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Together New Orleans Engages Neighborhood Around Vaccinations with Help of Church, Music and Food

[Excerpt]

The event was held at St. Maria Gorretti Catholic Church, in a neighborhood in New Orleans East with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the city at just under 7 percent as of March 31. For two weeks canvassers from Together Louisiana walked the area’s streets, handing out flyers and attempting to make appointments for people who hadn’t already been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

For the group’s last canvassing effort, they brought along the band.

As demand for COVID-19 vaccine declines, public health officials say on-the-ground efforts like this are what’s needed....For canvassers Mimi Ayers and Katie Perry, engagement looks like sharing their vaccination stories whenever people they encounter have questions about the experience.  “I'll say, ‘I got vaccinated. I did the Moderna shot. Here were my symptoms.’ Because I think it helps a lot for them to have a real person in front of them who's taken it. One person actually [told me] that,” Perry said.

...The Together Louisiana approach is derived from the organization’s efforts to engage voters during elections. The nonprofit is a partner in the Louisiana Department of Health’s “Bring Back Louisiana” campaign to reach herd immunity against the coronavirus....

“What can make something exciting more than food and music, particularly for New Orleans?” Lloyd of Together Louisiana said. “When you went canvassing and told people, ‘Hey, we're having this event, come on out, anyone who comes out can get vaccinated, and we're also going to have fish and a brass band, people's faces lit up.”...Together Louisiana plans to host another event at St. Maria Gorretti on May 29 to provide second shots for patients who got first doses on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Bobbi-Jeanne Misick, New Orleans Public Radio

The Latest Phase of Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Is Slow, Deliberate and on the Ground, New Orleans Public Radio [pdf]


CCG Leaders Raise Flag About Bias in School Accountability System

"I have seen firsthand how this accountability system targets neighborhood schools and our students of color,” said Germaine Padberg-Ludlow, a Denver elementary teacher and member of Coloradans for the Common Good, a coalition of community, union and faith groups supporting the audit.

Padberg-Ludlow previously taught at Denver’s John Amesse Elementary School, which was closed and then reopened with new leadership over the objections of parents and teachers. At the time, Denver Public Schools had its own rating system and a more aggressive school closure process than required by state law. She said the system drives teacher turnover, forcing students to build new relationships and widening achievement gaps.

Colorado School Accountability Audit Moves Forward, Chalkbeat [pdf]


DAI Calls Shelter Conditions for Migrant Teens a 'Humanitarian Crisis'

[Excerpts]

Some of the dozen people familiar with the conditions who spoke to The Dallas Morning News about the center say the management of the boys’ asylum cases seems chaotic, with boys unclear about processes such as their pending family reunions, deportation cases, or why they are being held.

“This is a humanitarian crisis in the convention center,”

said Josephine Lopez-Paul, Dallas Area Interfaith’s lead organizer, who did volunteer work at the convention center. Like others interviewed, Lopez-Paul was taken aback by the number of children, mostly from Guatemala and Honduras, kept in one massive gray hall of the convention center, their metal cots in neat rows.

The Dallas center was initially billed as a “decompression center” for children, and after it opened on March 17, it quickly filled to capacity, about 2,300 boys ages 13 to 17.

But many who have worked or volunteered there have described the pop-up detention center as inadequate and depressing for the children, though they acknowledge it’s better than conditions at the Border Patrol sites where they are initially processed after crossing the border seeking asylum in the U.S.

[Photo Credit: Dallas Visitor's Bureau]

Worries Rise About the Welfare of Migrant Teens in Dallas Emergency ShelterDallas Morning News [pdf]

Migrant Teens Held in Dallas Convention Center Feel Imprisoned, Dallas Observer [pdf]

Advocates Worried for Migrant Teens at Improvised Shelter, Arkansas Democrat Gazette [pdf]


AMOS Chronicles Olympian Story Behind New Olympic-Trial Skatepark

[Excerpt]

The Rev. Bill Cotton wasn’t sure he was seeing what he was seeing. As a civil rights leader, the longtime pastor of Grace United Methodist in Des Moines, and founding member of the grassroots organization AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy), he had seen a lot. But he never thought he would see a teenager on the roof of one of his two adjoining church garages attempt to jump the gap between them on a skateboard. Fortunately, the skater made the jump, Bill didn’t have a heart attack, and he did what everyone does to annoying skateboarders — he shooed them away.

