Press

Tue Aug 6, 2019
Standing Up to Fear, EPISO/Border Interfaith Organizes a Response Rooted in Hope -America Magazine

The Rev. Pablo Matta was one of a number of priests who visited El Paso hospitals in the hours after a gunman with a high-powered rifle opened fire Aug. 3 in a Walmart massacre that took 22 lives....“I saw a lot of the people that died,” Father Matta said....

Mon Aug 5, 2019
West/Southwest IAF: Statement on El Paso & Dayton Mass Shootings -West / Southwest IAF

Fighting Against Fear
Our Neighborhoods, Our Strength

August 5, 2019

We are deeply saddened by the horrific shootings in El Paso and Dayton over the past 48 hours.  Our hearts go out to those murdered, those injured, their families and these entire communities.  We also stand in support of our IAF sister organization EPISO/Border Interfaith and its workforce training organization Project ARRIBA, whose work has been deeply embedded in the El Paso community for decades. 

This Thursday, August 8th at 7pm at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, EPISO/Border Interfaith (BI) leaders will assemble to demonstrate that this hate-filled act has no place in El Paso.  Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders representing 19 local institutions from all walks of life will stand united to grieve and rebuild the bonds of trust to overcome fear and hate.

Because El Paso is the largest US city on the border, and among the safest in our country, EPISO/BI leaders will not let this senseless act of violence define its border community.  This week EPISO/BI recommits to its long-term political work of building vital public relationships, rooted in trust. 

The story of the Good Samaritan challenges us all to see the humanity in those we have been taught to despise and to practice neighborliness, not to be divided by senseless acts of violence.  We urge all people to reach out to those who might feel isolated or fearful and seek fruitful relationships not just in the coming days and weeks, but for the long term.  Those kinds of efforts can lay a foundation for relationships with people who are different, and collaborative strategies for long-term solutions.

We must do all we can to combat the culture of violence and hate which contributes to tragedies like these.

Wed Jul 31, 2019
Metro IAF: New York's Public Housing Isn't Getting Better -New York Times

On July 30th, The New York Times published an Editorial laying out the ongoing problems in New York City's public housing. This was informed by interviews with several Metro IAF NY tenant leaders, including Bernard Smith from South Bronx Churches who is quoted in the editorial.

The editorial also focused on:

  • A report by the Federal Government’s Monitor detailing the multiple ways in which the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has not moved fast enough to make reforms. The monitor was appointed as a result of Metro IAF leaders pushing the US Attorney to investigate corruption and neglect at NYCHA.
  • How much more work NYCHA must do to properly remediate mold in order to be in compliance with Metro IAF’s Baez V. NYCHA Federal Court Consent Decree, and 
  • An audit by Metro IAF ally, Comptroller Scott Stringer on how NYCHA continues to cause leaks and mold, as well as waste money, through improper roof repair.

Metro IAF is continuing to work to ensure the public officials do not merely expose NYCHA’s wrong doing, but actually hold them accountable, and that the Federal Court fully implements the independent oversight contained in our revised mold consent decree, which could force NYCHA to actually improve living conditions for all of its tenants. 

Mon Jul 29, 2019
"Stark! Cologne" Goes After Gyms that Discriminate and Empty City Apartments -Metro-IAF

Shortly before the summer holidays began, leaders from the north of Cologne kicked off public campaigns on two new issues that have been in the works for several months. Following up on stories heard in their mosque communities a team of young leaders did a systematic check of discriminatory practices by a local chain of fitness studios. Women with head scarves were forbidden to exercise and men who “looked foreign” were put on a waiting list, while their “German” counterparts were welcomed into membership. The firm refused to react to a hand delivered letter asking for a meeting and so at an assembly on July 5th the leaders launched a social media campaign to shame the owners into talking. (Link to instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BzlIYh3INK1/ )

