ICARE House Meetings are underway with 61 BBUUC members and friends signed up or already having attended a total of seven House Meetings as I write these paragraphs. We have opened a new House Meeting on Oct. 11 to accommodate additional signups and will open additional meeting(s) if necessary. Sign up at ICARE@bbuuc.org. House Meetings with space available as of this writing include:
Sunday, Sept. 27, 10 am – noon, Zoom meeting led by Carole Hawkins.
Saturday, Oct. 3, 10 am – noon, Zoom meeting led by Claudia Marshall.
Sunday, Oct. 11, 1 pm – 3 pm, Zoom meeting led by Ken Christiansen.
What happens at ICARE House Meetings? We share stories about events and conditions that concern us in our neighborhoods in Jacksonville and surrounding communities. These stories, gathered in every ICARE congregation, determine the issues ICARE addresses city-wide. We learn about ICARE’s yearly cycle of activities to address these issues. We are offered the opportunity to become a BBUUC Justice Ministry Network member.
What is the ICARE yearly cycle after the House Meetings? We pick issues to address citywide at the Community Problems Assembly in November. Research Committees take input from many stakeholders and identify what can be done or changed locally to achieve greater justice. We invite friends, relatives, and fellow congregation members to the Nehemiah Assembly in April where persons with the power to make changes for greater justice are publicly asked questions. This year the Nehemiah Assembly will be both in-person and virtual.
The issues ICARE is presently addressing are listed below. A new issue will be added to the list at the Community Problems Assembly this November.
- Researching ways to bring an accredited 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team training to JSO for a significant number of officers who are already in the field. This type of training offers skill sets for de-escalating mental health and drug related encounters and getting people help rather than taking them to jail. It is estimated that a third to a half of persons in our jails today don’t belong there and would be better served by mental health treatment.
- Working with the State Collaborative of DART* organizations and other stakeholders to create a Civil Citations program for adults. This will be particularly useful when someone has committed a minor, nonviolent offense.
- Continuing to monitor and support the implementation of the state law that requires police officers to issue Civil Citations rather than arresting youths for a list of 12 common youthful offenses. The good news here is that during July 2020, only 4 youths were arrested in Duval County, down from an average of 50 or higher per month before Civil Citations were put into use. The state law brings this same good news to all the Florida counties where BBUUC members live.
- Continuing to monitor and support the implementation of Restorative Justice in the Duval County Public Schools.
- Continuing to press for better data transparency on the JSO and States Attorney websites related to the arrests, prosecutions, sentencing, and incarceration of individuals; and related to officer involved shootings and complaints against officers.