IMPACT

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The group Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together (IMPACT) is a group made up of 31 churches in the Charlottesville and Albemarle area. They hold annual meetings to bring awareness to elected officials about issues important to their faith. [1] These events are called Nehemiah Assemblies.

Purpose

The group believes in tackling problems that have become rooted at the systemic level still requires bringing large numbers of people together, so that we can engage those in local positions of power to make changes. They call their events "Nehemiah Assemblies" because in the Book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem to help rebuild the ruined city walls, and he finds that the people are being taken advantage of by lenders who are charging heavy interest and who are making them sell their sons and daughters into slavery in order to make debt payments. In response, Nehemiah calls together a large public assembly to call the money lenders to account and to demand that they change their ways. In response to Nehemiah's challenge, the money lenders do change their ways.

History

2008

In 2008, IMPACT focused on education issues.[2].

20080310impact1.gif

Nearly 1900 people from 28 congregations attended the second annual "Nehemiah Action" on March 10, 2008 at University Hall on the Grounds of the University of Virginia[3]. The City Council and Board of Supervisors both held special meetings allowing them to participate in the event.

2010

In 2010, they addressed mental health issues[4].

2011

The group held their 2011 assembly on March 28, 2011 at the University of Virginia's University Hall. Over 1,000 people from 31 churches attended. The issue put to elected officials was whether they fund a transitional program for men and women who have served their time in prison. However, neither the City Council or Board of Supervisors sent enough people to have a quorum. Only Councilors Satyendra Huja and Kristin Szakos as well as Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier attended the event, and pledged to commit to funding the program, which is jointly operated by Region 10 and the Virginia Department of Corrections. The program helps ex-convicts pay for prescription medications in the 60 to 90 days it takes for Medicaid to kick in before being released from prison. Many people released from prison have mental health issues and are more likely to be sent back to jail if they are not able to retain mental stability. [1] Some of the other elected officials sent written responses saying they would need more information about the program.

2012

In 2012, the group sought financial commitments from Albemarle and Charlottesville to fund Healthy Transitions, a joint program between Region Ten and District Nine Probation and Parole that helps people released from jail re-enter society. [5]

2017

In 2017, the group opted to focus on advocating for more affordable housing in the region. [6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Web. IMPACT to assist area mental health, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, March 28, 2011, retrieved March 29, 2011.
  2. Dixit, Rachana. "IMPACT's latest project: Education." 21 November 2008. 2 January 2009 <http://www.dailyprogress.com/cdp/news/local/article/impacts_latest_project_education/31702/>
  3. 'Response mixed to IMPACT's challenge at annual assembly', Charlottesville Tomorrow
  4. Web. IMPACT to focus on mental health, Brandon Shulleeta, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, October 19, 2010, retrieved October 19, 2010.
  5. Web. Organizations won't commit to IMPACT's youth unemployment initiative, Megan Davis, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, March 26, 2012, retrieved March 29, 2012.
  6. Web. Faith groups vote to focus on affordable housing, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, October 24, 2017, retrieved October 9, 2017.


External links