Press

Press

Mon Mar 6, 2017
Metro IAF Launches "Are Guns Allowed On Campus?" Online Petition -Metro IAF

Tue Feb 21, 2017
Together Louisiana Reins In Backdoor Corporate Subsidies -Advocate & More

Eight months after their victory in reforming the state Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), leaders of Together Louisiana noticed that industrial tax exemptions spiked 441% in its last year (2016), with the majority of tax exemptions granted after the reforms passed.  They additionally noticed that the Commerce and Industry Board reversed the wording of the measure to undermine the reform that would have limited exemptions to proposals that had secured the approval of the local municipalities sacrificing the revenue.

Unsatisfied with the explanation that the 2016 reforms were not to touch applications already in the works, 100 faith and community leaders of Together Louisiana organized a press conference before the Board of Commerce and Industry’s meeting and then sat in on the meeting itself — demonstrating a rare presence of citizen oversight of a committee that distributed $4.9 billion in tax exemptions last year....

 

Mon Feb 20, 2017
IAF Board Appointees Announced -Industrial Areas Foundation

The Industrial Areas Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Rabbi Susan Leider and Mr. Yusufi Vali as board members to the Industrial Areas Foundation Board of Trustees.

Rabbi Susan Leider is a Southern California native; she received her Bachelor of Music and Masters of Fine Arts degrees from the University of California at Irvine.  At the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, she earned her Master of Rabbinic Studies degree in 2002 and rabbinic ordination in 2006.  Since ordination, she has served as assistant rabbi and later as associate rabbi at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles.  Currently, Rabbi Leider is serving at Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon CA as Senior Rabbi.

Rabbi Leider has taught in community-wide learning programs for those interested in conversion to Judaism. In the broader community, she brings her passion to congregation-based community organizing, building power for sustainable social and economic change through interfaith efforts. Her articles have appeared in Conservative Judaism and the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. At the national level, she serves on the Joint Placement Committee for the Conservative Movement.  At the Spertus Institute in Chicago, Rabbi Leider is a candidate for a Doctoral degree in Jewish Studies.

Yusufi Vali is the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) and has prior experience with field and community organizing.  In 2008, Mr. Vali worked for Barak Obama's Presidential campaign, organizing 49 precincts in South Minneapolis and managed to increase voter turnout substantially from the 2004 elections.  In 2009, Mr. Vali became a community organizer for the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), training future leaders and raising over $160K in grant funds as well as coordinating major political actions.  Mr. Vali is a natural leader and is proficient in grassroots organizing, as well is volunteer management and program development.  Mr. Vali has a Masters Degree in Islamic Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) as well as an MSc in Philosophy from the London School of Economics.

Wed Feb 15, 2017
Opponents, Some Supporters, of Q Renovation Plan Pack Meeting -Cleveland.com

More than 200 people packed Cuyahoga County Council chambers Tuesday on both sides of a proposed plan to spend tax dollars to renovate Quicken Loans Arena...the largest crowd ever to attend a meeting since council formed six years ago, a resolution allowing the county to sell $140 million in bonds to expand and update the arena was introduced....

Members of Greater Cleveland Congregations, a non-partisan coalition which represents 100,000 people across 43 congregations and partner organizations in Cuyahoga County, made up the bulk of the crowd. 

Video here

Mon Feb 6, 2017
Who's Normalizing Donald Trump Now? -Wall Street Journal

Mr. Gecan argues that the parallel for what’s happening in Washington right now is Wisconsin in 2011. Back then, Gov. Scott Walker backed a bill stripping public-employee unions of collective-bargaining rights. The left erupted in protest, with demonstrators occupying the State Capitol and a movement pushing a recall of the governor in what became a national drama.

Just one problem: It didn’t work. The bill was passed and ruled constitutional. Gov. Walker won the 2012 recall election in June even as Mr. Obama carried Wisconsin in the presidential in November. And Republicans increased their majorities in the Wisconsin state House and Senate.

Mr. Gecan says protest is no substitute for hard, grass-roots persuasion.

Fri Feb 3, 2017
Texas IAF Joins Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Against Anti-Sanctuary Cities Bill -KXAN & Rio Grande Guardian

Said Bishop Joe Vásquez, on behalf of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, “We reject the premise that persons who are merely suspected of being undocumented immigrants should be rounded up by state and local police agents.”

“This bill requires local police and sheriff’s deputies to enforce federal immigration laws as if their job of maintaining public order and the public safety weren’t difficult enough as it is,” said John Elford, senior pastor of University United Methodist Church and member of Austin Interfaith.

Thu Feb 2, 2017
How Democrats Are Getting Played -New York Daily News

Super Bowl week, and the early days of the Trump administration, are a good time to think about what works in sports and politics.

As every good coach knows, you study the game film of your opponent to spot tendencies, and then you run plays that exploit the weakness in the opposition’s defensive schemes. If the plays work, you keep running them, keep piling up the yards and the points, until the other team gets wise and starts to make some adjustments, or doesn’t get wise and gets creamed....

