Press

Thu Jul 5, 2018
NYCHA Nightmare: Creeping Black Mold Throughout Public Housing Apt. -New York Daily News

When police entered the ninth-floor public housing apartment of 83-year-old Mary Ellison last winter in the Haber Houses in Coney Island, they beheld a gothic nightmare: thick black mold covering the walls and ceiling throughout the apartment.

EMTs were summoned and Ellison was immediately removed from the Brooklyn apartment and transported to nearby Coney Island Hospital....

 

Mon Jun 18, 2018
Taking the Initiative: On Guns -Catholic Labor Organization

The goal is responsible gun ownership and responsible gun transactions. The legislative path is clogged with libertarian ideologues. Consequently, students, community leaders, executives and investors have taken other crisscrossing paths from within and through the business world.  The first of these can be called consumer action....

[C]onsumer/citizen groups focus on gun manufacturers. Rabbi Joel Mosbacher and Rev. Anthony Bennett are leaders in Metro-IAF, a network of over 20 community organizations. They want manufacturers to install accident-prevention accessories on their models (called smart guns that can only be fired by the registered owner) and to discontinue distribution to careless retailers (called dumb dealers). Bennett says he and other pastors are unhappy about “too many funerals” and heartbroken about “too many family members killed because of illegal guns.” Mosbacher is involved because in 1999 his father was murdered as he opened his small business. Metro-IAF’s gun campaign is called “Do Not Stand Idly By”. Metro-IAF knows that a manufacturer does not listen to one or another individual. So Metro-IAF finds allies who purchase in quantity, like police departments. Then gun companies may consider safety proposals. 

Mon May 28, 2018
Chicago Sun Times Endorses 'Do Not Stand Idly By' Agenda -Chicago Sun Times

If a gun shop does a lousy job of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, police officers shouldn’t buy their guns from those shops.

If a gun-maker allows its guns to be sold at those lousy shops, the police shouldn’t buy those makes of guns.

And if a gun manufacturer does a lousy job of making guns that are childproof and useless to thieves, the cops should pass on buying those guns, too

This is about following the money. One potentially effective strategy to reduce gun violence in Chicago and our nation, though underused, is to put the squeeze on gun-makers and dealers to make safer guns and better regulate their sale. And the way to put the squeeze on them is to threaten their profits....

Mon May 21, 2018
WIN Organizes for Immigrant Legal Services, Affordable Housing -Metro IAF

On April 25th Washington Interfaith Network (link is external) (WIN) packed the basement of Sacred Heart Catholic Church with 304 leaders and 6 candidates vying for Council Member of Ward 1 in D.C. Sacred Heart is the largest immigrant church in DC and the turnout reflected that diversity. The action was WIN’s first attempt at doing an action in both English and Spanish, using 300 interpretation headsets. Demands were made for $2.5 million to expand legal assistance for immigrants, to build affordable housing on a piece of land owned by the National Parks Service, and to take on a slum landlord in the neighborhood.....

Thu May 17, 2018
Jersey City Together Demands Action on Rent Control, Code Enforcement -Hudson County View

Advocacy group Jersey City Together, along with Mayor Steven Fulop and other officials, announced aggressive rent control enforcement actions for tenants and landlords, during Tuesday’s open forum at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.....

Fri May 11, 2018
Byron & Mosbacher: How We Got the Gun Industry to Reckon its Deadly Toll -NY Daily News

Earlier this week in the Arizona desert, the shareholders of a major American gun company took a modest step toward responsibly addressing the unacceptable levels of gun-related deaths and crime in our nation. Shareholders of Sturm, Ruger & Co. passed a resolution requiring the company to issue a report on its actions to mitigate harm associated with its products.

The resolution was drafted and introduced by leaders of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) — with the support of Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF) — at the company's shareholders' meeting Wednesday in Prescott, Ariz. Management asked shareholders to vote against it. A team of religious and civic leaders from our groups, who have purchased Sturm Ruger shares, was there urging a "yes" vote and seeking dialogue with CEO Christopher Killoy....

 

Thu May 10, 2018
Sturm Ruger Will Track Gun Violence, After Shareholders Back Resolution -National Public Radio

....When a call for remarks went out, a shareholder, the Rev. J. Michael Solberg — a pastor in Hinsdale, Ill., who is also a leader in the community and faith collective Metro IAF's Do Not Stand Idly By campaign — spoke up.

Solberg took exception to Ruger's initial response to the proposal, quoting the board's assertion that gun violence is "not so much a public health crisis but rather a law enforcement issue."

More than 120 leaders of police forces, cities and states disagree with that idea, Solberg said, citing a document signed by those leaders who say gun violence is a broad problem. He then asked the company's leadership to meet with him and his group "to be part of the solution to a broad-based problem."....

Sun Mar 4, 2018
NYT: When the Dollar is Mightier Than the Gun -New York Times

Gun violence is not an abstract concept for Rabbi Joel Mosbacher. His father, Lester, was shot dead in 1999 as he opened up his check-cashing business on Chicago’s South Side. Rabbi Mosbacher, who had been ordained just six months earlier, struggled to make sense of the murder, even as well-meaning friends struggled to find words of comfort and support.