Thu Jul 18, 2019
Sr. Christine Stephens, CDP: 1940 - 2019 -West / Southwest IAF

Sister Christine Stephens, CDP entered eternal life on July 18, 2019 at the age of 78. She was the younger of two daughters born to Walter Irving and Frances Louise (Bulian) Stephens. She was born December 22, 1940 in Austin, Texas and was given the Baptismal name, Mary Christine. She entered the Congregation of Divine Providence on September 7, 1962 and professed first vows as a Sister of Divine Providence on June 22, 1964. Sister Christine graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics prior to entering Our Lady of the Lake Convent. She later earned a Master of Arts in History from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Sister Christine attributes her faith formation to her parents who set the example of perseverance and seeking justice for one’s family and community. Her father was a member of the pipe fitters union. This foundation served Sister Christine in her first seven years as a teacher, then as a social worker for eight years, and expanded and deepened when she became an organizer 45 years ago....

Mon Jul 1, 2019
Signs of Hope for Wrongfully Held People with Mental Illness -Daily Herald

Metro IAF's leaders Yvonne Smith of United Power for Action and Justice, Shakeel Syed of Lake County United, Rick Lathrop, of Fox River Valley Initiative, and Lucy Tarabour, of DuPage United moving forward on the fight to get Crisis Stabilization Units up and running across IL.

Fri Jun 28, 2019
TMO Leverages $14 /hr Wage Win for HISD Workers -FOX and Univision

In a budget process that the Houston Chronicle says "devolved into a clash of wills," TMO clergy and leaders leveraged a major wage win for workers: $14 per hour for 3,000+ of the lowest paid employees in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) -- employees who keep Houston children safe and nourished, and schools clean. 

Testifying before the HISD Board, Deacon Sam Dunning, Director of the Office of Peace and Justice in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston argued: "A budget is a moral document...it is time to treat all workers with dignity....." 

Thu Jun 20, 2019
CCHD Highlights West/Southwest IAF 'Recognizing the Stranger' Strategy -Catholic Campaign for Human Development

With a grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the Interfaith Education Fund piloted a program in fall of 2016 called Recognizing the Stranger, a multiyear regional approach to the immigration issue, in seven southwestern dioceses.

This year, it is expanding into 19 dioceses across the west and southwest US.  Says Senior IAF Organizer Joe Rubio, "The Recognizing the Stranger strategy works with local parishes to identify, train, and mentor immigrant leaders to build connections among themselves and with nonimmigrant allies in their parishes and the broader community.  It’s a collaborative effort among clergy, leaders, and organizers to develop capacity to tackle tough issues."

According to CCHD Director Ralph McCloud, "Recognizing the Stranger is particularly successful because it captures the connections between what happens at Mass on Sunday morning, how families live their lives throughout the week, and how parishioners interact with members of the broader community. I have been impressed that participants seek true change.  In the process, parishes are strengthened, unified, and revitalized."

Tue Jun 18, 2019
Summer Action of the Berlin Community Organizations: Important Victories, Challenge to the Politicians to Build Housing in Berlin -Metro-IAF

Five hundred Leaders from the four community organizations in Berlin (SO! Mit uns, Wir sind da!, Wir in Neukölln and Wir bewegen Spandau) gathered on June 18th on the 74 acre former industrial  site in Grünau where we proposed building some 3,000 units of affordable housing. Both borough and state officials were invited to justify their continued vociferous opposition to the plan. They failed to attend, and were called to task by the leadership. The fact remains that Berlin needs a minimum of 20,000 new units a year to accommodate its growing population. Current production is significantly below this number. We will keep up the fight both in Grünau and elsewhere in the city!

Thu Jun 13, 2019
Anne Arundel Connecting Together Acts on Housing and Gun Safety -Capital Gazette

ACT currently has 27 member and friend organizations including diverse faith groups, the local NAACP chapter, and Lighthouse (a homeless prevention support center). In the prior months, ACT led county-wide door-knocking campaigns, relational meetings, listening sessions, trainings, and education. ACT leaders met with county officials in advance of the action.

