Press

Press

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....

Tue Sep 19, 2017
COPS/Metro Hikes Base Municipal Wage in San Antonio to $14.25 /Hour -San Antonio Express News & More

Months after 750 COPS / Metro leaders challenged candidates for San Antonio City Council and the Bexar County Commissioners’ Court to support their living wage agenda in a nonpartisan accountability assembly — and then delivered 8,555 voters to the polls in support of their agenda — both Bexar County and the City of San Antonio increased entry wages to $14.25 per hour.

This is one of several steps leaders have initiated to raise public sector wages to $15 / hour by 2019....

Fri Sep 8, 2017
For Renters, Harvey was the First Blow, Followed by Orders to Move -New York Times
"Members of The Metropolitan Organization, a group of Houston religious congregations, urged Houston’s City Council on Wednesday to establish a grace period for late September rent payments. The poor and undocumented were especially vulnerable, clergy members said.
 
“Many of them have not worked nine or 10 days now because their businesses have been blown away,” said the Rev. Edward Gomez, an Episcopal priest...."

Fri Sep 1, 2017
WIN Secures DC Mayoral Pledge on Hiring, Community Safety -Metro IAF
WIN packed First Rock Baptist Church in Southeast DC with more than 650 faith leaders, returning citizens and workers to address DC Mayor Muriel Bowser around key issues in the city. Mayor Bowser embraced the vast majority of WIN’s asks, commiting to WIN’s campaign to hire 5,000 returning citizens and people from high unemployment areas, and improving safety, affordable housing and immigrant and Muslim rights.  

Fri Sep 1, 2017
AIM Wins Pledge from MD Senator to Fight Privatization, Defend Pensions -Metro IAF

AIM leaders won a pledge from Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno to work with Metro IAF to fight privatization, preserve pensions and expand public transportation in the region and especially in the state of Maryland. 

Thu Aug 10, 2017
GCC Prevails at Ohio Supreme Court re: Referendum Petitions -Cleveland.com
In a major ruling setting an important legal precedent, the Ohio Supreme Court ordered the Cleveland City Council Clerk to accept referendum petitions collected by GCC and its allies seeking to put on the ballot the deal to vastly expand Quicken Loans Arena with $160 million in public funds....
 

Tue Aug 8, 2017
Texas Standard Covers Story of EPISO Success in Colonias -Texas Standard

In radio coverage about the Texas governor zeroing out the Colonia Initiative Program’s nearly $860,000 budget, a story about the success of the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Committee (EPISO) emerged.

When Fr. Ed Lucero-Rodin first arrived in El Paso in the 1980s he reported being “shocked by the living conditions …[with] people using centuries-old wells for non-drinking water and DIY septic-tank systems.”  He joined EPISO, which equipped him to tackle issues like sewage seeping into the groundwater which was causing many in his congregation to get sick.

After decades of success in fighting for water and sewage infrastructure in the colonias, he can now point to a street named after him in a subdivision that used to be a colonia.  All the streets are named after El Paso Interreligious  Sponsoring Organization (EPISO) leaders who successfully fought to bring water and waste service to this area.

This story was covered by the Texas Standard in the context of the state of funding for colonias today.

As Funding Dries Up, Colonia Residents Struggle Without Basic ServicesTexas Standard [pdf]

Tue Aug 8, 2017
‘Turnaround Tuesday’ Helping Those Who’ve Hit Rock Bottom Get Back Up -CBS Baltimore

The figures are pretty dismal. 75 percent of those who are released from prison, will be back behind bars within five years. And only half of those who remain free have jobs. That’s why what’s happening in the basement of Zion Baptist Church every Tuesday is so remarkable....

Mon Aug 7, 2017
300 CONECT Leaders Back South Korean Immigrant Facing Deportation -The Hour

More than 300 St. Jerome and CONECT leaders turned out on August 7th for a Prayer Vigil in support of Jung Courville and her family after her recent order of deportation. Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and Senator Richard Blumenthal also attended. Attendees signed 426 letters of support.

Wed Aug 2, 2017
250 BUILD Leaders Demand Release of Mayor's Anti-Violence Strategy -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.

