Joyful Healer Advocacy for Pedestrians, Bicycles, and Power Chairs

November 22, 2013

By Rev. Steve Lundin, Church of Joyful Healer

On Wednesday night, November 13, the Joyful Healer Celebration Hall was packed with about 250 people from McKinleyville and beyond. The reason -- A Community Action Meeting to make McKinleyville’s Central Avenue safer for pedestrians, bicycles, and power chairs to make our community safer for children, teens, seniors, and the physically challenged.
 
McKinleyville Organizing Committee (MOC) is made up of local congregations and institutions, and individual residents with no particular affiliation, all working for the common good in our community. Many from Joyful Healer Church took strong leadership roles in the Wednesday action including Debbie Jensen, Susanna Ausema, Hillarie Beyer, Renee Saucedo, and Barbara Georgianna.
 
The MOC belongs to the Humboldt, Del Norte, Adjacent Tribal Lands Organizing Network, which under the People Improving Community through Organizing (PICO) model of community organizing, focuses on building leaders, creating relationships, and values like community, love, equity, and justice.
 
Based on about 300 one-on-one interviews and many research meetings, MOC chose first to work on  safety and improvements to Central Avenue, one of the busiest and most dangerous streets in the county.
 
Public officials were invited to come and make public commitments to work with MOC, businesses, and other citizens to make Central Avenue safe for all. A grant of $800,000 was promised to fund the project. The officials making these commitments were Ben Shepherd, the chair of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee, Tom Mattson, the Director of the Public Works Department, and Ryan Sundberg, the 5th District County Supervisor.
 
It was a monumental evening for McKinleyville. MOC proved what can happen when everyday people organize to make positive changes in our communities. This was faith and values in action.
 
Here is a link from a local McKinelyville online news group about the meeting.