Now here’s a thought! “If Moses acted like most clergy he would have gone down to the slave camps of Egypt and opened a food pantry. If Moses would have done that we never would have heard of Moses.” The sentence caught my attention. Just substitute “many in the Vincentian family” for “most clergy” and you’ll understand why.

Greg Galluzzo, the 74-year-old retired founder of the Chicago-based Gamaliel Foundation, has been traveling to Chattanooga, Oak Ridge, Nashville and Memphis to help train those working on the ground to stir a statewide movement that could address the economic and social inequity that has taken root across the state.

Only half of those who can vote actually register to vote nationally, Galluzzo said, and only half of registered voters vote. Then, he said, only 50 percent of those who vote cast a ballot for the winning presidential candidate. “Rich people know that if they control 12 percent of the vote, they can control the presidency,” Galluzzo said. “You don’t have to have a majority of people on your side.”

Beyond each November’s obligatory “vote” messages, is the systemic truth here. As organizations committed to strategies that involve systemic change, Vincentians need to pay attention. Advocacy and politics, faith and leadership: the whole “Moses story” must be reflected in our work.

To bring about real change Galluzzo said those in Chattanooga and elsewhere in Tennessee must help nonvoters, who feel they can make no difference, realize the vital role they play in the democratic process.

Gamaliel was founded in 1986 to train community and faith leaders to build political power and create organizations that unite people of diverse faiths and races.

Their mission is

… to empower ordinary people to effectively participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives. Gamaliel’s diverse members apply their faith and values to the pursuit of equal opportunity for all, shared abundance, and stronger, more prosperous communities.

from About the Gamaliel Foundation.

Yep. Nailed it. It’s called empowerment. It should be said of us, too.


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