Who We Are
In 2014, Rev. Debra Avery joined colleagues and neighbors in the streets to protest police violence, her heart broke as she noticed how difficult it was for community leaders to find a spiritual center. Over the next three years, as activism in the streets, in the church and in City Hall continued, it became clear to her that a new kind of community was needed - one that spoke the truth about the power of white supremacy, one that encouraged its members to engage in activism, and one that welcomed every person to join the struggle for justice.
In November 2017, she set aside 15 years of traditional parish ministry and began to cast the vision for Justice House - a community that is committed to centering its life around the work of dismantling racism and empowering historically marginalized people.
Justice House is deeply rooted in the fertile soil of the justice of God. We believe three things about our call: 1) we must be intentional about caring for the traditionally marginalized; 2) we must focus our energies on looking for ways to encourage self-determination for all people; and 3) we must remain obedient to this call even when it means taking personal and organizational risks to confront and contend with the forces of Empire.
We take as our example, Jesus, who didn't just teach about care and empowerment for the "least," he "walked the talk," focusing his energies on those on the outside of power, on those with no access to resources, on those no one else wanted to be near. And he did this right up to the moment of his death at the hands of the political powers of his day.
This essential work can't be effective if we operate in our own silos. Just as we believe our faith can grow stronger in a supportive community, we also need partners to remind us of our call and to help us focus our efforts. Justice House is committed to providing "on-ramps" for folks to join forces with others. Recognizing the need for diversity of tactics, we believe it's important to connect with different kinds of community-based organizations, each of which uses their own unique methods to help them focus their work. Over time, we hope that members of our community will bring their own recommendations and help us grow our participation.
Currently we are engaged with these organizations: ACCE, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Oakland Justce Coalition, Community Ready Corps, Anti Police-Terror Project, OCO, PICO-California, Oakland Peace Center and Second Acts.
We are committed to a collaborative model of organizational leadership that breaks down denominational barriers and encourages colleagues to come together to make justice a reality. Justice House is grateful to be in partnership with a number of faith-based organizations and churches.