CALEB’s ongoing commitment to building community power is not an effort that is fought alone, but rather alongside sister organizations such as NOAH in Nashville and MICAH in Memphis. These groups work in their respective communities to advocate in fields such as education, economic equity, affordable housing, and criminal justice.
Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH) is an "anti-racist faith-based coalition
that is multiracial, multi-generational, and interfaith comprised of congregations, community organizations, and labor unions that work to amplify the power of ordinary people.” NOAH does not endorse political candidates, but rather gets them to endorse the organization’s issue agenda and pledge to work alongside NOAH if they are elected.
In NOAH’s annual meeting that took place on October 17, the organization hosted a meeting that included the likes of MNPS Board Chair Christiane Buggs, Mayor John Cooper and Councilperson Sandra Sepulveda making commitments that will, “Help guide NOAH’s plans as we organize people and money around these issues.”
NOAH made its own commitments as well, surveying the public on the upcoming 2022 elections of General Sessions and Criminal Court Judges who make decisions on bail, probation, and restorative practices. NOAH’s concerns around the criminal justice system, regarding mass incarceration and a judge’s role in determining the outcomes for arrested individuals, reflects the importance of electing those who will support fairness and equity in criminal justice.
The Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope (MICAH) has also been making strides in criminal justice as well. Comprised of more than 70 community and faith-based organizations, the coalition aims to fit against inequity and injustices in the Memphis area.
In their annual public meeting, MICAH was joined by Police Chief Cerelyn Davis and Shelby
County Sheriff Floyd Bonner. MICAH met with two goals in mind:
Firstly, to get a commitment from Memphis and Shelby County police to support civilian-led intervention for behavioral and mental health incidents to free up law enforcement for policing in the community.
Secondly, MICAH asked to meet quarterly on the prior mentioned mental/behavioral health crises.
While Sheriff Bonner was not in attendance, he did agree to both of the coalition’s requests.
MICAH also made requests to reduce mass incarceration, including limiting pretrial detention via money bail. The group asked Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich to create money bail policy within her office that will prioritize release of those who are not a danger to the community or a flight risk, using the least restrictive means of release.
In addition to the steps mentioned above, MICAH also continues to push for a Conviction
Review Unit, as District Attorney Weirich maintains her stance that it is unneeded because her "whole office" is a conviction review unit. Conviction Review Units have been implemented in 45 jurisdictions across the country, and have had major benefits, including the CRU implemented in Davidson County in 2016.
MICAH, NOAH and CALEB continue to work collaboratively and with great momentum to
achieve the aims listed above and much more making strides for equity in education, criminal justice, mass incarceration and beyond.
CALEB is an institutional coalition of faith-based, labor, and community groups working to build power to affect change in Chattanooga, TN.