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Thu Jan 28, 2016
New Jersey Smart Gun Advocates Press On -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....
Wed Jan 27, 2016
'Nevadans for the Common Good' Staves Off Medicaid Privatization -Las Vegas Review-Journal
Backed by 300 leaders at a ‘Nevadans for the Common Good‘ accountability assembly, Marsha Rodriguez told her story about the fragility of independence as a senior. 72 years old, Rodriguez described waiting 6 months to get into a Nevada Medicaid waiver program, the Home and Community Based Waiver, which helps pay for non-medical services that are essential for some aging seniors to continue living at home...
Wed Jan 20, 2016
Citizens UK Calls on Government to Give Refugees Safe Passage -The Independent
Campaigners, politicians and celebrities listened to Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders and laid white flowers as a tribute to the dead....
The event was organised by Citizens UK, which is supporting a court case testing whether four child refugees currently stranded in the “Jungle” will be allowed to safely join their families in the UK....
George Gabriel, from Citizens UK, said: “There are hundreds of people with genuine and valid claims to protection in Britain, including many children and young people who desperately need to be reunited with their loved ones.
Thu Jan 14, 2016
GCC Rabbi Speaks on Dialogue Re: Tamir Rice Grand Jury Ruling -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....
Tue Jan 12, 2016
At Urging of 'Together Louisiana', Governor Signs Medicaid Expansion -Associated Press
On his first full day in office, newly elected Governor John Bel Edwards made good on a pledge to ‘Together Louisiana’ to expand Medicaid. Edwards signed the executive order for this expansion flanked by Together Louisiana leaders Fr. Rick Andrus, Rev. Patti Snyder, Ms. Pat LeDuff and Ms. Alma Stewart (with LA Health Equity). The expansion is expected to provide healthcare to an additional 300,000 Louisiana residents within the next six months....
Tue Jan 5, 2016
Obama Embraces Smart Guns at Urging of Metro IAF -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.
Mon Jan 4, 2016
Metro IAF Statement on President Obama's Executive Action on Guns -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...
Fri Jan 1, 2016
Failed Justice in Tamir Rice Death Galvanizes Faith Community -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....
Tue Dec 15, 2015
IAF in Germany Responds to Refugee Crisis in Berlin -Radio
Christiane is currently trying to bring together German citizens and refugees to address the problems related to the refugees crisis, which in her
DICO, a network of citizens platforms, is working with its citizens and refugees leaders to build trust between residents and newcomers, and ensure that city authorities address their problems.
Thu Dec 10, 2015
Austin Interfaith Wins Protections for Mobile Home Park Residents -KXAN and Telemundo
Last July, Hidden Valley / High Meadows (mobile home) residents became distressed when lot rents for people on month-to-month leases were raised for the second time within a 12-month period. New rules mandated improvements and standardizations — adding new costs to residents — including deck and railing upgrades, paint jobs, skirting repair, shed standardization, and control over inside window coverings. Families were asked to demonstrate possession of a drivers’ license to drive on the property, impacting hundreds of residents. Many families scrambled to comply; some left....
Wed Dec 9, 2015
Hospitals to Create Up To 375 Jobs for Disadvantaged City Residents -Baltimore Sun
"We really see systemic challenges in Baltimore, and someone just saw the ability to address it," said Andrew Foster Connors, senior pastor at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church. "It's less than the number of jobs we wanted, but it's a great start."
The pastor is also co-chair of the interfaith community organization Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD, which had rallied for the jobs and brought supporters to meetings of the state Health Services Cost Review Commission, which sets hospital rates and approved the jobs plan Wednesday.
BUILD officials said they hope other businesses in Baltimore follow suit and create the other 625 jobs.
Fri Dec 4, 2015
Immigrant Leaders Battle Mold, Crime and Slumlords in Dallas Apts. -Dallas Morning News
“It all started with a group of women,” said Dallas Area Interfaith (DAI) organizer Walker Moore, that “wanted to know what their rights were.” With the guidance of DAI, the ladies went on to organize several meetings — at local churches and in apartments — to formulate a strategy to address mold, dilapidation and crime.
