The group Rochester Alliance of Communities Transforming Society, Inc. (Roc/ACTS) is a faith-based community organizing project of multi-racial, interfaith, urban and suburban congregations and groups that will train and empower citizens to create systemic change and shape the political, social and economic decisions that impact their lives.  We seek to build relationships and to build trust.  We need to listen to others and from listening, we learn.  The goal of Roc/ACTS is to work together, united, to make this the best Rochester.  How do we do this?  Our starting point is our shared faith and values, remembering  that the Golden Rule is shared by many faiths.  Our power and money are organized, in the framework of the common good.  With our money, we will use funds for training, time and space to do the work, and employing a full-time community organizer.  Our people will be organized after a deep listening period of hearing the grassroots needs of the citizens of our community.  Currently, we are divided by silos.  Roc/ACTS hopes to unite with others, and all work together for the common good.  Each of us has our own self-interest, and we have to define them individually.  As we learn to examine our individual self-interests, we learn others have similar ones.  Collectively we unite, and through a vote from member congregations, we determine which actions will be given priority and united we work on change.

Our building block tool is the one-on-one conversation.  This is used to strengthen our congregations as well as to connect with others in the community.  We would like members to attend National Leadership Training.  Here we learn skills for community organizing.  We realize that what stirs anger up in us is often a trigger to help us focus on our self-interest and, ultimately, our common interests.  The change we want to see and be in the world.   Who will be a citizen activist often starts with a one-on-one conversation.

Roc/ACTS is an affiliate of the Gamaliel Network, based in Chicago, Illinois, and is networked with 60 organizations in 17 states, and also in Great Britain and South Africa. This relationship between Gamaliel and Roc/ACTS is very important in that  Gamaliel delivers training, a sort of best practices in community organizing.  It has at its disposal a team of people, skilled in various areas that will come to Rochester,  and be available, and teach these skills as training to help us move forward and propel us along this difficult road.  We pay travel fees, but they give us their time, planning and energy.  It is also a choice, not a mandate, that affiliates can participate and have a voice in national issues of concern.  The planning group feels that it has gotten a lot of training and experience and direction for our money.  Of those who have attended Gamaliel National Leadership Training, it was felt that the training makes a big difference professionally and personally. 

For more information, contact:

            Mr. Thomas Demont, Sr.                  TBA;  tdemond@twc.com

 Dr. Marvin Mich                     546-7220 ex. 7021; mmich@cfcrochester.org