Houses of worship launch Lift to raise area quality of life

Launch of Lift, November 2010

At the Lift Greater Dayton launch meeting, held at Temple Israel on Oct. 10, (L to R) Temple Israel’s Rabbi David Sofian, Wesley Community Center’s Michael Allen, UD Past President Brother Raymond Fitz, Cross Creek Community Church’s Rev. Bill Youngkin, and First Baptist Church’s Dr. Rod Kennedy.

First task, pass Montgomery County’s human services levy

By Marshall Weiss, The Dayton Jewish Observer

More than 300 people from Dayton area churches, synagogues and mosques — and a bevy of elected officials and candidates — came to Temple Israel on Sunday afternoon Oct. 10 for the launch of Lift Greater Dayton, a new social justice advocacy organization.

The Rev. Mark Hunt of Solid Rock Baptist Church told the gathering that volunteers from more than 40 faith-based organizations held numerous conversations over the past year to ask friends, neighbors and congregants what they believe are the greatest challenges facing the Dayton area.

As a result, Lift identified its highest priorities as jobs, education, and youth.

“Lift Greater Dayton, we are here together to say, in a diversified by but yet unified voice, put Dayton back to work,” Hunt said. “To put Dayton back to work we need jobs, quality education, opportunities for our youth, and we need critical service for the most vulnerable among us. As others are divided, we will publicly announce our commitment to work together across racial, religious, and ethnic lines and build a broad-based power cooperative, an organization to help make Greater Dayton what we dream it to be.”

During the 90-minute program, leaders of Lift’s Weatherization, Jobs, and Youth and Education Teams gave updates on their progress.

Clergy who led the event focused their oratorical skills on energizing the crowd to recruit voters and convince their friends to vote for Issue 9, the Montgomery County 6.03-mil replacement levy for human services.

If Issue 9 passes, it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $16 more a year. The levy will generate approximately $4.5 million in funding for services to children, the elderly, people with developmental disabilities and mental illness, public health, the homeless and others in need of social services.

Millions of dollars in federal and state matching funds for county social services will also be lost if the levy doesn’t pass.

“We do not play for fun. We play to win,” First Baptist Church’s Dr. Rod Kennedy said about Issue 9. “We have all this human need. It’s everywhere you turn. Senior citizens trying to stay in their homes. Parents struggling to keep their kids off the streets and off drugs. Mothers working two to three jobs trying to provide for little children. Babies without enough milk and formula. Homeless people without food, clothing, or shelter. Have mercy. Now, we can pretend this is not our business. But as people of faith, the need of our fellow beings is our primary mission. And the good news, for about $1.50 a month, we can meet so much human need.”

The Rev. Brian Q. Newcomb of David’s United Church of Christ urged each person present to speak to at least 10 people and ask them to vote for the levy.

“We’ll all admit we’re just getting started,” Newcomb said. “We wanted this room full to overflowing, but I’m grateful to each one of you here today. We know it’s not enough to just show up and vote. We’re hearing signs of opposition, talk of too much taxes.”

Temple Israel’s Rabbi David Sofian gave Lift Greater Dayton its call to action.

“If you look around the room, as great as this is…we are not enough,” Sofian said. “If everyone of us chooses to go and vote, that’s going to be about 300 votes for the levy. And 300 votes for the levy is not enough. However, if everyone of us really gets 10 other people to vote — 3,000 votes for the levy — that might make a real difference. That’s the meaning of power. That’s the meaning of commitment.”

Previous post

Federation to exit Jewish nursing home business

Next post

Presidents of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton, 1910-2010