May 19, 2013
800 VIP Leaders Renew Call for Expanded Medicaid in Arizona with Governor Jan Brewer & Key Legislators
“Meeting city, state, faith and education leaders on Thursday, [Republican] Sen. John McComish, of District 18, voiced his continued support for Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to expand Medicaid in the state at a panel hosted by the Valley Interfaith Project (VIP)…..McComish and [Republican State] Rep. Heather Carter, of District 15, pushed the expansion that would give Medicaid to about 300,000 low-income Arizona residents.
VIP’s crowd included nearly 800 people from surrounding churches, school districts and organizations.” [Photo by David Jolkovski, Ahwatukee Foothills News]
McComish Voices Support for Governor’s Medicaid Expansion, Ahwatukee Foothills News (05/06)
Refusing Medicaid Expansion Means Abandoning Neighbors, Arizona Central (05/19)
May 15, 2013
Austin Interfaith Takes Back Dove Springs Neighborhood
“Juvenile crime, speeding and sidewalk repairs are some of the biggest problems in in Southeast Austin’s Dove Springs area — but residents are fighting back. Neighbors are taking advantage of the city services their tax dollars pay for. Side walk repairs are continuing in direct result of residents calling 311 to report the need, according to city officials.
But the community isn’t stopping there. Members of Great Commission Baptist Church and Austin Interfaith as well as other local organizations are gathering signatures to petition the city for speed humps through the city’s traffic management program….”
Southeast Austin Community Working Hard to Clean Up, KEYE
May 13, 2013
Austin Interfaith Defends Affordable Housing Construction
“If Oak Creek doesn’t remain affordable housing, [Landin] will have to move in with her mother in Bastrop. Principal Robertson says continuity is key for low-income families.
‘Constant change is not a friend for Title One families,’ Robertson says. ‘Nor is it for students to jump from school to school. That upheaval — some of our most successful families will be thrown into I don’t know what kind of abyss.’
Members of the Travis Heights community are also concerned the school will lose its diverse student population. Minerva Skeith is a Travis Heights parent and member of the local community group, Austin Interfaith.”
For One Austin School, Funding Hangs on Affordable Housing, KUT News
Presentation and Exchange at City Hall, City of Austin
May 8, 2013
Austin Interfaith Calls on City to Enforce Its Own Rules on Economic Incentives and Construction Wages
“The Austin-based Workers Defense Project is asking the courts to step into its wage dispute with the developers of the downtown Austin J.W. Marriott hotel under construction.
‘Developers need to keep their promises to taxpayers and workers, and the city must enforce its own rules,’ said Kurt Cadena-Mitchell, a leader of Austin Interfaith, a multi-congregation group pushing the city to establish a standard above minimum wage on construction projects that are granted economic development deals by the city.” [Photo: Alberto Martinez, Austin American Statesman]
Labor Advocates Ask Court to Step into Marriott Dispute, Austin American Statesman
May 6, 2013
DAI Calls on TX Legislature to Support Medicaid Expansion Bill
Leaders of Dallas Area Interfaith called on Texas legislators to support bi-partisan House Bill 3791 which would expand Medicaid to insure an additional 1.5 million Texans. Clergy from Jewish, Catholic and Protestant congregations announced that DAI had collected over 5,000 signatures in the last few months in support of expansion Medicaid.
Printable press release
May 3, 2013
NAIC Tells Republican Secretary of State: Invest in AZ Schools
“Three-hundred Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley and Dewey-Humboldt residents told Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett that Arizona must start adequately funding education during a meeting Tuesday at Abia Judd Elementary School in Prescott.
‘Over the last five years, cuts in funding have been imposed by the state in addition to the cuts from declining enrollments,’ said Wendy Madsen, a parent of a student at Taylor Hicks Elementary School in Prescott. ‘Our districts together have been forced to cut over $25 million.’”
Increase Education Funding: Quad-City Residents’ Message to Secretary of State Loud and Clear, The Daily Courier
May 1, 2013
OTOC Fights for $1 Million in Urban Demolition in Omaha
“Omaha Together One Community wants both candidates to commit $1 million a year to the [abandoned home] problem.
The city has 748 houses on its demolition list. On average, it costs the city about $12,000 to knock down a house — but neighbors say it’s worth every penny.
“There’s just been a lot of riffraff in and out of the house,” said Crystal Blanton, who lives next door to one such house near 34th and Burt streets….”
Community Seeks Funds For House Demolitions, KETV-7 ABC
Call for Urban Renewal, Channel 6 News
Community Group Wants More Money To Tear Down Vacant Homes, FOX 42 Omaha News
May 1, 2013
Project IOWA Lauded for Getting People “On Track”
“A rose to AMOS, a central Iowa church group, for another approach to getting people on the right track to meaningful careers… Project Iowa helps direct unemployed or underemployed participants into careers that happen to be in demand, such as welding or health care. The project was initiated last year by AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy), a non-profit group formed by religious leaders and church groups. The program helps participants get training and certification for jobs with local employers looking for workers with specific skills. Project Iowa has assisted 57 participants, and more than 80 percent of those who have completed job training are employed.”
Roses and Thistles: We Pay Them for This Waste of Time?, Des Moines Register
April 30, 2013
‘Together Louisiana’ Leaders Keep Pressure on Gov. Jindal
“With a call for a “pragmatic” approach to the expansion of Medicaid healthcare for the poor, the leaders of the Together Louisiana alliance of congregations has challenged Governor Bobby Jindal and lawmakers to work with the federal government on expanding health coverage for the poor. ”We don’t need an ideological discussion about Obamacare,” the Rev. Melvin Rushing of Baton Rouge told a State Capitol rally. ”We need our state’s technocrats to sit down with the national Medicaid technocrats and work through this issue as the practical, pragmatic matter it is.”
Our Views: Poor need coverage, The Advocate (4/29)
Medicaid expansion wins support, The Advocate (4/24)
Editorial: If Gov. Jindal won’t accept Medicaid expansion, lawmakers should, The Times Picayune (4/24)
Advocates rally for Medicaid expansion as new analysis shows it could be fiscally beneficial for state, The Times Picayune (4/23)
April 29, 2013
EPISO & Border Interfaith Challenge School Board and City Council Candidates
“More than 600 people turned out on Sunday to hear more than 30 city and school board candidates speak at a joint forum put on by the El Paso Inter-religious Sponsoring Organization and Border Interfaith.”
City Council candidates were challenged to invest in workforce development program Project ARRIBA, and complete quality of life and neighborhood infrastructure projects within the already established 7-year time frame. Because El Paso public schools mandate standardized testing at least once (and sometimes twice) per week, school board candidates were challenged to reduce the number of standardized tests by 50%. Candidates were also asked to commit to a more equitable way of funding the arts than simply asking parents of participating students to shoulder the cost. [Photo Credit: Mark Lambie/El Paso Times]
April 24, 2013
Project IOWA Celebrates One Year of Success
“Douglas Wells’ path to a well-paying job with potential for advancement had a few bumps, but the 27-year-old credits perseverance and a publicly and privately funded training and mentoring program with helping him reach his goal.
Wells completed a welding course and has been working at the Bridgestone Firestone tire plant in Des Moines. For now he is driving a forklift, but he is sure there are opportunities for advancement. More important, this father of two young girls will be able to set an example…. [In photo: Douglas Wells speaks at the Iowa Capitol. Photo Credit: Rodney White, Des Moines Register]
Wells is one of 57 participants in the Project Iowa program who have completed job training…The initiative was formed last year by AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy).”
Year of Success in Training Program, Des Moines Register
April 24, 2013
TMO Press Conference Responds to Immigration Bill
“[Gabriela] Nieto spoke Tuesday during a news conference called by The Metropolitan Organization at which Houston faith and business leaders responded to a new plan for comprehensive immigration reform. The legislation, unveiled last week by a bipartisan group of senators, is the first major overhaul of U.S. immigration policy since 1986.
Speakers including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Rabbi David Lyon of Congregation Beth Israel said the highest priority should be creating a process for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status and eventual citizenship.”
