjoying talking to their neighbors and inviting them into our powerful movement!!
Rochester Muslim leaders claiming our voice. We are the majority of the room.

Super Tuesday is Tomorrow!

As we continue to push for multiracial democracy, we must remember that the first and minimum step is voting! This Tuesday, March 3rd, is the presidential primary voting day for Minnesota and many other states. If you haven’t already voted and if you aren’t one of us who have been sadly disenfranchised from voting because of legislation created regarding felony probation or immigration status, be sure to go vote at your local polling place. No matter your political party, your voice and vote matters. We can make more possible for every single one of us (no exceptions) when we exercise our vote and expand our democracy!