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Wed Dec 2, 2015
Peace Rallies Held Ahead of First Freddie Gray Trial -ABC News
"We're expressing our outrage and our grief around the current crisis in our city,” said BUILD Clergy Co-Chair, Rev. Glenna Huber. “We're moving that outrage and grief into hope to that we can act on creating a safer Baltimore for all residents."
"It has to be rebuilt,” Father Joe Muth from Blessed Sacrament Church said. “And we feel that by working together we can make that rebuilding happen."
Wed Dec 2, 2015
"We've had enough!" - Pastors Say Jersey City is in Crisis -NJ.com New Jersey
The pastors, part of a group called Jersey City Together, said they called Police Chief Philip Zacche's office nearly two weeks ago to request he join them for a Dec. 1 meeting to discuss the recent shootings, and followed up with a letter hand delivered on Friday. There was no response, they said today.
"We've had enough," said the Rev. Laurie Wurm, of Grace Church Van Vorst
Mon Nov 30, 2015
Learning to Honor the Badge: Gecan Analyzes Three Policing Challenges -NY Daily News
In 1977, I was starting out as a community organizer on the west and northwest sides of Chicago, including in my old home parish, Our Lady of the Angels. Anyone of a certain age from there knows that the OLA school caught fire in 1958 and burned, killing 92 students and three nuns. The shock of that day triggered a national campaign to improve fire safety in schools.
Just 20 years later, the school and community were caught in another crisis that would kill far more young people, over time, than that horrendous fire: an explosion of drug-selling and drug use. In fact, right outside the rebuilt school, drug dealers set up shop every afternoon and evening.
The principal, Marion Murphy...
Wed Nov 18, 2015
North Texas IAF WINS Payday Lending Reform in Arlington, TX -Star Telegram & Dallas Morning News
After undergoing a congregational development process in partnership with the North Texas IAF that involved 3,000 parishioners – 600 of which participated in small group encounters led by 80 ministry leaders — leaders of St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish in Arlington, Texas were astounded by the number of stories about payday lending...
Mon Nov 16, 2015
One Quarter to BUILD One Baltimore -BUILD
Fri Nov 13, 2015
Open Cloud Academy Expands in San Antonio, Texas -San Antonio Express News
For years, Rackspace co-founder and Chairman Graham Weston heard complaints that San Antonio’s growing data storage company had to search far and wide for qualified talent. He and others thought, “These were jobs that should have been taken by San Antonians.”
An “aha” moment happened one day when he went to...
Mon Nov 9, 2015
In Conservative Town, Faith-Based Group Tackles Minimum Wages -National Public Radio
In Texas, one of the most conservative right-to-work states in the country, a church-based organization has begun to make headway in enacting a "living wage" for San Antonio city employees.
In addition to having no state-mandated minimum wage for the private sector, the Legislature has made it illegal for any Texas city or local jurisdiction to pass its own minimum wage.
But after a year of intense organizing and lobbying, the Communities Organized for Public Service and the Metro Alliance (known as COPS/Metro) in September celebrated San Antonio's City Council vote that mandated a $13-an-hour minimum wage for all city employees.
Thu Nov 5, 2015
Durham (CAN) Infill Development a Good Sprawl Substitute -News & Observer
With the election of a City Council and mayor firmly behind infill development, Durham CAN’s proposal to turn a barren publicly owned lot at the corner of Jackson and Willard streets into an affordable-housing complex looks like a no-brainer.
That’s good news for downtown Durham, which needs full-time residents to help sustain the renaissance of a once-forlorn area. It’s no longer lights out after work in downtown.
Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods) is a community coalition that has amassed political clout since its founding in 1997 as an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation....
Tue Oct 27, 2015
NCG Continues Push for Transparency in Medicaid Privatization -Las Vegas Review Journal
At a 300-person assembly of ‘Nevadans for the Common Good,’ state legislators publicly supported NCG goals to address the state’s teacher shortage and to ensure that a plan to privatize some medicaid services in Nevada is transparent and includes meaningful public participation....
Sat Oct 10, 2015
Obama Considers Executive Action on Gun Control -Christian Science Monitor
“We have traveled here from across the nation to challenge you to stop whining about the power you don’t have, and start acting with the power you do have,” said Bishop Douglas Miles, at a news conference in Washington Thursday. Bishop Miles is a leader in the Industrial Areas Foundation's (IAF) national network of interfaith, interracial community organizations.
