Press

Sun Mar 4, 2018
NYT: When the Dollar is Mightier Than the Gun -New York Times

Gun violence is not an abstract concept for Rabbi Joel Mosbacher. His father, Lester, was shot dead in 1999 as he opened up his check-cashing business on Chicago’s South Side. Rabbi Mosbacher, who had been ordained just six months earlier, struggled to make sense of the murder, even as well-meaning friends struggled to find words of comfort and support.

“Some were helpful, others less so,” he recalled. “Someone said ‘This will make you a better rabbi.’ Well, I’d rather be a terrible rabbi and have my father back.”

A young man who had run errands for his father was arrested and tried for the murder, but was ultimately acquitted. For years, Rabbi Mosbacher quietly dealt with his family’s grief. But five years ago he started telling his story as part of a national campaign by clergy and civic-minded residents to enlist public officials — whose law enforcement agencies are major gun buyers — to press gun makers into developing safer technology and crack down on dealers whose weapons end up in criminal hands.

Tue Feb 27, 2018
CONECT Responds to Claims by National Shooting Sports Foundation -Connecticut Post

Lawrence G. Keane is supposed to represent the gun manufacturers and retailers who pay his salary. With his wildly inaccurate attack on us and our network of citizens’ organizations (‘Smart Gun’ technology can’t be forced on law enforcement or public,” Conn. Post, Feb. 20, 2018) he does his patrons a disservice; he misses a rare chance to find common ground with Americans who stand outside of the gun industry’s ever-narrowing circle of wagons.

Mon Feb 26, 2018
Long Island Congregations: An Opioid Superfund to Save Lives -NY Daily News

In recent weeks, what almost everyone has acknowledged to be a national crisis — the deaths of 64,000 Americans from drug overdoses in 2016 alone, more American deaths than in the entire Vietnam War — has begun to get the attention a national crisis deserves.

The President, in his 2019 proposed budget, requested $5 billion to combat the opioid epidemic — a pittance compared to the scale of the problem, but perhaps a sign that the administration now recognizes the need to act. Purdue Pharma, whose aggressive marketing got many Americans hooked on opioid pain pills in the first place, announced that it would stop promoting OxyContin to doctors and would cut its sales staff in half....

Wed Feb 21, 2018
Valley Interfaith Fights for DACA, Sends 10,000 Cards to Congress -Rio Grande Guardian & More

Wielding 10,000 signed postcards to Congressional Representatives and scriptural passages on the subject, Valley Interfaith leaders and Catholic Bishop Daniel E. Flores  forcefully called on Congress to protect DREAMers as they decide the future of DACA.

“The Bible is clear,” declared  Msgr. Heriberto Diaz of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Brownsville.  “We are to welcome the immigrant, as we were once immigrants in a foreign land.”

Bishop Flores emphasized, “Young people are not statistics…not just numbers…they are young people with hopes and dreams.”

Sun Feb 18, 2018
NCLI Leads First Local Rejection of Industrial Tax Break in Louisiana -The Advocate

Fighting a four-front battle to better invest local public funds, Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith (NCLI) leaders recently persuaded the Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator to become the first local official in state history to use the newly-granted local authority to reject an industrial tax exemption request.

This month, three more local entities – Caddo Parish, the City of Shreveport, and the Caddo Parish School Board – will vote on multi-million dollar tax exemption requests, one application at a time.

Leaders called on the Caddo Economic Development Board to better invest its economic development dollars in human infrastructure (PreK-12 and long-term workforce development), as well as in systems for drainage, sewage, clean air and water.

Fri Feb 16, 2018
Gecan: Better Call Saul - US Needs Radicalism, Not Extremism -Wall Street Journal

It may seem strange to argue that the U.S. needs more radicalism, especially in this period of outrageous rhetoric and intense overreaction. But the right kind of radicalism can improve American politics by focusing on fundamental public goods. Leaders should replace showmanship with a radical approach that galvanizes ordinary American citizens.

This concept of political radicalism has a storied history, but the term has faded from the popular lexicon. In 1951 Wall Street Journal editor William H. Grimes described this newspaper’s...

Wed Feb 14, 2018
Power of Together Baton Rouge Recognized by Business Journal -Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

With the ITEP issue, TBR—and the statewide network it has since helped grow, Together Louisiana—catapulted itself into a whole new realm, where big money, big business and politics converge.

Though the group continued to portray itself as a local organization intent on helping the community, it had picked a fight with the most powerful interests in the state. Those who had considered TBR little more than an annoyance suddenly realized it was a force with which to be reckoned. The gloves came off...

Sun Feb 11, 2018
One LA Partners with Mayor on $100M Affordable Housing Fund -West / Southwest IAF

500 One LA-IAF leaders assembled with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss implementation of the recently passed linkage fee for affordable housing at St. Agnes Catholic Church, and to report on what is happening in their neighborhoods.  Representing the first community organization with which the Mayor met, leaders challenged him to more deeply collaborate with the organization in the next few months.

