Interfaith Council celebrates 25 years of service

Published: Mar. 9, 2015 at 3:44 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 23, 2015 at 11:56 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - People of all faiths may hold different beliefs, but Pima County Interfaith Council has continued to unite many of them around core issues facing the community.

The organization celebrated its 25th anniversary Sunday with an event at Saint Phillips in the Hills. Organizers recognized some of the founding members of PCIC since the 80s.

"We are happy and proud of our successes," said Reverend Mark Buckwalter, who spoke to the crowd Sunday like the other honorees. "We haven't won all the battles but we got to the table where political decisions were being made."

The successes include influencing local, state and federal leaders on their spending of more than $100 million. The areas of focus include JobPath workforce training, dropout programs, and recreation centers around the county.

Buckwalter said they're still struggling with issues involving immigration, low-income housing and joblessness in Pima County, but PCIC isn't giving up.

"Those issues are just not going to go away," he said. "However, we're in the battle."

And more people are joining PCIC's side in that battle. Michael Peel, a young leader for the council, echoed the concern of those who spoke at the podium Sunday.  Many of them mentioned the recent budget proposal and its included cuts to

public education.

"Education and jobs are very important and that's something that we have a lot of agreement and consensus on," said Peel.

Peel said he believes there are even more issues that will need the advocacy of PCIC like sustainability and the environment. He added that connecting with more young people will help PCIC to improve its efforts in the future.

"Seeing how much energy is here and how much commitment and follow through is here speaks to how powerful this group is," he said. "Here's to another 25 years."

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