[In photo: Stan Marek, flanked by Catholic Bishop DiNardo and UMC Bishop Janice Riggle Hui. Photo Credit: Olivia Tallet, La Voz]
Faith, Business Leaders Encouraged by Immigration Bill, Houston Chronicle
Empresario de Houston Dice Que Obama Debería Imponer La Reforma Si el Congreso no lo Aprueba, La Voz de Houston
Clergy Urge Support for Immigration Reform, Jewish Herald Voice
TMO Responds to Bi-Partisan Immigration Bill, Texas Catholic Herald
April 24, 2013
Together Louisiana Battles for Medicaid Expansion
“A new analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Office said accepting the Medicaid expansion envisioned by the federal health care law — but so far refused by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration — would save Louisiana between $532 million and $544 million over the next five years…..
The theme of Tuesday’s rally — led by Together Louisiana, a recently formed coalition of religious and civic groups, and the American Association for Retired People — was that if Jindal doesn’t like the Medicaid program, he should insist on certain conditions while accepting the expansion….” [Photo Credit: Gordon Russell, Times Picayune]
Advocates Rally for Medicaid Expansion…, Times Picayune
April 19, 2013
‘Together Baton Rouge’ Leaders Educate on Incarceration
“Too many people in Louisiana are in jail, a Baton Rouge group of faith and community leaders said at a meeting on Friday. But while discussing how to reduce the state’s high incarceration rate, some questioned whether new legislation proposed this year is the right path.
The group Together Baton Rouge tackled the topic of incarceration at a meeting Friday, hearing about proposed legislation that aims to keep juveniles out of jail and get drug offenders treatment without forcing them to serve lengthy prison terms.
‘We need to build people, not prisons,’ said Cynthia Tracy, a Together Baton Rouge member whose son is currently incarcerated.”
Event Reviews Incarceration Bills, The Advocate
Baton Rouge Faith, Community Leaders Discuss Louisiana’s High Incarceration Rate, Times Picayune
April 15, 2013
Together Baton Rouge Challenges Transit System’s Slow Pace
“The people in the communities of Baton Rouge and Baker who are frustrated know what they voted for, they know what CATS promised to deliver, and they’re not really seeing it,” said Edgar Cage, a leader with Together Baton Rouge, the nonprofit that campaigned for the tax through churches and other institutions across the parish.
Before the tax passed, CATS leadership worked with Together Baton Rouge to develop a list of incremental deadlines they promised to meet as they built toward an end goal of a thoroughly transformed system by the first quarter of 2014….” [Photo Credit: Richard Hannon, The Advocate]
Bus Tax Advocates Frustrated By Slow Pace of Change, The Advocate
April 14, 2013
Capital IDEA Carves Out Career Paths in Austin
“Representatives from Austin Interfaith and the local business community founded Capital IDEA in 1998, and Steven Jackobs has been heading the organization ever since. Under his direction, the group has helped support, train and find careers for hundreds of Central Texas workers and their families. Capital IDEA – the IDEA stands for Investing in Development and Employment of Adults – works closely with unemployed or underemployed workers to identify a viable and fruitful career path. It’s a rigorous process that’s designed to ensure that workers are committed to the training and completing it….”
Capital IDEA Leads Clients to Career Path, Austin American Statesman
April 11, 2013
Valley Interfaith Brings Spanish GED Prep to Hidalgo County
In civic academies on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Valley Interfaith leaders learned that there were almost no Spanish GED classes or testing sites in the County of Hidalgo and a lack of classes to prepare. This led some to travel hours to Brownsville – the only available site in the Rio Grande Valley.
Leaders worked with the McAllen Independent School System and St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church to expand Spanish language GED preparation classes, and with South Texas College to begin Spanish GED testing in Hidalgo County. Today, more than 60 students are enrolled. [Photo Credit: Steve Taylor, Rio Grande Guardian]
Valley Interfaith Plans to Expand GED En Espanol Program, Rio Grande Guardian
Printable Version Here
April 8, 2013
Project IOWA Gives Workers Stability and Dignity
“Jalissa Daniels wrote dark poetry as an early adolescent…She became pregnant at 15, graduated from Scavo Alternative High School and worked at convenient stores and temp agencies. Even though these jobs helped pay the bills, they were not fulfilling…Finding full-time work with benefits was looking grim…
The[n] Rev. Diane McClanahan, one of the pastors at Trinity United Methodist Church, encouraged Jalissa to consider a new program called Project IOWA, which was initiated by AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy)….”
This ‘Village’ is Helping the Underemployed, Des Moines Register
March 30, 2013
AMOS Helps Keep Youth Out of the Court System
“Cy was a choir director, community leader and maker of fine clocks. When I knew him, he was 80 years old and lay leader of the church I served. One snowy morning, he came to my office and simply said, ‘We have to go to Albert Lea.’ I said, ‘That is in Minnesota, and they have lots of snow.’
Then he told me a boy in the parish, one that we had recently confirmed, was in trouble with the law in Albert Lea. So Cy, the boy’s father and I drove through the snowy Midwest to bring the boy home…”
Keep reading here, Des Moines Register
March 26, 2013
‘Together Louisiana’ Launches With Two Year Campaign of Civic Academies
Statewide coalition of organizations is called “largest citizens’ coalition in the history of the State.” Includes projects in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lake Providence, Monroe, New Orleans, Shreveport and Tallulah, LA. [Photo Credit: Travis Spradling, The Advocate]
Together Louisiana Kicks Off, The Advocate
Statewide Coalition Addresses Current Louisiana Topics at Citizens’ Affair Conference, Times Picayune
March 18, 2013
El Paso Times Editors Support EPISO in School Board Fight
Clint Independent School District trustees, presented with an easy opportunity to expand representative democracy, punted. They had no good explanation for failing to make an easy decision, just mutterings about needing more time to study….”The El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization has been the leader in the movement to reform Clint ISD’s voting patterns.
‘I think it’s an exercise of great arrogance, and it demonstrates a lack of respect of representative government,’ said the Rev. Ed Roden-Lucero, EPISO’s co-chair….
Roden-Lucero is absolutely correct.
Trustees Stall: Clint Just Protecting Power, El Paso Times
March 11, 2013
Vegas Leaders’ Video Shows Sex-Trafficking Threat to Minors
Leaders from ‘Nevadans for the Common Good’ launched ”It’s About Time,” a film documenting domestic minor sex-trafficking in Vegas and broad-based community efforts to combat it.
It’s About Time, Nevadans for the Common Good
March 10, 2013
EPISO, With El Paso Elected Officials, Challenges Governor
Elected officials and members of Border Interfaith and the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization joined the CEOs of University Medical Center and Del Sol Medical Center to push for expanded Medicaid coverage to insure 1.5 million uninsured Texans, including about 135,000 El Pasoans….
Lucy Nashed, a deputy press secretary for the governor, in an email said Perry is against a Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, but is interested in flexibility from the federal government “to address the challenges in the current broken Medicaid system.” [Photo Credit: Mark Lambie, El Paso Times]
Leaders Urge Medicaid Expansion, El Paso Times
March 9, 2013
NOVA Transforms Bad Jobs Into Better Jobs in Louisiana
When approached by a call center seeking to train workers for high turnover jobs paying $8 / hour, NOVA challenged the employer to invest in worker development for higher paying work. The call center responded and now NOVA trainees start at $10 / hour and move to $12.50 / hour within three months, including benefits; call center attrition has dropped. NOVA is becoming a new kind of hiring hall, offering training for dignified work that pays fair wages and offers benefits.
March 8, 2013
Arizona Bishops & Clergy Strategize on Immigration Reform
75 bishops and clergy from Lutheran, Jewish, Presbyterian, Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist faiths strategized on the future of immigration reform at an ecumenical gathering organized by the Arizona Interfaith Network.
Bishop Gerald Kicanas, of the Catholic Diocese of Tucson told the group that “today is a day to develop…strategies” and challenged clergy, asking “what can we do to mobilize our congregations?” Episcopal Bishop Kirk Smith asserted that “the current system is broken, cruel and an affront to God and man.”
