Smith wins child advocacy award

Dr. Luther Smith, professor of church and community at Candler, received the Big Voice for Children Award from Voices for Georgia�s Children, an independent policy and children�s advocacy group.

Smith received the award in November in recognition of his work as an advocate for children, which includes founding and leading the Interfaith Children�s Movement (ICM), an organization he founded in 2001. Smith was one of seven award recipients; others included Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and The Junior League of Atlanta.

Smith said the award affirms the importance of ICM�s work, which includes an emphasis on children�s health care. When it appeared that the state was going to make budget cuts that would have adversely affected the health care for more than 245,000 children, ICM supporters lobbied hard to make sure it didn�t happen.

One of the best parts about the work, Smith noted, is seeing ordinary people begin to feel empowered to bring about change. �We lament what�s happening, but we all feel so powerless,� he said. �We�re not.�

Smith also is involved with Just Georgia, an organization working to revise Georgia�s juvenile justice code, which Smith said hasn�t been revised significantly in 40 years. �The juvenile justice system is failing our children,� he said.

Besides his work on behalf of children, Smith's current research focuses on the writings and correspondence of Howard Thurman and a spirituality of hope.