The Micah Project
The Micah Project is a non-denominational, non-partisan organization that works with people of all faiths to recognize and build on their faith values to create a more equitable and just world. Working closely with grassroots leaders, Micah develops leaders, influences public policy, and increases civic engagement. Building on past successes and a strong community base, Micah is currently focusing on incarceration and re-entry, education, healthcare, blight, and transportation equity.
Founded in 2007 by clergy who wanted to see real change in their communities, Micah works with its 16 member congregations to create innovative solutions to the plethora of problems faced by those living in the Greater New Orleans area.
One such member parish is St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, in New Orleans, LA. Together they work with other faith institutions to address issues that impact their community, such as reducing mass incarceration, removing the check box on job applications which states, “I’m a convicted felon” (Ban the Box), the re-entry of returning citizens, and racial and economic justice. They have also undertaken community mediation efforts to facilitate dialogue with law enforcement and reduce racial bias in policing.
The parish’s participation in the Year of Encounter with Pope Francis program, an initiative of PICO, helped them to understand the connection between economic issues, such as wages, and racial justice. It also helped them to discover and support efforts in their community to seek a just wage for young people who are unemployed or under-employed. Following Pope Francis’ example, parish members participated in Micah’s foot-washing ceremony, which was across from City Hall, for persons in their community who are formerly incarcerated and homeless, as a gesture to these community members, and to local officials, of their desire for encounter and inclusion.
Their current evangelization effort includes knocking on doors to encounter their neighbors and learn about their pastoral needs, their experiences with neighborhood safety, community-police relations, emergency response, transportation, blight, schools, and other issues. They will then compile these results, provide assistance where needed, and share the information with their city government, law enforcement, and local leaders as they work together for safer and more equitable communities.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds the Micah Project to create a better life for all residents by helping them become aware of issues that affect them, identify solutions, and develop relationships with policy makers to effect change.