Press

Press

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.

Fri Mar 17, 2017
One LA Leaders Educate 1,000 & Launch Immigration Strategy -One LA

In the first three month of the year, One LA leaders engaged over 1,000 LA County residents through fifteen ‘Know Your Rights’ civic academies hosted by member institutions.  In partnership with One LA member Neighborhood Legal Services of LA, leaders educated participants on the the implications of recent presidential executive orders including the enforcement of immigration regulations, as well as the Muslim and Refugee Travel Ban.  ”Train the Trainer” seminars have also been organized to teach institutional leaders about the civil and due process rights to which all US residents are entitled, regardless of immigration status.

The newly re-energized Immigration Strategy Team is now crafting a vision / action plan they will take to LA County and state-elected leaders to ensure that all families, including blended immigrant families – those with US citizens and unauthorized immigrants – are protected and treated fairly.  This task force also plans to challenge unconstitutional orders and implementation practices by federal immigration and other law enforcement agencies.

Fri Mar 10, 2017
GCC Wins Councilmember Pledges to Stop Fast-Track of Arena Renovation -Clevescene & Cleveland.com

Greater Cleveland Congregations continues their fight for fairness in the proposed deal from the Cleveland Cavaliers to spend $160 million of public money to upgrade Quicken Loans Arena.  GCC is fighting for a dollar-for-dollar match of all public money going into the deal to go towards a Community Equity Fund, which would provide critical supports for Cuyahoga County residents around mental health and addiction services, jobs for the unemployed, and capital improvements in distressed neighborhoods.    

On March 9th, GCC held an action with 425 leaders at Elizabeth Baptist Church in the Slavic Village neighborhood as part of their ongoing fight to bring fairness to the proposed deal being pushed by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The action featured a number of powerful speakers, including the mother of Alianna DeFreeze, the 14 year-old girl who earlier this year was brutally murdered while on her way to school and whose body was left in a vacant home.  Three key members of the Cuyahoga County Council pledged to slow the deal down and stop fast-tracking it.

GCC members will take the fight to Dan Gilbert's doorstep next week. A caravan of families who have been left behind by the ‘Cleveland Renaissance’ will drive to his headquarters in Detroit on March 21st for a daylong demonstration there.

www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2017/02/15/gcc-choreographs-masterful-opposition-to-quicken-loans-arena-renovations

 
 

Fri Mar 10, 2017
NCG Fights to Expand Meals On Wheels in Nevada -Las Vegas Now

Over 75 citizen leaders of ‘Nevadans for the Common Good‘ packed the Grant Sawyer State office building to support increased funding for the Meals on Wheels program.

This followed action taken by a traveling delegation of 15 clergy and key leaders who met with state legislators about the importance of sustainably funding the Meals on Wheels program and...

Mon Mar 6, 2017
TMO, Religious Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform -Houston Chronicle & More

In the face of increased deportations and growing fears of family separation, TMO clergy and Texas Bishops held a joint press conference calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path towards citizenship.  Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo stood with United Methodist Bishop Scott Jones, Lutheran Bishop Michael Rinehart, Presbyterian pastor Rev. Lynne Hargrove, Episcopal pastor Rev. Uriel Osnaya, Baptist pastor Rev. John Ogletree and other clergy in a public stand against the deportation and separation of immigrant families....

 

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

Sun Mar 5, 2017
Immigrant, Refugee Backers Pack Church to Affirm Durham as Inclusive -The News & Observer

More than 1,300 Latinos, Muslims, refugees, immigrants, their families and supporters filled Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Sunday to affirm Durham as a city of inclusion.

The event, which organizers insisted was not a protest, was hosted by the N.C. Congress of Latino Organizations and Durham Congregations Associations and Neighborhoods and conducted in English and Spanish.

“We hope that as we leave here, we’re not going to be leaving with confusion but rather with hope,” said Banlly Baquedano, a representative of Iglesia Hispana Emanuel and mother of two.

Fri Mar 3, 2017
EPISO/Border Interfaith Clergy To Immigrants: You Are Not Alone -El Paso Times

Civic academies put together by the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO) and Border Interfaith are drawing upwards of 50 parishioners per session eager to learn how to use their civil rights to protect family members from deportation.

Organizers reminded immigrants that they have the right to remain silent, a right to an attorney and not to sign any document given to them by immigration agents without first talking to a lawyer.  They also advised family members not to open the door to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents without a warrant....

Wed Mar 1, 2017
VOICE Trains 100 Muslim Leaders in Northern Virginia -Metro IAF

In the last 3 weeks, VOICE trained 325+ leaders including 125 from eight Northern VA mosques and schools. (As of 2017, one-third of the people who attend VOICE member & discerning member institutions are Muslim, 60,000 Muslims.)  VOICE leaders took commitments to “twin” with an institution near them that has a community different than them (politically, racially, ethnically, religiously, etc.). VOICE leaders will do listening sessions with their “twinning” partner throughout 2017 to build closer bonds and figure out how we may want to act together locally and at the state level when VA will be one of only two states that will hold a state-wide election.

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 13, 2017
WTJ Demolishes Blight in Jackson, MS -Clarion-Ledger

Two months after Working Together Jackson put public pressure on Jackson State University (JSU) to replace long-abandoned buildings with green space, leaders celebrated the first demolition on campus.  The demolition resulted from a collaboration initiated by Working Together Jackson in which Revitalize Mississippi Inc. agreed to demolish the properties at no cost to the JSU Development Foundation or university.

 

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