In the News

In the News


Mayor Catherine Pugh, violence, law enforcement, safety, Maryland IAF

250 BUILD Leaders Demand Release of Mayor's Anti-Violence Strategy

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Metro IAF
BUILD turned out 250 members on August 2nd to demand Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh release her comprehensive strategy to fight violence. BUILD called on the Mayor to convene top law enforcement, corporate, and philanthropic leaders along with BUILD & the City Council to review the plan and make it actionable.

safe guns, Do Not Stand Idly By, Police Commissioner James O'Neill

EBC Wins NYPD Pledge to Push for Gun Safety with Glock

Friday, July 28, 2017
Metro IAF
East Brooklyn Congregations had an incredible assembly and action at the end of July with NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, Housing Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and 1,400+ East Brooklyn Congregations-Metro IAF leaders.  The sanctuary at St. Paul Community Baptist Church was standing room only, and there were many more people in the entry way, chapel and in rooms downstairs.
 
The themes of the night were criminal justice and immigration, affordable housing, and launching EBC’s largest ever action on Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, October 9th.
 
EBC had an incredible breakthrough with Commissioner O'Neill who committed publicly to meet with Glock firearms....

Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, Community Organizing in Baltimore

Pugh Defends Approach to Baltimore Crime, BUILD Responds

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Baltimore Sun

....The Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, co-chairman of the advocacy group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, said Pugh should make her crime plan available for the public to review.

 
Foster Connors, senior pastor of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church, said “there is a disturbing attitude coming from her right now that she can handle everything, she can do it alone, others don't need to question her.”
 
"This is a crisis,” he said. “Let's all come together and develop a plan. If she has a crime-reduction plan, the public doesn’t know about it. BUILD hasn’t been apprised of any crime reduction plan that’s coming from the mayor’s office, or any plan to address the unprecedented surge in homicides.
 
“Many of us in the community would like to be engaged in that."...

police shooting, #BLM, Jayson Negron, Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard

CONECT Demands Police Reforms Following Fatal Shooting of 15-Yr Old

Friday, June 2, 2017
FOX Channel 61 & ctpost
A dozen CONECT Clergy and Lay leaders gathered at the site of 15 year-old Jayson Negron's fatal shooting by a Bridgeport Police Officer with several of Jayson’s family members (his sister, aunt and cousin) to call for 1) a timely and transparent investigation, 2) the use of body and dash cameras by the Bridgeport Police Department, and 3) the prioritization of de-escalation and racial/cultural sensitivity training for all Bridgeport police officers.
 
CONECT called on Mayor Ganim, Police Chief Armando Perez, and State's Attorney Platt to meet with CONECT on these issues. Depending on the progress of the investigation and what it shows, CONECT may call for other changes in the future as well.
 

Community Organizing in Tucson, SPICE, Neighborhood Safety, Arizona IAF

Southern Arizona Interfaith Passes SPICE Ordinance in Tucson

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Arizona Daily Star & Tucson News Now

Fresh from a state legislative victory allowing the criminalization of SPICE, Southern Arizona Interfaith leaders succeeded in persuading local policy makers to pass a city ordinance against the nasty synthetic drug.  Tucson City councilmembers listened intently as leader Christina Crawford described how SPICE gave her son seizures and spasms, and as Msgr. Raul Trevizo and other leaders described finding vomiting and passed out youth on St. John the Evangelist church grounds.

Councilmembers praised the team for their persistence over 18 months, before unanimously voting to include the new chemical in a Tucson drug ordinance.  Reporters recorded the standing ovation Southern Arizona Interfaith leaders delivered to the Council upon passage of the ordinance.

Said leader Lorena Santos, “Look what we can do when we work together!  This is just the beginning!”