As a result of listening sessions and door-knocking, ACT leaders organized around the poor living conditions and mismanagement at subsidized apartment complex Woodside Gardens. At the June 13 action, ACT leaders living at Woodside Gardens spoke of the unlivable state of their apartments and the inadequate response of management. Invited before them was a representative of the managing company, Fairstead Affordable. After some wavering, the representative committed to address the issues raised by residents. These residents have subsequently met with management.

Sun Jun 9, 2019
VOICE Launches Communities First Initiative -WJLA

On June 9th, approximately 350 VOICE Arlington / Alexandria leaders launched their Communities First Initiative.  The premise is simple - in the wake of the arrival of Amazon, Virginia Tech, Google, and other large employers to our neighborhoods, VOICE believes that the changes coming to the region should benefit our COMMUNITIES FIRST, by dedicating over $300 million of the projected, new local tax revenue brought by Amazon to fund affordable housing, equity in education and career opportunities initiatives for our communities in Arlington and Alexandria.

Sat Jun 8, 2019
GCC Walks Neighborhood to Identify Blighted Properties -Cleveland.com

On Saturday, June 8, 58 volunteers from 12 Greater Cleveland Congregations member congregations from across Cuyahoga County assembled at Noble Road Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights to participate in a half-hour training on how to identify deteriorating houses and then disperse in teams of two volunteers to walk the entire Noble Neighborhood in Cleveland Heights. The teams were tasked with identifying houses in seriously deteriorated condition so the GCC Cleveland Heights Housing Team can work to get these homes repaired.

Thu Jun 6, 2019
MOC Wins Renters Protections in San Rafael, California -Marin Independent Journal

Responding to dual threats of deportation and homelessness faced by low-income immigrants, Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) launched a careful campaign to explore how to protect tenants.  The campaign culminated in a major victory this week, with leaders persuading the San Rafael City Council to not only mandate mediation between tenants and landlords when rent increases exceed 5% per year, but also to implement 'just cause' for eviction standards.  San Rafael is the county seat of Marin County, one of the most expensive places to live in California, and home to 70% of Marin County renters....

Fri May 24, 2019
'Nevadans for the Common Good' Pushes Payday Reform through State Legislature -Nevada Independent

During a three-month house meeting listening campaign and nine months of research actions and civic academies, leaders from 'Nevadans for the Common Good' (NCG) unearthed dramatic stories about payday lending entrapment, lack of housing affordability and concerns around public education....

Wed May 22, 2019
Albuquerque Interfaith Leverages $350,000 in Local Funding to Support Asylum Seekers -Albuquerque Journal

In the face of a growing humanitarian crisis at the border, Albuquerque Interfaith has been at the forefront of a local response, mobilizing institutions to address the immediate needs of recent arrivals and building a longer-term strategy and constituency for change....

Fri May 17, 2019
Metro IAF: Organized People in Great Fights (May 2019 Issue) -Metro IAF

Mon May 13, 2019
Orange County Justice United Wins Budget Support to Increase Teacher Diversity -The Herald Sun

Justice United won $156,000 in line item budget support from the Orange County Board of Education for a best practices strategy to increase teacher diversity within the school district where African American teaching staff is at a 10 year low. Read more in the Herald Sun.

Fri May 10, 2019
In Fighting for Justice, Andy Sarabia Helped Launch COPS/Metro and the Modern IAF -San Antonio Express-News

Growing up in a San Antonio in which pernicious neglect by an Anglo-controlled "Good Government League" left low-income Mexican-American neighborhoods flooded each year, Andy Sarabia helped transform the political landscape of the city and mentor generations of community leaders.  In partnership with Ernesto Cortes, Sarabia not only reshaped the City, he launched COPS/Metro and the modern Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF)....