The IAF wants Obama to put pressure on gun manufacturers, and should have the clout to do so since the US government is a major purchaser of firearms. The IAF wants the gunmakers to self-police the distribution and sale of their guns sold by dealers who consistently sell guns used in crimes, and they want firearms manufacturers to develop new, safer "smart gun" technologies....
Fri Oct 9, 2015
If We Can't Ban Guns, Can We Make Them Safer? -In These Times
Gun-violence prevention group Do Not Stand Idly By (DNSIB) has come up with a plan to bypass Congress altogether. Part of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro-IAF), a nationwide multi-faith network of community organizations, DNSIB seeks to use the government’s massive purchasing power to encourage the gun industry to join the campaign against gun violence.
Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, who heads the Beth Haverim Shir Shalom Synagogue in Mahwah, N.J., started the campaign in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Mosbacher is a member of Metro-IAF and has taken part in many of their campaigns. He lost his father to gun violence during a 1999 petty robbery. “We were trying to think, as we always do in community organizing, who else has the power to affect change on gun violence?” he explains....
Fri Oct 9, 2015
Mr. President, "Stop Whining" About Gun Violence -Huffington Post
With the sun-drenched White House behind him, a prominent Baptist pastor spoke at a news conference that I attended in Lafayette Park yesterday. In a deep, no-nonsense voice, he delivered a stern message to President Obama: "Mr. President, we urge you to stop whining and begin acting."
If President Obama is as frustrated and angry as he appeared to be at his recent news conference about the inability of Congress to do something about gun violence in the wake of another mass shooting, Bishop Douglas Miles has similar feelings about the President's lack of leadership....
Thu Oct 8, 2015
PCICEO Educates Pastors on on Pima County Bonds -New Vision
Bishop Kicanas fires off a powerful volley in a friendly competition between Pima Community Colleges and religious leaders of PCIC-CEO in Arizona....
Thu Oct 8, 2015
Rabbi's Gun Protest is Personal -North Jersey Media Group
Joel Mosbacher wishes he wasn’t here.
It is Thursday morning, sunny and autumn-cool, and Mosbacher, a rabbi from Oakland, is standing across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House as a protester calling for tougher gun laws.
“I certainly never imagined growing up that this would happen,” he said....
Wed Oct 7, 2015
WashPost Covers Metro IAF White House Press Conference -Washington Post
As is their way, the community organizers and activists at the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) are pushing the president to use the federal government’s purchasing power to promote safer guns. To do business with the government, companies would have to be willing to “remove the barriers to getting smart guns and gun safety technologies to market” and cooperate with law enforcement to “identify and isolate dealers that provide large numbers of guns used in crimes.”
Tue Oct 6, 2015
Dupage United: System Works Against the Mentally Ill in IL Prisons -State Journal Register
By The Rev. Michael Solberg and Amy Lawless Ayala
One of the many sayings of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley went something like this: "It is easy to criticize, to find fault. But where are your programs? Where are your ideas?"
We who work with the citizens' organizations affiliated with Metro Industrial Areas Foundation in Cook, Lake, DuPage and Kane counties have taken this challenge to heart when it comes to the related issues of mental health and incarceration in Illinois. This is an issue that affects every town, county and region in Illinois....
Tue Oct 6, 2015
HuffPost Quotes DAI: Working Together Builds Interfaith Relations -Huffington Post
To those concerned about anti-Muslim sentiment in the country, Huffington Post writer Carol Kuruvilla recommends, “Get involved with your local interfaith network.” She cites Dallas Area Interfaith organizer Josephine Lopez-Paul....
Fri Oct 2, 2015
North Texas IAF Takes on Payday Lenders w/ TX Catholic Conference -Dallas Morning News
Fr. Daniel Kelly of St. Joseph Catholic Church and North Texas IAF – in partnership with the Texas Catholic Conference — hosted a press conference at his church announcing a coordinated interfaith effort to place limits on payday and title loan lending. During a listening campaign that involved 3,000 parishioners in small group conversations and parish development sessions, “every week another member of my parish [told] a horror story about one of these loans. They debilitate our families.”
Fri Sep 25, 2015
What Happened in Vegas -Commonweal
Andrea Swanson was raised in a Catholic military family in Virginia and married a military man. Her husband, Rod, served as an officer in the U.S. Army, became an FBI agent, then rose to supervision of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Las Vegas. That’s where the couple raised their four children, two girls and two boys. Andrea worked as a school nurse. Her husband was sent to Iraq and other foreign countries. Two of their four children would end up entering the armed services—one as a Marine lieutenant and the other as a sergeant in the Eighty-Second Airborne Division. Both deployed abroad.
And then there was Hannah, their youngest child....