Tucson City Leaders Pass SPICE OrdinanceTucson News Now

Tucson In a Cat-and-Mouse Fight Against Nasty Synthetic DrugArizona Daily Star [pdf]


Gun Safety, Campus Safety, Do Not Stand Idly By, College Campus

Metro IAF Launches "Are Guns Allowed On Campus?" Online Petition

Monday, March 6, 2017
Metro IAF


Baton Rouge Police Department, Use-Of-Force Policy, Louisiana IAF

TBR Congratulates Mayor for Use-Of-Force Policy Overhaul

Friday, February 3, 2017
The Advocate

When Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s announcement of an overhaul of the police department’s use-of-force policies, Together Baton Rougeexpressed pride in the role they played in its development and extended public congratulations.  The organization claims that with the announced changes, the Baton Rouge Police Department’s (BRPD) go “from being among the weakest 30% of cities in the nation to being among the strongest 7% in terms of alignment with national best practices.”

Together Baton Rouge leaders are continuing their work on law enforcement practices, including the recent release of a study on neighborhood disparities in drug possession enforcement.

BRPD Union: No Ill Effects from Sharon Weston Broome’s ‘Common Sense’ Use-Of-Force Policy AdditionsThe Advocate

TBR Statement of SupportTogether Baton Rouge


Community Policing, Keisha Krumm, Rev. Will Davis, Rev. Ciara Davis #BLM

More Police is Not the Answer - by Common Ground

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Urban Milwaukee

Every American understands the fundamental value of self-preservation — of literally being able to live and breathe another day.

For most Americans, this translates into having a good lock on the door, a security guard in front of a building, or a police department that responds to signs of danger or sightings of people who seem bent on crime or destruction.

For African Americans, especially African American males, self-preservation is not something that can be taken for granted....


Gun Violence, safe guns, Do Not Stand Idly By, Weapons Manufacturing

Rabbis Join Rally in Fight to Stop Gun Violence

Friday, October 14, 2016
NJ Jewish News

A broad coalition of political and religious leaders — including prominent members of New Jersey’s Jewish community — rallied Oct. 6 on the steps of Newark City Hall to demand that weapons manufacturers join them in their fight to halt gun violence.

Under a banner reading “Do Not Stand Idly By,” Christian and Jewish activists urged large and small municipalities to insist that the guns they purchase for police departments include safety features to prevent the weapons from being fired by people other than the officers to whom they have been issued....


Alton Sterling, police shooting, Louisiana IAF, Community Policing

Together Baton Rouge Leaders "Refuse to be Divided"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
New York Times

In a press conference covered by the New York TimesNational Public Radio and theWall Street JournalTogether Baton Rouge leaders repudiated recent violence and called for careful and intentional dialogue about community divisions and policing. “We condemn violence of any kind…” said Lee Wesley, the pastor of Community Bible Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.  During the press conference, leaders stood behind the lectern wearing “Together Baton Rouge” buttons and hoisting signs saying “We refuse to be divided.”


Community Policing, Sheriff Richard Wiles, Arturo Aguila, Public Safety

Border Interfaith Leaders Build Trust with El Paso Sheriff

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
El Paso Times

Over 80 leaders of Border Interfaith participated in three meetings with El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles (including Lieutenants and Deputies) over the course of two months to build relationships of trust and to address community concerns...


Alton Sterling, #Blacklivesmatter, Community Policing, Louisiana IAF

300 TBR Leaders Call for Changed Policing and Economic Reforms

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
The Advocate & More

Over 300 leaders of Together Baton Rouge called for both law enforcement and economic reforms at a luncheon meeting held at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church.  The call to action occurred after breakout sessions in which leaders substantively listened to each other.  Said Rev. Lee Wesley, “It is not our goal to return to where we were before Alton Sterling was shot.  It is not our goal to get back to business as usual.  It is our goal to move forward.”


Community Policing, #Blacklivesmatter, Josephine Lopez-Paul

DAI Calls on Police, Community to Build Trust for Better Policing

Sunday, July 10, 2016
Dallas Morning News

At a community meeting organized by Dallas Area Interfaith, there were no easy platitudes in reference to the Thursday night shooting of police officers and protesters that left five officers dead...  