Mon Jul 31, 2017
PCI Secures Council Pledges to Double JobPath Funding -Tucson.com

125 Pima County Interfaith resident leaders of Ward 3 Tucson assembled and secured commitments from primary candidates Felicia Chew, Paul Durham and Tom Tronsdal.  The session was organized by Pima County Interfaith Civic Education Organization, Southern Arizona Interfaith (SAI) and Literacy Connects.  All three candidates pledged to support keeping Tucson an Immigrant Welcoming city, to support PCI efforts to fight SPICE and other drugs in Ward 3, and to meet with the organizations if elected.

Candidates Chew and Tronsdal committed to increasing funding for KidCo and JobPath, keeping low-income bus fares at their current level, and protecting the number of bus routes.

Attendees committed to vote, get others to vote, and to knock on doors in Ward 3 neighborhoods.  Two “Neighbor to Neighbor – Walk & Call” sessions have already been scheduled.

Fri Jul 28, 2017
EBC Wins NYPD Pledge to Push for Gun Safety with Glock -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....

Thu Jul 27, 2017
Together Louisiana Reminds Sen. Cassidy of Medicaid Promise -The Advocate & More

To the surprise of many, both Louisiana Senators voted in favor of two health care measures that would roll back Medicaid funding.  In response, Together Louisiana publicly reminded one of the Senators of his Medicaid promises:

“Sen. (Bill) Cassidy has shown, in a way that has been refreshing and sometimes surprising, intelligence, thoughtfulness, content knowledge and compassion in his assessments of the realities of the health care bills as they’ve worked their way through the House and the Senate.  He has said in many occasions and many different forms, in small settings and large settings, including face to face interviews and to members of Together Louisiana, that he would not support the Senate bill in the current form because it was too devastating an effect on individual people and on health care markets. And yesterday he voted for that bill....”

Wed Jul 26, 2017
In Boston, GBIO Leaders Secure New Ally on Criminal Justice Reform -Metro IAF
On June 28th, GBIO leaders completed a city-wide In-District Meeting with State Senator Linda Doreen Forry, securing her commitment to support reform around solitary confinement, an issue she did not formerly support.
 
When Forry argued that local county sheriffs think the reform would threaten the safety of inmates, constituents won Forry’s support by countering that, in fact, the use of solitary confinement itself represented a threat to inmates’ safety and mental health, by keeping inmates locked up 23 hours a day for extended periods, in cells the size of a parking spot.
 
The meeting with Senator Forry was the 8th of 9 In-District meetings organized since May 2017 as part of GBIO’s Criminal Justice Reform Campaign. The campaign builds support for 4 legislative priorities: Repeal of Mandatory Minimums for Drug Offenses, Pretrial and Bail Reform, Reduction/Elimination of Excessive Fees and Fines for Returning Citizens, and Elimination of Excessive Use of Solitary Confinement without Oversight and Data Collection.
 
Since May, GBIO has trained 60 congregational leaders, who have planned and organized meetings with over 15 legislators. Following the success of these In-District meetings, 30 leaders have been trained to extend GBIO’s efforts outside of Boston districts.

Wed Jul 26, 2017
Faith-Based Group Leans on Alexandria Council for Affordable Housing -Washington Post
An increasingly powerful coalition of faith-based activists won a commitment from a majority of the Alexandria City Council on Tuesday to increase support for public housing and affordable housing in the city.
 
About 200 supporters and members of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) jammed St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Alexandria to call for stronger commitments and more money to house lower-income residents who increasingly find themselves priced out of areas once affordable to them...

Tue Jul 25, 2017
270 GBIO Leaders Learn About Threats Against Muslims in Community -Metro IAF
270 people attended GBIO and Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC)’s July 25th Teach-In. Muslim leaders shared perspectives on discrimination and being Muslim in Boston, and 70 interfaith donors committed to making symbolic donations to the ISBCC or other Muslim organizations to show solidarity and to disrupt the targeting of Muslims through donor tracking. 
 
 

Fri Jul 21, 2017
One LA, with Mayor, Sheriff, Takes on Housing & Immigration -Angelus

500 One LA delegates from 28 member institutions assembled to hold themselves, and elected officials, accountable on a Sunday afternoon in July.  Delegates ratified a new strategy team, updated the bylaws, and pledged increased dues.

