Steps Coalition

STEP UP

1. Take the STEPS SOCIAL JUSTICE CHALLENGE and Donate $1 a month for each of our five pillars!

2. Apply to our Internship and receive leadership development training on how to drive positivize in you community!

3. Become a Neighborhood Steward and help organize your community to address local issues. Participate in our leadership development training workshops.

4. Share a story on how being a partner of Steps has helped your community.

5. Participate in our next Coalition Meeting and receive a report on our 2019 projects and the impact of our 2018 work.

OUR FIVE PILLARS OF JUSTICE

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AFFORDABLE HOUSING

We advocate for affordable housing for all residents by training community leaders in HUD's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Process, and providing financial literacy training for first-time home buyers in collaboration with our community banking partners.

Affordable Housing Initiatives Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)
Steps Coalition responded to the needs of the community by developing a culturally-competent training model for community residents to engage in the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) process. HUD's AFFH rule provides an effective planning approach to aid program participants in taking meaningful actions to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination. We have trained30 community leaders across the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We also increased access to First-Time Home Buyer training by hosting a series of workshops and homebuyer fairs with our community banking and technical assistance partners. To date, we have trained 40 community members.

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ECONOMIC JUSTICE

We provide small-business technical assistance to LMI communities including Vietnamese and African American fisherfolk. We also offer a platform to unify and organize fisherfolk into one unified voice that will be better able to advocate for Restore
projects that are economics/science-based.

CDFI: During 2018, we have partnered with the Mississippi Development Authority’s Minority and Small Business Development Division to bring a series of technical assistance and business development workshops to the Coast including the “Model Contractor Development Program.”

Gulf Coast Regional Collaborative: Steps has been leading a racial equity project since 2013. We are an ethnically diverse collaborative, our current members include the Mississippi Center for Justice, Boat People SOS, Hijra House and Mary Queen of
Vietnam. The primary goal of this project is to increase the economic security of Vietnamese, Latino and African American fisherfolk and small business owners who have been struggling financially since Katrina and then the BP Oil Spill. The GCRC
seeks to build resilient communities and prepare for future natural and man-made disasters by organizing Fisherfolk, Small Business Owners and Fish Industry stakeholders into one united voice and provide small business technical assistance.

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ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

We advocate for a healthy balance between commercial development, residential communities, and natural resources by highlighting the impacts that one may have on the other in underserved communities.

One Solar Coast, a coalition proposing the use of a portion of the $1.2 (or more) billion in BP oil spill Settlement money coming to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to put solar panels on public buildings across the Coast, creating lasting good by writing down the
cost of utilities for all taxpayers, saving already strained public sector budgets, & seeding much needed local jobs in a 21st century growth industry.

Cherokee Concerned Citizens
Is a community located in Pascagoula MS affected by daily exposure to Toxic Pollution due to its close location to the Bayou Cassotte Industrial Park. Community members and allies have been advocating since 2014 for the enforcement of City, State and
Federal regulations to hold their toxic neighbors accountable for the health on this low and medium income community.

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HUMAN RIGHTS

Since 2006, Steps has coordinated efforts to advocate for quality education, access to health care, protection of immigrant rights, and racial equity.


BRIDGES OF FAITH

Our Bridges of Faith (BOF) Coalition was formed in November 2017 by 20 religious leaders looking to use their leadership roles in their communities to promote racial healing. Through this program we will 1) Develop new and authentic relationships among religious leaders, 2) Create a team of religious healers using the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s model of Truth and Racial Healing Transformation (TRHT), and 3) Increase collaboration opportunities among religious leaders of different denominations
and ethnicities.

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PRESERVATION OF HISTORICAL COMMUNITIES

Every community has the right to secure its cultural history, diversity, and quality of life. Since 2011, Steps has led a campaign against the Port of Gulfport Expansion Project that threatened the flood protection of historically African American communities in North Gulfport.

Turkey Creek Environmental Literacy Project, we successfully implemented a Water Quality Education and Leadership Development program serving 20 African-American students (5th – 8th grade). Turkey Creek EJ is Steps’ first program targeting
youth, and it has been a growing experience for our organization. We are excited to continue to work to develop the next generation of Environmental Justice advocates, and we hope we can continue to diversify our youth leadership program in 2019.

Students have learned about:
• The History of Turkey Creek, a historically black community
• The Clean Water Act and what it means for their community
• The benefits of healthy watersheds
• Point and non-point pollution sources
• Strategies for reducing pollution
• The best storm water management practices