Community Policing, #Blacklivesmatter, Alton Sterling, Gov. Edwards

Together Baton Rouge Secures Broader Investigation into Lethal Shooting of Alton Sterling

Thursday, July 7, 2016
The Advocate & More

Shortly after leaders of Together Baton Rouge called on the Justice Department to widen the scope of its investigation into the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, saying it should include possible state criminal violations, a spokesman for Gov. John Bel Edwards responded, saying that the U.S. attorney’s office will not only investigate whether civil rights were violated, but also potential state and federal violations....


Gun Safety, Gun Sales, Rev. Francis Skelly, Immaculate Conception

South Bronx Churches' Rev. Skelly Takes on Dirty Gun Sales

Saturday, February 6, 2016
NY Daily News

"Rev. Francis Skelly, whose parish includes many residents of the Melrose Houses, seemed unsurprised that the gun used in the [police] shooting came from the south — or that the seller once hailed from the north.

“This pipeline of guns from the South, up Interstate 95 and into New York City, has been well-established for decades,” said Skelly. “We don’t expect the legislators of those states to fix the problem, even if Bill Bernstein loses his race.”

[Rev. Skelly is pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, a member of South Bronx Churches.]


New Jersey Together, Do Not Stand Idly By, Gov. Christie, safe guns

New Jersey Smart Gun Advocates Press On

Thursday, January 28, 2016
The Trace

It’s been a week since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pocket vetoed a bill that would have updated a controversial 2002 smart gun law widely seen as a detriment to the technology. Asked why the bill was left to die, Christie’s office noted that the smart gun reform was among 100 bills passed “in such a hasty and scrambled way” at the end of the legislative calendar, and sponsors of last-minute measures shouldn’t be “praying for them to be rubber stamped.” In other words, he wasn’t given enough time to read or evaluate the proposal.

But to legislators and activists deeply involved in the vetoed bill’s development, Christie’s explanation doesn’t bear up to scrutiny....


Tamir Rice Shooting, Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk, Black Lives Matter, Police

GCC Rabbi Speaks on Dialogue Re: Tamir Rice Grand Jury Ruling

Thursday, January 14, 2016
Cleveland Jewish News

Given the Cuyahoga County grand jury's decision in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, things in our community are tense. Elevating the dialogue about law enforcement could help release some of that tension.

We need to talk to one another, though people seem to be under the impression one can only be for or against police when it comes to the tragedy of this young man'\’s death. Many have told me you can't empathize with both the Rice family and with Cleveland police.

That’s just not so.... 


safe guns, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, Do Not Stand Idly By

Obama Embraces Smart Guns at Urging of Metro IAF

Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Washington Post

Late last year, a group connected to the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, made up of citizens and faith leaders, sent a letter to President Obama urging him to raise $20 million for developing smart guns before he raises money for his presidential library and foundation.



The foundation’s leaders were thrilled with Obama’s announcement.


Do Not Stand Idly By, Rabbi Mosbacher, Bishop Douglas Miles, Guns

Metro IAF Statement on President Obama's Executive Action on Guns

Monday, January 4, 2016
Metro IAF

Since early 2013, the faith and citizens’ organizing group Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF) – and the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign we initiated – have called on President Obama to stop waiting for Congress to act, and to use Executive Branch powers to curb gun deaths in America. In particular, we have asked the President to use the purchasing power of the U.S. government to push gun manufacturers to exercise leadership in the areas of gun safety technology and responsible distribution.

At the same time, we have been organizing a group of public-sector gun purchasers – mayors, governors, police chiefs, sheriffs, attorneys general and others – who are willing to use their purchasing power, collectively, to press manufacturers for responsible action. Officials from 82 state and local jurisdictions have launched this effort with us...


