Hope from the Hood Podcast, featuring Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy
OPC executive director Sandhya Jha just launched a new podcast: “Hope from the Hood – the Peaceful City.” For the first year, she’ll be featuring Oakland Peace Center partners and the amazing work they are doing to create peace in the community, so that their vision and work can ripple out throughout the community and even throughout the nation. This is an occasional series of blog posts on those same organizations. To listen to the episode featuring FAME, click here. To subscribe to the whole series on iTunes, click here.
Kristi Laughlin and BK Woodson embody two things we don’t find often enough and almost never find in combination: a passion for justice and deep humility. Kristi and BK connect people of faith with the courageous struggles of low-wage and immigrant workers. Their work may sound political, but the way they engage in that work is deeply spiritual and is driven by their own faith. They lead an organization called Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy (FAME). They were featured in a very inspiring interview on the Hope from the Hood podcast, speaking about their work in general and their work to educate and mobilize voters to increase the minimum wage in Oakland in particular. The interview can be found HERE. But be warned, by the end of the podcast, you might be itching to go to synagogue, mosque, temple or church. (Or you might be itching to hit the streets and let the community know why Oakland will be a better city when it has a better minimum wage.)
FAME is one of the original OPC partners, and the work they do is creating tangible peace in our community, because on a day-to-day basis, FAME works to make sure that families aren’t torn apart by unjust immigration laws or by wage theft that makes workers work long hours at multiple jobs (including many unpaid hours) that keep them from the families they love. Financial desperation and separation from loved ones for policy or financial reasons create a lack of peace within individuals and within whole communities that create a lack of peace throughout the whole Bay Area. FAME, in very concrete ways, is creating peace in the East Bay by creating access, opportunity and dignity for all people.
One of the most inspiring moments in the podcast was when Kristi shared about FAME’s vision for a world in which people are not so consumed with underpaid work for such long hours that their only identity becomes that of worker. Right now, many low-wage (fast food, Walmart, and other service industry work) workers have to work 80 or more hours to cover their most basic needs. When workers are paid fairly and only need to work a regular work week, Kristi noted, they get to fully participate in their communities as family members and as parents in their children’s schools and as faith leaders and as people invested in their neighborhood. And all of us would benefit from that happening–our neighborhoods will be more vibrant when people aren’t overworked and can invest more fully in one another.
The Oakland Peace Center is not a religious organization, but people of diverse faiths and spiritualities have shaped our culture as an organization and as a collective. I’m pretty proud of the fact that people of any faith will feel welcome here, and that we have an intentional culture of openness to one another. I’m also proud of the fact that people don’t feel that they have to check their spirituality at the door when they enter into the work of building up the Beloved Community together here at the OPC. Instead, people bring the best of their traditions into conversation with one another and into the work they do.
Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy has contributed to our culture in meaningful ways, and we are so grateful to partner with them, learn from them, and support them as they spiritually support courageous leaders in the struggle for immigrant and worker justice.
Don’t miss out on BK and Kristi’s spiritual wisdom. The interview can be found HERE.