Thu Feb 2, 2017
Hundreds Attend Interfaith Gathering to Work for Justice, Save Health Law -Boston Globe

Over 900 people filled the sanctuary and two overflow rooms at Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain to call on elected officials to work with Greater Boston Interfaith Organization...

Tue Jan 31, 2017
Metro IAF & ATU: "Leave the Bus Lines Alone" -Washington Post

In Washington, D.C., 300 workers and riders turned out to the latest hearing on budget cuts to tell the WMATA Metro Board to 'leave the bus lines alone."

Metro IAF has been working in collaboration with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) to increase public investment in the DC region's metro transit system.

Sun Jan 29, 2017
Most Religious Groups Come Out Against Trump Refugee Order -Associated Press

Rabbi Joel Mosbacher had just finished the morning's Shabbat service when he got an urgent message: Rabbis were needed at New York's Kennedy Airport. People were being detained under President Donald Trump's sharp travel restrictions on refugees. Would he come pray?

By sundown, Mosbacher was part a group of rabbis at the airport, playing guitar and conducting a Havdalah service marking the end of the Sabbath. About 2,000 people gathered to rally against the new policy.

"We know what it's like to be the stranger," said Mosbacher, a Reform rabbi at Temple Shaaray Tefila, noting that Jewish refugees were at times turned away from the U.S. "As a person of faith, it was so important to be there."

Sun Jan 29, 2017
Over a Thousand Gather to Support Howard Becoming 'Sanctuary County' -CBS Baltimore

Over a thousand people gathered on Sunday at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center in support of making Howard County a Sanctuary County.

Leaders from PATH (People Acting Together in Howard) were joined by members of the County Council as well as Bishop Mark Brennan of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Members of the undocumented community spoke on the importance of this bill, as will members of the Muslim community and many other faith communities....

Additional press from ABC

Wed Jan 25, 2017
NCG Advances on Issue of Funding for Nevada Meals on Wheels -Boulder City Review

[Boulder City Council] "approved a resolution urging the Nevada Legislature and Gov. Brian Sandoval to increase state funding for Meal on Wheels, a program that brings meals to homebound and disabled elderly. The resolution was brought to the council by Nevadans for the Common Good...

Council urged state lawmakers to increase funding for Meals on Wheels by $5 million every two years, citing a waiting list for elderly seniors to get on the program in Las Vegas and Henderson.

“I think in a state where our legislatures can have a serious discussion about spending hundreds of millions on a football field they can use millions of dollars to feed the elderly,” McCoy said...."

Wed Jan 25, 2017
‘Solidarity Gathering’ In New Haven To Stand Up For Muslims, Immigrants -WSHU (NPR)

“We recognize that we cannot be all that we are called to be if someone is bullied, mocked, intimidated, oppressed, diminished in any way, because of unjust policies or laws, those excluded because of race, religion.”

Manship helped found the interfaith group CONECT, or Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, in 2011.

The statewide group is starting committees to organize legal resources, job security, and sanctuary spaces for undocumented immigrants.

Tue Jan 24, 2017
DAI, Catholic Church Credited with Blocking Arlington Payday Lending -University of Utah & University of New Mexico

"Catholic congregations and leaders ...were central in the push for payday lending reform in nearby Arlington.   Father Daniel Kelley of St. Joseph Catholic Church was particularly influential.  In addition, the Texas Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of Texas’ Catholic bishops, worked directly on payday lending reform at the state and local level, and also participated in Dallas Area Interfaith and Faith Leaders for Fair Lending.  Hearing stories from borrowers who sought assistance from Catholic charitable organizations helped generate interest in the payday issue among Catholic leaders.345  The religion’s long‐standing antipathy to usury provided these leaders with a ready‐made framework for opposing payday loans...."  See more on page 81.

Tue Jan 24, 2017
MOC Confronts Deportation & Eviction Threats to Immigration -Catholic SF & Marin Independent Journal

Fierce winter rains were not enough to stop over 300 leaders of Marin Organizing Committe from convening to discuss the dual threats many immigrants face: deportation and loss of housing.

Leaders broke into small group meetings at San Rafael Catholic Church to share stories of deportation threats, surprise evictions (including a mother evicted 5 days after giving birth), and rents increased five times within one year, often after tenants complained about a stove burner not working or mold on the carpet.

Tue Jan 24, 2017
Mayor Budgets $1B to Fix NYCHA Roofs, But Critics Say Not It's Enough -New York Daily News

....Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, questioned whether repairs will come fast enough to alleviate the toxic mold that afflicts so many public housing tenants.

“Ten years is an eternity for the children and adults who suffer with respiratory conditions now,” Metro IAF member Fr. Francis Skelly, pastor of the Immaculate Conception Church in the South Bronx, said. “The health threats are urgent.”

