As a growing coalition of congregations and community-based organizations, Together New Orleans is a new nonprofit dedicated to affecting real change in our city. A more localized version of Together Louisiana, one of the largest grassroots organizations in the state, Together New Orleans is aiming to bring together diverse groups to improve the city in a realistic, large-scale way. Here is what two community leaders have to say about the budding coalition and its many goals.
Although Together New Orleans is still a new and developing organization, community leaders throughout the city have already responded positively to its mission. “Touro Synagogue’s deep sense of history is paired with a very socially conscious and forward-looking membership. It is a real, very important part of our mission to contribute to common good in the community,” says Rabbi Katie Bauman. “Together New Orleans facilitates that by bringing institutions to each other and finding common interests and working with them to chart a course of action.” Concerns about income inequality, as well as lines of racial and socioeconomic division, concern everyone, explains Rabbi Bauman. “Everyone is looking to find practicable, actionable steps to address those problems.”
This drive to find real-life solutions to these systemic issues in the city has also drawn Evelyn Turner to Together New Orleans. She was asked to represent her church, Level Ground Community Church, at Together New Orleans meetings along with her pastor. “Part of the vision of our church is to be involved in transforming systems in our community,” says Turner. “When I heard what Together New Orleans was about, it fit right into what we are about as a church. We want to be a part of positive change in the community.” As a diverse congregation, Level Ground Community Church’s members have been involved in helping the homeless population, improving education and addressing mental health problems in the city. The opportunity to join forces with many more like-minded people and other organizations is especially appealing. “Together we can make a difference. This isn’t just talk. We can do it if we all band together and walk in the same direction,” says Turner.
Rabbi Katie Bauman