Click here for West/Southwest IAF Key Victories in 2022

COPS/Metro Builds on Momentum from Convocation with Recognizing the Stranger Training

On Saturday April 15th, over 200 people from 41 institutions and 6 deaneries participated in 'Recognizing the Stranger' parish leadership training in collaboration with the Archdiocese of San Antonio.  The session was conducted in English and in Spanish, and included 15 clergy and two bishops.  Spanish speaking leaders expressed a strong desire to organize their parishes.

A major theme developed over the course of the sessions was that the Church is not a parking lot and that Mission is key element of the one's faith.  Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller told participants that the Church needs their leadership because clergy cannot do what lay leaders can.

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Together Baton Rouge's Success Spotlighted by The New Orleans Advocate


"Together Baton Rouge is often like that, bringing together a broad, often unlikely, mix of community members and groups to tackle a common goal.

In the group's 13-year history, it's taken on everything from closed bridges in underserved communities to powerful industrial tax exemptions. If the group identifies something that can help the community, no issue too large or too small is off the table....

"We're really about civic participation," Cage said. "We all have to trust each other before we can get things done.

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Together New Orleans Opens First Two Community Lighthouses, Lighting Way for Future Shelters


"Community Lighthouse is an initiative of Together New Orleans, a coalition of 54 faith- and community-based organizations aiming to address issues ranging from access to healthy food to criminal justice reform. Organizers say they will have two more resiliency hubs up and running over the next three months, for a total of 16 by the peak of the 2023 hurricane season."

[Photo Credit: The New Orleans Advocate]

Two New Orleans Neighborhoods Get Solarpowered Shelters for When Electricity FailsThe New Orleans Advocate [pdf]

Texas IAF Rally Takes On "Vampire" Chapter 313 Legislation


A surprising legislative success in 2021 is on track to be undone in 2023, unless a grass roots left-right coalition can block legislation and the forces behind it that are trying to go backward....

In the name of jobs and economic development, a 2012 tax code trick called Chapter 313 essentially funneled state money, via school district property tax breaks, to private companies doing new industrial construction. The school districts that granted tax breaks under Chapter 313 were reimbursed — and many still are being reimbursed — by the state, meaning we as taxpayers reimbursed them. It was the ultimate insider game of channeling public benefit to private companies.

The [Texas] Industrial Areas Foundation cleverly brought a man dressed as Dracula to its rally to dramatize how Chapter 313 unfairly drained school districts of funds and that reviving this bad economic development deal would be akin to raising the undead.

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TMO Builds on Recognizing the Stranger Convocation with "One Body" Training


About 80 people representing multiple local Catholic churches and other denominations met at All Saints Catholic Church in the Heights with training sessions in English and Spanish on being called to be “One Body.” They also learned how to lead small groups and listen to identify new leaders. They focused on practical measures such as “pressures on families”....

Sister Maureen O’Connell, OP, Archdiocesan director for the secretariat of social concerns, said,

“Historically, people have seen the Church as a refuge. But that has eroded. Now we need to go out to the people and help them with their issues of education, transportation, and housing.”

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Valley Interfaith: Tax Breaks Should Not Be Paid For w/Funds That Could Go to Schools


In the attached audio interview, Rosalie Tristan and Joe Hinojosa, both organizers with Valley Interfaith, Joe Higgs from IAF, and Bob Fleming, an organizer with The Metropolitan Organization of Houston, say tax breaks for large corporations should not be paid for with monies that would otherwise go to public education. 

[Photos: Rosalie Tristan (left), Joe Hinojosa (holding sign in center) and Bob Fleming (right)]

Valley Interfaith: Don't Suck Money Out of Public Education to Help Large Corporations, Rio Grande Guardian [audio] 

OTOC Partners with Nebraska Chamber for Immigration Reform


From downtown Omaha to the shadow of Scotts Bluff National Monument,... the chronic lack of in-state workers to fill jobs...brought an unusual pair of groups to North Platte Dec. 1 as they build a coalition of agricultural, business, health care, education, labor and community leaders from one end of the state to the other.

It sprang from months of talks between the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Omaha Together One Community, a 30-year-old, faith-based advocacy group that had mainly focused on social justice issues in its home city.

They say it’s time for Nebraska to aggressively recruit internationally to grow its workforce — in other words, welcome immigrants....

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DAI Leaders Confront Unbearable Apartment Conditions


On Wednesday, residents will join Dallas Area Interfaith, Bachman Lake Together and Lumin Education in a meeting with city officials to demand solutions to what they describe as “risky and unbearable living conditions” in many units.

“We are ready to speak up, and we are not scared anymore. All the things we went through are helping us to move forward,” said Claudia Cruz, 38, a mother of three children who lives in an apartment in the area. “We are not victims, we are organizers now, and we want the city and those in charge to work with us.”

[Photo Credit: Maria Ramos Pacheco, Dallas Morning News]

Dallas Tenants Counter ‘Unbearable’ ConditionsDallas Morning News [pdf]



'Recognizing the Stranger' Convocation Commemorates 5-Year Organizing Strategy

Over 300 leaders, clergy, religious, and bishops from 20 organizations gathered last week in San Antonio to celebrate five years of Recognizing the Stranger, a West/Southwest IAF training, leadership formation, and parish organizing strategy. 

The Convocation was highlighted by a video message from Pope Francis, who offered his “closeness and support” to the IAF network and its work to organize with immigrants and with those at the margins to encourage “participation of the Christian in public life.”  

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