[Photo Credit: Nicole Krug, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona]
Interfaith Immigration Gathering Held, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
March 8, 2013
Austin Interfaith Applauds National Instruments for Living Wage
“National Instruments Corp. won approval Thursday for $1.7 million in city of Austin incentives to support the company’s proposed expansion of 1,000 Austin jobs over the next 10 years….
The deal was praised by representatives of Austin Interfaith because the company agreed to a floor wage of $11 an hour for all jobs, including construction jobs tied to the project. The company also agreed to work with contractors to ensure that construction workers on the project will be covered by worker’s compensation insurance.”
City OK’s $1.7 Million in Incentives to National Instruments, Austin American Statesman
March 6, 2013
NTO Rallies with Hundreds For Texas Medicaid Expansion
“Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday on the front steps of the Capitol to rally in support of Medicaid expansion….Willie Bennett, along with 45 other members of the Dallas Area Interfaith, turned up for the march that snaked down Congress Avenue and up to the Capitol. Bennett said more than 3,000 individuals and 38 institutions had signed up in favor of Medicaid expansion.”
“Anderson and her 66-year-old mother, Martha Anderson, were among about 60 Tarrant County residents who gathered at the St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Fort Worth … for the 200-mile bus trip to Austin. The trip was organized by the Allied Communities of Tarrant (ACT)” in coordination with the Network of Texas Organizations, including Austin Interfaith, The Border Organization, EPISO, Border Interfaith, TMO, WIN, WTOS, Valley Interfaith and COPS / Metro Alliance.
Protesters March on Texas Capitol for Expanded Medicaid, Star Telegram
Hundreds March to Capitol to Show Support for Medicaid Expansion, Dallas Morning News
March 5, 2013
Austin Interfaith Leverages Republican Support for Medicaid
“Last week, the Travis County Commissioners Court tweaked a Feb. 19 resolution calling for a Medicaid expansion to satisfy its lone Republican member. That bipartisan support was ‘absolutely critical,’ said Oralia Garza Cortes, a leader with Austin Interfaith, an advocacy group. Sister organizations in Dallas and Bexar counties helped pass similar resolutions.
‘It’s a life-and-death situation for our families,’ Garza Cortes said.”
Local Officials Lobby GOP Leaders to Rethink Medicaid Expansion, Austin American Statesman
March 1, 2013
NorCal IAF Immigration Action Team ‘Ready for Reform’
Bay Area IAF organizations have been in local action for years around issues effecting immigrants, and are getting ready for federal immigration reform. Leaders in Marin, Sonoma, Solano, and Napa counties have been organizing immigration workshops and clinics aimed at connecting immigrants with trusted legal support, educating people about immigration reform proposals, and building a constituency of immigrant and non-immigrant leaders to lay the local foundation for a successful pathway to citizenship. Since December, more than 500 people have participated in workshops and clinics focused on youth applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and over 100 native-born allies have taken part in local Immigration Action Team workshops on the history and current implications of US immigration policy.
February 27, 2013
PCIC Wins In-State Tuition for DACA Students in Pima County
150 PCIC leaders, DREAMers and their parents filled the Board Room at Pima Community College and cheered when the Board of Governors voted 4-1 in favor of in-state tuition discounts for DACA students. Currently, hundreds of undocumented local students pay five times the in-state rate and are not eligible for financial aid.
PCIC leader Melanie Nelson spoke of the six Deferred Action Civic Academies held at her church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, last fall. “These students have lawful status now, but they can’t afford the high tuition. Before DACA we had several attempted suicides in our parish. Now they need an pathway to an education and a future,” she said. Before the vote, Jimmy Ojeda, a homeowner and parent, from St. John’s, and Monica Leon, a U of A graduate, from Casa Maria Catholic Worker shared their own immigration stories. The group’s goal is now to get the University of Arizona system to follow Pima’s lead.
February 27, 2013
COPS / Metro Wins Bexar County Support for Medicaid
“On a bipartisan vote, Bexar County commissioners Tuesday urged Texas lawmakers to expand the state’s Medicaid program and take advantage of federal matching funds under the Affordable Care Act.2014 to 2017, expansion will bring $27.2 billion in federal revenue to Texas for just over $3 billion in state investments,” said [Republican]County Judge Nelson Wolff….
“Medicaid expansion is a must,” COPS member Gloria Mora said. “As people of faith and as Christians, we find it morally repugnant that the state leadership would deny health care to a large segment of our population,” she said.”
Bexar Commissioners Urge Medicaid Expansion, San Antonio Express News
February 27, 2013
Austin Interfaith Weighs In on Travis Incentive Decision
“This is an opportunity to create good jobs for our families,” said Kurt Cadena-Mitchell, with Austin Interfaith, a coalition of churches, schools and local governments that is an advocate for jobs paying a living wage, among other issues….
The new jobs are believed to be part of the company’s plans to hire more technical workers and engineers to support its expanding business. The average annual wage for the new jobs is $65,000, and the lowest-paid 10 percent will make about $40,000.”
[Photo Credit: Ralph Barrera, Austin American Statesman]
Travis Commissioners Discuss Incentives for National Instruments, Austin American Statesman
February 26, 2013
Valley Interfaith Leverages Hidalgo County Support for Medicaid
“…Valley Interfaith members were at Hidalgo County Commissioners Court to urge commissioners to pass a resolution in support of Adult Medicaid. In a news release, Valley Interfaith said it urges other counties in the Valley to stand also in support. The Rev. Javier Leyva, a Valley Interfaith leader, pointed out that expanding Medicaid would bring over $400 million in Medicaid funds to Hidalgo County and nearly $670 million to the Valley overall.”
Hidalgo County Passes Resolution in Support of Medicaid Expansion, Rio Grande Guardian
February 26, 2013
Austin Leaders Leverage Bipartisan County Support for Medicaid
“With more than $200 million a year at stake, the Travis County Commissioners Court is urging the Legislature to expand Medicaid coverage to more needy people in Texas, the state with highest rate of uninsured residents. The court spent time Tuesday tweaking the resolution that it passed last week to satisfy its lone Republican member, Gerald Daugherty. It was approved unanimously, 5-0. Austin Interfaith leader Oralia Garza Cortes called the bipartisan support “absolutely critical” and said that sister organizations of the advocacy group in Dallas and Bexar counties helped pass similar resolutions this month.”
Medicaid Expansion Would Bring More Than $200 Million to Travis County, Commissioners Say, Austin American Statesman
February 25, 2013
COPS / Metro Alliance Fights for County Support of Medicaid
“Groups seeking expansion of Texas’ Medicaid program will plead their case outside the Bexar County Courthouse on Tuesday before Commissioners Court is set to take up a resolution supporting their position….Leading the 9:30 a.m. gathering Tuesday … will be County Judge Nelson Wolff. Also expected are representatives of the county hospital system [and] community organizations called COPS/Metro Alliance.
Advocates of Medicaid Expansion Seek Bexar Backing, San Antonio Express News
February 23, 2013
Personal Stories Drive Fight for Medicaid Expansion
“Valley Interfaith leader Rosalie Tristan gave two personal healthcare stories to highlight the need for expanding Medicaid. Tristan…spoke of her 55-year-old brother, David Contreras, a husband and father of two. He has a tumor on the back of his head the size of a melon. He has been told he has to come up with $10,000 in order to see a doctor. He does not have $10,000.
He has also been told he cannot go to the emergency room of his local hospital until the body tissue bursts. He earns too much to qualify for Medicaid….”
[Photo Credit: Rio Grande Guardian]
Tristan Offers Personal Story to Highlight Need for Medicaid Expansion, Rio Grande Guardian
February 20, 2013
NCG Leaders Pack First Hearing on Sex-Trafficking Bill
‘Nevadans for the Common Good’ leaders Andrea Swanson and Camille Naaktgeboren testified before the Assembly and Senate judiciary committees for Assembly Bill 67.
