Click here for West/Southwest IAF Key Victories in 2023

South Texas College of Law Recognizes Texas IAF Leader, Pastor John D. Ogletree

Long considered a "champion for God's people and justice" by his peers, Pastor John D. Ogletree received some well-deserved coverage by South Texas College of Law in Houston.  As the founding pastor of First Metropolitan Church, his leadership with TMO, Texas IAF and the regional network of the West/Southwest IAF has been catalytic.

[Photo Credit: South Texas College of Law - Houston]

Community Icon, STCL Houston Alumnus Forges Pathway to Justice and RedemptionSouth Texas College of Law - Houston [pdf]

CCG, Allies Secure City Subpoena Power to Go After Wage Theft in Denver, CO

On this International Worker's Day, Coloradans for the Common Good (CCG) leaders, led by members of Centro de los Trabajadores, and labor allies celebrated a major step forward in the protection of immigrant workers. 

At the urging of CCG and labor allies, Denver City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to extend subpoena power to the Denver Auditor in matters of wage investigations. Companies accused of wage theft may no longer simply pay a small fine and move on when accused.  This power means stronger enforcement of Denver's wage protections and more money for the workers who earned it.

This victory was built on hundreds of conversations with immigrant workers who shared painful stories of wage theft and disrespect in the workplace. 

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US Catholic: Community Organizing is Synodality in Action


Ortencia Ramirez, a member of OneLA (a local IAF group) started organizing in her parish because “all my life, I saw the struggles in my community,” she says. One day at church, a man who was involved in organizing made an announcement that resonated with Ramirez: “He said, ‘I wanted to make a difference, I just didn’t know how. I knew in my faith that I should be doing more for our community, but I didn’t know where to start.’ ”

Ramirez has been organizing for close to 20 years. “What’s kept me interested after all these years in organizing is the difference that I see that it makes in our community in L.A. County. I see the fruits of our labor,” she says. “The leadership training has helped me listen to people and take their issues on. It’s made me more of a public person because I’m very shy. Without my faith, I wouldn’t be doing community organizing.”....

Community Organizing Is Synodality in ActionUS Catholic [pdf]

Bishop Flores Exhorts 'Recognizing the Stranger' Gathering to Embrace Mission, Communion and Participation

Valley Interfaith's 'Recognizing the Stranger' training drew 82 ministry leaders from 15 local parishes in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  Bishop Daniel Flores delivered stirring remarks noting Pope Francis' constant reminders of three aspects of the synodal process to develop in parish life: communion, mission and participation.  Bishop Flores also emphasized that a transformed heart ("resurrected vision") seeks what, as a community, can be done to make life better and more human for those most vulnerable. 

Archbishop Coakley, VOICE Decry Overbroad Language of Anti-Immigrant HB 4156

On Thursday April 18th VOICE-OKC hosted a press conference denouncing the passage of HB 4156 and the way it opens the door for targeting members within Latino communities, regardless of their documented status.  Those in opposition include the Most Rev. Paul S Coakley, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Fr. Tim Luschen of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, the Rev. Dr. Lori Walke of Mayflower Congregational Church and 20 other pastors across the state.  

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Central Valley IAF Calls For Housing Where Infrastructure Already Exists


...the city’s own 2023 draft Housing Element (page 1E-2-36) concludes there is capacity within city limits for 46,392 new homes — on land with ready access to water, sewer, roads, and schools, and available right now to build the housing Fresno needs. We urge the [Building Industry Association] BIA and its member developers to take advantage of these opportunities to fill the gaps in our city with attractive housing for all families in Fresno.  This situation creates opportunity, too, for the City Council:

it’s time to focus on getting housing built in vacant and underused sites in all parts of Fresno.

That new focus should include supporting developers with the improved infrastructure and other incentives that will inspire them to build so that every Fresno family has a good roof over its head.

[Photo Credit: Craig Kohlruss, Fresno Bee]

Fresno May Grow to its Southeast, But At What Cost and Who Pays? This Needs More StudyFresno Bee [pdf]  

MOC Op-ed is Clarion Call for Living Wage Standard for In-Home Health Workers

[Photo Credit: Pexels]


For many neighbors, it is a top priority to stay in their Marin County homes as they age. Figuring out how to do so is a question keeping some of us up at night.

It was a focus of the Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) when it formed the Aging and Disability Team. The group is tasked with figuring out how to make that wish a reality. As a team member, I learned a lot.

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Texas IAF Featured in National Catholic Reporter


"Catholic social teaching isn't ideological," [Bob] Fleming said. "It says, 'Go out to the people, talk with them, understand them, let them tell you what's going on.' "

....[Sr. Pearl] Ceasar shares Fleming's sentiment about the compatibility of Texas IAF's work and Catholic social teaching. In the 1960s, she studied the documents of the Second Vatican Council, which she said greatly impacted her outlook on the responsibilities of individual Catholics and the Catholic Church.

"Vatican II didn't address the doctrines of the church; it addressed the relationships in the church and who we are to be as Catholics," Ceasar said. "Meaning that we are to be engaged with people, we are to be engaged in the community."

For 50 years, Texas IAF Organizing Group Has Drawn on Catholic RootsNational Catholic Reporter [pdf]

Catholic Herald: 'People of God' Should Thrive in Environment 'That Promotes Common Good'

In photo: Sister Maureen O’Connell, OP, Archdiocesan Director of Social Concerns, speaks at the podium in front of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Houston with other congregational and community leaders, including Auxiliary Bishop Italo Dell’Oro, CRS.


The historically African-American neighborhood inside Houston’s northern 610 Loop has held townhall meetings and protests since last year to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). But its Director approved a permit this past January for Texas Coastal Materials to build a concrete and rock crusher across the street mere yards away from the busy public hospital.

Now residents, state representatives and Church leaders hope a letter-writing campaign gathering thousands of signatures to Gov. Greg Abbott will help him to overturn the Standard Air Quality Permit 173296 given to the company.

Father Martin Eke, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in that neighborhood, said, “The company tells us it will not be a problem. But my parishioners and I live here in the community. The crushed gravel with its particulates will only add to the air pollution here.”

....[Sister Maureen O’Connell] added, “The letters reflect the commitment of the people of God and their desire to live and thrive in an environment that promotes the common good.”

Kashmere Gardens Community, Churches Protest Another Polluting CompanyThe Catholic Herald [pdf]

[Update: TCEQ's own Office of Public Interest Counsel (OPIC) finds that "good cause to overturn the ED’s decision exists, based on substantial evidence provided by the Movants that the entirety of the facility will not be located further than 440 yards from a school or place of worship."]

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez Dialogues with 200 One LA-IAF Leaders About the Eucharist and Its Connection to the Social Mission of the Church


Archbishop Jose H. Gomez met with One LA-IAF on March 12 for a two-hour conversation about the Eucharist and the social mission of the Catholic Church. The event was held at St. Brigid Catholic Church in South Los Angeles and approximately 200 One LA leaders were in attendance. Bishop Matthew Elshoff, Auxiliary Bishop for the Our Lady of Angels Pastoral Region also participated in the meeting, as did representatives from the Office of Life, Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Archbishop Jose Gomez Meets with One LA-IAFOne LA-IAF