Click here for West/Southwest IAF Key Victories in 2023

Celebrating 25th Anniversary of Capital Idea

500 ACTION Tulsa Leaders Secure Commitments from School Bd. Candidates

Months before the election for several Tulsa Public School Board seats, 500 leaders from 14 institutional members of ACTION Tulsa assembled to establish a public relationship with school board candidates and press them to work with the organization on issues surfaced through several hundred conversations among parents, grandparents and students.  

Parent leaders like Dania Gaona, told stories around lack of safety for young students walking to school, mental health, teacher support and campus safety.  

In Gaona's case, because her three daughters live within 1.5 miles of the school, they are not eligible for bus service.  With no crossing guards at busy street intersections, Gaona says her family Ubers to school, but that "we have many children who walk unsupervised to MacArthur across the busy intersection.”

Most candidates publicly committed to collaborate with Tulsa ACTION leaders, who pressed candidates on behalf of their schools, congregation and neighborhoods.  The assembly was part of a large-scale effort to build nonpartisan citizen power with the capacity to improve conditions in the community.

After the meeting Tulsa ACTION leader Claire Tomm declared, 

"I hope [people] leave feeling inspired to get out and vote in April, and to get more involved, and most importantly just to strike up a conversation with neighbors, community members about what matters."

[Photo Credit: Elizabeth Caldwell, Public Radio Tulsa]

Nonpartisan Group Urges School Leaders to Focus on Family PrioritiesTulsa World [pdf]

Candidates for Tulsa Public School Board Meet to Hear Citizen ConcernsPublic Radio Tulsa [pdf]

Tulsa Public Schools' Board Candidates Hold Forum at University of TulsaNewson6 [pdf]

Vatican official Dr. Emilce Cuda tours West Side with COPS/Metro

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and Dr. Emilce Cuda take a song break during a COPS/Metro dinner last week.

On Feb. 19 and Feb. 20, COPS/Metro leaders welcomed the Vatican's Emilce Cuda, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, for a tour of San Antonio's West Side, followed by a two-day conversation about faith, organizing, and the role of the Catholic Church in confronting the crises facing its communities. Cuda began the visit by touring neighborhoods transformed by the parishes and congregations of COPS/Metro over the last 50 years. On the agenda were the Alazan Creek drainage project, parks, dozens of miles of sidewalks and streets, housing developments for senior citizens, the Texas Diabetes Center, and Project QUEST. It would be impossible to show everything COPS leaders and parishes have done in one day or even a week, but leaders told a few stories to help paint the picture of how ordinary people have accomplished extraordinary things. Quoted in Crux Magazine, Cuda said, “[Francis] said the way to arrive to a better life is better politics, and the better politics to him is a social dialogue, and my work is how to help to his agenda.”
Read the full article in Crux Magazine here.


TWM Fights for Expansion of Childcare Funding in Kent County

After publicly calling on Kent County to put expanded support of childcare on the upcoming November ballot, 120 Together West Michigan leaders, including multiple religious pastors, piled into a County Commissioners meeting to reinforce that call. 

Parents, grandparents, clergy and supportive members of the community asked, "How are the children?" before demanding that Kent County allow voters to decide on a millage that would finance the expansion of childcare services for residents.  

Advocates Call for Expanded Childcare FundingWZZM 13 News

EPISO/Border Interfaith Stands with Annunciation House

Leaders of EPISO and Border Interfaith join with a large and united group of organizations across El Paso in opposing Attorney General Ken Paxton’s attacks on Annunciation House, an organization that has been tirelessly serving migrants for decades. Migrants and those who serve them should be treated with dignity and respect, not scapegoated and persecuted for short-term political gain.

EPISO and Border Interfaith represent a broad-based coalition of churches, schools, nonprofits and neighborhood associations. Leaders from across our organization have been active volunteers with migrant shelters in El Paso and know first-hand the invaluable support that Annunciation House and others offer migrants on their difficult journey.