Little did Bill, who has since died, know that those skaters, from his own congregation, would join AMOS and start a revolution in Des Moines.

The skaters were part of the Grace United Methodist Church youth group, and when AMOS organized a large-scale community listening campaign, they met with that youth group and heard of the need for a first-class skatepark in Des Moines. That led AMOS to Callanan Middle School’s newly formed skateboard club, where they heard more of the same. The AMOS adults challenged the youth to organize a presentation to Des Moines’ mayor and City Council at an upcoming AMOS Issues Assembly....

[Photo Credit: Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines]

Des Moines Lauridsen Skatepark: Tracing a 17-year Journey, From a Nuisance to a Metro TreasureDes Moines Register [pdf]

There From the Beginning: Lauridsen SkateparkDes Moines Community Foundation [video] 

 


Incumbents Who Participated in COPS/Metro Accountability Assembly Win Re-election. Non-Incumbent Candidates Advance to Runoff

[Excerpts]

"At a recent 'accountability session' staged by the influential COPS/Metro organization, candidates were asked to commit to a number of positions, including several regarding police discipline. A key one was this: “Would the candidates “commit to only voting in support of a police contract that does the following: Ensures that the chief can hold officers accountable and that arbitrators will only have the ability to rule on the facts of the case, and not be able to overturn officer disciplinary action?”
Saying yes were the mayor, three incumbent council members who won reelection Saturday, both candidates in two runoffs, and the candidates who led in two other runoffs. That’s eight of the 11 council members. The other three, for districts 8, 9, and 10, did not participate in the COPS/Metro event."

Rick Casey: A Very Strange Election in San Antonio, San Antonio Report


In 'Act of Love,' VIP Engages 500 Neighbors Ahead of Vaccination Clinic

[Excerpt]

Monica Dorsey said about 500 homes in Maryvale were visited on Saturday and that she "absolutely" believes the effort will translate into higher vaccination rates.

She said the goal is to vaccinate between 1,500 and 1,800 people through May, adding that it is the "best feeling in the world" to know that Maryvale, and the larger Phoenix area, would be safer because of it.

Dorsey said the door-to-door efforts are also a key part in disseminating vaccine information, adding that "personal contact seems to make so much of a difference."

"Everybody is convinced social media is the way to reach people, but if you want to really, really reach them, you have to see them, talk to them, find out what's on their mind, hear their stories," she said. "It's so important and it is effective and we'll stay at it until percentages get where they need to be."

[Photo Credit: Drake Presto, The Republic]


VIP, with Daughters of Charity, Brings Covid-19 Vaccines to Neighborhood & Knocks On Doors to Invite Residents

Valley Interfaith Project (VIP) leaders, with the Daughters of Charity Sisters at St. Elizabeth and St. Cabrini Catholic Churches have begun knocking on doors and talking about the vaccine with residents around St. Vincent de Paul Church to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to get vaccinated.

[Photo Credit: Univision]

Invitan a la Comunidad a Vacunarse Contra el Coronavirus este 5 de Mayo en el Condado Maricopa, Univision [Video]


COPS/Metro Draws 600 Leaders Online for Accountability Session with Candidates for City Office

[Excerpt from San Antonio Express-News]

More than 600 San Antonio community members tuned in to a virtual accountability session where city politicians and candidates addressed police reform, workforce development, education and February’s power outages.

Communities Organized for Public Service and the Metro Alliance, or COPS/Metro, hosted the session Sunday in the runup for the city election May 1. Early voting starts Monday.

Nearly 40 incumbents and challengers running for mayor, city council and San Antonio Independent School District board seats joined the conversation....

