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COPS/Metro Immigrant Leaders WIN Access to Their Kids' Schools

One week after immigrant leaders from El Carmen Catholic Church raised the issue of parental access to schools, delivering poignant testimony at a Southside ISD School Board meeting last week, the Superintendent publicly reversed his position. 

In a letter that went out to all parents, he announced that any form of photo identification issued by a governmental entity, including a matricula consular ID card, would be accepted when verifying parents’ identities on school campuses.    

The issue originally emerged when Sandra, a member of El Carmen Catholic Church in San Antonio, attempted to join her son at his elementary school for lunch.  She was barred from campus because she could not show a Texas ID.  When COPS/Metro leaders requested a meeting with the Superintendent to discuss the policy, they were initially denied.

It wasn't until COPS/Metro and El Carmen Catholic leaders joined Sandra at the next Southside ISD School Board meeting that the district began to reconsider its position.  

Said Vincent Arreguin, a COPS/Metro leader from El Carmen Church, “We continue to be committed in our interest to build the relationship with the district.  This is not only a win for our parents but our children who are the most important.  We are glad that now there’s clarification about the policy.”

[Photo Credit: Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio]

Southside ISD Says Wider Range of Government-Issued Photo IDs Now Will Be Accepted for Campus AccessRivard Report [pdf]

San Antonio Parents Without Texas IDs Barred from Southside ISD Schools, Texas Public Radio

Parents Without Texas IDs Said They Were Barred from Southside ISD CampusesRivard Report 

Southside ISD's ID Policy Has Some Parents Complaining it Leaves Them Out of Kid's SchoolingSan Antonio Express-News

Padres Denuncian Que Este Distrito Escolar Les Prohibe Entrar as las Escuelas Por No Tener Licencia de Conducir de TexasUnivision 


Despite Northern California Blackouts, 700 MOC Leaders Assemble, Demonstrate Power

Despite community-wide power outages -- and a last minute change in venue -- 700 Marin Organizing Committee leaders assembled at Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael on Sunday, October 27th for their 10th Anniversary Convention. 

24 hours before the assembly, leaders learned that the planned location for their Convention would be needed as a local command center to address power outages and host fire evacuees from Sonoma County.  Demonstrating flexibility, leaders quickly relocated the assembly to a synagogue down the street.  With 99% of the County left without power (in an effort to prevent more fires), MOC demonstrated the power of organized people with the tenacity and resilience to show up against the odds.

Using a generator and portable mic system, leaders from 22 institutions ratified their agenda of issues moving into 2020, reported 75% progress on a $100,000 investment campaign, and celebrated 10 years of citizen power in Marin County.  In the midst of anxiety-ridden uncertainty, MOC proved their people can and will show up.

NonPartisan Marin Activist Organization Gathers to Chart Future Course, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]

Amid Fires, Rodef Sholom Pinch Hits as Host for Marin Organizing Committee's 10-Year CelebrationJ. [pdf]

Marin Voice: MOC Ready to Practice Revolutionary Patience with New Issues AgendaMarin Independent Journal [pdf]


2018 IAF Impact Report: Victories


2018 IAF Impact Report: State by State


MOC Fights Exorbitant Rent Hikes for Low-Income Seniors in Novato

Credited by the Marin Independent Journal for being "instrumental in convincing Marin County, San Rafael, and Fairfax to adopt renter protections" (including mandatory mediation and just cause for evictions), Marin Organizing Committee leaders are taking the fight to the City of Novato.  At a press conference in front of City Hall, low-income senior leaders of a 128-unit Novato apartment called on the City to monitor the situation and support low-income tenants. 

Over the last 16 years, residents have faced 13 rent increases -- the most recent of which being 15%.  Resident leader Sharon Wagner-Higgins says that similar to other residents, she has to choose between her medications and affording rent.  If nothing changes, she says, "I'm going to end up on the street." 

“It makes no sense to tie the rents to the area median income in a place like Marin that has high income disparity,” says Marin Organizing Committee leader Judith Bloomberg.  “These are people living on fixed incomes. They shouldn’t be punished because some workers in Mill Valley and Ross are making half-a-million each year.”

Leaders testified at City Hall to ask the Council to help ensure that the landlord keep their promise to meet with residents and negotiate in a good fair.  Said tenants association leader John Geoghegan, “You folks have helped us in the past and we hope we can continue to count on your help in the future to ensure Novato remains age friendly for seniors.”

[Photo Credit: Alan Dep, Marin Independent Journal]

Low-Income Novato Seniors Rally Over Rent Hikes, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]


600 TMO Leaders Fight for Gun Safety, Harvey Recovery and More in Mayoral Accountability Assembly

Over 600 TMO leaders from 44 institutions convened Sunday, October 20th at Assumption Catholic Church to hold Houston mayoral candidates accountable to the organization's slate of issues.  TMO leaders shared stories and asked targeted questions about gun safety, reducing fear in immigrant communities, flood recovery, flood prevention, illegal dumping, workforce development, and just wages. 

