By Anthony Manousos
I am grateful to Brad Ogilvy for reminding us to consider how interfaith work impacts the poor and marginalized. There are many dimensions of interfaith work, with economic justice and service being essential components. Some interfaith organizations offer opportunities for hands-on service or sponsor community services to people regardless of religious affiliation (and with no intent to proselytize). Others are about advocacy and community organizing. Here in Los Angeles, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) is an interfaith organization that helps organize the poor and marginalized. Its executive director is a rabbi named Jonathan Klein, and the chairman of its Board of Director is a Muslim named Shakeel Syed.
CLUE LA has over 600 religious leaders and 1200 lay people active in its work, including a very broad range of ethnic and denominational constituencies, including Christian Evangelicals, Muslim leaders and mosques, all of the Jewish denominations, historic African-American churches, Hispanic Pentecostals, and Korean congregations.
Below are two recent posts from CLUE’s website, showing some of its efforts on behalf of economic justice.
Faith for Food Justice
You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy (Deuteronomy 24:14) Food, and how it is brought to our tables, is a critical issue of justice in our community. The bounty of the earth is a gift from God to all people. Yet food, and the process of its production, has become an industry of exploitation. People of faith are joining the struggle to ensure that God’s bounty is distribute with fairness and…
Over the past year, CLUE has contributed to significant victories for tens of the thousands of low-wage workers (60,000 grocery workers, 4000+ security officers, 8000+ janitors, 1000+ hotel workers). CLUE’s contributions have reflected the diverse strategies we have developed under the rubric of faith-rooted organizing in support of worker justice. On Century Boulevard, CLUE’s committee of religious…
CLUE LA, founded in 1996, is one of the oldest interfaith worker justice organizations in the country. CLUE LA’s mission is to bring together clergy and lay leaders of all faiths to join low-wage workers in their struggles for justice.
Its many accomplishments began with key support for the successful Los Angeles’s 1997 Living Wage campaign.
CLUE LA took a leadership role in the battle to keep Wal-Mart out of Inglewood; played a central role in the passage of statewide legislation increasing funding for staffing for nursing homes; provided strategic support for striking grocery workers that brought the owner of Safeway back to the bargaining table; created dramatic actions in support of hotel workers in Santa Monica and Los Angeles that were crucial to victory; and played an important role in the public policy and corporate campaigns of healthcare workers and janitors.