Education Funding Summit by 'Nevadans for the Common Good' Draws Full House

80+ leaders and education allies packed the library at Western High School in Las Vegas for NCG's "Education Funding Summit," building momentum for a significant increase in public education funding.

The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities disclosed that nearly $2 billion is needed to adequately fund Nevada schools. Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jara and County Judge Voy spoke to the need for greater funding, and Assemblywomen Swank, Miller, and Backus declared their support.

This is part of a larger campaign to prepare for the 2019 Legislative session in which leaders plan to push for expanded funding for schools, increased affordable housing units, and protection for consumers through a payday lending enforcement system.


Project QUEST Wins National $1 Million Grant for Training

[Excerpt below]

Project QUEST, the nonprofit workforce development organization created more than a quarter-century ago by the COPS/Metro Alliance, has been awarded a $1 million grant that the organization says will allow it to serve more San Antonians with expanded job training programs.

The award comes from the Rockefeller Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as part of their Communities Thrive Challenge, which awarded $1 million each to 10 organizations across the nation, working to “help low-income and financially insecure people find and retain well-paid, meaningful work, achieve financial security or build economically vibrant neighborhoods.”

San Antonio’s Project QUEST wins national $1 million grantSan Antonio Express-News [pdf]


Dallas Municipal ID Draws Local Support, Faces State Resistance

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A handful of Dallas-area churches, with the support of Dallas Area Interfaith, started issuing their own ID cards this year. Police departments in Dallas, Carrollton and Farmers Branch have been given discretion to accept those church cards as a form of identification.

Socorro Perales, a senior organizer at Dallas Area Interfaith, said her group was excited about the possibility of a city-issued card....

[Photo: Dallas Morning News]

Dallas Draws Local Support, Faces State Resistance as it Inches Closer to Issuing City ID CardsDallas Morning News  


TMO Fights Proposed Changes to "Public Charge" Designation

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This past week, many of us sat down with our extended families at Thanksgiving celebrations. As faith leaders, we teach that family is sacred. We are moved to keep families together, so they may thrive together.

The Trump administration has proposed a policy that would force immigrant families to make an impossible choice between caring for their children, parents and grandparents and keeping their family together in the United States. The proposed changes to the 100-year-old “public charge” regulation will make it more difficult for an immigrant to become a legal permanent resident or obtain a visa to visit the United States if he is not wealthy, have a preexisting health condition, or participate in programs that support health, nutrition and housing stability....

Don't Penalize Children for Being Poor, Especially After HarveyHouston Chronicle [pdf

Push Back Against Proposed Changes to 'Public Charge'TMO


Medicaid Expansion Passes in Nebraska, OTOC Educates & Gets Out The Vote

With access to health care on the line for 90,000 Nebraskans, OTOC leaders worked hard to expand Medicaid for those with no health insurance.  After efforts to secure enough votes to overcome a filibuster in the Nebraska Unicameral proved unsuccessful, OTOC partnered with allies in 2018 to secure a place on the November Midterm ballot for 'Initiative 427' as a way to secure Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska.  On November 6, 2018, the effort succeeded.

Over the course of the year, OTOC leaders mobilized 50 individuals who secured 3,500 signatures in the effort to get the initiative on the ballot.  OTOC organized 17 civic academies in Omaha congregations and public libraries to help build an educated constituency and, in efforts to educate the public, published seven Opeds, including four in the Omaha World Herald.  In the final days leading to the vote, the World Herald selected OTOC to counter final arguments by a team including the former Governor, Attorney General and a member of Koch Brothers Nebraska.  

Leaders testified at State hearings, leveraged commitments from winning Congressional candidates to protect Medicaid Expansion if Initiative 427 were to pass, and organized a fall accountability assembly in which all seven Unicameral candidates committed to implementing Medicaid expansion.    

Initiative 427 won with a margin of 41,594 votes statewide.  Counties where OTOC focused -- Douglas and Sarpy -- were critical to overcoming vote deficits elsewhere.  In Douglas County, alone, 111,630 residents voted FOR Initiative 427, approximately one third of the statewide total, and far exceeding the margin of victory. &nbsp

OTOC leaders are now turning their attention to implementation of Medicaid expansion, to ensure it reaches those who most need it.  