“Some were helpful, others less so,” he recalled. “Someone said ‘This will make you a better rabbi.’ Well, I’d rather be a terrible rabbi and have my father back.”

A young man who had run errands for his father was arrested and tried for the murder, but was ultimately acquitted. For years, Rabbi Mosbacher quietly dealt with his family’s grief. But five years ago he started telling his story as part of a national campaign by clergy and civic-minded residents to enlist public officials — whose law enforcement agencies are major gun buyers — to press gun makers into developing safer technology and crack down on dealers whose weapons end up in criminal hands.

Tue Feb 27, 2018
CONECT Responds to Claims by National Shooting Sports Foundation -Connecticut Post

Lawrence G. Keane is supposed to represent the gun manufacturers and retailers who pay his salary. With his wildly inaccurate attack on us and our network of citizens’ organizations (‘Smart Gun’ technology can’t be forced on law enforcement or public,” Conn. Post, Feb. 20, 2018) he does his patrons a disservice; he misses a rare chance to find common ground with Americans who stand outside of the gun industry’s ever-narrowing circle of wagons.

Mon Feb 26, 2018
Long Island Congregations: An Opioid Superfund to Save Lives -NY Daily News

In recent weeks, what almost everyone has acknowledged to be a national crisis — the deaths of 64,000 Americans from drug overdoses in 2016 alone, more American deaths than in the entire Vietnam War — has begun to get the attention a national crisis deserves.

The President, in his 2019 proposed budget, requested $5 billion to combat the opioid epidemic — a pittance compared to the scale of the problem, but perhaps a sign that the administration now recognizes the need to act. Purdue Pharma, whose aggressive marketing got many Americans hooked on opioid pain pills in the first place, announced that it would stop promoting OxyContin to doctors and would cut its sales staff in half....

Wed Feb 21, 2018
Valley Interfaith Fights for DACA, Sends 10,000 Cards to Congress -Rio Grande Guardian & More

Wielding 10,000 signed postcards to Congressional Representatives and scriptural passages on the subject, Valley Interfaith leaders and Catholic Bishop Daniel E. Flores  forcefully called on Congress to protect DREAMers as they decide the future of DACA.

“The Bible is clear,” declared  Msgr. Heriberto Diaz of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Brownsville.  “We are to welcome the immigrant, as we were once immigrants in a foreign land.”

Bishop Flores emphasized, “Young people are not statistics…not just numbers…they are young people with hopes and dreams.”

Sun Feb 18, 2018
NCLI Leads First Local Rejection of Industrial Tax Break in Louisiana -The Advocate

Fighting a four-front battle to better invest local public funds, Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith (NCLI) leaders recently persuaded the Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator to become the first local official in state history to use the newly-granted local authority to reject an industrial tax exemption request.

This month, three more local entities – Caddo Parish, the City of Shreveport, and the Caddo Parish School Board – will vote on multi-million dollar tax exemption requests, one application at a time.

Leaders called on the Caddo Economic Development Board to better invest its economic development dollars in human infrastructure (PreK-12 and long-term workforce development), as well as in systems for drainage, sewage, clean air and water.

Fri Feb 16, 2018
Gecan: Better Call Saul - US Needs Radicalism, Not Extremism -Wall Street Journal

It may seem strange to argue that the U.S. needs more radicalism, especially in this period of outrageous rhetoric and intense overreaction. But the right kind of radicalism can improve American politics by focusing on fundamental public goods. Leaders should replace showmanship with a radical approach that galvanizes ordinary American citizens.

This concept of political radicalism has a storied history, but the term has faded from the popular lexicon. In 1951 Wall Street Journal editor William H. Grimes described this newspaper’s...

Wed Feb 14, 2018
Power of Together Baton Rouge Recognized by Business Journal -Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

With the ITEP issue, TBR—and the statewide network it has since helped grow, Together Louisiana—catapulted itself into a whole new realm, where big money, big business and politics converge.

Though the group continued to portray itself as a local organization intent on helping the community, it had picked a fight with the most powerful interests in the state. Those who had considered TBR little more than an annoyance suddenly realized it was a force with which to be reckoned. The gloves came off...

Sun Feb 11, 2018
One LA Partners with Mayor on $100M Affordable Housing Fund -West / Southwest IAF

500 One LA-IAF leaders assembled with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss implementation of the recently passed linkage fee for affordable housing at St. Agnes Catholic Church, and to report on what is happening in their neighborhoods.  Representing the first community organization with which the Mayor met, leaders challenged him to more deeply collaborate with the organization in the next few months.

Leaders told poignant stories about illegal evictions (and threats of eviction) from garage apartment conversions in Pacoima, families with children hiding their homelessness in West LA, and youth and senior citizens battling despair in the face of daunting odds while “living rough” near La Placita Catholic Church downtown...

Mon Feb 5, 2018
‘Do Not Stand Idly By’ Community Organizing Groups Press US Mayors -The Connection

Northern Virginia community organizers joined interstate partners on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C. to press U.S. mayors for safer gun technologies.

