Press

Press

Mon Jun 19, 2017
Arizona Interfaith: Restructuring Medicaid Will Cause Irreversible Harm -Scottsdale Independent

Beware Arizona. The potential restructuring of Medicaid, as approved by the House and undergoing secretive deliberations in the Senate, will cause irreversible harm.

Close to 500,000 Arizonans will lose health care coverage, endangering lives and undermining an open public process.

As clergy leaders with the Arizona Interfaith Network, we are profoundly concerned that the proposed changes under the American Health Care Act would affect virtually every dimension of family life, especially for middle and lower income families.

From caring for people in our congregations, we know that Medicaid saves lives….

Tue Jun 13, 2017
Jersey City Together Works to Prevent a Toxic Deal for Jersey City -nj.com

On Monday, June 12, about 50 Jersey City Together leaders launched a campaign to ensure the Bayfront Development, a 100-acre site owned by Honeywell International & the City of Jersey City on the west side, serves the real needs of the city, particularly local jobs & affordable housing.

Wed Jun 7, 2017
One LA Fights for Affordable Housing in the San Fernando Valley -One LA

As a way to act on the extraordinary pressures they experience around housing, San Fernando Elementary school leaders (including twenty parents and their Principal, Maria Awakian) and One LA’s education team testified before the San Fernando City Council.

Publicly speaking for the very first time, three parents shared how 1 of 8 children in San Fernando area schools experience some degree of homelessness, often resulting in disruptions of academic progress and difficulties in staying awake for class....

Tue Jun 6, 2017
Durham CAN Wins $4M for Affordable Housing -IndyWeek
The Durham City Council on Monday night approved a $4.162 million grant that will allow the Durham Housing Authority to buy back twenty acres of vacant land known as Fayette Place.
 
The money will come from the city’s general fund and can only be used to acquire the land and maintain it until it is sold or developed.
 
Development Ventures Incorporated, a real estate development company controlled by the Housing Authority, and Campus Apartments, which currently owns the land, have agreed to close on the deal no later than June 16.... 

Sun Jun 4, 2017
Together Louisiana, State Assessors Team Up to Defeat Tax Giveaway -Weekly Citizen

At a Senate committee hearing last week, Together Louisiana and the state’s assessors teamed up to deal an unlikely defeat to a proposed constitutional amendment backed by one of the most well-funded lobbying drives of the current legislative session.

House Bill 444 would have opened the door to a major new category of corporate tax exemption and had the backing, not only of the major players in the corporate subsidy lobby, but also of most of the state’s associations representing local officials and even of the Governor, who was working actively to support the bill....

Fri Jun 2, 2017
CONECT Demands Police Reforms Following Fatal Shooting of 15-Yr Old -FOX Channel 61 & ctpost
A dozen CONECT Clergy and Lay leaders gathered at the site of 15 year-old Jayson Negron's fatal shooting by a Bridgeport Police Officer with several of Jayson’s family members (his sister, aunt and cousin) to call for 1) a timely and transparent investigation, 2) the use of body and dash cameras by the Bridgeport Police Department, and 3) the prioritization of de-escalation and racial/cultural sensitivity training for all Bridgeport police officers.
 
CONECT called on Mayor Ganim, Police Chief Armando Perez, and State's Attorney Platt to meet with CONECT on these issues. Depending on the progress of the investigation and what it shows, CONECT may call for other changes in the future as well.
 

Wed May 24, 2017
Lake County United Celebrates Completion of Fairhaven Crossing -Lake County United

Lake County United identified the land, secured the site, established a development team, and built the community support for a 40-unit affordable housing complex in Mundelein, IL. Over 300 Lake County United leaders gathered to celebrate the opening of Fairhaven Crossing, which will give everyone, including residents with disabilities, the opportunity to live as independently as possible. The unit includes a community center and computer room.

Wed May 24, 2017
Southern Arizona Interfaith Passes SPICE Ordinance in Tucson -Arizona Daily Star & Tucson News Now

Fresh from a state legislative victory allowing the criminalization of SPICE, Southern Arizona Interfaith leaders succeeded in persuading local policy makers to pass a city ordinance against the nasty synthetic drug.  Tucson City councilmembers listened intently as leader Christina Crawford described how SPICE gave her son seizures and spasms, and as Msgr. Raul Trevizo and other leaders described finding vomiting and passed out youth on St. John the Evangelist church grounds.

Councilmembers praised the team for their persistence over 18 months, before unanimously voting to include the new chemical in a Tucson drug ordinance.  Reporters recorded the standing ovation Southern Arizona Interfaith leaders delivered to the Council upon passage of the ordinance.

Said leader Lorena Santos, “Look what we can do when we work together!  This is just the beginning!”

Tucson City Leaders Pass SPICE OrdinanceTucson News Now

Tucson In a Cat-and-Mouse Fight Against Nasty Synthetic DrugArizona Daily Star [pdf]

Sat May 20, 2017
The True Toughness Jeff Sessions Must Show -NY Daily News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sending a message to America: He’s going to be tough on crime.