“You take a domestic violence abuser, you take a rapist and you take a child abuser and you put them all in one and you have a pimp,” said Andrea Swanson, who told a packed legislative hearing room about how her 18-year-old daugher was swept from her into a life of sex trafficking. [Photo Credit: Cathleen Allison, AP]
Sex Trafficking Victims Plead With Lawmakers to Strengthen Law, Las Vegas Sun
Hundreds Turn Out for First Hearing on Sex-Trafficking Bill, Las Vegas Review Journal
February 20, 2013
Network of Texas Organizations Fights for Medicaid Expansion
“The Network of Texas Organizations, convened 200 leaders from various faith traditions on the steps of the Capitol to call on Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature to expand Medicaid.
Religious leaders and clergy from throughout the state gathered at the north entrance the Capitol on Wednesday at noon to rally in support of Medicaid expansion…”
[Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa, Texas Tribune]
Interfaith Groups Rally for Medicaid Expansion, Texas Tribune
Faith Leaders Rally at Capitol for Medicaid, KXAN
Faith Leaders Rally for Bipartisan Support for Medicaid Expansion, Texas Observer
Death, Taxes, God and Medicaid, San Antonio Express-News
County Judges, Clergy Rally in Favor of Expanding Medicaid, Dallas Morning News
Rally at Capitol Urges Texas to Spend More on Medicaid, Star Telegram
Interfaith Groups Rally for Medicaid Expansion, The Monitor
El Paso Group Joins Others to Urge Expansion of Medicaid, El Paso Times
February 20, 2013
Austin Interfaith Leverages County Support for Medicaid
“At the urging of Austin Interfaith, the Travis County Commissioners Court this week passed a resolution supporting expansion. Dallas County has approved a similar resolution, and Bexar County is expected to do the same next week….
County and legislative leaders joined members of religious organizations, including Austin Interfaith, in a rally outside the Capitol Wednesday afternoon to urge Texas lawmakers to expand the number of low-income people covered by Medicaid.”
Religious Leaders, Politicians, Rally for Medicaid Expansion, Austin American Statesman
February 19, 2013
One LA Wins Fight to Directly Enroll Thousands in Healthcare Services
One LA leaders fought for and won “Community Partner Status” with the LA County Department of Health Services, granting it direct access to the county enrollment system. Now 50 leaders will train to become ‘Certified Application Assisters’, with the power to directly enroll people through the County computer system at 25 One LA mobile enrollment events at member institutions. They will be supported 30 leaders at each institution trained as ‘healthcare experts,’ who will educate and recruit people to attend their institiution’s events. The goal is to enroll thousands of eligible LA residents.
February 18, 2013
NorCal IAF Trains Spanish Speaking Leaders
Over President’s Day Weekend 51 leaders took part in a three-day Spanish language training which included a track in English. Leaders are preparing for the founding of a new IAF effort in the Bay Area, set for June 2013.
Check out video about the training
February 15, 2013
Vegas Leaders Take Fight to Legislators in Carson City
David and his wife, Barbara Paulsen, are part of a group of about 40 volunteers flying and driving to the state capital, where they will lobby the Legislature to toughen the state’s sex-trafficking laws. They want to make it easier to prosecute violent pimps and impose stiffer penalties while helping victims of the Las Vegas sex trade get treatment…
[Photo Credit: Steve Marcus, Las Vegas Sun]
Las Vegas’ Political Outsiders Learn to Play Inside Game Up in Carson City, Las Vegas Sun
February 15, 2013
TBR to Tackle Food Deserts With Mayor
“Mayor-President Kip Holden and the group Together Baton Rouge said Thursday that they have teamed up to try to find a solution to the problem of “food deserts” in East Baton Rouge Parish, which are areas defined by poverty and poor access to supermarkets and large grocery stores….”
Holden, Citizens Tackle Food Deserts, The Advocate
Holden, Together Baton Rouge Launch Food Access Policy Commission, Times Picayune
Commission Explores Ways to Banish Food Deserts in Baton Rouge, NBC33
Commission Says 7 Parts of East Baton Rouge are Food Deserts, WBRZ
February 15, 2013
Albuquerque Interfaith Challenges ‘Trojan Horse’ of Private Charters
New Mexico Representative Mimi Stewart and Sen. Linda Lopez joined the Rev. Trey Hammond of Albuquerque Interfaith at a news conference Tuesday to announce the introduction of House Bill 460, which would bar private firms from running public schools.
He and Albuquerque Interfaith leader Tina Garcia wrote a joint statement: “In the legend of the Trojan horse, Greeks capture Troy not by siege, but by stealth, under the cover of darkness, when raiders hidden in the hollow horse bring its downfall. This is an apt metaphor for how public education in New Mexico is being privatized…”
Trojan Horses Undermine Schools, Albuquerque Journal
Bill Would Bar Private Firms from Operating State’s Public Schools, Santa Fe New Mexican
Bill Bans Firms From Running Public Schools, Albuquerque Journal
February 13, 2013
Northern Louisiana Interfaith Leverages $208K for NOVA
The Delta Regional Authority awarded workforce development project NOVA $208 thousand to expand training opportunities further into the Delta region. But before doing so, the proposal had to win the approval of Republican Congressman Rodney Alexander and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Northern Louisiana Interfaith successful urged both officials to sign off, which will allow NOVA to pull more people out of working poverty.
DRA Funding Benefits NOVA, The News Star
February 11, 2013
‘Nevadans for the Common Good’ Puts Pimps on Notice
“Pimps were put on notice Monday that lawmakers want more severe punishment for those who exploit prostitutes and more ways to free women from their control….”
NCG leaders Rev. Camille Pentsil and Andrea Swanson told stories about their daughters and called for tougher laws against sex-trafficking of minors. ”Swanson said long prison sentences are necessary to reduce the attachment between pimps and prostitutes….”
New Bill Aims to Break Ties Between Pimps, Prostitutes, Las Vegas Review Journal
February 1, 2013
Austin Leaders Block Lobbyists from Rewriting Land Use Code
After Austin Interfaith leaders took issue with a proposal that “would have allowed registered lobbyists to serve on the citizen committee that will guide the rewriting of the city’s land-development code…” the proposal was pulled.
Austin Interfaith leaders asserted that allowing lobbyists on the committee amounted to “blurring the lines between the duties and responsibilities of citizens in the democratic process and the role of … lobbyists who represent organized financial interests in the legislative process….”
Following Criticism, Austin to Keep Lobbyists Off Committee to Rewrite Land Use Rules, Austin American Statesman
Land Code Review Panel Takes Shape, No Lobbyists Allowed, Austin Business Journal
January 29, 2013
Nebraska Leaders Improve Police & ICE Treatment of Immigrants
After leaders of OTOC’s Immigration Action Team challenged Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer to ensure that immigrants stopped by OPD officers receive fair treatment, OPD issued an official bulletin to all officers informing them that the matricula consular could be accepted as valid identification. (The matricula consular is an identification card issued by consulates verifying the place of residence for foreign nationals.) Photo shows leaders in early encounter with Chief Schmaderer.
OTOC leaders also met with the head of Douglas County Corrections and the regional director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about ways to reduce the number of immigrants with small children being detained in Douglas County jails while they await deportation hearings. ICE has now implemented a new release program which allows up to 100 persons who would otherwise be detained to return home to their families while they await their hearings.
January 25, 2013
Berkeley GTU Class on Organizing “a Success”
At the invitation of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Episcopal seminary at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union, the Bay Area Organizing Committee (BAOC) led a week-long January intercession class in ‘Organizing for Congregational Renewal.’ Thirty-one seminarians, local clergy and lay leaders from Christian and Jewish congregations participated, experiencing an intensive training in broad-based organizing.
According to Professor of Ministry Development Rev. Dr. Susanna Singer, the class was such a success they would like to repeat and expand it next year. “The mix of seminary students and organizing practitioners, the mix of denominations and faiths, the challenge of encountering fresh ways to see and articulate and act upon the call to be agents of transformation in the world – all these things combined to make this intensive course a success. In the words of a student, it was “one of the most eye-opening and practical things during my whole time in seminary.”