COPS/Metro Assembly Draws Virtual Crowd of 600 to Quiz San Antonio CandidatesSan Antonio Express-News [pdf]

VideoNOWCastSA


Texas IAF, Bishops, Faithful Call on Lt. Governor and Senate to Reject 'Permitless Carry' Legislation

Bishops, rabbis, clergy and faithful from across Texas convened to express vocal opposition to the passage of proposed legislation HB1927 which would allow "permitless carry" in the state of Texas.

Catholic Bishop Mark Seitz referenced the massacre in El Paso which resulted in dozens of residents dead and seriously injured. Baptist Rev. Darryl Crooms from San Antonio testified to the "unnaturalness" of adults burying children.  Lutheran Rev. Jessica Cain testified to the impact of last weekend's shooting in North Austin on local worshippers.  Rabbi David Lyon recalled last year's deadly shooting in Santa Fe High School.

Together -- with Lutheran Bishop Erik Gronberg, Episcopal Bishop Suffragan Kathryn Ryan, Methodist Director of Missional Outreach Andy Lewis, Dallas Catholic Bishop Gregory Kelly and several lay leaders -- all expressed concern that passage of HB1927 would increase gun violence.  States that have passed similar laws, removing the required license and training needed to carry a handgun, experienced spikes in homicides and gun violence.

“Our faith tradition teaches us to protect life,” said Bishop Suffragan Kathryn M. Ryan of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. “You cannot protect life if people carrying deadly weapons aren’t properly trained and licensed.

"You’ll find no scripture that will support this kind of legislation,” said Pastor John Ogletree, First Metropolitan Church of Houston. 

“It makes our church much less safe,” said El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz.

Video of Press Conference

Texas Faith Leaders Come Out Against 'Permitless Carry'CBS Austin [pdf]

Bishop Mark J. Seitz, Other Religious Leaders Oppose Bill That Would Ease Carrying of GunsEl Paso Times [pdf]

Religious Leaders Speak Against Texas Bill That Could Allow You to Carry Gun Without LicenseABC13 Houston [pdf]

Group of Texas State Leaders Say They're Opposed to Permitless CarryFOX KDFW

El Paso Bishop, Gun Store Weigh In On Texas 'Constitutional Carry' Bill DebateKFOX14 [pdf]

Esto Opinan Líderes Religiosos en Tejas Sobre la Propuesta Legislativa de Portar Armas Sin LicenciaUnivision Dallas 


COPA-Powered Community Health Workers Reach 10,000+ Immigrants & Workers

[Excerpt]

[At the beginning of the pandemic] members of community groups 'Mujeres en Acción' and 'Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action' (COPA) began meeting twice a week at the onset of the pandemic to figure out what community needs were after seeing the virus negatively impact their neighborhoods. They began making hundreds of phone calls to locals, going to their respective churches, schools and other places of gathering, building a list and figuring out what people needed to stay safe – and financially afloat – as the pandemic progressed.

“What we were finding is people almost knew that they have symptoms or believed that they were infected but they couldn’t afford to stay home,” says Maria Elena Manzo, program manager for Mujeres en Acción....

Organizers made a list of things they believed were needed to slow the spread of the virus in the hard-hit farmworker community. The list included better communication from employers about potential exposure and wage replacement for those who miss work due to self-quarantine.

Organizers met with Monterey County Health [officials, and] later began working with a wider group of community leaders, including representatives from the agriculture and hospitality industries and Community Foundation for Monterey County, called the Covid-19 Collaborative.

In December 2020, they presented to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, who voted to approve a $4.9 million budget for a community health worker program. That program, called VIDA (for Virus Integrated Distribution of Aid), is currently funding over 110 community health workers across 10 organizations, Mujeres en Acción among them, to provide resources to people in the communities that are hardest hit. One of the groups, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, is providing information in Triqui, Zapoteco and Mixteco, indigenous languages from the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero in Mexico that are all spoken in Monterey County.

“One way to stop the spread was to hire people from the community as trusted messengers to talk to people to help them understand the need of being safe, using masks and distancing and all that,” Manzo says.

[Photo Credit: Jose Angel Juarez/Monterey County Weekly]

Fielding A Virus-The Agricultural Season is Ramping Up For the Second Time During a Pandemic. Is the County Ready?, Monterey County Weekly [pdf]