(Oct. 9, 2017) Catherine Read talks with John A. “Jack” Calhoun and Cindy Speas of Lewinsville Faith in Action. This group was formed following the Women’s March in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2017. Within the community of Lewinsville Presbyterian Church in McLean, VA, people came together to talk about the issues they felt strongly about. The group grew from that first meeting of 25 people to more than double that number now. They also formed five “Issue Groups” to more specifically focus their advocacy and activism around the passions of those involved. Those groups include: work on elections of progressive candidates at all levels of government; non-partisan redistricting and the end of gerrymandering; support for immigrants and refugees; gun violence issues; and healthcare and environmental issues.
Jack Calhoun, a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, has spent much of his career in policy development from federal work under several different administrations to state and local work around the country. He’s written three books, including his most recent Policy Walking, and continues to work as a consultant, keynote speaker and blogger at www.HopeMatters.org
Cindy Speas has a Masters Degree in History and spent a number of years teaching Government in Virginia public schools before turning her attention to building a regional donor registry in the DC Metro area. Although she officially retired in 2015, she remains active in the community and has taken a leadership role in building the Lewinsville Faith in Action group to include people outside their faith community as well. They collaborate and coordinate with a number of faith based progressive organizations both locally here in Virginia and nationally.
Cindy quotes their mission statement from memory: “Informed by faith and fact, Lewinsville Faith in Action, in partnership with others, will work to advocate for political, social, economic and environmental policies that are based on justice and fairness.”
Jack and Cindy make a powerful case for their activism based on the theological imperative of the Christian faith. That includes honoring and welcoming people of other faiths, such as our Muslim brothers and sisters who live in our communities and in our country. They speak in terms of how a beloved community became inspired by the Women’s March to commit to a course of action that is both transformational (providing opportunities for profound changes as individuals) and transactional (providing opportunities to live our values through action.) What began with meetings and writing postcards now includes showing up to direct actions at Dulles Airport and the Justice Department and the monthly vigil at 10 am on the 14th of every month in front of the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, VA.