Tamir Rice, police shooting, Rabbi Caruso, Very Rev. Lind, Pastor Gibson

Failed Justice in Tamir Rice Death Galvanizes Faith Community

Friday, January 1, 2016
Cleveland.com

Western religions generally counsel against pure anger. In scripture, God is lifted up as one who is "slow to anger." Indeed, being slow to anger is aspired to as a virtue for every living being. Yet there are times when anger serves us well – when it is harnessed to confront society's systemic ills and catalyze change.

We are deeply saddened, extremely frustrated, and – yes – angered by the pattern of failed justice and lack of accountability for fair legal processes that once again is evidenced in the Tamir Rice grand jury proceedings and the all-too-predictable decision orchestrated by County Prosecutor Tim McGinty....


Freddie Gray Trial, Peace Rally, Police, Prayer, Rev. Glenna Huber

Peace Rallies Held Ahead of First Freddie Gray Trial

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
ABC News

"We're expressing our outrage and our grief around the current crisis in our city,” said BUILD Clergy Co-Chair, Rev. Glenna Huber. “We're moving that outrage and grief into hope to that we can act on creating a safer Baltimore for all residents."

"It has to be rebuilt,” Father Joe Muth from Blessed Sacrament Church said. “And we feel that by working together we can make that rebuilding happen."


Gun Violence, safety, Jersey City

"We've had enough!" - Pastors Say Jersey City is in Crisis

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
NJ.com New Jersey

The pastors, part of a group called Jersey City Together, said they called Police Chief Philip Zacche's office nearly two weeks ago to request he join them for a Dec. 1 meeting to discuss the recent shootings, and followed up with a letter hand delivered on Friday. There was no response, they said today.

"We've had enough," said the Rev. Laurie Wurm, of Grace Church Van Vorst


Policing, Corruption, Over-Policing, Police Culture, Change, NYC

Learning to Honor the Badge: Gecan Analyzes Three Policing Challenges

Monday, November 30, 2015
NY Daily News

In 1977, I was starting out as a community organizer on the west and northwest sides of Chicago, including in my old home parish, Our Lady of the Angels. Anyone of a certain age from there knows that the OLA school caught fire in 1958 and burned, killing 92 students and three nuns. The shock of that day triggered a national campaign to improve fire safety in schools.

Just 20 years later, the school and community were caught in another crisis that would kill far more young people, over time, than that horrendous fire: an explosion of drug-selling and drug use. In fact, right outside the rebuilt school, drug dealers set up shop every afternoon and evening.

The principal, Marion Murphy...


Do Not Stand Idly By, Gun Safety, safe guns, President Obama

Obama Considers Executive Action on Gun Control

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Christian Science Monitor

“We have traveled here from across the nation to challenge you to stop whining about the power you don’t have, and start acting with the power you do have,” said Bishop Douglas Miles, at a news conference in Washington Thursday. Bishop Miles is a leader in the Industrial Areas Foundation's (IAF) national network of interfaith, interracial community organizations.

The IAF wants Obama to put pressure on gun manufacturers, and should have the clout to do so since the US government is a major purchaser of firearms. The IAF wants the gunmakers to self-police the distribution and sale of their guns sold by dealers who consistently sell guns used in crimes, and they want firearms manufacturers to develop new, safer "smart gun" technologies....


Do Not Stand Idly By, safe guns, NRA, School Shootings

If We Can't Ban Guns, Can We Make Them Safer?

Friday, October 9, 2015
In These Times
Gun-violence prevention group Do Not Stand Idly By (DNSIB) has come up with a plan to bypass Congress altogether. Part of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro-IAF), a nationwide multi-faith network of community organizations, DNSIB seeks to use the government’s massive purchasing power to encourage the gun industry to join the campaign against gun violence.
 
Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, who heads the Beth Haverim Shir Shalom Synagogue in Mahwah, N.J., started the campaign in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Mosbacher is a member of Metro-IAF and has taken part in many of their campaigns. He lost his father to gun violence during a 1999 petty robbery. “We were trying to think, as we always do in community organizing, who else has the power to affect change on gun violence?” he explains....

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