This installment of the Faith In the Valley Justice Interview Series is a conversation about political violence in California's Central Valley. Participants think through political violence as not reducible to white-nationalist protest violence, but rather political violence as constitutive to the structural reality of America itself.
The most recent youth shootings involved a 15-year-old in southeast Fresno on Nov. 15, and a 13-year-old boy from central Fresno on Nov. 24 — two areas highly impacted by gun violence. The city has seen a steep climb in gun violence this year with 63 homicides. Marcel Woodruff, lead organizer with Faith in the Valley, said the most active pockets of town are known to have some of the worst air quality in Fresno.
In this Faith in the Valley Justice interview, we feature three Faith In the Valley organizers from different locations across the Central Valley and we explore how to critically engage new and infrequent voters who question the electoral voting process.
In this conversation, Dr. Christophe Ringer discusses the critical importance of November’s election through the intersection of faith and politics. Ringer says we all need to vote not just because voting is what keeps us connected as a society, but voting is also a shared responsibility for each other.
This Faith In the Valley Justice Interview Series is a conversation with Faith In the Valley organizer Marcel Woodruff. We explore abolitionism as a tool to create a more just society and to provide clarification on what is meant by the term.
Despite Governor Newsom’s proclamation at the beginning of shelter-in-place that he had enacted a statewide “eviction moratorium”, this did little more than pass the buck to cities and counties to protect vulnerable renters, and very few jurisdictions did. On Sept. 1, millions of Californians will be facing evictions if elected leaders do not take swift and bold action now.
Andy Levine, deputy director of Faith in the Valley, said he was troubled by Hall’s claim that movement to re-imagine funding for the police is causing an uptick in violent crime. “That is just unprofessional,” Levine said. “The truth is the reason why violence occurs in our community is because we have funded so heavily the police departments in our city and our country at the expense of other, more pro-active things, in our community.”
McFarland residents — many of whom work in the region's agricultural fields — "were not provided with a fair and transparent process in the vote for this detention center, and were shut out by those who are supposed to represent them," Pastor Trena Turner, executive director of Faith in the Valley, said in a statement. "We are hopeful that this temporary hold is a step towards progress, and that the resiliency of the community and legal partners will result in a permanent example of justice for the Central Valley, the state and the rest of the country."
Faith in the Valley affirms the nationwide protest where people of faith, as well as people of good will, lift our voices for the declaration of the dawn of a new day. While many denounce the protest because of the element of property vandalism, we call on these critics to refocus their attention from any looting being done by economically dispossessed persons and towards a system that loots and robs Black and minoritized persons every day across the country.
In this conversation, Dr. Roberto Mata draws upon his work from the Book of Revelation to provide Christian pastors with hermeneutical tools to challenge the dominant power of the United States.