Big Community Projects Underway for ISAAC
Community involvement and acting on issues is the mission of the group ISAAC in Kalamazoo. It recently held its 15th anniversary banquet to celebrate several projects and look ahead to the future.
The Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community, better known as ISAAC, is a non-profit organization that links congregations to work on issues and to make positive changes in the community. Tobi Hanna-Davies is one of the three vice presidents at ISAAC. She’s excited about the projects that the organization accomplished this year, along with what’s to come in the future.
“We’re focusing on anti-racism as one of our three issues right now, this two-year cycle and we are very excited about how many people are taking ERACCE training, about analyzing and understanding systemic racism, institutional racism," Hanna-Davies said.
"And we are really hoping to get it to a critical mass where a lot more people understand how racism is built into our institutions so that we can really work effectively to undo that.”
Hanna-Davies says ISAAC usually has three task forces which target selected issues. She says ISAAC partnered with other organizations to fund a recent project called “Vote Yes for Kids” that will start this fall.
“We were partners with other organizations, who are getting an award tonight, on the Vote Yes for Kids Millage for homeless families who have children in the public schools all over the county, nine or more school districts, who don’t have a place to live," Hanna-Davies said. "So there will be money starting this fall for homes for at least 100 families a year.”
ISAAC President Douglas King says other initiatives are also underway:
“Another one of our issues is education: early childhood," King said. "So we’ve done a lot of work with Ready 4s, and helping out young children, and importance of education at an early age. And then we have youth violence prevention and we’re excited about that because we have attempted to bring in a strategy by David Kennedy, which is called Group Violence Intervention, more commonly known as CeaseFire, but what that is, that was just recently funded by some of the area foundations.”
King says the anti-racism, early childhood education, and gun violence intervention projects will continue to be major focuses at ISAAC through this year. King says ISAAC promotes social justice in the Kalamazoo community and communities throughout Michigan.
“I’m also a pastor, so it’s faith-based organizing so it allows us to put feet to our faith and do the things that are needed, that we think God is calling us to do, in the community, to help one another, to help those who are less fortunate then we are," King said.
"And so by myself being in a leadership position it gives me the awesome opportunity to be able to just, help others.”
King says he hopes more people get involved with ISAAC, especially young people interested in current social issues. Tobi Hanna-Davies encourages anyone interested in ISAAC or who wants to support the organization, to look at their website, isaackalamazoo.org.