To those of us who live, work and pastor in the killing fields of Baltimore, or Cleveland or Chicago, or the former killing fields of the South Bronx or East Brooklyn, that could be good news. We’ll see....

Tue May 16, 2017
Meals On Wheels Waiting Lists Could Be a Thing of the Past -The Nevada Independent

A year-long campaign aimed at feeding more homebound Nevada seniors — and ensuring that the 1,126 people on the waiting list start getting service — appears to be bearing fruit.

After Gov. Brian Sandoval called for putting $1.5 million in additional state funds towards Meals on Wheels programs over the next two years, lawmakers took preliminary steps last week to more than double that investment in a bid to eliminate the current waiting list. A joint Assembly and Senate subcommittee’s vote to put $3.4 million toward home-delivered meals is a first step that could be cemented when full money committees finalize their budgets in coming weeks.

“We’re very, very excited and happy about the subcommittee’s recommendation,” said....

Sun May 7, 2017
Grassroots Activists Call for $1B in Annual Metro Funding & Have a Plan -Washington Post

Several faith- and community-based organizations say Metro needs $1 billion a year in dedicated funding, and they’ve come up with a proposal that includes a mix of sales, gas and property taxes that leaders say will beef up service levels and preserve jobs while addressing the system’s long-term needs.

Scores of grass-roots activists with the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation packed a downtown church Sunday to rally support and present the plan — a medley of investment and savings proposals without the labor concessions sought by Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld and politicians...

Sat May 6, 2017
COPS/Metro, with Bexar Sheriff & Judge, Rallies Vs. Anti-Immigrant Bill -San Antonio Express-News

On Friday, COPS/Metro leaders stood with Bexar County and San Antonio elected leaders calling on Governor Abbott to not sign SB 4 (“sanctuary cities” bill) into law.  Speakers against the bill included Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, County Judge Nelson Wolff and state Sen. Jose Menendez.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff argued that the bill would increase costs to the county and distract law enforcement efforts from addressing local violent crime.

‘What’s going to happen?’ he asked, as he predicted no officer would ask ‘an Anglo guy’ in a ‘two-piece suit’ for his papers but instead would target ‘the person with brown skin.’

Fri May 5, 2017
VOICE Leverages Bill Veto of Oklahoma Governor -The Oklahoman

After HB1913 passed, threatening to triple the cap on small personal loans and boost the maximum interest rate to 204% per year, VOICE leaders and allies persisted in their fight against the bill.

Leaders publicly called on Governor Mary Fallin to veto the bill, on television and in writing arguing, as did Fr. Tim Luschen, that the bill is “not anything that can make our community a better place.”

In her veto message, Governor Fallin urged legislators to consult with “all stakeholders,” including consumer advocates, if they choose to revisit the issue.

Oklahoma Governor Fallin Vetoes Payday Loan BillThe Oklahoman [pdf]

Churches, Charities Asking Gov. Mary Fallin to Veto Payday Loan BillKOCO TV

Oklahoma Priest: Legislature Should Reject High Interest Loan BillThe Oklahoman[pdf]

Fri May 5, 2017
OTOC Fights for Protection from Predatory Landlords, Lenders -West / Southwest IAF

OTOC convened a nonpartisan accountability assembly with twelve candidates for Mayor and City Council for Omaha with a standing-room-only audience of 350 leaders at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church.

Leaders told stories illustrating a negotiated agenda in support of safe rental housing, reduction of predatory payday lending fees, separating yard waste and garbage, as well as assurances that police...

Tue Apr 25, 2017
Manhattan Together, So. Bronx Churches Fight for Better School Data -New York Daily News & More

On March 19th, over 400 Manhattan Together (MT) and South Bronx Churches (SBC) leaders gathered with New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to push the City Government for action to improve their broken Special Education data system and to push for more repairs in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments. The Comptroller also promised to work together to expand programs for children with Autism and ensure new potential funding for NYCHA is paired with accountability to make sure the money helps tenants.  

New leaders also presented the organizations' campaigns on immigration and homelessness. So far in 2017, MT and SBC have held two legal clinics and four know your rights sessions, connecting with over 500 immigrants and their families. New immigrant leaders who have come forward through these sessions are helping to shape our April 30th Action with NYPD Commissioner O'Neill and work beyond that.

The Assembly was covered by the New York Daily News1010 Wins, and The Villager.

Mon Apr 24, 2017
El Paso IAF Puts 'We the People' at the Center of Public Life -El Paso Times & More

Several hundred Border Interfaith and EPISO leaders assembled for an accountability session, one day before early voting began, to challenge candidates for Mayor, City Council and the Board of Trustees for El Paso and Ysleta School Districts around the issues most impacting residents’ daily lives.