Leaders told poignant stories about illegal evictions (and threats of eviction) from garage apartment conversions in Pacoima, families with children hiding their homelessness in West LA, and youth and senior citizens battling despair in the face of daunting odds while “living rough” near La Placita Catholic Church downtown...

Mon Feb 5, 2018
‘Do Not Stand Idly By’ Community Organizing Groups Press US Mayors -The Connection

Northern Virginia community organizers joined interstate partners on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C. to press U.S. mayors for safer gun technologies.

Metro IAF comprises 22 organizations, including VOICE in northern Virginia, in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Representatives converged in the capital to press the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Metro IAF’s “Do Not Stand Idly By” (DNSIB) gun safety campaign. The campaign title references a Bible verse: “Do not stand idly by while you neighbor’s blood is shed.”

Mon Jan 29, 2018
Bishop, Valley Interfaith Celebrate Transformation of Political Culture -Rio Grande Guardian & More

In the largest celebration of multiple events, Bishop Daniel E. Flores blessed the opening of a new library in Las Milpas, surrounded by Valley Interfaith leaders, children from Carmen Anaya Elementary School and other community supporters. An assembly chronicled the community-driven effort that went into changing the political culture of South Texas, reflected in the construction of the new library that leaders had fought for and won...

Sun Jan 28, 2018
Turnaround Tuesday Places 79 Baltimoreans in Living Wage Work -Metro IAF

As a result of building critical relationships with area hospitals and taking action to pressure the Health Services Cost Review Commission to increase hospital reimbursement rates to fund community health positions, Turnaround Tuesday has placed 79 individuals in three new positions: Community Health Workers, Peer Recovery Specialists, and Certified Nurse Assistants/General Nursing Assistants. None of the Turnaround Tuesday-trained individuals have lost their jobs and all positions pay between $15-17/per hour with full benefits. 129 positions still remain to be filled.

Sun Jan 28, 2018
WIN, UrbanMatters Advance 100 Units of Affordable Housing in DC -Metro IAF

UrbanMatters, an affordable housing developer established in part by Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), is celebrating forward movement on a 100 unit housing development in Ward 7 of Washington, DC. Providence Place, which will be built on land of the Progressive National Baptist Convention Headquarters, received zoning approval from the DC Zoning Commission and finalized a Community Benefits Agreement. The project is expected to break ground by November of 2018.

Thu Jan 25, 2018
State Advocates Push for Smart Guns in Washington -New Canaan News

Connecticut has become ground zero of sorts for spurring development of smart guns that use technology to prevent accidental or unauthorized discharge of firearms, particularly by children.

The state government is one of 122 jurisdictions in the nation to join in a “request for information” to gun manufacturers on what steps they are taking to develop smart-gun technology. The RFI has been orchestrated by an ad hoc group, Do Not Stand Idly By, made up primarily of religious leaders.

Thu Jan 25, 2018
DNSIB Campaign Pushes Forward, Inspires US Mayors to Act -Do Not Stand Idly By

On January 25th, 100 Metro IAF leaders from 10 states fanned out across the Washington, DC metropolitan area for a full day of actions and meetings with more than a dozen local and national leaders concerned with gun violence.

The meetings resulted in preliminary commitments secured from New Haven Mayor Harp to present Metro IAF's DNSIB strategy to the African American Mayors Association Conference and to work with Boston Mayor Walsh to organize a special Gun Safety Technology and Manufacturer Accountability session at a US Conference of Mayors meeting hosted by Mayor Walsh.

Mon Jan 22, 2018
Lake County United Secures Approval of 146-Bed Behavioral Hospital -Daily Herald

As a result of Lake County United’s continued effort to establish relationships with power players who share an interest in diverting those who are mentally ill from jail, LCU helped build the strong support necessary to win a unanimous approval of a 146-bed behavioral hospital in Waukegan, IL. The hospital will be owned by U.S. HealthVest, and will have all the elements of a much needed crisis stabilization unit.

Tue Jan 16, 2018
BUILD: Gov. Hogan, What is Your Plan to Stop Violence in Baltimore? -Baltimore Sun

Dear Governor Hogan,

I am writing in my capacity as pastor of the First & Franklin Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. For the past year, our congregation has set aside part of our weekly worship to remember those who have lost their lives to gun violence. Each week, we have held up purple ribbons as we prayed, each ribbon representing a life lost to gun violence in Baltimore. We have prayed. We have grieved. And now we are moving those prayers out of the sanctuary, into the street and finally to our elected officials.

I am also writing as a member of BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development). First & Franklin and BUILD leaders and organizers plan to be in Annapolis Thursday to present to the legislature — and the larger state of Maryland — the 343 purple ribbons representing the number of people killed in 2017 as a result of gun violence in our city....

Mon Jan 15, 2018
Jersey City Together Persuades Mayor to Pledge 50% Affordability on Site -Jersey Journal

In January, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop sent a letter to Honeywell to demand an increase in affordability on a 95-acre site from 5% to 50%. This comes after Jersey City Together spoke to thousands of people across Jersey City and secured commitments from the majority of the city council in support of this change. The Interfaith Community Organization, a previous IAF affiliate, successfully sued Honeywell to force remediation of chromium contamination on the site decades ago.