Metro IAF comprises 22 organizations, including VOICE in northern Virginia, in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Representatives converged in the capital to press the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Metro IAF’s “Do Not Stand Idly By” (DNSIB) gun safety campaign. The campaign title references a Bible verse: “Do not stand idly by while you neighbor’s blood is shed.”

Mon Jan 29, 2018
Bishop, Valley Interfaith Celebrate Transformation of Political Culture -Rio Grande Guardian & More

In the largest celebration of multiple events, Bishop Daniel E. Flores blessed the opening of a new library in Las Milpas, surrounded by Valley Interfaith leaders, children from Carmen Anaya Elementary School and other community supporters. An assembly chronicled the community-driven effort that went into changing the political culture of South Texas, reflected in the construction of the new library that leaders had fought for and won...

Sun Jan 28, 2018
Turnaround Tuesday Places 79 Baltimoreans in Living Wage Work -Metro IAF

As a result of building critical relationships with area hospitals and taking action to pressure the Health Services Cost Review Commission to increase hospital reimbursement rates to fund community health positions, Turnaround Tuesday has placed 79 individuals in three new positions: Community Health Workers, Peer Recovery Specialists, and Certified Nurse Assistants/General Nursing Assistants. None of the Turnaround Tuesday-trained individuals have lost their jobs and all positions pay between $15-17/per hour with full benefits. 129 positions still remain to be filled.

Sun Jan 28, 2018
WIN, UrbanMatters Advance 100 Units of Affordable Housing in DC -Metro IAF

UrbanMatters, an affordable housing developer established in part by Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), is celebrating forward movement on a 100 unit housing development in Ward 7 of Washington, DC. Providence Place, which will be built on land of the Progressive National Baptist Convention Headquarters, received zoning approval from the DC Zoning Commission and finalized a Community Benefits Agreement. The project is expected to break ground by November of 2018.

Thu Jan 25, 2018
State Advocates Push for Smart Guns in Washington -New Canaan News

Connecticut has become ground zero of sorts for spurring development of smart guns that use technology to prevent accidental or unauthorized discharge of firearms, particularly by children.

The state government is one of 122 jurisdictions in the nation to join in a “request for information” to gun manufacturers on what steps they are taking to develop smart-gun technology. The RFI has been orchestrated by an ad hoc group, Do Not Stand Idly By, made up primarily of religious leaders.

Thu Jan 25, 2018
DNSIB Campaign Pushes Forward, Inspires US Mayors to Act -Do Not Stand Idly By

On January 25th, 100 Metro IAF leaders from 10 states fanned out across the Washington, DC metropolitan area for a full day of actions and meetings with more than a dozen local and national leaders concerned with gun violence.

The meetings resulted in preliminary commitments secured from New Haven Mayor Harp to present Metro IAF's DNSIB strategy to the African American Mayors Association Conference and to work with Boston Mayor Walsh to organize a special Gun Safety Technology and Manufacturer Accountability session at a US Conference of Mayors meeting hosted by Mayor Walsh.

Mon Jan 22, 2018
Lake County United Secures Approval of 146-Bed Behavioral Hospital -Daily Herald

As a result of Lake County United’s continued effort to establish relationships with power players who share an interest in diverting those who are mentally ill from jail, LCU helped build the strong support necessary to win a unanimous approval of a 146-bed behavioral hospital in Waukegan, IL. The hospital will be owned by U.S. HealthVest, and will have all the elements of a much needed crisis stabilization unit.

Tue Jan 16, 2018
BUILD: Gov. Hogan, What is Your Plan to Stop Violence in Baltimore? -Baltimore Sun

Dear Governor Hogan,

I am writing in my capacity as pastor of the First & Franklin Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. For the past year, our congregation has set aside part of our weekly worship to remember those who have lost their lives to gun violence. Each week, we have held up purple ribbons as we prayed, each ribbon representing a life lost to gun violence in Baltimore. We have prayed. We have grieved. And now we are moving those prayers out of the sanctuary, into the street and finally to our elected officials.

I am also writing as a member of BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development). First & Franklin and BUILD leaders and organizers plan to be in Annapolis Thursday to present to the legislature — and the larger state of Maryland — the 343 purple ribbons representing the number of people killed in 2017 as a result of gun violence in our city....

Mon Jan 15, 2018
Jersey City Together Persuades Mayor to Pledge 50% Affordability on Site -Jersey Journal

In January, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop sent a letter to Honeywell to demand an increase in affordability on a 95-acre site from 5% to 50%. This comes after Jersey City Together spoke to thousands of people across Jersey City and secured commitments from the majority of the city council in support of this change. The Interfaith Community Organization, a previous IAF affiliate, successfully sued Honeywell to force remediation of chromium contamination on the site decades ago.

Tue Jan 2, 2018
Baltimore Brings in New Lawyers to Restart Police Contract Talks -Baltimore Sun

....The Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, a leader with the community group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD, said the city and the union urgently need to reach a deal.

“With everything that the city is facing in terms of violent crime, it’s essential that the mayor and police union leadership get on the same page with each other,” said Connors, whose group has pushed city leaders to fight violence....

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