By organizing people in congregations and organizations, we build Justice Knox to possess power to successfully hold our community leaders accountable to justice and fairness. The organizing process follows a three step cycle of listening, research, and action. The whole process ends in our annual investment drive. Not one of these elements is more important to our mission than another, and each helps us grow, learn, and increase our faithfulness to the Knoxville community.
First, we engage in the LISTENING process. Through house meetings, we ask people “what keeps you up at night” and “what community problems make you angry,” and we invite people to live out the biblical mandate to “do justice” by joining us in our work. With results from more than 75 house meetings, we identify and adopt an additional problem area at an Assembly of hundreds of people while we continue our current issue campaigns in education and mental health.
RESEARCH happens next. We research to clarify the problem in our community, to determine viable solutions to the problem, and to identify the power holders who have the authority to implement the solutions.
ACTION follows research. Members from all congregations involved gather in a large public meeting called a Nehemiah Action Assembly (Nehemiah 5), to call for action from community officials who can implement the solution. Our first Nehemiah Action Assembly was held on April 24, 2017, and we successfully gathered 1,236 people securing commitments from the police chief and the sheriff to train 100% of officers in crisis intervention training in 2 years. Our goal for our 2018 Nehemiah Action is to turn out 1,500 people for justice.
FOLLOW UP ensures that community officials carry out their commitments. After the Action, Justice Knox leaders meet with community officials to monitor the progress of their commitments and report the progress back to their congregations. We applaud and recognize community officials when they follow through and make our community more just and fair.”
Finally, we strengthen Justice Knox in our annual INVESTMENT drive. After the Nehemiah Action Assembly, we gather to celebrate our work and victories, and we invite people to own the work by investing in Justice Knox so that we can begin again.