Mon Jan 16, 2017
Radical Model Fighting the Housing Crisis: Tie Property Prices to Income -The Guardian

Buried among the workhouse chic and the new brick apartment blocks is an unlikely experiment in building homes that will remain affordable to local people forever. After a decade of campaigning, the East London Community Land Trusthas succeeded in creating housing where the prices will be linked to local income in perpetuity, entirely detached from the superheated speculation of the property market....

As the capital’s first community land trust, the St Clement’s project was made possible because the site, home to a mental health hospital that closed in 2005, was owned by the Greater London Authority. After a long grassroots campaign, led by charity Citizens UK, the GLA asked the successful developer, Linden Homes, to work with the East London CLT group, which had also bid for the site. 

 

Thu Jan 12, 2017
#NOTallin: Regional Faith-based Coalition Announces Opposition to Q Renovations -Cleveland Scene

Representatives from the Greater Cleveland Congregations announced their opposition to using public dollars on arena renovations without public input or benefit. The GCC, said several speakers, is "NOT all in." 

The group decried the "fast-track" nature of the financing deal announced last month, which will use multiple public revenue streams to supplement Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert's private investment in an exterior overhaul. The public portion was estimated to be $70 million, but could be more than double that cost due to interest. 

The GCC demanded that elected officials — Mayor Frank Jackson, County Executive Armond Budish, both city and county councils — slow down the process so the public can meaningfully have its say. 

Mon Jan 9, 2017
Chris Hedges Talks with Michael Gecan About Building Organizations -Truth Dig

When asked why he told poor Brooklyn communities in 1980 to raise a quarter of a million dollars without government aid, community organizer Michael Gecan responded, “Because power is organized people and organized money.”

In the latest episode of “On Contact,” the author of “Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action” went on to tell Chris Hedges that “most activists stress organized people and forget organized money ... we stress both.”

Wed Jan 4, 2017
Back of the Yards: Lessons from a Community Organizer, by Mike Gecan -Boston Review

On the Wednesday after November’s presidential election, I found myself in the Back of the Yards area of Chicago’s South Side. I was there to meet with Roman Catholic priest David Kelly. Father Kelly is executive director of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, which he runs out of a converted school building on Fifty-first and Elizabeth. He and his team feed the hungry and bring together the perpetrators and victims of gang gun violence in the community. 

The Back of the Yards neighborhood—once a sprawling, spewing, foul-smelling collection of stockyards, polluted streams, tenements, and churches—was the original industrial area of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the largest network of community-based organization in the United States, of which I am co-director. 

Wed Dec 14, 2016
BUILD's Turnaround Tuesday Movement Hits Milestone of 240 Employed -BUILD

BUILD has been at the forefront of the jobs movement in Baltimore and has leveraged its 4 decades of organizing experience to cultivate partnerships to promote jobs for returning citizens.   Aso f early December the movement has employed 240 individuals.

Tue Dec 13, 2016
Remembering Carmelia Goffe -New York Times

The Metro IAF sadly reports the death of Carmelia Goffe, East Brooklyn Congregations leader.  Ms. Goffe helped lead the resurrection of East New York through EBC's fights for Nehemiah housing, community policing and improved schools.  We ask that you continue to keep Ms. Goffe and her family in your prayers.

Fri Dec 2, 2016
BUILD Revitalizes Oliver & Broadway East Neighborhoods in Baltimore -Baltimore Sun

....In the aftermath of the killings, local residents and churches, as well as the organization Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development, called for action.

The result was a $10 million agreement with the Reinvestment Fund, a community development organization. A little more than a decade ago, Oliver had 623 abandoned houses.

There are now 188 rebuilt units, mostly two- and three-story rowhouses. There's a whole block of North Broadway that has been restored to splendid Victorian appearance....

Wed Nov 23, 2016
Oped: Trump, Sessions and Nehemiah -- A Fateful Choice for the Next AG -New York Daily News

A s faith leaders, we have long studied the biblical story of the person who returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the walls of his beloved city. Nehemiah was both a visionary and a realist. He knew he needed a trowel to reconstruct the walls of the city. But he also kept a sword at hand to defend himself and his fellow workers from attempts by opponents to undermine their work.

We will keep Nehemiah very much in mind as we begin to test the tendencies of the new administration. Does it want to be rid of the reproach of bulging and costly prisons and jails? Does it want to end the warehousing of young people charged with minor offenses and those with mental illness? Or does it want to maintain these profoundly anti-American policies and ambush those who seek to reverse them?

We hope and pray that the President-elect’s choice for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, will pick up a trowel and join us in a constructive campaign to rebuild a more equitable and efficient criminal justice culture in our land....

Thu Nov 10, 2016
Party Needs to Recommit to Average People, Not Financial Wizards, Stars -New York Times

...the lessons of this election is to recommit itself to the vast majority of non-rock-star Americans who still live in physical space -- blocks, neighborhoods, subdivisions, trailer parks, workplaces, fading cities and aging suburbs and towns. The core issue for these Americans is the lack of long-term living wage work, especially for those who are not college educated....

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