Imperative That Nebraska Pass Initiative 427 and Expand Medicaid, Omaha World Herald

Medicaid for Public Health, Omaha World Herald

Complete report of OTOC Action, OTOC


Dallas Area Interfaith Targets Districts, Boosts Voter Turnout, Makes Change

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Rinaldi's district in northwest Dallas County was one of five targeted by Dallas-Area Interfaith, a group that organized canvassing and phone banks to pump up voter turnout.

At an election night watch party at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Dallas, a television report flashed on the screen and showed that Rinaldi was losing. Lily Rodriguez (in photo at right) shouted out: “Why don’t you call immigration now?”

Rodriguez said she had quietly fumed when Rinaldi called ICE on protesters, but took action and began pushing parishioners at another Catholic church to vote.

She’d talked to them about the size of the Hispanic population, which in Dallas County is 40 percent and larger than any other group. “Hispanics are the majority and we continue to think like minorities,” Rodriguez said.

Interfaith organizer Socorro Perales said members were determined to get more people to the polls. Two weeks before polling began, the nonpartisan group held a community event at a church that brought in 2,000 people and five candidates, all Democrats.

“They are learning to organize, strategize, and this actually works,” Perales said.

All five candidates won, including Colin Allred, the Democrat who beat Republican incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions, a staunch ally of Trump, in the District 32 race for Congress.

Perales said she didn’t go after the low hanging fruit — those registered who had previously voted. Instead, she sifted through lists of registered voters who didn’t vote in the last election.

“They are just not used to voting,” Perales said. “There are enough registered voters and, if we can broaden the base, we can win. And we did.”

[Photo Credit: Ashley Landis, Dallas Morning News]

Latinos Could Turn Texas Blue in 2020 if Enthusiasm Holds, Some Say, Dallas Morning News [pdf]


Texas IAF Targets Hottest State, Federal Races in Suburban Texas

In a move to shift the makeup of the state legislature, Texas IAF organizations reached into suburbs surrounding Texas’ largest cities to assemble by the thousands in political, nonpartisan assemblies to help leaders wrest commitments from candidates for state and federal office. Having witnessed candidate responses to locally-developed agendas, which span from local control to Texas school finance and federal immigration reform, leaders are now mobilizing their neighbors to Get Out The Vote.

In North Dallas, for example, two thousand DAI leaders -- many from Carrollton and Farmers Branch -- invited candidates for House Districts 114, 115, 105 and 107, and Congressional District 32, to commit to investing public funds in local labor market intermediaries, crafting immigration reform that would end the separation of children from their parents at the border (and include protections for DACA youth), cracking down on predatory lending, and repealing Senate Bill 4. Hundreds more from Austin and Hayes County challenged candidates for US Congressional Districts 25 and 21, and State House Districts 47, 45 and 136 to publicly pledge support for similar priorities, including the defense of local control over municipal housing and labor policy. In Helotes, just outside of San Antonio, COPS / Metro leaders carted out boxes with thousands of postcard pledges by voters to participate in the election of US Representative for Congressional District 23, which extends to the outskirts of El Paso, and State Representative for House Districts 117 and 118. In Houston, TMO organized assemblies with candidates for US Congressional District 7 and 29; House Districts 144, 133, and 135; and Senate District 17.

Already, unpaid armies of organizational leaders have knocked on thousands of doors and called thousands more to remind supporters and voters to participate in the midterm elections. Last weekend, for example, Austin Interfaith leaders knocked on doors in three counties, four legislative districts and 2 congressional districts. This weekend, all Texas IAF organizations are making a final push -- from the pews, inside health clinics and in long-neglected neighborhoods -- to ensure the highest turnout possible in support of their agenda.

Leaders understand that targeted voter engagement efforts following accountability assemblies help advance their agenda. This year alone, local Texas IAF organizations succeeded in raising municipal wage floors in San Antonio and Austin to $15 per hour; leveraging the support of Chief of Police Art Acevedo to make Houston the first city in Texas to support a gun safety strategy; and preventing unnecessary deportations through widespread adoption of identification cards generated by parishes within the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.

Texas’ Minority GOP Voters: Republican Allies Have Vanished, McClatchy

Activist Groups COPS and Metro Alliance Spreading Message to the Suburbs, WOAI

Austin Interfaith Hosts Large Gathering of 2018 Midterms Election Candidates, KVUE

Candidates Share Platform at Assembly, Austin American Statesman

Why Dallas Republicans Skipped an Interfaith Forum, Rewire.News

To Help Immigrants Feel Safer Around Police, Some Churches Start Issuing IDs, NPR

DAI Accountability Forum [Video]


Working Together Jackson Leaders Call for End to Hate, Anti-Semitism

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Faith leaders gathered Monday at the Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson to call for the end to hate in the wake of Saturday’s massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Jewish, Islamic and Christian leaders prayed for tolerance in the same synagogue that members of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi bombed in 1967....

