“Over a decade of Doing Justice!”
1) Covenanting of JOSHUA: After two years of organizing JOSHUA was founded as an official organization in the spring of 2004. With eight faith communities covenanting in a shared commitment to strengthen relationships, identify issues of injustice, and take action to bring about the community our shared values called us to create.
2) Rolling Thunder: September in 2004, nearly 4,000 WISDOM members from all parts of the state, including 2 bus loads of JOSHUA members gathered in Milwaukee for the largest single event WISDOM has ever held. Many JOSHUA members were part of the 800 voice combined choir. The gathering was part of “Rolling Thunder”, a nation-wide campaign of the Gamaliel Foundation, in which 20 organizations held large public meetings. Issues lifted up included a common call for just and compassionate treatment of immigrants, school funding, treatment instead of prison, and acall for people of faith across the country to remember their faith values when going to the polls.
3) Addressing Substandard Housing: The core team at West Side Moravian heard from the members in their congregation about unsafe and unhealthy living conditions in the apartment building where they lived. JOSHUA offered leadership and training. Tenants along with the core team members held a meeting with the landlord of the apartment complex to call for the landlord to address these concerns. They were very successful!
4) Treatment through Drug Courts: JOSHUA began working on treatment instead of prison as its very first issue. Judge Donald Zuidmulder asked for JOSHUA to help gain support for Brown County’s first alternative court, the drug court, by helping the community understand its purpose and the need for the program and to secure needed funding with the county. The drug court has grown in Brown County over the past five years and has paved they way for the veteran’s treatment court and mental health court.
5) Shelter for the Homeless: Housing issues, especially ensuring that
there is a place to stay for the homeless has been an ongoing struggle in Green Bay. JOSHUA religious leaders worked with many others to call for the Green Bay City Council to allow St John Homeless Shelter to exist. When an extension was initially denied, leaders called for the city to permit the shelter to operate. JOSHUA leaders again responded when an expansion of the shelter was needed to address the growing number of homeless persons in Green Bay. This work is a testament to what trained leaders can do to respond at a moments notice to address injustices.
6) Health Care for all: In 2007 JOSHUA began working on health care related issues. When a national health care bill came forward we held meetings with Congressman Kagen, sponsored several forums, held pray vigils, and hosted a lard rally calling for access to health care for all.
7) SOFT Sheltering for Families and Children:
The Green Bay area saw a sharp increase of homeless families, especially children, with no place to stay in area shelters, and no resources to turn to when non-profits ran out of housing vouchers. JOSHUA pulled together over 50 community leaders for a series of meetings to address the issue of homeless families, which had successfully created the Supporting Our Families Together, or SOFT, program and raised funds to support housing voucher programs.
8) Plunging into Immigration Issues: Responding to the need to address a growing number of issues impacting the more than 30,000 Latinos in the Green Bay area, JOSHUA held an immigration plunge. Over 60 community leaders participated in a day-long event that exposed participants to issues, shared testimonies by immigrants, and called for support and action by the community to address these challenges.
9) The Transit Crisis: The 2010 census reported that the Green Bay region had grown beyond a population of 200,000. Because of how federal transit funding formulas are calculated, this growth threatened to cut Green Bay Metro’s service in half. JOSHUA and our sister-affiliate, ESTHER, swung into action and collected over 1.000 signatures, shared rider stories, and held a huge even with Congressman Ribble and Petri, both of which served on the Transportation Committee. In 2012 we were successful in changing the largest piece of policy that we’ve ever worked and restored transit funding for our communities.
10) Reforming Prisons in Wisconsin: WISDOM launched the 11×15 campaign to reduce the incarceration rate in our state and address many issues involving corrections. JOSHUA launched their involvement with the campaign by holding a powerful press conference on the steps of the Brown County Courthouse. We offered nearly 50 presentations, met with state legislators, worked to gain support from local judges and law enforcement, and stood with over 1,000 leaders from around the state on the capital steps to call for an increased funding for alternatives to incarceration and to pass specific policies that impact those in prison and those that have been released.