All three candidates -- Mr. Tony Buzbee, Mr. Bill King, and Mr. Sylvester Turner -- committed to meeting with TMO leaders within the first 30 days in office if elected.

With early voting beginning Tuesday, TMO leaders reminded the assembly to vote.

Top Three Mayoral Candidates Answer Questions About 6 Issues The Metropolitan Organization Found to Have the Most InterestFox 26 Houston

Houston Mayoral Candidates Discuss Flood Prevention, Illegal Dumping and Harvey RecoveryKHOU Channel 11

Mayoral Candidates Pressed on Guns, Harvey Recovery, DumpingHouston Chronicle


COPS/Metro Immigrant Leaders Fight for Access to Their Kids' Schools

When Sandra, a member of El Carmen Catholic Church in San Antonio, attempted to join her son at his elementary school for lunch, she was barred from entering the campus due to a district policy that parents present a Texas ID.  Sandra does not have -- and cannot obtain -- a Texas ID.  When COPS/Metro leaders requested a meeting with the Superintendent to discuss the policy, they were denied.

Soon, 55 COPS/Metro leaders from El Carmen Catholic joined Sandra at the next Southside ISD School Board meeting and stood by her as she directly addressed the board.   “I want to be part of his education. I want to be there every step of the way. But the district is not allowing me to do so at this time, and I would like that to change.”  COPS/Metro is requesting a change to the policy so that all parents can access their children's schools.

That night, the Board President alerted leaders that the Board would work with COPS/Metro to resolve the issue.  Officials from the district also agreed meet with leaders to resolve the issue.

[Photo Credit: Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio]

San Antonio Parents Without Texas IDs Barred from Southside ISD Schools, Texas Public Radio

Parents Without Texas IDs Said They Were Barred from Southside ISD CampusesRivard Report 

Southside ISD's ID Policy Has Some Parents Complaining it Leaves Them Out of Kid's SchoolingSan Antonio Express-News

Padres Denuncian Que Este Distrito Escolar Les Prohibe Entrar as las Escuelas Por No Tener Licencia de Conducir de TexasUnivision    


Working Together Jackson Negotiates Water Bill Repayment Plans for Residents

After months of research and negotiation to address a municipal crisis in water billing and repayment, the City of Jackson announced a plan, developed in collaboration with Working Together Jackson, to both help the residents repay past-due bills and the Public Works Department collect essential payments.

“As a result of our collaborative efforts with the Public Works Department, there are now multiple payment options available where before there was only one,” Working Together Jackson said. “But more importantly, there are objective criteria so if you act in good faith you will not leave without being presented options to pay your bill in a way that works for both you and the City.”

The plans were informed by conversations organized by leaders through house meetings and water bill advocacy sessions in which residents brought their bills and learned how to manage repayment.  

[Photo Credit: Seyma Bayram, Jackson Free Press]

Jackson Unveils Water-Bill Payment Plan Required for Delinquent Residents, Jackson Free Press

Press Statement Regarding Water BillingWorking Together Jackson


OTOC Challenges Landlords to Work with Community

There's a fight in federal court over the Omaha rental registry which was supposed to go into effect January 1st.  Negotiated carefully with extensive input from Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) and local landlords, the registry would allow City inspectors to review a property, even those without a filed complaint, as one step to stop slumlords from taking advantage of tenants.

The registry was negotiated months after 500 refugees were forced out of apartments with 2,000+ code violations.  Months before it was set to go into effect, the Metro Omaha Property Owners Association filed a suit against it. 

OTOC leaders are now publicly challenging landlords to work with the community to ensure dignified housing for all Omahan residents.

Landlord Group Sues City of Omaha in Attempt to Block Rental Registry, Inspection ProgramOmaha World-Herald

Property Owners Assn. Filed Federal Lawsuit Over Omaha Rental Registry, KETV Omaha


DAI Response to Tarrant County Sheriff: Build Trust with Community

After the sheriff of Tarrant County mistakenly argued that 'drunk' immigrants were going to 'run over your children,' Dallas Area Interfaith organizer Josephine Lopez-Paul called on the public official to build trust rather than spread lies, referencing an independent study by the CATO Institute that documented a dramatically lower crime rate among unauthorized Texas immigrants compared to their native-born counterparts. 

"In these polarized times, what he should be doing is building trust," commented Lopez-Paul. 

Tarrant County Sheriff Calls Migrants Facing DWI Charges 'Drunks' Who 'Will Run Over Your Children', Dallas Morning News