The Mission of MOSES is to organize communities, develop faith-based leaders and build relationships to advocate for social justice through a group of diverse congregations. MOSES accomplishes this through training leaders in churches, synagogues and mosques, teaching participants how to articulate their shared values and work with their constituents to take collective action in the public arena.
MOSES will be widely recognized as the most effective, influential and diverse grassroots organization in Michigan.
What We Do
- Leadership development: MOSES uses the time-tested training methods of the Gamaliel Foundation to develop ordinary people into effective leaders. Participants learn techniques for gaining the attention of elected officials, building community around important issues, communicating with the media, organizing public actions and holding public officials accountable to their constituents. Emphasis is placed on empowering low-income and minority leaders.
- Community organizing: Working with our partner congregations and leaders, MOSES organizes public meetings and actions to address issues of concern to communities. Together, we build and participate in coalitions to support positive change at the local, statewide and national levels.
- Civic engagement: MOSES encourages widespread participation in the decision-making processes that affect our communities: from elections, to policymaking, to urban planning. We identify and remove barriers to public participation through direct community outreach.
- Advocacy: MOSES advocates for public policies that are equitable and beneficial to all people, including historically marginalized individuals and populations.
- Issue campaigns: With an eye towards the long-term future of the region, MOSES contributes to ongoing campaigns to improve quality of life for people in metro Detroit and beyond. Current campaigns are focused on transportation, healthcare/food access, education and land use, among others. See issues page.
Our Philosophy: MOSES’ “Five Pillars of Fire”
Five core areas of work continue to “light a fire” under MOSES leaders. Based on almost two decades of community input, these “Five Pillars of Fire” drive our organization, and represent our commitment to a better future for Detroit and the greater region. We infuse all of our work with a culture of racial equity and civic engagement, encouraging residents of all backgrounds and walks of life to take on active roles in the decision-making processes that affect them.
There can be no true freedom without economic dignity. As long as human beings are beholden to poverty, corporate greed and predatory creditors, we cannot be truly autonomous. We envision a future where all residents of metropolitan Detroit will have the right to secure, full-time employment at a living wage, under safe and equitable working conditions.
There are certain basic elements that every neighborhood needs in order for its residents to lead healthy and productive lives: access to nutritious food, safe streets and schools, adequate healthcare, essential city services and recreational opportunity. MOSES asserts every individual’s right to a healthy community.
Education for All
In describing the process of transforming education in South Africa, Nelson Mandela said: “We are steadily but surely introducing education that enables our children to exploit their similarities and common goals, while appreciating the strength in their diversity.”
MOSES’ goals for education in southeast Michigan mirror Mandela’s wishes for the children of his country. We are tirelessly working toward a region where all children – regardless of race, national origin or socioeconomic status – have access to the same high-quality educational and career-advancing opportunities.
Transparency and Accountability
In the words of Detroit’s own Judge Damon Keith: “Democracies die behind closed doors.” When government and decision-making take place under cover of political shadows, the people cannot be truly confident in the democratic process. MOSES provides ordinary residents with the tools they need to demand transparency and accountability from their elected officials. Our trainings help residents determine their collective priorities, communicate with decision-makers, and take appropriate action to make sure their voices are heard.
Because it is so central to all of MOSES core objectives, Transportation Equity stands as a Pillar of its own. Much of MOSES’ work is centered on transportation reform, with the goal of realizing a strong regional network of mass transit options. With improved transportation, residents will have access to healthcare services, healthy food, employment, education, public forums, polling places, and other resources that many currently lack.
MOSES has been a key advocate for maintaining and expanding bus routes, ensuring equitable community participation in plans for high-speed transit options, and fixing the metro area’s existing roads. Our Transportation Equity effort has brought together one of the most diverse regional coalitions MOSES has seen to date.