In response to compelling stories, and the presence of hundreds of delegates,  Mayor Eric Garcetti committed to working with One LA on concrete solutions to the affordable housing crisis, including a proposed linkage fee that would generate $75 Million per year towards affordable housing construction.  Garcetti not only became the first mayor of a major city to sign on to the national IAF-initiated “Do Not Stand Idly By” campaign for safer guns, he additionally pledged to persuade other mayors to sign on.

After several young people shared stories about their immigration experience, the President of the LAUSD school board, Ref Rodriguez, pledged to support One LA and the Superintendent’s efforts to create ways for the district to provide support to young “newcomers” (recent immigrant arrivals & unaccompanied minors).

Regarding the treatment of 190,000 immigrant victims of crime (mostly women and children) who qualify for and are awaiting U-visas, Sheriff Jim McDonnell committed to working with One LA and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to place a stay on their deportations.  U-visas are reserved for victims of crimes who are wiling to assist in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.

Additional officials in attendance who pledged their support included:  LA City Attorney Mike Feuer; Mitch Katz, director of LA County Health Services; LA Police Deputy Chief Robert Arcos; and Bishop David O’Connell, San Gabriel Region of the Archdiocese.

Wed Jul 19, 2017
Spokane Alliance Secures Support for Mental Health Facility -Spokesman Review

At present, if a mentally ill person commits a crime in Spokane, the only places to send them are either the ER or jail.  After three years of work, Spokane Alliance leaders secured political support for a proposal they developed — the construction of a mental health stabilization facility to which individuals meeting certain criteria can be referred for short term treatment.

The Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council voted to approve a plan to build the facility in 2018.

Additional background

Tue Jul 18, 2017
FRVI Pressures Batavia City Council to Accept Mixed Income Housing -Metro IAF & Kane County Chronicle

The Fox River Valley Initiative is fighting diligently to secure 8 YES votes for 80 units of mixed income housing in the city of Batavia, IL. 64 of the units would be affordable and 8 used for people with disabilities. At a recent housing forum, 140 people attended, with only 15 voices against the new development. 

Mon Jul 17, 2017
700 DAI Leaders Clarify Impact of SB4 with Dallas Police -Dallas Morning News & A Dia Dallas

Before a packed audience of 700 leaders of Dallas Area Interfaith, and on the one-year anniversary of the shooting that took the lives of five police officers, Dallas Area Interfaith continued the public conversation about community relationships with the police in the context of SB4.  In response to stories about immigrants fearful of reporting crimes they’ve witnessed to the police, Dallas Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly announced, “This is evidence of why SB4 is bad.”

Assistant Police Chief Gary Tittle was asked to clarify how SB4 could work, given  police need for witnesses and victim cooperation and the real fears immigrants have of reporting.  Tittle explained that crime victims, witnesses and people calling 911 are exempt from questions about immigration status.

The assembly took place even as Dallas Police Department interviews for a new police chief are underway.  Said Minister Jonathan Morrison of Cedar Crest Church of Christ, and DAI representative on the interviewing panel, “I think there is always progress anytime there can be first real dialog and conversation and when communities can begin to share of their struggles and we begin to see commonality in our struggles.”

Religious leaders of DAI are working to develop a relationship of mutual accountability with the Dallas Police Department to address fears faced by all sides.

[Photo Credit: Ron Baselice, Dallas Morning News]

North Texas Religious Leaders Step Up to Speak Out Against State’s SB4 Immigration LawDallas  Morning News

Inmigrantes Buscan Refugio en sus Iglesias Por Temor a Leyes Migratorias Como SB4Al Dia Dallas

Dallas Police Chief Candidates in Town for InterviewsFOX News

Dallas Police Asst. Chief Gary Tittle Responds to Question About SB4Diane Solis – Dallas Morning News

DAI Leaders Commit to Working with PoliceAllison Harris – FOX 4 News

Wed Jul 12, 2017
Pugh Defends Approach to Baltimore Crime, BUILD Responds -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."...

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