Tue Jan 2, 2018
Baltimore Brings in New Lawyers to Restart Police Contract Talks -Baltimore Sun

....The Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, a leader with the community group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD, said the city and the union urgently need to reach a deal.

“With everything that the city is facing in terms of violent crime, it’s essential that the mayor and police union leadership get on the same page with each other,” said Connors, whose group has pushed city leaders to fight violence....

Sun Dec 31, 2017
Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk : Replace Despair with Volunteerism in 2018 -Cleveland.com

Look around you. Are you troubled by what you see in the world? Early in the Bible, God was so upset with human conduct so as to flood the earth. Rabbinical commentary suggests it was both shechitut ("corruption") and hamas ("brutal violence") that triggered God's reaction.

Today, upon witnessing violence and brutality, many avert their eyes. For example, there was a recent story with data showing Cleveland as America's fifth most deadly city. Now surely the violence in our neighborhoods merits urgent attention. But when two days later, Cleveland was designated as one of National Geographic's "Best of the World" destinations, many chose instead to whistle a happier tune and wish away our serious problems.

Tue Dec 12, 2017
MOC Wins Significant Step for Renters Protection in Marin County -Marin Independent Journal

Less than a year after kicking off an organizing effort to address eviction threats in Marin County, the Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) won a significant victory.

On December 12, in response to pressure from MOC leaders, the Marin Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to support a mandatory mediation program for renters. The ordinance will require mediation when requested by a tenant or landlord for rent increases exceeding 5% per year. The ordinance would apply to unincorporated areas of Marin County which include approximately 8,300 renter-occupied units.  About 1 in 4 of those renters pay more than 50% of household income on rent...

Thu Nov 9, 2017
Gecan: Elites Can't Keep Writing Off Americans Who Voted for Trump -Chicago Sun Times

After the 2016 election, my view was that the voters had rejected not just Hillary Clinton, but also the modern Democratic Party – a party top-heavy with celebrity candidates and dominated by Wall Streeters, Silicon Valley stars and academic and professional elites.

Now on Tuesday, in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington State and Maine, voters rejected not only Donald Trump, but also the chaotic and unproductive political culture that he embodies and promotes – a culture top-heavy with family members, Wall Streeters, business titans and generals....

Tue Nov 7, 2017
DAI Negotiates Police Acceptance of Parish ID for No. Texas Immigrants -Dallas Morning News & More

For the first time in North Texas, immigrants without state ID will be allowed to use parish identification cards to identify themselves with Farmers Branch, Carrollton and Dallas Police Department officers.   Dallas Area Interfaith leaders negotiated this ground breaking police department policy change in the aftermath of the passage of anti-immigrant State Senate Bill 4, in order to engender greater trust between police and immigrants.

More than 1,500 immigrant leaders filled the sanctuary at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Farmers Branch in a standing-room-only assembly of leaders across multiple faiths and denominations....

Wed Oct 18, 2017
TMO Demands, Wins Extension of Harvey Disaster Food Aid -KIAH & Houston Chronicle

As thousands of Harvey survivors spent hours in line attempting to meet the deadline for emergency food aid, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), TMO leaders organized a press conference at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to demand an extension of the deadline for families.

Said Fr. Simón Bautista, “For two days in a row [my parishioner] got in line at 6 a.m. and by the time she was seen, around 7 p.m., she was told that her last name was not being seen that day. She returned at 3 a.m. to find that 10 to 15 individuals were already in line. These individuals and families have been waiting in the heat, missing work and some still haven’t received the benefits..."

Tue Oct 17, 2017
1,600 VOICE Leaders Pack Forum with VA Gubernatorial Candidates -WJLA & Metro IAF

On Sunday night, nearly 1,600 Metro IAF Virginians from 58 VOICE congregations and schools throughout northern Virginia secured commitments from Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Mr. Ed Gillespie (R) and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (D) to raise Virginia's felony larceny level, increase support for public schools and the Housing Trust Fund, fix Washington's crumbling public transit, support DREAMers and convene law enforcement and educators to end hate crimes and bullying. Leaders and Clergy from all different faiths and ethnicities packed a Prince William County high school auditorium and reignited the call for "We the People," a building of the citizen power required to demand action on its statewide Election Agenda, to forge alliances across the political and economic spectrum to move on these issues, and to compromise where necessary to create change...

Mon Oct 16, 2017
COPA Launches $2M Health Care Expansion in Monterey County -The Californian & Monterey Herald

When Maria Elena Manzo (upper left photo), an asthma educator from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, first discovered that children of Monterey County undocumented were unable to qualify for free life-saving asthma inhalers — and that those in Santa Cruz county did — she immediately reached out to COPA-IAF.  She and other COPA leaders organized hundreds of conversations over the next few years to build the political will, first for a $500,000 county-funded pilot project providing basic healthcare services to undocumented families, and now for Esperanza Care.

Esperanza Care, is a $2 million program that will expand the pilot primary and preventive care program to make it more comprehensive and available to more people.  It will also provide access, for the first time, to outpatient services at neurology, diabetes, heart and dermatology clinics....

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