Common Ground Update

The Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted a toll on Vallejo’s people and economy, and is revealing the underlying disparities in our society. Across California, African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Pacific Islanders have double the mortality rate of white residents. People living in the poorest neighborhoods have a mortality rate that is four times that of people living in the wealthiest neighborhoods. Common Ground's conversations with the community paint a familiar picture: these groups are more likely to have to work outside the home to survive, and are more likely to be forced to live in crowded housing, and to have underlying health conditions.

These factors reflect our society’s historic disinvestment in institutions and services that support the well-being of marginalized groups, and communities of color, as well as decades of discrimination that have kept these groups, especially African-Americans, from gaining wealth. Violence, including at the hands of police, is part of this picture.

In dozens of meetings and conversations over the last month, Common Ground has been hearing from residents spanning Solano and Napa Counties racial and economic diversity. While funds for basic services are desperately needed in this time of Covid-19, many residents are also feeling a lack of trust in city government, especially in the police department. 

So we are stepping into action. Along with continuing to hear stories from the community, the Covid Team is making suggestions to Solano County on how the $46 million CARES Act should be past. And the Public Safety Team is meeting with the Vallejo Police Chief, County Supervisors, City Council members, and community activists to gather info from them and to tell them what our community wants from our Public Servants.

Upcoming Events:
Public Safety Team Meeting 7/28/20 6pm - 7:30pm
Covid-19 Response Team Meeting 7/29/20 6pm - 7:30pm
Public Safety Civic Academy ACTION 8/17/20 Time TBD

A New Focus To Mission Action Giving

As July 1st approaches when officers and coordinators begin a new term, the Ministry Council proposes that our monthly outreach gift recipient going forward is selected being mindful of organizations that aid underrepresented groups and the most vulnerable. FCC-V has a history of doing just this (as is evident with our June gift to the Native American Rights Fund), and we propose continuing to build this vision into our ongoing gifts. Our challenge will be to identify groups and organizations that promote racial justice along with social, economic, and environmental justice as it relates to vulnerable and historically underrepresented brethren - and prioritize such groups for our monthly outreach gift. Stay tuned for more news as the year continues.

A Special Donation in this Time of Need

The outreach efforts of FCC-V show up in a variety of different opportunities. This past month, we sent three dozen rolls of toilet paper to The Harvest House Transitional Residence, which provides a safe and caring place for women and women with their children to live. With the current state of non-availability of paper products and cleaning supplies, the Residence reached out for donations. FCC-V had recently purchased a HUGE supply of toilet paper, and of course, the church’s needs right now are all but zero. So it seemed like a no-brainer for Admin and Mission Action to make the donation, which was greatly appreciated.

The program’s mission statement says: The Harvest House Transitional Residence is a non-profit, transitional housing program for women. Our main concern is providing love, care, life skills, training, and encouragement to women who feel hopeless. We will equip women with the necessary fundamentals needed to become productive members of their families and community. Additionally we strive to reinforce a positive lifestyle, as well as promote social, emotional, and spiritual growth. If you’d like to learn more about this program, please link to:

Virtual March on Washington

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II  has served as pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, North Carolina since 1993. He began the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival in honor of the original 1968 campaign founded by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And since 2013 he has been the leader of the “Moral Mondays,” a civil rights and social justice protest held every Monday at North Carolina’s state capital in Raleigh.

Three years ago, he and his group began planning for a march on D.C. to transform the agenda of the country in general and politicians in particular in the face of poverty and racism. The march was to have happened on June 20, 2020 but Washington withdrew the approval for a march due to social distancing requirements. Barber had hoped to draw 100,000 people to the march in memory of the 250,000 who attended Dr. King’s, historic “I Have a Dream” speech in D.C. in 1963. So if the planned-for assembly could not take place in person, how about a “virtual assembly” in its place?

And indeed, the planning has now shifted to a June 20/20 digital and social media gathering of low wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience.

Rev. Barber is asking all those interested in being a part of this historical event to register in order to be sent the contact information to allow us to connect with the speeches and songs, and hear what a “Moral Agenda” has to offer at this time in our nation’s history. The overview of the June 20/20 event indicates that its purpose is to marshal collective voices to demonstrate the power of our communities. The Moral Agenda will demand that both major political parties address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.

In order to find out more about this event and to register, go to the website More specific information will be sent to those who register.

Winter 2020 Update

Our December generosity at church yielded boxes and boxes of socks and coats, which were delivered to the Sparrow Project at First Baptist Church in Vallejo. The clothes were snatched up quickly and the pairs of socks were meted out with great appreciation by more than 100 in attendance for the daily meal there.

Our January Outreach gift was sent to Genesis House, a local recovery program, which we have long-supported. Genesis House is having their Family Night Spaghetti Feed fundraiser on February 16th, and through FCC-V’s donation, we will be recognized as a sponsor of the event, with our gift going toward direct resident care assistance at the facility.

Our February Outreach gift will be used to supplement our individual donations to Week of Compassion, with a specific request that our gift be used to assist in the recovery from the natural disasters in Australia (fires) and Puerto Rico (earthquake).

We Lend a Hand

Our Mission Action Lend a Hand” outreach gift for the month of August was sent to St. Jude’s Children Hospital in Memphis, TN, for their children’s cancer research program. We received the following thank-you letter on behalf of St. Jude’s: “We were thrilled to have your support again. We’d like to thank you for your gift in August 2019. Your dedication to our mission is something we don’t take for granted. Let me just say — your generosity and compassion are truly inspiring and uplifting. Friends like you are like answered prayers for kids battling childhood cancer and other deadly diseases.”

Our outreach gift for the month of October will be earmarked for the DOC Reconciliation Ministry. A special offering will be taken on September 29th and October 6th for this ministry, and the amount collected will be increased by our Mission gift from the entire church. The theme for this year’s Reconciliation offering is “Embodying the Call.” The flier sent from the General Church says in part: “We are the body of Christ and all of us are members of this one body. As a church body, we have been on this journey to embrace and understand an identity as a Church that is pro-reconciling and anti-racist. We have different stories, different languages, different understandings of how and who to love. But God remains in the midst of all of us . . . Your generosity (in your Reconciliation gift) fuels our granting programs, our youth and young adult leadership development, and Regional and General Ministry outreach toward building beloved community and breaking down barriers through advocacy, intentional conversation and action.”