“Although this horrific attack did not take place in Mississippi, we understand that Mississippi is not far from the history where terror was used to incite fear and where people were murdered because of their differences,” Working Together Jackson said in a statement....

At the Beth Israel gathering, Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church of Jackson said he was here to “let this city know that we stand with our brothers and sisters.”

If anyone comes after the Jewish community, “you won’t just come after this congregation, you will come after all of us,” he said. He declared, “We Stand Together.”

The crowd joined him in the chant, and he told them, “we’re going to overcome every horrible, demonic circumstance that comes forward.”

After Synagogue Shooting, Mississippi Leaders Call For End to Hate, Anti-SemitismClarion-Ledger


2,000 DAI Leaders Descend on Hottest State, Congressional Races in Texas

On Sunday, October 14th 2,000 leaders and parishioners from Dallas Area Interfaith assembled at the Christian Chapel Temple of Faith to challenge candidates from the Texas Tribune’s 2018 Hotlist, including Texas House Districts 105, 107, 114, and 115, and US Congressional District 32. Republican and Democratic candidates for Coppell, Richardson, and Dallas Independent School District School Board positions also participated.

At the assembly, DAI leaders publicly challenged each candidate to, if elected, commit to working with them on immigration, job training, expansion of healthcare, payday lending, and public education. All participating candidates, including local Republican candidates, publicly committed to partner with DAI leaders in supporting and / or crafting policy in these areas.  One journalist reported that “in a city that’s sharply segregated by race and class, the forum was a rare example of cohesive pluralism.”

The assembly and Get Out The Vote actions are the culmination of a two-year campaign on behalf of the families and communities of Dallas. Less than a year ago, DAI leaders successfully negotiated with Police officers of the cities of Dallas, Farmers Branch, and Carrollton to accept Catholic Parishes ID’s as a form of identification. For immigrant families, having a photo ID could help prevent deportation. Since then, the parish ID strategy spread to the East Coast through DAI’s sister organization in Baltimore, BUILD. Leaders from BUILD testified at the October 14th assembly that Baltimore police officers have committed to accepting the IDs as a valid form of identification.

Since then, leaders have pushed forward with parish-based Get Out The Vote walks across the Dallas area, knocking on hundreds of doors so far and contacting thousands of voters by phone. DAI has also partnered with the business community in a joint press conference to encourage voters to participate in the midterm elections.

DAI Accountability Voter Forum [video]

Texas' Minority GOP Voters: Republican Allies Have Vanished, McClatchy

Why Dallas Republicans Skipped an Interfaith Forum, Rewire.News

Archdiocese of Baltimore Will Offer ‘Parish ID’ to Immigrants and Others Who Have Trouble Obtaining Legal ID, Washington Post

To Help Immigrants Feel Safer Around Police, Some Churches Start Issuing IDs, NPR

Texas 2018 Hotlist: The Most Competitive Races in Texas’ Midterm Election, Texas Tribune

From Levi’s to Southwest Airlines to Walmart, Business Tries to Turn Out The Vote, Dallas Morning News


COPS / Metro Fights for Children's Playground at Beacon Hill Academy

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Victoria Cavazos, of Communities Organized for Public Service Metro Alliance, has a daughter in kindergarten at Beacon Hill Academy. Cavazos said the old building is not only cutting into the children's green space, but as of April, the children haven't been allowed to use the playground.

"The district had an assessment done of the building, and because of the hazard of the building, they put a fence around, not only the perimeter of the building, but it also includes the playground," Cavazos said.

SAISD spokeswoman Leslie Price said the district has no need for the building and it would be extremely expensive to restore. In fact, the district has requested a demolition permit from the city.

"We'd really like to demolish the building to give children the space that they deserve," Cavazos said.

"We've worked with a lot of different people and a lot of groups to try and get that money," said Michelle Ricondo, of COPS Metro Alliance. "But no one has come forward with the money to renovate the building."

SAISD, City At Odds Over Fate of Old Elementary School, KSAT [pdf]



West / Southwest IAF Organizations

Northwest IAF Organizations