Sheriff’s Forum a Success, All Candidates Commit to Our Agenda

October 12, 2016

Over the past several months, I have been blessed to get more involved in ECCO, and to witness the power that we have here in Essex County when people of faith from all backgrounds work together.  Last week was no exception.

Rev. Annie Belmer of Zion Baptist asks the candidates about faith/community partnerships


Last Thursday, ECCO and Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) packed the St. Stephen’s auditorium to the brim for our forum for the final four Sheriff candidates, and made sure to put human dignity at the center of the debate.  Click here to see coverage of the forum on the front page of the Lynn Item, and Click here to see the full forum on youtube.


At the event, leaders shared both personal stories and research data from PICO’s groundbreaking new report on Essex County, and then asked hard-hitting questions that urged the candidates to prioritize our agenda of criminal justice reform.  I am proud to report that we were able to get the following commitments from all the candidates:

  • Increased job training, drug treatment, and reentry programs, both during and after jail.
  • Improved medical and mental health services.
  • Improved access to communication between inmates and loved-ones.
  • Tracked and publicized race and ethnicity statistics.
  • Increased work with faith and community groups.

Whomever we elect, we will make sure to hold our new Sheriff accountable to these promises!


This week, we will send out a voter guide based on the candidates’ answers to our questions.  But we need your help to spread the word about the importance of the election, and to help get out the vote!  So, we hope you will join ECCO this weekend for canvassing on Sunday – 3-5pm at St. Stephen’s.  And, to explore how to move our work forward after the election, join us on November 10th at 7pm at St. Stephen’s for our Beloved Community strategy meeting.


Blessings for a wonderful weekend, and happy New Year to my Jewish brothers and sisters,

Teka Lumumba, St. Stephen’s Church in Lynn

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