Members of United Interfaith Action (UIA) held its second meeting at St. Mary's School on April 3, 2011 with Mayor William Flanagan, Senator Michael Rodrigues, and State Representatives Aguiar, Schmid and Sullivan. The Senator and the Representatives were invited to respond to a request that they support funding for violence prevention through Department of Public Health programs and the Shannon Community Safety Program as well as youth job programs, such as School-to-Career and Youthworks, Each responded that they would make these programs a priority in the current FY'12 state budget debate at the Statehouse. The group also used the occasion to thank Mayor Flanagan for taking a number of actions to increase public safety in the downtown Fall River area, a request of the group when they last met in November, 2010.  UIA is a congregation-based community improvement organization that has been active in Fall River for over ten years. Leaders and clergy of the Church of the Holy Spirit, St. Mary's Cathedral, and First Baptist Church organized the meeting. Click here for the Herald News story. Click here for the video of the meeting. For more information about UIA, contact Rev. Scott Spencer..

(Top row, left) Bob Halliwell of Fall River signs in with Estelle Roche at the St. Mary's School assembly room. (Top row, center) Fr. Paul Bernier of St. Mary's Cathedral welcomes over 130 participants in the meeting. (Middle row, left) Judy Buggie of the Church of the Holy Spirit talks about the importance of youth programs as Yvette Mancini of St. Mary's Cathedral listens. (Middle row, center) Rev. Matt Stewart of the Church of the Holy Spirit relates Scripture to the issues presented at the meeting. (Middle row, right) Senator Michael Rodrigues, and State Representatives David Sullivan, Kevin Aguiar, and Paul Schmid applaud the presentations before giving their response. (Bottom row, left) Joan Hunt talks about the importance of youth employment programs. (Bottom row, center) Peaceful Coalition member Michael Nehm describes his experiences growing up in a gang-affiliated family. (Bottom row, right) Ms. Mancini thanks Mayor William Flanagan for his efforts to improve downtown safety.

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