Mon Sep 21, 2015
Metro IAF Victories Update 2015 -Metro IAF
- Remembering IAF Director Ed Chambers: Gathering in Chicago in early June, IAF current and former organizers, board members, leaders, and friends held a memorial service for Edward Chambers, long-time director of theIndustrial Areas Foundation (IAF) who died on April 26, 2015. Chambers succeeded IAF’s founder Saul Alinsky as executive director and built the modern IAF. Read Reflections on Chambers’ legacy in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Chronicle on Philanthropy as well by long-time colleague and current IAF Co-Director Mike Gecan.
- Leading on Police Accountability in Cleveland, Baltimore, Bridgeport,Durham;
- Creating Green Jobs for Youth, Returning Citizens, the Hard to Employ in MD and DC;
- Partnering with John Hopkins University to Hire Baltimore Residents After the Riots;
- Battling Wealthy Hedge Fund Owner on Arena Subsidies, Foreclosures & Youth Investment in Milwaukee;
- Advancing Market-driven Gun Violence Reduction Strategy Nationally; Hosting Nation’s First Smart Gun Show in Westchester Co, NY; Published New York Times Op-Ed
- $400 million for affordable housing in Virginia, DC, Maryland, North Carolina;
- Demanding Action by NYC’s Mayor on Public Housing Repairs;
- 1,600 Meet with MA Governor, House Speaker AG, & Boston Mayor ToUnveil New Organizing Agenda;
- 500 in Durham, NC Present New Demands on Housing, Jobs for Youth, & Police Accountability;
- Parent Organizing Yields $4.2 million for After-school in Baltimore & New Vision for schools in New York City and after-school in suburban Maryland.
- Ending mistreatment of autistic and minority children in CT schools & winning public review of health care premium increases in CT.
- A new vision for Chicago and new Work to End Incarceration of Persons with Mental Illness in IL.
Sat Sep 19, 2015
Arlington Board Approves Additional Affordable Housing -Washington Post
The Arlington County Board, in an unanimous vote, on Saturday passed an affordable housing plan that will add about 15,800 apartments affordable to low to moderate income households by 2040.
Three hours of personal and heartfelt testimony from those who said they have benefited from Arlington’s existing housing supports swayed the lawmakers who said they couldn’t recall more affecting testimonials in their tenures.
Carolina Perez described the impact of having a safe and stable apartment on her family, showing the board her daughter’s A-plus on a math assignment. “It really hurts us when people say low-income (families) are bringing down Arlington,” she said. “You are not wasting your money. You are investing in your future.”
Thu Sep 17, 2015
Dallas Area Interfaith Clergy Call on Police to Communicate -Fox 4 News
Thu Sep 17, 2015
Let Refugees Revive American Cities: Admit 250K In This Decade -NY Daily News
The White House announcement that the United States should prepare to take in just 10,000 Syrian migrants in the next year is an embarrassingly tepid response to the largest movement of refugees since the end of World War II.
We should do much more — not only increasing the numbers of refugees we accept, but aggressively settling them in American cities, where they can help spark broad economic revivals.
Whether America takes a leadership role or not, conflicts in the Middle East and depressionlike conditions in the Balkans will do what such conditions have always done: trigger the movement of millions of people seeking safety and economic opportunity wherever they can be found.
Fri Sep 11, 2015
Austin Interfaith Wins Historic Wage Increase for Municipal Workers -Austin Chronicle & Telemundo
At a press conference held the day after the passage of the new City budget, Austin Interfaithleaders celebrated a historic living wage win and other ‘budget priorities’ that were included. Austin Interfaith leaders thanked the Mayor and specific council members for acting as “budget champions.”
As a result, the City of Austin will now pay their workers an increased living wage of $13.03 per hour (up from $11.39) and for the first time will include temporary AND contracted workers in that wage standard. Workers employed for at least 12 months will additionally qualify for healthcare benefits. Employees of private corporations receiving public subsidies will also benefit from the wage increase...
Tue Sep 8, 2015
IAF Co-Director Mike Gecan Addresses "Anxieties of Democracy" -Boston Review
"As an avid reader and admirer of Ira Katznelson’s work, I am both puzzled and disappointed by his essay.
I am puzzled as to why he defines the crisis of democratic decline so narrowly, as a loss of faith in representative institutions and parliamentary governments. He quotes John Locke asserting that “the establishing of the legislative power” is the “first and fundamental positive law” of a good political regime, as well as James Mill, who nearly hyperventilated describing 'the system of representation' as the “grand discovery of modern times.” Really?"