The Gulf Coast Leadership Council (GCLC) is a 501 (c)(3) organization founded by key religious and civic leaders in Houston as a vehicle to train leadership from diverse faith and community institutions to go beyond providing services in order to develop the capacity to act effectively in the public arena.
[Excerpts] Arenas de Ruiz, formerly of Venezuela, had been among parishioners in Harris County, Fort Bend and Brazoria counties who took the three-day leadership training offered [by the Gulf Coast Leadership Council with the support of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Mission & Ministry Impact to leaders of] The Metropolitan Organization (TMO), a nonprofit grassroots group. In mid-summer, more than 1,250 TMO leaders from 30 churches and other institutions convened on Zoom and Facebook watch parties for a virtual “Get out the Vote Rally” and made thousands of phone calls to 16 Harris County precincts that traditionally had low voter turnout. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has offered a teaching document on the political responsibilities of Catholics called “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” The document urges all pastors, lay and religious faithful and all people of good will “to help form consciences, teach those entrusted to their care; to contribute to civil and respectful public dialogue and to shape politics.” Father Rodney Armstrong of Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Fifth Ward and his parishioners set up a voter registration table at a nearby McDonald’s fast-food restaurant with owner approval. The pastor also made a video that TMO placed on its Facebook to encourage voters. Dr. Fernando Scaglia, a parishioner at Assumption Catholic Church off Airline Drive, said he participated in the church’s phone bank as well despite his busy schedule as a researcher and professor of genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. He also participated in “Virtual Accountability Sessions,” where TMO invited candidates from Democratic and Republican parties to discuss how they stood on a variety of issues. “There are so many important issues that impact all of us — health and the pandemic; economic issues like evictions and even the DACA issue for dreamers,” Dr. Scaglia said. [Photo Credit: St. Leo the Great Catholic Church] Faithful Citizenship Sparks Nonpartisan Voter Rallies at Houston Parishes, The Texas Catholic Herald [pdf]Continue readingGulf Coast Leadership Council prepared TMO leaders to convene over 1000 community members from across the country at Justice Summit GCLC--trained TMO leaders brought together over 300 people on a Zoom call for a Justice Summit on Police reform, with over 800 viewers watching online. Academics Danielle Allen from Harvard University and Charles Payne from Rutgers University delivered educational presentations on approaches to community safety and preparing youth of color to thrive.Continue reading
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