Eight BBUUC members and friends including Molly Brady, Ken Christiansen, Cindi Jorgensen, Claudia Marshall, Deborah McGovern, Suzanna Siebert, Karl Thomas and Jake Yow attended the ICARE Research Kickoff Tuesday evening, November 19. Research committees explore each of the issues adopted at a Community Problems Assembly and shape the solutions that are brought to the Nehemiah Assembly in March.
Three research committees are expanding this year: the youth committee, the state and criminal justice reform committee, and the new health and mental health care committee. These committees will all conduct new research on some level, but in the case of the youth committee, the direction of the solution was determined in previous years and the main focus will be follow-up. Both the Youth and state and criminal justice reform committees will also all follow up on previous issue campaigns. The Health and Mental Health Care committee is new and will start fresh this year.
The Youth Committee is working to expand restorative practices in Duval County Public Schools. Superintendent Greene made commitments to expand this program last year and this committee will be following up to make sure those commitments are met. This committee will also monitor youth civil citations and neighborhood accountability boards.
The State & Criminal Justice Reform Committee will be working with our nine sister organizations across Florida to identify a state-wide problem within the criminal justice system that we can tackle together. We know that this will be related to unnecessary adult arrest and will research more about that problem this year. This committee will also monitor the Sheriff and State Attorney’s progress in releasing their data on a transparency website.
The Health and Mental Health Care committee is new and will start fresh this year. In house meetings we heard 44 stories about mental health care concerns and 23 stories voicing specific health care concerns. In both cases, cost or access was a big concern. This will inform the direction of our research.
Any ICARE Justice Ministry Network member can participate in the research meetings these committees schedule. If you are interested to participate in one of these committees, or if you want more information about ICARE at BBUUC, please email ICARE@bbuuc.org.