In November, extra chairs had to be hauled out to accommodate 160 people who gathered at San Juan Diego Catholic Church at a meeting in which they brought specific issues with apartment conditions straight to the police chief and City of Dallas elected officials....
Wed Dec 2, 2015
Peace Rallies Held Ahead of First Freddie Gray Trial -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."
Wed Dec 2, 2015
"We've had enough!" - Pastors Say Jersey City is in Crisis -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
Mon Nov 30, 2015
Learning to Honor the Badge: Gecan Analyzes Three Policing Challenges -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...
Wed Nov 18, 2015
North Texas IAF WINS Payday Lending Reform in Arlington, TX -Star Telegram & Dallas Morning News
After undergoing a congregational development process in partnership with the North Texas IAF that involved 3,000 parishioners – 600 of which participated in small group encounters led by 80 ministry leaders — leaders of St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish in Arlington, Texas were astounded by the number of stories about payday lending...
Mon Nov 16, 2015
One Quarter to BUILD One Baltimore -BUILD
Fri Nov 13, 2015
Open Cloud Academy Expands in San Antonio, Texas -San Antonio Express News
For years, Rackspace co-founder and Chairman Graham Weston heard complaints that San Antonio’s growing data storage company had to search far and wide for qualified talent. He and others thought, “These were jobs that should have been taken by San Antonians.”
An “aha” moment happened one day when he went to...
Mon Nov 9, 2015
In Conservative Town, Faith-Based Group Tackles Minimum Wages -National Public Radio
In Texas, one of the most conservative right-to-work states in the country, a church-based organization has begun to make headway in enacting a "living wage" for San Antonio city employees.
In addition to having no state-mandated minimum wage for the private sector, the Legislature has made it illegal for any Texas city or local jurisdiction to pass its own minimum wage.
But after a year of intense organizing and lobbying, the Communities Organized for Public Service and the Metro Alliance (known as COPS/Metro) in September celebrated San Antonio's City Council vote that mandated a $13-an-hour minimum wage for all city employees.
Thu Nov 5, 2015
Durham (CAN) Infill Development a Good Sprawl Substitute -News & Observer
With the election of a City Council and mayor firmly behind infill development, Durham CAN’s proposal to turn a barren publicly owned lot at the corner of Jackson and Willard streets into an affordable-housing complex looks like a no-brainer.
That’s good news for downtown Durham, which needs full-time residents to help sustain the renaissance of a once-forlorn area. It’s no longer lights out after work in downtown.
Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods) is a community coalition that has amassed political clout since its founding in 1997 as an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation....
Tue Oct 27, 2015
NCG Continues Push for Transparency in Medicaid Privatization -Las Vegas Review Journal
At a 300-person assembly of ‘Nevadans for the Common Good,’ state legislators publicly supported NCG goals to address the state’s teacher shortage and to ensure that a plan to privatize some medicaid services in Nevada is transparent and includes meaningful public participation....
Sat Oct 10, 2015
Obama Considers Executive Action on Gun Control -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....
Fri Oct 9, 2015
If We Can't Ban Guns, Can We Make Them Safer? -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....
Fri Oct 9, 2015
Mr. President, "Stop Whining" About Gun Violence -Huffington Post
With the sun-drenched White House behind him, a prominent Baptist pastor spoke at a news conference that I attended in Lafayette Park yesterday. In a deep, no-nonsense voice, he delivered a stern message to President Obama: "Mr. President, we urge you to stop whining and begin acting."
If President Obama is as frustrated and angry as he appeared to be at his recent news conference about the inability of Congress to do something about gun violence in the wake of another mass shooting, Bishop Douglas Miles has similar feelings about the President's lack of leadership....
Thu Oct 8, 2015
PCICEO Educates Pastors on on Pima County Bonds -New Vision
Bishop Kicanas fires off a powerful volley in a friendly competition between Pima Community Colleges and religious leaders of PCIC-CEO in Arizona....