Press

Press

Wed Apr 6, 2016
COPS / Metro Wins Wage Hike for Lowest Paid School Workers -Rivard Report & More

Thanks to the intervention of COPS / Metro Alliance leaders that stood with San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD)’s  lowest paid workers and the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel, the SAISD Board unanimously approved a wage increase of 20% for the district’s lowest paid , from $10/hour to $12/hour....

Mon Apr 4, 2016
BUILD Wins Jobs for Baltimore -- Johns Hopkins Leads $69M Initiative -Washington Post & Baltimore Sun

From the Washington Post:

As the news conference ended at Zion Baptist Church in East Baltimore, Bishop Douglas Miles stepped forward and grabbed the mic to say, “This is historic.”

He shared a memory from the late 1960s: A young woman on a bus asked him what school he attended, and when he replied, “Hopkins,” she stopped talking to him.

That was the distance, he said, between the city and the university.

“I stand proudly today as a Hopkins alumnus,” he said, “because my institution is taking the lead in something major in this state.” God doesn’t call us to be the richest or the smartest, he said, but to step forward. Miles closed with a prayer, and shouts rose: “Amen! Amen!”

Sun Mar 13, 2016
BUILD Secures Commitments from Baltimore Mayoral Candidates -Baltimore Sun

Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD, asked the leading mayoral candidates to commit to creating more jobs and expanding after-school programs for children before about 700 people at Coppin State University. At BUILD's urging, the candidates agreed to create the jobs over four years and to spend an additional $8 million annually on afterschool programs by their final year in office.

"We look forward to holding them accountable," said Rob English, the lead organizer of BUILD.

Community Leaders Pushing Voter Registration, WYPR

Baltimore Mayoral Candidates Pledge to Create Jobs, Assist City Youth, WBALTV

Mon Feb 22, 2016
Metro IAF Leads the Way on Affordable Housing in New York City -New York Slant

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s recent report that identified 1,130 vacant and city-owned lots is shocking, but all too familiar. Every empty lot represents a missed opportunity for the city to build more desperately needed affordable housing. What’s more, building on vacant sites means that no residents need to be displaced in the process, nor is there a need for the kind of complicated and controversial trade-offs that have mired Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed housing plan in a heated debate with housing advocates and community boards....

Fri Feb 19, 2016
PCIC Co-Founder Remembered for Confronting Those in Power -Arizona Daily Star

The Rev. Paul W. Buckwalter came to Tucson to broaden one church’s community involvement.

In doing so, he changed Tucson....

Wed Feb 17, 2016
1,000 of Greater Cleveland Congregations Put Justice "On Trial" -Cleveland.com

Faith leaders put the justice system "on trial" Tuesday as they outlined their demands for reform to Cuyahoga County prosecutor candidates Timothy J. McGinty and Michael O'Malley.

As part of the process, the event organized by Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) offered arguments and witnesses pointing to disparities in the current system.

More than 1,000 people gathered at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood for the 90-minute event.

Thu Feb 11, 2016
One LA Leaders Denounce Broad Plan for School Privatization -One LA

After welcoming new Superintendent Michelle King to the first LAUSD Board meeting of the year, One LA leaders delivered a strident statement in support of public education and against the Broad Foundation's charter expansion plan.  Leaders earned significant audience applause after emphasizing no plan should "ever refer to our children as 'market share....'"

Sat Feb 6, 2016
South Bronx Churches' Rev. Skelly Takes on Dirty Gun Sales -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.]

Thu Feb 4, 2016
BUILD Re-Shapes Market Dynamics For Baltimore Redevelopment -Baltimore Sun

"Within days following the 2002 murders of the Dawson family, who were killed in retaliation for one member's testimony against area drug dealers, 400 people from Baltimoreans United in Leadership (BUILD) and the city's Oliver community stood in front of the Dawsons' firebombed home and vowed to not let those seven deaths be in vain. The group organized and made a strong commitment to changing the neighborhood. The result of that long process is now becoming evident and is highlighted in the current public debate over the impact of the mayor's Vacants to Value program, which uses the East Baltimore transformation as its blueprint.

Spearheaded by BUILD, local churches and residents partnered with city leaders and Reinvestment Fund, a community development organization with an approach to neighborhood revitalization that marries capital with data for strategic investment, to change Oliver. The joint effort was formalized as "TRF Development Partners" (DP), and focused on developing solutions to improve social mobility."

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 Schraml, a community organizer, reports from Berlin, where around 500 refugees arrive every day and find a very poor reception system, having to stand in line up to 10 hours in the cold only to register.

Christiane is currently trying to bring together German citizens and refugees to address the problems related to the refugees crisis, which in her word is an "administrative crisis", and now a political one.

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...

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