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Faith Group Looks Beyond Charity For Policy Solutions To Poverty

A statewide series of meetings that began this week is designed to rally members of the faith community to the cause of economic equality.

The idea grew out of concerns expressed by members of the clergy who took note of the increasing  number of people in their congregations who were struggling economically.

Last year the group Vermont Interfaith Action, which is made up of about 20 congregations from a variety of religions and denominations, produced a document called The Movement Toward a Moral Economy.

The document drew on scripture to argue for a more equitable economic system and, says Executive Director Debbie Ingram, “outlined what all of our different faith traditions say about the dignity of work, respect for people who are not able to work in our society, the idea of community, and the idea of respect for our environment.”

Members of the group visited the statehouse during the session to voice support for a number of bills, including one requiring employers to provide mandatory sick leave.

This year, Vermont Interfaith Action is partnering with Public Assets Institute to hold a series of meetings to encourage members of the faith community and like-minded people to look for remedies that go beyond charity.

“We really want to look at the root causes of why the system is creating a situation in which they can’t make it themselves,” says Ingram.

The remaining meetings will be held in  White River, East Arlington, Brattleboro, Middlebury, Danville and Rutland.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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