Berkeley Faith and Justice Alliance

The Berkeley Faith and Justice Alliance is a loose coalition of Berkeley-based faith leaders (clergy and lay leaders) who work together to 1) participate in addressing the current pressing needs of the most marginalized among us, and 2) to advocate for the realignment of systems to more effectively and sustainably engage and  serve historically marginalized people in our Berkeley community and beyond.

We regularly meet on the second Thursday of each month from 1-2PM over Zoom. If you are interested in learning more about this group or coming to a meeting, please contact Rev. Angela using the below form.

Our priorities: At BFAJA, we are following the lead of the Berkeley Black Ecumenical Ministers Alliance (BBEMA) by focusing on the priority areas that BBEMA has established for healing and justice for the Black community: 1. Housing & Homelessness, 2. Food & Land Security & Sovereignty 3. Community Safety 4. Equity in Education and 5.  Mental Health. In all we do, we follow the lead of those who are closest to the impacts of racism. 

Our History & Impact: BFAJA first came together in March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, to support one another and to advocate for those in our community who were being hit the hardest by the pandemic. Over the next year and a half, together we:

  • Successfully advocated on behalf of 10 unhoused families to ensure that the City of Berkeley would pay for their hotel rooms until other housing could be secured for them. 
  • Played a significant role in ensuring that the school district dedicated increased resources for racial equity in their 2021-2022 budget process. 
  • Joined with the Black Berkeley Ecumenical Ministers Alliance to call the school board to accountability after a troubling display of anti-Blackness in a public school board meeting in May 2021. 
  • Raised $4,000 in donations for recently unhoused families who were struggling with funds for basic necessities (in partnership with the Berkeley Public Schools Fund). 

In these small but significant ways, we brought our collective voice to ensure that our public institutions did what our faith demands of us: center the poor and marginalized, especially in dire times. In the meantime, we built a gentle sense of community among us as faith-leaders. 

Our current projects include:

1. Organizing to bring resources to the poorest families in our community so that these families can get through winter break with adequate food, as well as funds for family gifts and celebrations. These are the ways you can help:
~ Holiday Gift Cards for BUSD families. Berkeley Public Schools Fund (BPSF) is raising donations to get 700 gift cards to families in need this Winter break. Donations can be made here – select “holiday gift cards” in the first column. BPSF is working with the BUSD Office of Family Engagement and Equity (OFEE) to distribute the gift cards to families who use the cards for food, gifts, and other essentials through the holidays.
~ Toy Drive. Ebenezer Baptist Church is running a toy drive and is asking  for donations of new toys by Dec. 17. The church will be distributing the toys to families in need on Saturday Dec. 18. We are working with working with the BUSD Office of Family Engagement and Equity to connect families in need to this toy drive. Email Rev. Angela at ajernigan@gmail.com if you or your congregation can purchase toys for this toy drive.
~ Young Lives Matter and the Jr. Jackets Football Team, which serves East Bay youth who are at highest risk of involvement in gang and gun activity, is looking for 55 Target gift cards in the amount of $50 to gift each young person on the team. Please email Rev. Angela using the form below if you can help with purchasing gift cards for Jr. Jackets youth.

2. We are currently fundraising for ABC: Assessed by Black Communities, a BUSD organizing project designed to empower Black students and their closest adult allies to lead the way toward educational equity in the Berkeley Unified School District. We are currently organizing to raise $25,000 by March 1st so that we can hire and train Black student and Parent/Guardian organizers for a Berkeley High Pilot of this district-wide effort. Donations can be made at the ABC link (see above).