January 24, 2013
AMOS Launches Court Watchers Program in Iowa
“A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS) has successfully gotten a Court Watcher program off the ground in Polk County….Like similar programs around the country, the goal is to witness the criminal justice system in action. The presence of an outsider in a courtroom signals to judges, prosecutors and others that the community cares about how its government is treating citizens when they find themselves in trouble with the law.”
30 AMOS leaders “attended the first court watcher training …in Des Moines earlier this month. Another 30 are scheduled to go through training soon. The Rev. Denny Coon, pastor of Walnut Hills United Methodist Church in Urbandale, said his first experience as an observer was enlightening but somewhat troubling….”
[Photo Credit: Andrea Melendez, Des Moines Register]
Court Watch Programs Puts Citizen Eyes on Court, Des Moines Register
Iowa Court Watchers Help Keep Eye on Justice, Des Moines Register
January 19, 2013
Working Together Jackson Fights Blight in Mississippi
Institutional leaders of Working Together Jackson began evaluating non-profit land trust models to help transform the Mid-City neighborhood of Jackson, Mississippi. Based on conversations with neighbors and residents, Ms. Brent, President of the Mid-City Neighborhood Association, and Rev. Tucker Sr., pastor of True Vine, identified a number of things they would like to address: abandoned housing, overgrown lots, crime, mentoring for its youth and services for its elderly. But people involved in the effort know that, as Rev. Tucker puts it, “the real work of rebuilding the neighborhood isn’t cutting lawns or boarding up houses. The real work is building relationships between its residents.”
While the non-profit land trust would take control of abandoned properties for rehabilitation and renovation, leaders of Working Together Jackson plan to continue the work of building relationships between neighbors.
Working Together Jackson Touts Turnaround in Mid-City Neighborhood, Clarion Ledger
Land Trust a New Strategy in Fight Against Blight, Clarion Ledger
January 16, 2013
COPA Celebrates Low Income Healthcare Victory
When COPA leaders discovered a lapsed initiative to provide healthcare to low-income adults in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, leaders organized an assembly with seven out of the ten county supervisors and leveraged commitments to bust through the political blockage to resurrect ViaCare. Congregational and labor leaders of COPA rejoiced when the Monterey Board of Supervisors voted to implement the Low Income Health Care Plan (LIHP) and to extend healthcare coverage to as many as 1,500 additional adults. Said St. Mary of the Nativity Catholic Church and SEIU United Long Term Care Worker leader Mario Torres: “Now sooner, rather than later, I will have a doctor’s appointment and that feels great.”
Monterey County Board of Supervisors Approve…Pilot Program, SEIU-ULTCW
January 16, 2013
Austin Interfaith Leverages Unanimous Vote for In-District Charter School
“School board members have lauded the process that Travis Heights used to garner support for the transformation, which they approved last month. Unlike the district’s failed partnership with [another charter school]… the move to turn Travis Heights into a charter school had the enthusiastic backing of the school’s parents and teachers, joined by Austin Interfaith and Education Austin.
‘It’s a real democratic process that empowers the parents, empowers the teachers, empowers the students,’ said Britt Adams, a special education teacher at the school.”
[Photo Credit: Laura Skelding, Austin American Statesman]
Travis Heights Will Be Austin District’s First Home-Grown Charter School, Austin American Statesman
New Charter Gets School Board Blessing, KXAN (12/18)
Austin School Trustees Vote to End IDEA Charter Partnership, Austin American Statesman (12/18)
Additional background here
January 13, 2013
Austin Leaders Persist in Push for Affordable Housing
“Austin leaders think they can champion the push for affordable housing once again. Three members of Austin City Council are sponsoring a resolution that calls upon the city manager to explore ways of returning the issue to the ballot….’For our folks who are living on the street, there is not a pathway for them to get into any kind of home,’ clergy John Elford said….”
City Leaders Hope to Reintroduce Affordable Housing, YNN
‘Affordable Housing’ May Be on Austin Ballot Again, Fox News
December 12, 2012
‘Nevadans for the Common Good’ Organizes Boulder City
On Dec. 11, the Boulder City Cluster of Nevadans for the Common Good, approximately 30 strong, held its second gathering at St. Andrew.“To get anything to change you have to also create some relationships that give you a bigger voice or power in the process” Stoeckig said.”
[Photo Credit: Boulder City Review]
Interfaith Groups Seeks to Solve Community Problems, Boulder City Review
December 12, 2012
Austin Interfaith Celebrates Progress on Living Wages
“A diverse mix of Labor Union representatives, city and county elected officials, faith-based organizations and advocates for fair wages and working conditions came to the Workers Defense Project office Tuesday night…to celebrate a move by the county regarding tax incentives, a move many are hoping the city of Austin will follow.
“We really feel a company that’s not willing to pay like $11 an hour isn’t a very good candidate for an incentive…” said Bob Batlan with Austin Interfaith.”
A Celebration of a Change in Tax Incentives in Travis County, KVUE News
More background here
December 3, 2012
Dallas Area Interfaith Challenges Texas Governor to ‘Opt-In’
“Gov. Rick Perry might have been surprised to hear his name invoked repeatedly during a recent gathering at Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Mission. But the rollicking crowd that filled the northwest Dallas church was not praising the governor’s leadership or even praying for his soul.
Nearly 300 people crowded into the church to launch a petition drive challenging Perry’s decision to opt out of a Medicaid expansion under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. ‘We’re organizing teams to teach people about Medicaid, get them to sign petitions and do neighborhood walks,’ said Mike Rosen of Dallas Area Interfaith.”
Dallas Area Interfaith Forces Much Needed Debate on Medicaid Expansion, Dallas Morning News (12/06)
Faith Leaders Slam Rick Perry for Refusing to Expand Texas’ Medicaid Program, Think Progress (12/03)
Dallas Interfaith Group Challenges Perry’s Decision to Opt Out of Medicaid Expansion, Dallas Morning News Scanned version here (12/02)
November 29, 2012
Border Interfaith Brings Clean Water to Hundreds of Families
Leaders “celebrated the completion of the new water distribution system by El Paso Water Utilities. The celebration took place at San Patricio Catholic Church in Canutillo. More than 240 homes in the Mayfair and NuWay communities are now connected to the water system, and 60 more residences in the Schuman Estates will have running water in the next few days.
The community fought for years to get reliable water service, said the Rev. Pablo Mata, a member of the community group Border Interfaith….’At the end, the people got it done,’ Mata said.”
[Photo Credit: Aileen Flores, El Paso Times]
Hundreds in Far West El Paso Receive Water Service, El Paso Times
November 19, 2012
Together Baton Rouge Targets Graveyards
“Volunteers from Together Baton Rouge and St. Jean Vianney Catholic Church spent Saturday morning giving Gilbert Memorial Park Cemetery on Greenwell Springs Road a thorough cleaning….Edgar Cage, a Together Baton Rouge leader and cleanup organizer, said the organization wanted to spruce up Gilbert Memorial before … a nonprofit community service organization … takes over as the cemetery’s “receiver,” or caretaker. ”
[Photo Credit: Richard Alan Hannon, Advocate]
Volunteer Groups Clean Up BR Cemetery, The Advocate
November 19, 2012
One LA to Play Critical Role in Health Insurance Exchange
“With the presidential election over and the nation’s healthcare overhaul moving forward, California officials have less than a year to clear up widespread uncertainty about future medical coverage options….Community, religious and health advocacy organizations are expected to play a critical role. Chu of One LA said the best outreach strategy is inviting people to sit down with someone they trust. ‘This isn’t a model of let’s build it and they will come,’ he said. ‘They have got to go to where the customers are.’”
