Click here for West/Southwest IAF Key Victories in 2023

Recognizing the Stranger Video Spotlights Voices of Immigrants & Allies


150 Leaders Advance Agenda for the Common Good in Jeffco Schools

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, Coloradans for the Common Good (CCG) convened a Jefferson County Public School Board Candidate Forum with over 150 leaders countywide, including district Education Support Professionals and other educators, parents, students, religious leaders, and community supporters. Wednesday's gathering was the county's largest School Board Candidate event this election season. Attendees secured commitments from candidates to work with CCG on proposals concerning the understaffing and the district generating millions of dollars, selling unhealthy snacks to students, and others. The full agenda can be seen here

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COPS/Metro Calls for Gun Reform & Involvement in 'Memorial to the Lost'

[Excerpt]

COPS/Metro Alliance is calling for people to participate in the Memorial to the Lost, which aims to recognize all the lives lost to gun violence in Bexar County over the last five years....

Organizers hope to line the streets surrounding the Alamodome with the T-shirts ahead of and during the gun buyback, Pastor Robert Mueller of Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church told the San Antonio Report last week. They also hope it will spread to other major Texas cities, and they plan to take the shirts to the state capitol to advocate for gun control legislation.

“Almost three-quarters of voters of every persuasion support about three to four common gun safety laws that are not about taking guns away from anybody,” said Mueller, who is a member of COPS/Metro Alliance.

“It’s about elevating the responsibility of gun ownership.”

[Photo Credit: Mark Felix, AFP via Getty Images]

Faith Groups Step Up to Work on San Antonio's Gun Violence ProblemSan Antonio Report [pdf]

Guns for Groceries: San Antonio Aims to Take Weapons Off the Street in Exchange for Gift CardsSan Antonio Express News



Pope Meets West/Southwest IAF Leaders Building 'Culture of Solidarity'

[Excerpt]

When Pope Francis told a group of U.S. community organizers that their work was "atomic," Jorge Montiel said, "I thought, 'Oh, you mean we blow things up?'"

But instead, the pope spoke about how the groups associated with the West/Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation in the United States take issues patiently, "atom by atom," and end up building something that "penetrates" and changes entire communities, said Montiel, an IAF organizer in Colorado and New Mexico.

Pope Francis' hourlong meeting Sept. 14 with 15 delegates from the group was a follow-up to a similar meeting a year ago. Neither meeting was listed on the pope's official schedule and, the delegates said, both were conversations, not "audiences."

"It was relaxed, it was engaging," said Joe Rubio, national co-director of IAF.  "Often you don't see that even with parish priests," he told Catholic News Service Sept. 15, garnering the laughter of other delegates.

Pope Meets US Leaders Patiently Building Culture of SolidarityUS Conference of Catholic Bishops / Catholic News Service [pdf]

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EPISO/Border Interfaith Leads Public Outcry Against City Project that Threatens to Demolish Local Homes



[Excerpt]

“Our community has heard from hundreds of residents who are opposed to this route, and many have just learned in the last few weeks that their homes may potentially be lost,” said Lorena Silvestre, a leader with EPISO/Border Interfaith and local resident.

“Of the three routes proposed, this one clearly hurts the most people who are elderly, Spanish-speaking and on limited income. These are families that built their homes with their own hands. We do not accept the argument that this is the “best route” to alleviate traffic.

This is just the route [the City of Socorro] thinks people will not fight back. They are wrong."

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OTOC Leaders Honor Labor Day by Collecting Signatures


VOICE OKC Spotlights Unjust Burden Fees Place on Low-Income Offenders

[Excerpt]

"VOICE — Voices Organized in Civic Engagement — reports that the poorest Oklahomans inevitably fall behind on their payments and are victim to an endless cycle of bench warrants, arrests, driver’s license suspensions and incarceration, thus exacerbating the state’s incarceration problem.

Many offenders can only afford a public offender[sic], cannot afford bail and are only given the evidence against them 10 days before trial. Thus, 95% of charges are pleaded out regardless of a person’s guilt, according to VOICE...

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Together West Michigan Secures Adoption of 10% Homeownership Goal in County Housing Fund

[Excerpt]

“What I would say to those in Together West Michigan: If your hope was to ensure that homeownership was a priority and focus, you have succeeded.”

Commissioner Stephen Wooden’s comment was one of many acknowledgements Together West Michigan (TWM) won on August 10 from Kent County commissioners as they voted on the rules for the county’s new Affordable Housing Revolving Loan Fund.  Because of TWM’s months of work, the fund includes a goal that 10% of the affordable units be owned by families, rather than rented.

10% Ownership Goal Included In County’s Affordable Housing Fund, Together West Michigan

Kent County Launching $58M Affordable Housing Loan Program, MLive [pdf]

Kent County to Launch Affordable Housing Revolving Loan Fund with Initial $58M, Crain's Grand Rapids Business [pdf]

TWM Leader Testimony, Kent County Commissioners Court [video from 02:30]

More TWM Testimony, Kent County Commissioners Court [video from 18:00]


DAI Tenant Leaders at Bachman Lake Get the Attention They Deserve

Leaking faucets, holes in the floor, and rats running across children's feet at night.  An apartment manager refusing to start repairs without proof of US citizenship.  These are just some of the conditions that leaders of Bachman Lake apartments, like Iris Romo and Ericka Ventura, unearthed in a neighborhood conversation campaign.

When tenant leaders at Lumin Bachman Lake Community School began to share these stories, the city didn't take them seriously.  However, Dallas Area Interfaith (DAI) leaders knew that this was unacceptable.  After all, they had been instrumental in the development of housing standards that were now being violated. In 2016, DAI had compelled the City of Dallas to impose these standards, and the tenant leaders had been a key part of that effort.

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