Issues

Click on the Quick Links below for examples of MOSES’ work in each of our Five Pillars issue areas.

norma-bailey-and-cb3-on-waterEach of the issues that MOSES works on is tied into our philosophy: the “Five Pillars of Fire”. Political, economic and social conditions in southeast Michigan are ever changing, and issues campaigns vary based on the present needs of the community. Yet the foundation of MOSES never changes, and our commitment to these five areas remains a constant.

Economic Dignity

  • Minimum wage and workers’ rights: MOSES is part of an active coalition of faith and labor organizations working towards a livable minimum wage for southeast Michigan workers.
  • Community benefits agreements:New businesses and development projects have the potential to transform Detroit – but only if they directly benefit the people of the city and region. MOSES works to secure Community Benefits Agreements with businesses and infrastructure development projects, to ensure that a portion of jobs and training are reserved for low-income residents, people of color, and women.
  • Pathway to citizenship: Immigrants and their families are important contributors to Detroit’s economy. As Detroit struggles with under-population, it is essential that immigrants living in the city have a pathway to citizenship, so they can continue to live and work in the region securely.

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  • Neighborhood work: through relationships with congregations in each of Detroit’s seven districts, MOSES trains ordinary residents to be leaders and advocates for the health and safety of their neighborhoods. MOSES uses a process of one-on-one conversations, community forums and door-to-door canvassing to unite residents around shared issues of concern for neighborhoods, congregations and schools. Based on the issues identified, MOSES helps connect neighborhoods with the resources, strategies and relationships needed to address these issues.
  • Healthcare: MOSES’ grassroots leaders are strong advocates for expanded and affordable healthcare. In effort to improve healthcare access and outcomes for all, MOSES leaders have organized a Health Equity Task Force, dedicated to eliminating racial, cultural and socio-economic disparities in Michigan’s healthcare system.
  • Food access: Lack of access to healthful, fresh food is a citywide concern for Detroit residents. MOSES’ multi-pronged approach to food equity includes advocating for more full-service grocery stores in the city; preserving and maximizing SNAP benefits; ensuring that convenience stores do not sell expired products; and improving safe transportation routes to and from local grocers and markets.

Education for All

  • Education equity: Educational opportunity in metropolitan Detroit varies widely between individual communities. The City of Detroit and many low-income Michigan communities suffer from underfunded public schools, high student-to-teacher ratios, discriminatory charter school policies, and lack of access to essential pre-kindergarten programs. In the congregations MOSES works with, the critical issue of educational equity has risen to the foreground in recent years. Leaders from these congregations work to:
    • Promote equitable funding of Michigan’s public schools
    • Halt the growing number of charter schools with discriminatory admission policies
    • Address the root causes of the “school to prison pipeline”
    • Encourage statewide reinvestment in youth of color
    • Promptly identify and rectify discriminatory educational policies
  • image 009Crossing Boundaries, Building Bridges (CB3): CB3 is a grassroots group of young leaders who organize their peers to advocate for improved educational opportunity and increased civic participation. Created by young people, for young people, CB3 represents the rising generation of community organizers. For more information on CB3, please contact Johnnie Turnage, Organizer at jturnage@mosesmi.org.

Transparency and Accountability

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  • Detroit bankruptcy work: MOSES believes that Detroit residents have the right to understand the municipal bankruptcy proceedings that have affected them, as well as the root causes that led to the bankruptcy in the first place. Together with likeminded partners, MOSES is hosting public education events around the causes and consequences of the bankruptcy, focused on the history of predatory banks and lending policies that targeted families of color in Detroit and many other cities.
  • Budgeting priorities: MOSES works with residents to determine their priorities for how their tax dollars are spent. Once these priorities are established, MOSES supports communities in communicating them to their elected officials. With support from MOSES, communities work to ensure that local and state-level elected officials create budgets that reflect the needs of their constituents, with focus on transit funding, public education and vital social programs.
  • Detroit Future City plan: Detroit Future City (DFC) is a framework for transforming Detroit and its surrounding region. Supported by many of the region’s biggest financial players, DFC is “a highly detailed, long term guide for decision-making by all stakeholders in the City.” MOSES is sharing information about DFC with Detroit’s marginalized communities of color, making sure they understand the impact that the plan will have on their lives and communities. MOSES is also working to ensure that their voices are incorporated into further planning processes.

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  • Regional Transit Authority: In late 2012, MOSES had a major “win” as it played a pivotal role in passing legislation to establish a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) for Southeast Michigan. The function of an RTA is to coordinate public transportation between counties in a major metropolitan area, and most major U.S. cities have one (i.e. Chicago Transit Authority, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NYC), etc.) Now that Southeast Michigan has an RTA, it will be eligible for significant federal funding towards infrastructure improvement. MOSES is working with the newly formed agency to ensure robust communication and transparency between its members and the community, and to advocate for transit policies and priorities that are in line with community needs.
  • Funding for regional transit: Projects such as the M1 Rail and bus rapid transit are on the horizon for metro Detroit. Yet without a complete network of feeder lines, individuals in low-income communities will not be able to access rapid transit options. MOSES works with communities, congregations and transit advocates to ensure that public transit is a budget priority for Southeast Michigan’s legislators. In its ongoing struggle to prevent cuts to transit funding, MOSES has won and/or protected millions of dollars in funding for the SMART and DDOT bus systems.