California Works to Get Word Out on Health Insurance Exchange, Los Angeles Times
State Officials Urged to Make Healthcare More Affordable, The Tidings
November 19, 2012
WTOS to Identify 60 Homes for Repair
“The City of San Angelo will assist in the repair or replacement of 60 roofs in four neighborhoods targeted for revitalization…. The homes, which have been identified with the help of West Texas Organizing Strategy, are in the Blackshear, Fort Concho, Reagan and Rio Vista neighborhoods, all of which the City has targeted for revitalization.”
Business News in Brief 11/19, San Angelo Standard Times
November 18, 2012
Let the Real Politics Begin…[Marin Organizing Committee]
“The work of citizenship does not begin and end with voting because politics is not just about elections. Elections are important moments in time when we ratify decisions shaped by months and years of political action. Politics is about coming together across differences and making decisions about how we want to live together. Politics requires relationship and negotiation and compromise…”
Marin Voice: Let the Real Politics Begin, Marin Independent Journal
November 13, 2012
Together Baton Rouge Gets Tough With Transit System
“Citizens at a public forum hosted by… Together Baton Rouge gave officials at the Capital Area Transit System an overall grade of C- Monday night, hammering them for their communication process and awkwardly managed website…”
Baton Rouge Coalition Gives CATS Officials C- on Transit Reform Report Card, Times Piacyune
CATS Service Criticized, The Advocate
November 13, 2012
Project Quest Training Helps People Get Good Jobs
“Project Quest has helped more than 4,000 obtain jobs paying close to $40,000 per year…. Says Fr. Walter D’Heedene, these ‘jobs, with benefits, will last so that families can provide for their children for years.” Project Quest was established by the COPS / Metro Alliance.
Project Quest Helps People Get Jobs Through Training, Univision Television – Canal 41 [Spanish]
November 1, 2012
The Border Organization Challenges Candidates
In a weekend accountability session, leaders from The Border Organization leveraged commitments from Sheriff, state District Judge and County Commissioner candidates about immigration, crime and an underground water district. Institutional leaders committed to turning out 2,700 voters in advance of the election.
“We inform and educate the people about the candidates…” said organization co-chair Marta Gonzalez-Stitts. “We are committed to getting out the vote.”
Candidates Speak to Border Organization, Del Rio News Herald
Full text here
November 1, 2012
COPA Wins Hiring Fight in Central California
Leaders created additional economic opportunities for workers by pushing through a “preference policy” prioritizing local bids for contracts and vending with the City of Santa Cruz and Monterey County. This is part of COPA‘s regional strategy to promote hiring by municipal and school district entities from within Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey.
November 1, 2012
COPA Secures $300K for DREAMers
With the promise of the California DREAM Act still a year away, COPA leaders launched a 2012 campaign to bring financial help to undocumented college students in their community. $150,000 raised from businesses leveraged an additional $150,000 from UC Santa Cruz, allowing COPA and its partners to provide $300,000 in assistance in advance of the law.
October 30, 2012
TBR Creates New Political Culture: Takes Action on Food Desert
“The biggest local election forum of this political season was nothing like the candidates are used to. Together Baton Rouge hosted 30 of the 32 candidates for East Baton Rouge Mayor-president and Metro Council Monday night, with approximately 500 people in attendance at Mt. Zion First Baptist Church.
But they did not show up in order to listen to the candidates. ‘What we’re pushing for,’ said Dr. Jeanne George, a Together Baton Rouge committee co-chair, ‘is to get them to listen to the citizens.’”
Together Baton Rouge Hosts Candidates for Office, 9-WAFB TV
Together BR Forum Tells Political Candidates What It Wants From Them, NBC-33 News
Candidates Pressed for Local Solutions, The Advocate
Together Baton Rouge to Hold Nonpartisan Political Forum Monday, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
For Second Act, Together Baton Rouge Focuses on City Hall, The Advocate
October 29, 2012
EPISO Leverages Commitments for Equity in School Funding
More than 200 leaders of El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization assembled to challenge Clint Independent School District board candidates to “eliminate all disparities in per student funding throughout the district if elected….Challengers Claudia García, Sonia Herrera, Susana Santillan, Dino Coronado and incumbent Patricia Randleel participated at the nonpartisan accountability session at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Horizon City.”
[Photo Credit: Fernie Castillo, El Paso Times]
Clint ISD Candidates Back Equitable School Funding, El Paso Times
October 29, 2012
Jeremiah Launches 3-Pronged GOTV Campaign
To ensure that all eligible voters reach the polls, Jeremiah Group leaders launched a citywide absentee and voter education / registration campaign working with the staff of nursing and independent living homes, high school and college campuses, and neighborhood congregations and businesses. Jeremiah trained home care staff to identify eligible voters, schools and nonprofits to conduct voter registration drives and congregations to mobilize voters in this non-partisan campaign.
The Jeremiah Group Spreads Voter Education On the West Bank, Times Picayune blog
October 22, 2012
1,000 COPS / Metro Leaders Rally for Pre-K Ballot Initiative
“Approximately 1,000 people representing 35 church, school and union groups under the umbrella nonprofit Communities Organized for Public Service and the Metro Alliance, held their own press conference and publicly committed to backing Pre-K 4 SA.”
[Photo Credit: The Express-News, SA]
Groups Argue For, Against Sales Tax Increase, San Antonio Express-News
October 21, 2012
Border Interfaith Leverages Commitments to Reduce Negative Impact of Tests
“Candidates for the U.S. Congressional 16th District of Texas, the Senate District 29 of Texas, Texas House of Representatives District 78 and for District 1 of the State Board of Education participated in Sunday’s candidate accountability session…organized by Border Interfaith at the San Judas Tadeo Catholic Church in the Upper Valley.”
Local Group Hosts Debate with 8 Candidates Running for Election, El Paso Times
October 20, 2012
TMO Leaders Win Fight Against Blight in Southwest Houston
“The roar of a bulldozer will prompt a celebration in an Alief neighborhood whose residents have waged a four-year battle to get rid of an abandoned, burned-out condominium complex….The Metropolitan Organization of Houston, along with determined neighbors, thought the disintegrating structure was so dangerous that the city of Houston should spend money to bulldoze the darn thing, but legal and budgetary impediments precluded quick action….. The machinery, which will demolish the public nuisance known as the Winfield I, represents a triumph…”
Civic Activists Win Fight Over Eyesore Condos, Houston Chronicle
October 15, 2012
250 ACT Leaders Launch Organization Rebuilding Effort
250 institutional leaders from 18 Tarrant County-area congregations celebrated and committed to rebuilding the Allied Communities of Tarrant (ACT).
Said the Rev. Lindsay Woods, pastor at Gethsemane Presbyterian Church, “ACT has allowed us a small church to seek justice. Congregations often do a lot of charity (give food to food bank) or education (explaining what we believe about justice), but our mission sometimes lack the ability to create justice. ACT allows us to be part of a network of different institutions seeking solutions to a common cause.”
Gethsemane Presbyterian Church Finding Relevancy In Its Community, Grace Presbytery
October 15, 2012
Cortes Honored at Harvard for Restoring American Democracy
“Ernesto Cortés Jr. has spent nearly 40 years teaching the disenfranchised how to communicate their stories in ways that assert their place in the world.
As co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation…he has taught thousands of people how to harness and direct their anger by helping them to organize with others to change conditions around them…. For those efforts, the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) presented its annual Robert Coles “Call of Service” Award to Cortés on Friday in the Memorial Church.
“What he is about is nothing less than restoring our American democracy,” said Gene Corbin, assistant dean of student life for public service, who presented the award.
[Photo Credit: Scott Eisen/Harvard Staff Photographer]
Cortes Receives Service Award, The Harvard Gazette
PBHA Honors Cortes for Service, The Harvard Crimson
October 2, 2012
NCG Leaders Work with School Police to Prevent Sex Trafficking
As Andrea Swanson described how her teenage daughter was preyed upon by her boyfriend turned pimp, it became clear that neither Andrea nor her daughter’s teachers or school counselors had spotted any of the warning signs. After NCG Leaders met with Las Vegas police and other authorities, they learned that child sex trafficking is a growing problem. But, NCG’s organizing work is bringing about much needed change. The Clark County School District recently instituted mandatory trainings for their staff to spot the warning signs and NCG leaders are now working on statewide legislation that would give law enforcement the tools to protect children and prosecute pimps.
