Amazing things are happening here.
There are so many places one can look and see life-changing things happening at Church and Community Development for All People and across Columbus’ South Side. Today, these stories were shared as community members, state representatives, and the media came together to share the impact of proposed changes to the state of Ohio’s budget.
In one of the worst zip codes in North America for infant mortality, Church and Community Development for All People hosted more than 200 people for a “First Birthdays” celebration on May 2nd.
In a community with a high incarceration rate, the Columbus Dispatch reported today that the Horizon Prison Initiative has a four percent recidivism rate. Community member Teddy Johnson added his own experience to this by sharing how he had “used the things I learned in Horizon and applied them to my life.”
Where blighted and abandoned homes once dominated the landscape, the neighborhood is changing with rebuilt, occupied homes. Executive Director John Edgar described the impact of a “housing renaissance,” he also pointed out that there are still “way too many people who don’t have a place to live.”
Amazing things are happening here and yet the struggle continues.
In sharing his story, Lamar Wooden talked of his journey from homelessness and the difficulty of working multiple jobs to barely make it. He summarized his story by saying, “It’s hard but I do it and I make it.”
This is not only a struggle for Lamar, but mirrors our struggle in transforming a community. While many great things are happening here, the state legislature is proposing a budget that will make poor people poorer. Furthermore, cuts in Medicaid will work against the infant mortality initiative of First Birthdays. More children will fail to reach their first birthday if proposed budget changes take place. John called on the legislature to “work with us, not against us.”
Like Lamar, we struggle. We struggle to bring health, education, freedom, housing, and a full life to our community. We struggle, but we will not be deterred. Today, a community of people raised their voices, shared their stories, and gave a human face to a cold budget.
As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.” We too will continue to work and speak truth until the life of Jesus is made visible in our community.