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August 22, 2014, 11:41 am

Advocacy inspiring two groups in NW area

Two Northwest Philadelphia area groups are centered on change. First, World Changers meets monthly on the New Covenant Church campus to pray for and discuss changes that bring about justice, including praying for President Barack Obama. 

Secondly, Volunteers for Change is meeting every three weeks during the summer and will resume their bimonthly schedule starting in September.  They have been advocating for social justice change, including voter education and registration, since the 2008 presidential race.  Their next meeting will be held at Laborers Union 332, 1310 Wallace St. (off Ridge Avenue) on July 14 at 10 a.m.

“We have to give thanks that the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare,” said Brenda J. Thomas of Germantown, an active member of World Changers.  “I know many people who were not covered by medical insurance before and now they are.  They have limited incomes because they are unemployed, work at low-income jobs, and need medical care.

“This is a blessing because so many in our community have high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases,” she added. “They need to get medical treatment.  I am so glad that even those with these pre-existing conditions will be covered by insurance.  It’s such a great thing to have this.”

Verileah Teets, the organizer of the group, said that while many are saying the 2012 mantra should be “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” her group is focusing on advocating for the larger issue of “justice, justice, justice.” 

She said her group has been praying for months for a change of heart on the part of Justice John Roberts. 

“When I heard that he was the deciding vote to keep health insurance reform, I knew that what our group is doing is powerful because our prayers were answered,” said Teets.

Martha Bernardino agreed.  The longtime Mount Airy resident said this gives her the confidence to pray that Gov. Tom Corbett will have a change of heart.  She said that she was concerned about the thousands who would be cut off from welfare on Aug. 1.  Though recipients were given a one-month reprieve from the original July 1 date, she said that all must pray for change.

“We need many more to change their hearts,” said Bernardino.  “We need to pray for our school system.  We need to pray for those losing their homes.  This is the season of justice and when you pray for justice it changes everything that comes under that.”

Family therapist and radio personality Dr. Lucille Ijoy of Mount Airy added that Volunteers for Change is taking proactive steps this summer to ensure that there is positive and progressive social changes.  When they meet next week they will update their members, who are approaching about 100, how to ensure that every citizen is registered to vote, that all have valid voter identification, and all make it to the polls.

“We are doing what we can to effect change,” said Ijoy.  “All are welcome to come to our next meeting.  The more, the merrier.”