September 21, 2012
NCLISC Celebrates Dignified Housing Agreement in Louisiana
Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith Sponsoring Committee leaders Reverend John Henson (left) and Father Rothell Price (right) led a celebration of the passage of their “‘Minimal Living Standards Amendment,’ which now requires landlords to provide a modicum of upkeep on the property they rent out.”
Leaders also leveraged commitments from their council members to to visit their labor market intermediary, NOVA, in Monroe.
[Photo Credit: Michael Doughty, Shreveport Times]
Interfaith Bringing Faiths Together To Help the Community, The Shreveport Times
September 20, 2012
Las Vegas Leaders Fight Child Sex Trafficking
“The number of Nevada children dragged into prostitution is on the rise — a scary reality that will take a community effort to reverse, a Metro Police lieutenant told the… Las Vegas Valley Interfaith Sponsoring Committee [which ]hosted a discussion at the Islamic Society of Nevada about child sex trafficking.” Metro Vice Unit Lt. Karen Hughes addresses 150 leaders (photo right).
Las Vegas is ‘Ground Zero’ for Child Sex Trafficking, Metro Vice Officer Says, Las Vegas Sun
September 11, 2012
Las Vegas Leaders Reflect on Lessons of 9/11
‘Nevadans For the Common Good’ leader Rabbi Sanford Akselrad and organizer Robert Hoo appear on ‘Face to Face’ with John Ralston to discuss the lessons of 9/11.
How Far Have We Come?, My News Channel 3 – Face to Face
September 11, 2012
Austin Interfaith’s In-District Charter Proposal Moves Forward
“Travis Heights is looking to partner with Education Austin and Austin Interfaith to start an in-district charter model allowing the school to have more autonomy. The school would focus on curriculum with its dual-language program, service learning model and a piloted blended learning program that incorporates digital media, Carstarphen said. ‘They’re not asking for more money; they’re asking for more flexibility….’”
AISD Board Discusses Potential Academic, Facilities Recommendations, Community Impact Newspaper
New In-District Charter Would Need Teacher, Community OK, Austin American Statesman
September 8, 2012
Reflections On a Neighborhood Walk Organized by COPS/Metro
COPS / Metro Alliance “recently gathered folks — including parishioners at member parishes, the San Antonio police chief and a city councilman — for a “walk for the West Side.” It was really something akin to a listening tour, hearing what residents in the neighborhoods and housing projects around St. Timothy’s Catholic Church had to say about their circumstances.
I tagged along….”
A Walk, A Listen on Westside — And Eyes Opened, by Ricardo Pimentel, San Antonio Express-News
[Photo Credit: Lisa Krantz, San Antonio Express-News]
September 7, 2012
One LA Urges Officials to Make Healthcare More Affordable
“Renewed hope was the sentiment of most people attending a Sept. 6 health care assembly, after state officials committed to create a system where public and private insurance providers offer education, affordable insurance and quality care…”
State Officials Urges to Make Healthcare More Affordable, The Tidings
September 1, 2012
Project IOWA Graduates First Cohort Into Careers
Thirty six workforce development trainees graduated this summer from Project IOWA, a 21st century workforce development initiative established by AMOS. 86% are now established in career-track jobs with full-benefits and are earning, on average, $15 / hour. Some advanced manufacturing graduates started at $20 / hour!
August 29, 2012
‘Nevadans for the Common Good’ Praised
“Since arriving in Las Vegas in late 2008, I have witnessed a new spirit that leads me to believe that our valley is determined to become a more caring and compassionate community. If there is anything positive to come out of the economic recession, it is the realization that we must all work together to support one another…”
A Desire to Do Good in Las Vegas, Las Vegas Sun
August 23, 2012
Together Baton Rouge Grades Expanded Transportation System
“The Capital Area Transit System received an ‘A’ on its first public accountability report card for meeting expectations tied to the passage of the 10.6-mill property tax in April.
The report card was created by Together Baton Rouge, a faith-based, grass-roots organization that was heavily involved in getting the tax passed in the cities of Baker and Baton Rouge.”
Bus System on Track: CATS Meets Group’s First Requirement, The Advocate
August 17, 2012
San Antonio Express-News Columnist Praises Project Quest
“I wish San Antonio City Council could have heard her speech.
Amira Dadzie came from Ghana to the US in 2002….[This year she] told a crowd of more than 100 at the ceremony at our Lady of the Lake University’s chapel auditorium that she couldn’t have [graduated from SAC's RN program] without Project Quest. Her path is an inspiration for anyone prone to let life’s hardships overcome aspirations. But what I’m hoping is that it also is inspiration for the City Council to rethink giving the program less than it did in previous budgeting.”
[Photo provided by Project Quest.]
Project Quest a Worthy Investment for City, Ricardo Pimental, San Antonio Express-News
August 15, 2012
OTOC Celebrates $500K More for Building Demolition in Omaha
After 3 years of raising the issue, leaders of Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) are pleased with the decision of Mayor Suttle and the Omaha City Council to invest a total of $500,000 in new funding to demolish condemned buildings in 2013. Total funding for demolition in 2013 will be $840,000, up from $340,000 in 2012.
“Many of the speakers advocating the demolition of rundown homes were representatives of Omaha Together One Community….’The first speaker from OTOC showed a variety of pictures of rundown houses. The number of such condemned houses has grown from 400 to 742 in three years,’ said Karen McElroy. ‘We understand that this is a tight budget year, but the mayor and City Council need to make the tough decisions to preserve our urban neighborhoods,’ she said.”
Omaha City Council Talks City Budget, Omaha World Herald (08/15)
August 12, 2012
TMO Unites Clergy Behind Houston Janitors for Win on Wages
Cardinal DiNardo and TMO clergy held a press conference exhorting contractors to give Houston janitors a raise. “I appeal to all people of good will, especially in the great city of Houston, to be in solidarity with janitors as they seek a modest pay increase over a three-year period. The increase would amount to $10 dollars an hour in the third year,” Archbishop Daniel Cardinal Dinardo said.” [Photo Credit: Erik Kane, Texas Tribune]
After weeks of striking and demonstrating, Houston janitors unanimously voted to ratify a contract that would increase SEIU member’s wages by $1 over a four-year period.
Janitors End Strike by Signing New Contracts, Houston Chronicle (08/12)
Houston Janitors in the Fifth Week of Protest, Texas Tribune (08/08)
Religious Leaders Stand Behind Houston Janitors, FOX 26 News (08/02)
Interfaith Leaders Unite in Support of Janitors, KUHF Radio (08/02)
Market Share is Key at Janitor Talks, Houston Chronicle (08/02)
August 9, 2012
COPS/Metro Takes Back Neighborhood Turf on Westside
“COPS/Metro leaders from St. Timothy Parish and San Juan de Los Lagos Shrine recently led a neighborhood walk in response to rising safety concerns in Westside neighborhoods, especially the area south of Guadalupe Street and west of South Zarzamora. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and Bexar County Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz joined them for the walk that started at St. Timothy Parish Hall…” [Photo Credit: Today's Catholic]
Metro Alliance: This is Our Neighborhood, KSAT (08/31)
COPS/Metro Promotes Public Safety for San Antonio’s Westside Neighborhoods, Today’s Catholic
Block Walkers Promise to Take Back a Westside Neighborhood, San Antonio Express-News (07/29)
Westside Residents, Police Facing Down Crime, San Antonio Express-News (07/29)
August 8, 2012
EPISO Leaders Bring President of TX Gas Company to Colonias
When neighborhood parishioners of San Juan Diego Catholic Church in the Montana Vista colonias grew frustrated at the lack of gas service in their unincorporated district, they organized a petition drive, signing up 300 families to demand that the Texas Gas Service install gas lines. When the petition did not bring about the desired response, these parishioners approached their priest for help. He challenged them to join the social justice ministry of the church and to work with the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO). These leaders responded, joining the ministry, organizing house meetings with other neighbors and, with EPISO, targeting the TX Gas Service President, Kari French, with an invitation to tour their neighborhood, to see for herself the state of infrastructure in the colonias.