Specifically, leaders asked candidates to commit to

Fri Apr 21, 2017
IAF Workforce Development Model Crushes Competition, Shows Sizable and Sustained Gains -Economic Mobility

Almost ten years ago, Project QUEST agreed to participate in a randomized control trial in which half of a pool of 400+ qualified and equally motivated applicants were picked by a computer to participate in Project QUEST.  The other half were turned away and they pursued other options.

After three years, Project QUEST graduates were already earning more than those who were turned away.  By Year 6, that difference in earnings had not only persisted, it increased to over $5,000 per year.

Mon Apr 17, 2017
NCG Engages Nevada Senator Cortez-Masto About Immigration System -Nevada Independent & Las Vegas Review-Journal

200 leaders of Nevadans for the Common Good were joined by US Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto for a civic academy on immigration at All Saint’s Episcopal Church.  People participated in the session in order to “learn the facts” about immigration, build relationships with each other and conduct public business with Senator Masto....

Fri Apr 7, 2017
Victory for Immigrant Drivers in North Carolina -The News & Observer

A year-long issue campaign culminated in a 600-person action on March 28th where the District Attorney, James Woodall, spoke to Orange County Justice United and publicly committed to a deferral program for unlicensed, yet otherwise safe drivers.

The program, which has the potential to save Latino drivers tens of thousands of dollars a year in court fines and fees, will assist Latino drivers in Orange and Chatham County who have paid roughly $1.3 million in citations after a change in state policy in 2006 rendered them ineligible to apply for or renew their licenses without a social security number.

Wed Apr 5, 2017
AMOS Fights for Expanded Mental Health Care Coverage -Des Moines Register

Six months after a fall assembly in which hundreds of AMOS leaders pressured state legislators to restore mental health funding, leaders persisted in their quest — writing an OpEd and testifying before the legislature.

“This isn’t just a tax issue. This is an issue of life or death,” testified Travis Stanley, pastor of Norwalk Christian Church and leader with AMOS.  AMOS criticizes a state law capping the amount counties can collect for such services to the amount they collected in 1996, regardless of whether the county grew since then.  “Keeping the cap at 1996 levels — when I was 16 — has killed people. People have lost their lives because of this,” he said.

Let Counties Spend More on Mental Health, Advocates Ask LegislatorsDes Moines Register [pdf]

Stop Underfunding Mental HealthDes Moines Register

Ankeny Candidates Agree to Support More Mental Healthcare AccessDes Moines Register

Tue Apr 4, 2017
800 Metro Vancouver Alliance Leaders Host Accountability Assembly -Metro Vancouver Alliance

Click image below for video:

Tue Apr 4, 2017
East Brooklyn Congregations Demands Housing Repairs from NYCHA -DNA Info

When Brooklyn Director and his managers refused to meet with 200 NYCHA tenants from four developments because the Director’s office could not afford the one hour of overtime pay, residents decided to act. During four days of action, EBC and over 500 tenants participated in confronting NYCHA managers in-person and by conducting phone banks to demand the respect and repairs they deserved. The work of over 225 leaders and students from 14 institutions also forced Transportation Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, to publicly commit to meeting with leaders in May to discuss a plan to make neighborhoods safer.

Tue Mar 28, 2017
Jersey City Together Wins Long Overdue City Housing Inspections -New Jersey.Com

On Sunday, March 26th, 175+ tenant & Jersey City Together leaders gathered at St Paul's Episcopal Church to hold one of the city's largest landlords, Trendy Management, accountable. The owner, Esther Kaplan, promised to attend, but cancelled at 12pm the day of the action.

Following a building tour with leaders, press, & public officials, the city has now begun systematically investigating their buildings. Inspections of the first 6 of their properties have resulted in more than 325 violations. The company owns more than 140 rent-controlled apartment buildings in Jersey City.

Wed Mar 22, 2017
GCC Fighting to Create a Community Equity Fund -Metro IAF

GCC loaded three busloads of leaders and held a 175-person action outside the corporate headquarters of Quicken Loans in Detroit.

Together with ally organization, Detroit Regional Interfaith Voice for Equity (DRIVE), GCC pressed Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert, to bring fairness to the proposed deal to spend $160 million in public funding to build a new glass atrium on the outside of Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavs play. GCC is fighting to create a Community Equity Fund to provide a dollar-for-dollar match of all public money in the deal and direct it towards areas of critical importance in Cleveland.

Tue Mar 21, 2017
BUILD Secures $70 M Commitment for Baltimore City Schools Funding Gap -WBALTV

In alliance with principals and schools across the City, BUILD won an additional commitment of $10 million in funding, bringing the total to $70 million BUILD has organized to close the $130 million gap in school funding.

Baltimore City Council President Jack Young, along with 11 other city council representatives, announced the additional commitment of $10 million at a BUILD and Baltimoreans for Educational Equity action of 900 parents, teachers and principals. This follows commitments from Baltimore Mayor and State Legislature to provide $60 million to fix the gap.

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