Aurora Solis is typical of the people involved in faith-based organizing. Solis, a Mexican immigrant who grew up in a low-income home, works in a staff position at a high school in San Jose, California. She has been a U.S. citizen for only four years. But she was recruited by her pastor to serve on the parish “local organizing committee” and bring together parishioners and others living in the church’s neighborhood. She became a leader in neighborhood struggles and by 1997 was president of People Acting in Community Together (PACT). Today she speaks with poise and humor to large audiences, and negotiates with the mayor of San Jose.
Stephen Hart works in medical research at Frontier Science and teaches sociology at SUNY-Buffalo. He recently wrote Cultural Dilemmas of Progressive Politics: Styles of Engagement Among Grassroots Activists (University of Chicago Press).
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).