The President accepted the invitation, toured the area, and committed to meeting with the department head to see what can be done. She reflected, “my people can tell me what is going on in the colonias,” but it is different to see it for oneself.
Leaders are following up with her.
July 30, 2012
Leaders Challenge County Commissioner Candidates in El Paso
300 leaders of EPISO organized a runoff accountability session at San Juan Diego Catholic Church late July. Reports the El Paso Times, “Vince Perez, a former communications director for U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, and state Rep. Inocente “Chente” Quintanilla took questions from about 300 residents of the unincorporated community in East El Paso County during a two-hour event Sunday.
Topics ranged from expanding an existing park, adding a second main entryway into the community, extending more utility service to the area and the ongoing public corruption case….” The leaders’ agenda of issues emerged from hundreds of conversations organized by member institutions of the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization.
El Paso Elections: Precinct 3 Candidates Face Off Days Before Runoff, El Paso Times
July 20, 2012
VOICE Hosts Interfaith Prayer Service for Immigration
“About 300 people attended the Interfaith Prayer Service for Immigration hosted by Voices Organized in Civic Engagement…Clergy leaders shared Scripture readings, prayers, poetry and other writings that described the church’s responsibility to aid immigrants who seek a better life in America…The Rev. Tim Luschen, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, read an excerpt from a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document titled “Strangers No Longer, Together on the Journey of Hope.””
July 19, 2012
COPS/Metro Applauds Maruchan’s Decision to Withdraw Application for Tax Incentives
COPS/Metro Alliance leaders applauded Maruchan’s decision to withdraw their application for tax incentives and welcomed the company to Bexar County. “We reiterate our support for economic development and job creation,” said Fr. Steven Gamez, pastor of St. Philip of Jesus Catholic Church and leader with COPS/Metro Alliance. “However, we strongly believe that it is a mistake to offer public subsidies when most of the jobs would pay minimum wage; the free market will take care that and Maruchan’s decision proves it.”
COPS/Metro leaders had publicly raised questions surrounding this deal because of the impact on working families…. “We agree with Maruchan leaders that ‘the additional tax revenues [should be used] for betterment of the community,’ especially bringing up the skills of our workforce. We look forward to working with Maruchan, as well as city and county officials, to create opportunities for those workers who will earn the minimum wage.”
[Photo of Fr. Steven Gamez by KENS5]
Maruchan Drops Bid for Tax Breaks at Noodle Plant, San Antonio Express-News (7/20)
Ramen Company’s Low Paying Jobs May Change Incentives, San Antonio Express News (7/12)
Better Than Nothing? Ramen Noodle Company Criticized for Minimum Wage, KENS 5 (07/11)
Community Group Questions Tax Incentive for Japanese Company, KSAT (7/11)
Facebook page here.
July 19, 2012
EPISO Challenges School Representation & Spending Disparities
“Before the board meeting on Wednesday, the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization, or EPISO, and the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project argued that the district’s at-large elected board does not ensure equal representation throughout the communities it serves, particularly the Horizon City and Montana Vista areas….Six of the seven school board members live in Clint, and one trustee, Patricia Randleel, lives in Horizon City, said district spokeswoman Laura Cade.
The Rev. Ed Roden-Lucero, co-chairman of EPISO and priest at San Juan Diego Catholic Church in far East El Paso, said funding disparities wouldn’t exist if Horizon City and Montana Vista had more elected representation on the school board…”
Clint Student-Spending Disparity Targeted, El Paso Times
July 17, 2012
IESC Leverages Multiple Mitigations for Cleaner Air
After months of battling for cleaner air, Pomona Valley leaders of the Inland Empire Sponsoring Committee leveraged multiple concessions on a waste transfer station agreement. A maximum of 50 trucks would be permitted on and off the site per day. All trucks would be required to operate on clean compressed natural gas or other alternative fuels. Tonnage limits (at 66% of the original proposal) will help prevent neighboring suburbs from shrugging off its processing responsibilities; the transfer station will accept trash almost singularly from Pomona. And a new code enforcement position has been created to monitor particulate standards and ensure that other stations in the region operates in complies with clean air standards.
Still in negotiation are a “Clean and Green” fund and a Council task force that would examine the entire industrial area and how to clean up currently unmonitored recycling polluters.
Pomona Council Gives Go-Ahead to Building Waste Transfer Station, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Pomona Transfer Station May be Decided Monday Night, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
July 14, 2012
Leaders Fight for Access to Healthy Food in Baton Rouge
“Scotlandville has no shortage of convenience stores, but a true grocery store is hard to come by for this community of about 18,000 residents, according to Census data. And about 89 percent of these people live a mile or more from a true supermarket, said Edgar Cage, a member of St. Michael’s and Together Baton Rouge, which has taken on the task of leading initiatives to make healthy foods more accessible to neighborhoods plagued by “food deserts” — whole communities where a grocery store is absent. “Scotlandville is the largest food desert in Baton Rouge,” Cage said.”
Bringing Relief to Food Deserts in Baton Rouge, The Advocate
July 10, 2012
VOICE Helps Save OK City Public $69.3 Million for Electricity
When OG&E proposed a $73 Million rate increase, newly launched organization VOICE organized public hearings, in collaboration with the AARP and other entities, in defense of fixed-income families; VOICE succeeded in helping limit the increase to only $4 Million resulting in a residential rate increase of only 2% of the original proposal. VOICE leaders say, “rate increases have become very convoluted, expensive rituals and we are proud to have helped democratize the process…we helped save the public $69.3 Million!”
Regulators OK Settlement in Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. Rate Case, News OK
July 10, 2012
El Paso Organizations Get $210 Million for Infrastructure
When El Paso officials first envisioned a “quality of life” bond they slated $600 Million for stadiums, a zoo and high-art venues. EPISO and Border Interfaith leaders responded with a house meeting campaign in their institutions centered on the question: what would improve the quality of life for El Paso families and individuals? Upon hearing stories about crumbling roads, decaying parks, darkened neighborhoods and unpaved walkways, leaders returned to council members with reports on what would improve the quality of life for residents. Councilmembers resisted incorporating these day-to-day fixes until leaders organized a second round of house meetings that unearthed renewed energy to fight for these improvements. Leaders partnered with the City Manager to add $210M in certificates of obligation to pay for roads, streetlights, sidewalks and parks, and then leveraged a 6:1 council vote in support.
EPISO, Border Interfaith Gather Input on Quality-of-Life Bond, El Paso Times (04/29)
June 25, 2012
Arizona Interfaith Weighs In On Supreme Court Ruling
“The ruling on the state law, known as SB 1070, was greeted with cautious favor from people on both sides of immigration debate. Opponents of the law were generally relieved and said the ruling lifted some of the fears illegal immigrants felt about being picked up by state police during everyday activities. But they said much would depend on how the surviving provision is interpreted.
“There’s still going to be a lot of uncertainty until it’s clear how police will approach this,” said Joe Rubio, lead organizer for the Arizona Interfaith Network/Valley Interfaith Project, which opposed the law….”
Court Splits On Arizona Law, Wall Street Journal
June 23, 2012
Inland Empire Sponsoring Committee Preps People for Jobs
“Saturday morning, McClellan was one of 49 Inland Valley residents who participated in a jobs workshop organized by the Pomona Valley Cluster of the Inland Empire Sponsoring Committee, formerly known as One LA….
The workshop drew a diverse group of job seekers, among them recent high school graduates, people approaching retirement age, day laborers and out-of-work executives, said the Rev. Robert Linthicum, a retired minister who is a Sponsoring Committee leader.
The idea for the event grew out of an economic summit put on … by the committee, a grassroots group made up of … houses of worship, labor groups and others concerned about issues that affect families….”
[Photo Credit: Frank Perez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin]
Claremont Workshop Focuses on Jobs, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin