When the Las Vegas Valley Interfaith Sponsoring Committee (LVVISC) formed, they had nothing more than a common hope for social change in southern Nevada. After hosting nearly 300 attendees representing 73 diverse faith and non-profit organizations at the Leaders Outreach Assembly at Zion United Methodist Church on November 9, 2010, the LVVISC is breaking new ground on an endeavor unique to Las Vegas.
While Las Vegas has always been home to social justice advocates, including many non-profit and religious-based charity organizations, the LVVISC seeks to become something different an organization of organizations, or put simply, an umbrella group uniting people of faith and hope in joined effort.
At the Leaders Outreach Assembly, over $92,000 was raised for the organization’s yearly operating budget, and members of Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths shared stories of struggle. Of particular concern to the attendees, were the plight of children and youth and vulnerable elderly in Las Vegas. At the meeting, the LVVISC committed to researching these issues and hosting two task force meetings in January during which time potential strategies for addressing these issues will be explored. Frank Pierson, an experienced community organizer from the Industrial Areas Foundation, was impressed with the response and representation from such a diverse number of religious faiths. Pierson admits “the group faces an uphill battle in an unforgiving city, but the financial commitment and turnout tonight shows the faith community in Las Vegas here is not only starved for change, but ready for action.”
Continuing their efforts, the LVVISC will host a Task Force on Children and Youth on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 2575 West El Campo Grande Avenue (behind Star Nursery on Ann) in North Las Vegas. On Saturday, January 29, from 10 -11:30 a.m. at University United Methodist Church (4412 South Maryland Parkway), leaders from early childhood organizations will lead a public conversation on the conditions, challenges and opportunities facing them in their work with the Valley’s children. Then, a Task Force on the Vulnerable Elderly will convene on Tuesday, January 25 at 7 p.m. at the First Henderson United Methodist Church (609 East Horizon Drive, in Henderson). The purpose of both Task Force meetings is to begin an exploration of the stories, ideas and possible strategies on these and related issues facing the Las Vegas Valley.
The Las Vegas Valley Interfaith Sponsoring Committee (LVVISC) is an organization of organizations, comprising diverse faith congregations and peoples. Incorporated in 2009 with the support of the Industrial Areas Foundation, a national community organizing institution, the LVVISC seeks to build relationships that are powerful and durable, promote awareness and work for social change in southern Nevada.