Statement in Support of Annunciation House, Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso

Catholic Church Will Not Be Intimidated by Ken Paxton's Threats to Annunciation House, Bishop Seitz SaysEl Paso Matters [pdf]

Vatican Official Dr. Emilce Cuda Joins COPS/Metro & West/Southwest IAF for Dialogue About Organizing

COPS/Metro Alliance leaders welcomed the Vatican's Emilce Cuda, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, for a tour of San Antonio's West Side, followed by a two-day conversation about faith, organizing, and the role of the Catholic Church in confronting the crises facing its communities.


Cuda met with local parish leaders and organizers, and toured neighborhoods that have been transformed by the work of the COPS/Metro Alliance in developing neighborhood infrastructure, housing, health care, job training programs, and other economic development measures....

Meeting with organizations like the COPS/Metro Alliance, as well as other communities/organizations in the United States, Cuda said, is helpful to this mission because they’re able to share best practices for and approaches to community organizing....Cuda said that this push for community organizing is in line with the agenda of Francis.

“[Francis] said the way to arrive to a better life is better politics, and the better politics to him is a social dialogue, and my work is how to help to his agenda, so to open different ways to build bridges, to start a social dialogue between people that have a different interest and different necessities.”

Vatican Official Says Pope Francis Will Cause New Social Dialogue in ArgentinaCrux Catholic Media [pdf]

VIP Advances 'Yes in God's Backyard' Legislation for Housing

[Excerpt] leaders and lawmakers from both sides... support two bills. The first: HB 2815, known as “Yes in Gods Back Yard”.

About HB2815, Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, Minister at Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation said, “Many of our congregations are sitting on unused land that they're eager to convert into affordable housing. This bill would adjust zoning to make it easier to do so. With restrictions on density to ensure projects fit with neighborhoods and requirements that the units be affordable to low- and middle-income people."

Then there’s HB2576. This would renew the state's low-income tax credit.  Both bills work to address a long-term affordable housing solution while leveraging private equity.

Religious Leaders Calling on State Lawmakers to Address Housing CrisisABC 15 [pdf]

Religious Institutions Want AZ Law to Allow Low-Income Housing on Their PropertyKJZZ [pdf]

TMO Leaders Hold Press Conference Calling on Governor Abbott to Overturn Concrete Crusher Permit

On Friday February 16th, TMO leaders gathered a press conference to call on Governor Greg Abbott to overturn the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) permit that would allow construction of a concrete crushing facility next to the LBJ Hospital. Concrete crushers can have dire consequences for the communities that surround them including particle and noise pollution, damaged roads, and cracked windshields. Houston Public Media warns that the risks of fine particle exposure can include "elevated levels of heart disease, stroke, asthma, cancer and other respiratory issues."

To sign the petition and voice your support, click here.

Press Conference [video]

Community Leaders Urge Greg Abbott to Reverse Permit for Concrete Crushing Plant Near LBJ HospitalHouston Public Media [pdf]

Community Organizers Ask Governor to Pump the Breaks on Concrete-Crushing FacilityHouston Press [pdf]

Houston Religious Leaders Protest Concrete Crushing Plant near Hospital, [pdf]

Religious Leaders Join Opposition Against Proposed Concrete Plant by LBJ Hospital, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

CCG Fights for Healthy Meals in Jeffco Schools

Coloradans for the Common Good, including Jeffco Education Support Professionals Assoc. (JESPA), called on the Jeffco Board of Education to honor their commitments to promote healthy meals and end outsourcing of special ed transportation.

CCG Statement to the Jeffco Board of Education

Valley Interfaith Celebrates VIDA Job Training Successes

Urges More Cities and Counties to Invest in VIDA

Valley Interfaith leaders Rosalie Tristan and Joe Hinojosa celebrated VIDA's recent fundraising success as the culmination of 28 years of dreams and hard political work.  Almost three decades ago, Valley Interfaith established and, over the years, sustained the labor market intermediary to help transform jobs in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Valley Interfaith Leaders Proud of VIDA's SuccessRio Grande Guardian