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BREAD Nehemiah Action – Interfaith Social Justice

Let’s show that secular humanists value social justice and compassion by joining people of faith to achieve results for mental healthcare and other social justice issues in Columbus.

NOTE: You need a (free) ticket to attend this event. See below for details.

To get tickets or for questions about this event, contact Agnes at [masked] or call/text[masked]

Parking is free.

Carpools - meet at HCCO at 6pm (1550 Old Henderson Rd, North/back parking lot)

If you need a ride, please contact Agnes or leave a comment below.

Join us at Kafe Kerouak after the event


BREAD (Building Responsibility Equality and Dignity) is an interfaith coalition of more than 50 member congregations in the Columbus area who put aside their differences and come together for the shared goal of getting results on issues of social justice. They identify issues of concern, propose evidence-based solutions to local officials, and achieve results by pressuring local officials to implement these solutions. Nehemiah Action is the most important event of the year, when nearly 4,000 people show up to demand action from public officials.

This year’s main issue will be mental healthcare. The current system is over capacity and fails to provide effective care. For example, average wait time for an inpatient psychiatric bed is 18 hours and could be up to 5 days. BREAD will push local officials to implement an evidence-based and cost-effective solution that increases access to care, especially for people with persistent mental illness.


BREAD is the most successful and influential organization of its kind in Columbus. However, their current structure presumes that a belief in god is necessary for those who fight for social justice. Of course, people of faith do not have a monopoly on the values of social justice and compassion. Let’s join religious people to fight for social justice, to shatter the stereotype that atheists are immoral – and to be a part of an effort that achieves positive results far greater than what we can achieve on our own.

HCCO members Agnes Vishnevkin and Gleb Tsipursky have started a dialogue with BREAD leaders to work for changes within BREAD toward increased acceptance of nontheists in their work. As a result of this effort, BREAD made a big step and approved a significant change in the official wording printed in the event programs to make Nehemiah Action more welcoming to secular people. (For more information about this change, see this Columbus Dispatch article.)

Now it’s our turn to take action and have a large number of people attend the Nehemiah Action on behalf of HCCO. The more people we bring, the more clout we’ll have to work for further changes within BREAD.


We will try to save a row of seats behind the group from First UU Church. Look for their yellow banner and people wearing yellow t-shirts.

Feel free to wear a t-shirt with a (positive) secular message, but note that most people at the event will not be aware that our openly atheist contingent will be attending. There will not be an opportunity to interact with other attendees during the formal program.

The program will run from 6:45pm to 8:30pm (doors open at 6:15pm). The program will include description of this year’s main issue, mental healthcare , and public commitments from local officials about specific actions they will take. There will also be progress updates about issues from past years, including education, immigration, and juvenile delinquency.

Many of the people speaking will be clergy from BREAD’s member congregations, and some remarks will have a lot of religious language.


Each person needs to have a (free) ticket, which is how BREAD will measure the size of our turnout on behalf of HCCO. BREAD uses a ticket system to get an accurate count of how many people attend Nehemiah Action and how many people come on behalf of each member congregation. Since HCCO is not currently an official member of BREAD, we will collaborate with First UU Church to use their tickets and mark them “HCCO”

Please PRINT your name on the ticket. Feel free to bring along your family, children, friends, and neighbors. (Child care will be available for children under 8 who are out of diapers. Older children may ask their teachers to receive community service credit for attending.)

2 ways to get tickets:

• Before the event: Agnes can give or mail you the tickets before the event, contact her at [masked] or call/text[masked]

• At the event: Agnes will wait near the entrance from 6:30pm to 7:00pm and you can pick up your ticket at that time. She will wear a bright red shirt and wide-brimmed beige hat.

Join or login to comment.

  • Agnes

    Here's an update & next steps for HCCO's work with BREAD

    October 3, 2014

  • Agnes

    Good news about BREAD's push on the immigration issue. After declining to attend BREAD Nehemiah Action in 2013 and 2014, Sheriff met with BREAD, agreed to their requests, and agreed to send a representative to appear at BREAD's Annual Assembly on November 10!

    2 · May 15, 2014

  • Sharon M.

    Don't forget to join us at Kafe Kerouac after the event for a chance to decompress. :-) Northwood & High, just north of OSU.

    2 · May 12, 2014

    • John

      Hm... Never noticed likes on meet up before... This new @

      May 12, 2014

  • Jeff

    We are in the back rows, roughly in the center, behind the UUs (look for yellow shirts and yellow signs).

    2 · May 12, 2014

    • Jodie C.

      Yay! Finally found the event!

      1 · May 12, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I sat with new people in UU. Hope to see you all afterwards at Kafe Kerouac!

      2 · May 12, 2014

  • HCCO C.

    I have 4 Volunteers Beyond Belief shirts that have the VBB logo on the front and Humanist Community of Central Ohio on the back. 2 large, 1 XXL, and 1 XXXL, I will bring them to tonight if anyone would like one.

    2 · May 12, 2014

  • HCCO C.

    I will be tweeting the event from @HumanistOhio tonight.

    2 · May 12, 2014

  • Agnes

    The Dispatch ran an article about Monday's event and this year's focus on mental healthcare.

    May 11, 2014

  • Agnes

    Do you want to carpool to the BREAD event? Meet at HCCO at 6pm (1550 Old Henderson Rd, North/back parking lot)

    1 · May 9, 2014

  • Agnes

    Good news! We just learned that the opening prayer at BREAD Nehemiah Action will be delivered by First UU Church's senior minister Mark Belletini, so we can expect an inspiring message that is light on religious language.

    2 · May 6, 2014

  • HCCO C.

    Agnes wrote this great blog post on BREAD for us if you are interested in more information.

    1 · May 5, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have just moved to the area and have an interest in non-theism, social justice (social work major), and interfaith efforts such at this -- plus Kafe Kerouac was already on my 'to-do' list! If I do not work or have obligations I have no say in, I will be there!

    2 · May 4, 2014

  • Agnes

    After the Nehemiah event we'll get together at Kafe Kerouak to share about our experiences and discuss future involvement with BREAD - rsvp at

    April 26, 2014

  • HCCO C.

    Video from our presentations on nontheists in interfaith work by Sam Jackson from the Secular Student Alliance and Agnes Vishnevkin, HCCO Vice President are available here:

    1 · April 25, 2014

  • Jeff

    Rather than prove that we believe in social justice and compassion, I see this simply as taking action in accordance with Humanist values.

    2 · April 21, 2014

  • Stan B.

    I can't attend but I am glad others of our group will. I must say that I do not feel anyone in HCCO has to prove that we are people who practice social justice and compassion. If social justice and compassion are the signs of being Christian then I would say that we are more Christian by our practice then the majority of the Christians. Actions speak louder then words.

    1 · April 19, 2014

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