Thu May 9, 2019
NYT Editorial: Mayor de Blasio, Keep Your Promise on Senior Housing -New York Times

"Last June, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, stood before scores of older New Yorkers outside City Hall to celebrate the news that this year’s capital budget would include $500 million to build new housing for low-income seniors.

Yet, nearly a year later, it turns out that the money wasn’t in the budget, the plan wasn’t new and the senior housing envisioned hasn’t been built or financed....

Tawana Myers, a community activist from Brooklyn who lobbied the mayor for senior housing for years with the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, said the city should simply honor its promise.

'We fought for this money,' she told The Times, recalling years of rallies. 'We came out in the rain, in wheelchairs.'"

Wed Apr 17, 2019
Metro IAF Oped: The Politics We Deserve | VA Drivers' License Fight -Metro IAF

You don’t have to choose between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren, or Jared Kushner and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or market capitalism and state socialism, or the far right and the far left, or Fox News and MSNBC.

While these are the dominant, incessant, compulsive polarities of modern public discourse, the demand and the tendency to choose are traps. You can take your hand off the nut (or nuts), loosen your grip, let them both drop. With a free hand, you can reach out and take hold of another way of doing things in the public arena: of thinking and acting and creating impact that rebuilds communities, saves and improves countless lives, and restores a sense of stability and forward motion in our country.

This other way of doing things is based on several important choices.

You can choose to acknowledge that you are mixed in your views — not a captive of one category or another — and that being mixed doesn’t disqualify you from a significant role in the public arena.

You can choose to be mobile and flexible — aligning with different sets of people on different issues at different times.

You can choose to be non-partisan or much less partisan — not a hamster on the wheel of the endless series of election cycles.

And you can choose to be institutional — not just a data source for the market or ideological harvesters of your personal preferences.

Wed Apr 17, 2019
New Study Says Project QUEST Creates Largest, Sustained Earnings Rise in Nation -Economic Mobility

Since 1992, IAF labor market intermediaries have put low-income workers into high-paying careers in health care, technology and trades.  The Economic Mobility Corporation recently released a “gold standard” randomized control test of San Antonio’s Project QUEST, the flagship labor market intermediary for the IAF....

Fri Apr 12, 2019
COPS/Metro Wins Pledges on Displacement Prevention, Job Training, Immigration & More -San Antonio Heron

One month in advance of mayoral and city council elections in San Antonio, almost 600 COPS/Metro leaders assembled at St. Patrick Catholic Church for a raucous assembly that began with a procession of matachines and culminated with a lineup of over 20 local incumbents and challengers pledging to support leaders' demands around property tax relief, housing affordability, job training, and supports for low-income immigrants....

Wed Apr 3, 2019
West/Southwest IAF: Good News Update (Spring 2019) -West/Southwest IAF

Tue Feb 5, 2019
NYT: School Board Says No to Big Oil, and Alarms Sound in Louisiana -New York Yimes

It was a squabble over $2.9 million in property-tax breaks — small change for Exxon Mobil, a company that measures its earnings by the billions.
But when the East Baton Rouge Parish school board rejected the energy giant’s rather routine request last month, the “no” vote went off like a bomb in a state where obeisance to the oil, gas and chemical industries is the norm.
Together Baton Rouge and its sister organization, Together Louisiana, argue that the industrial tax breaks starve local schools and governments of badly needed funds and leave them unable to lift a state mired toward the bottom of national rankings on education, crime and infrastructure. In Baton Rouge, one in four residents lives in poverty.
Their message has found an audience: Together Louisiana’s YouTube video about the exemptions, posted in November and titled “Why Louisiana Stays Poor,” has been viewed more than 600,000 times.

Sat Jan 19, 2019
Together Baton Rouge Wins $2.9M from Exxon Mobil for Schools -The Advocate & More

After almost four years of political battle, leaders of Together Baton Rouge secured a momentous victory: the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board voted down Exxon Mobil’s request to receive a tax exemption through the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, resulting in $2.9 Million for public schools....

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