This week’s featured community group is Congregations United to Serve Humanity. The executive board of CUSH provided the answers.
Q: What is the mission of your organization?
A: Congregations United to Serve Humanity is an interfaith coalition living our faith in the pursuit of justice through advocacy, education and empowerment. As an organization we work toward systemic change by engaging in public as well as political advocacy and education. CUSH is non-partisan and leads by the values of our faith traditions.
Q: Who are the leaders of your organization?
A: The CUSH board includes leaders from our 16 member congregations. Our CUSH president is the Rev. Kathleen Gloff, pastor of Somers Community Church of Christ. The executive committee includes vice president Veronica King, secretary Jane Davis, treasurer Richard Christiansen and fundraising chairperson Barb DeBerge-Henken. Dawn Ankney serves as our full-time CUSH organizer.
Q: How and when did it get its start?
A: The vision of CUSH began in 1998 when local religious leaders met to discuss how they could work together to best meet the needs of our community. In 2000, CUSH was officially formed based on shared values such as equality and human dignity and began addressing social justice issues in our community and statewide. Since then we have addressed numerous issues through our task forces. These are the action groups of CUSH that plan and implement the work to address our issues. The issues have changed through the years based on the needs in the community. We currently have five working task forces: education, immigration, transportation, criminal justice reform and homeless.
CUSH also works statewide with WISDOM, a Wisconsin network of 11 affiliates like CUSH, on issues that affect the whole state. A new statewide campaign, for example, is starting to address the payday lending issue that affects so many people living in poverty. We also are working with WISDOM on immigration, transit and criminal justice reform.
Q: What kinds of support do you need from the community?
A: All community members are invited to actively join our work through our task forces. Financial support is always needed. Through our CUSH Sustaining Membership Program, community members can make a one-time or annual pledge to support CUSH. Information can be found on our website.
Other congregations are invited to join our work. We welcome congregations to schedule a meeting to further discuss CUSH membership.
Q: What’s your next event or effort?
A: CUSH is working in collaboration with other groups on the Transportation Expo and Recovery Rally, both on Sept. 23. Our next fundraising event is The Beloved Community Breakfast on Oct. 7. The breakfast will be Southern-style provided by the Ethnic Elders. Also included will be a speaker and an event auction.
Q: How can people get in touch with you and get involved?
A: People can find out more about CUSH and our issues on our website, cushkenosha.com. They can contact us at email@example.com or 262-564- 8223. Our organizer, Dawn, is available to meet to further discuss how people can get involved.
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