“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”
Sisters and brothers, welcome to apocalypse.
If this word conjures up images of death, destruction and the end of the world as we know it, let me remind you that the original meaning is “an unveiling; a revealing of something hidden.”
Isn’t that what’s happening? The faults and fissures that have swallowed so many innocent lives have become visible. Many people have seen for the first time; and if some choose to keep their eyes shut, well, we can’t open them by force. But our eyes are opened, yours and mine.
I heard a wise spiritual teacher say, “Once God opens your eyes to an injustice, you ignore it at the risk of your own soul.” Not only is this a call to action, it’s a call to the apparent inaction of attending to your soul’s wisdom.
To continue reading this reflection by Rev. Jan Wiersma click here.
Qu’ran Reflection: Sarah Kahf 18:93-95
“Until when he reached a place between the two mountains, he found beside the mountains a people who scarcely understood anything. (93) They said: “O Dhu al-Qarnayn, Gog and Magog are spreading corruption in this land. So shall we pay you taxes on the understanding that you will set up a barrier between us and them?” (94) He answered: “Whatever my Lord has granted me is good enough. But help me with your labour and I will erect a rampart between you and them. (95)”
We reflect on the story of Dul qarnain in Sarah Kahf, who was a great leader mentioned in the Quran, who shows us what leadership means at times of crisis and uncertainty – especially in the current COVID-19 crisis. During one of his expeditions, he comes across people who are in great need (people who scarcely understood anything) and who are afraid of an enemy that can wipe them out.
We learn from him that as a leader he accepts the responsibility to protect them and not to exploit them because of their need. He is not operating from a place of scarcity, but abundance and courage. He says, as a ruler, it is my duty to protect you from the ravages of your enemies. He already had the financial resources required from the people and by Allah, but needed their commitment to see the work through. He gives them agency and dignity to help him erect a barrier.
As leaders in our community and faithful people, we must lead our people in whatever position we are in to have agency and dignity and take the responsibility to help us stand for our rights and voice.
Attorney General on ISAIAH Clergy COVID-19 Response Call, Clergy to continue weekly calls
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison joined clergy and religious leaders on this week’s call to discuss how we lead together to fight for voter protections and rental assistance during the legislative session.
Now, like never before, we need our faith leaders equipped and connected, so that we can faithfully and quickly lead in response to the growing needs of Minnesotans.
Because of the increased need for community support, good information and public leadership, the clergy team of ISAIAH has decided to hold a weekly COVID-19 response call on Thursdays from noon-1pm. All clergy, ministers, imams and religious institution leaders are encouraged to join us in these weekly virtual calls of connection and action.
Willmar Leaders Meet with Local Officials
ISAIAH organizer Christina Nelson reporting
ISAIAH leaders in Willmar gathered across race and religion to meet with our county and city officials. We are grateful for our local leaders that are taking the response to COVID-19 seriously and putting the safety of everyone first whether we are white, black or brown. While there is much to figure out and learn to make sure all are protected and cared for, we celebrate that we are doing this work together!
St. Paul Mayor, City officials meet with ISAIAH
It was awesome to have staff at the City of Saint Paul and Mayor Melvin Carter, with his 6-week old “chief of staff,” join us for a multi-racial and multi-faith meeting with 50 ISAIAH leaders and organizers Wednesday evening.
It was translated in Spanish, English and Somali to ensure that our leaders in the Muslim and Latinx base could learn about applying for the Saint Paul Bridge Fund, (http://stpaul.gov/bridge-fund) which is a relief fund for families and small businesses facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
We also talked about ways we can lead together with the Mayor to push the Minn. legislature to release funds that will keep our families healthy and safe.
Together we can lead through COVID-19 to ensure that all in St. Paul, no matter one’s race, immigration status, class, or religion, can come out of this crisis stronger than before!
Leading in this Moment
Tuesday night, over 130 ISAIAH leaders across race and religion and from places like St. Cloud, Burnsville, North Minneapolis, Rochester, Mendota Heights and Saint Paul showed up powerfully to take action to protect our democracy and make sure people’s needs are met right now and going forward.
We called on top legislators to pass at least $100M for rental/mortgage assistance.
We amplified messages on social media demanding Minnesota elected officials ensure robust voting protections.
We committed to our organizing path to build power and create the kind of Minnesota we know is possible and we all deserve.
The ISAIAH community is leading in this moment so that we ALL can participate in a multiracial society where everyone is in and no one is out and a caring economy where we all have what we need to thrive!
BCCC Regional Virtual Meeting
(from a Facebook post by Brian Fullman, ISAIAH lead organizer)
The leaders of The Barbershop & Black Congregation Cooperative are on fire!! Special shout out to Bishop Howell of Shiloh Temple and Mother Julia A Stewart of High Praise for sharing that space with us! We need our leaders and the wisdom of our elders to be present!
We had our Regional virtual meeting today because we want livable wages, fully funded schools, restorative practices in our justice system, adequate and affordable housing, financial relief for the marginalized and forgotten, quality healthcare amongst other things. We have a plan to engage our community with public action, good conversations that are rooted in power, robust voter engagement programs amongst other things. We are the people in the back!! Come on in! We got room!!!
THIS WEEKEND: Take Action on Statewide Rental/Mortgage Assistance
On Thursday, top Senate Republicans have proposed $30 million dollars for rental and mortgage assistance. Given that hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who could be displaced and have their homes taken from them starting May 1st, we really need at least $100 million dollars to ensure fewer people face hardship during this challenging time. Now is the time to raise the bar of what bold public leadership looks like on this issue!
ACTION NEEDED by noon on Mon 4/20 Call top legislators ASAP about passing $100 million, NOT $30 million, for statewide rental/mortgage assistance via this helpful guide: https://bit.ly/MNrentassist.
Emergency Rental/Mortgage Assistance Strategy Huddle
Tuesday, April 21; 5:00-6:00 pm
Top Senate legislators are planning to propose legislation on statewide and rental assistance on Monday April 20th. We are concerned that the proposal will not meet the urgency and scale of the housing crisis before us once eviction suspensions are lifted on May 1st.
Therefore, we will use this emergency rental assistance huddle on Tuesday to 1) give an update on the proposed legislation 2) make meaning about it and 3) take public action by calling our legislators and advancing OUR narrative on social media. Join us!
Registration link: https://secure.everyaction.com/ElyAbH0AoEKpV1laBJKbBg2.
Families freed: Jail de-populated by 40%! We can decarcerate our prisons too
Most Minnesotans believe that every human being, no matter their race or income, is deserving of dignity and redemption. Yet, in Minnesota, we have laws that criminalize and incarcerate high numbers of people, including Black and Native people, for choices made out of poverty or mental health illness. Too often, our prison system perpetually punishes people, not giving them opportunities for reconciliation, redemption or rehabilitation. Even now in a pandemic, people are being given death sentences because of a few people making decisions about who and who isn’t worthy of health and safety.
But we know that when we work together across race and region, we can move our legislators to make just laws grounded in healthy communities of redeemed people, not punishment. Right now, we can safely release people to be at home, with their families, so that they can stay safe and our communities can stay healthy.
We’ve already decreased Hennepin County jails by 40%! If we can lower incarceration for the purpose of public safety and health for our incarcerated loved ones and selves in jails, we should do it for those in prisons as well.