As the "largest gathering of community members in the Central Coast region," 600 COPA leaders modeled what democracy looks like by assembling its members from diverse religious, economic and ethnic backgrounds to celebrate what they've done over the previous 15 years and to lay out an agenda moving forward. Guests included Congressman Jimmy Panetta, Santa Cruz Supervisors Zach Friend and John Leopold and Monterey County Supervisor Jane Parker.
[Photo Credit: Joe Szydlowski and Eduardo Cuevas, The Californian]
COPA Celebrates 15 Years of Work on Immigration, Healthcare, Housing and More, The Californian [pdf]
“Are we truly welcoming to immigrants if they don’t have decent housing, equitable healthcare and mental health access, and are being preyed upon by unjust lenders or landlords?” asks Rabbi Paula Marcus of Temple Beth El in Aptos (Central California).
The COPA Immigration Campaign team organized a press conference to announce theirfocus on securing commitments from local officials to collaborate with COPA on issues affecting immigrant families: housing, healthcare, education, safety and economic development. COPA leaders plan to further recognize these commitments at its 15th Anniversary Convention on September 30th.
[Photo Credit: Jack Herbig]
Photo Album Here
COPA to Hold Prayer Service in Salinas to Help Immigrants, Monterey Herald
Oped by Beatriz Trujillo
In an event convened by COPA, clergy and judicatories from Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, and Jewish backgrounds called on the business community to join them in a collective effort to identify solutions to the lack of immigration reform. Immigrants shared stories about the impact of legalization in the 1980s and the challenges of providing for family without authorization to work.
In turn, agricultural industry leader Wesley Van Camp of agribusiness Tanimura & Antle reaffirmed her commitment to fight for immigration reforms and pointedly noted the absence of industry leaders in construction and hospitality in advocacy efforts. "I take that on as a bit of a challenge," said Don Chapin of Chapin Construction " I couldn't agree more."Read more
COPA Launches Esperanza Care: $2M Health Care Expansion for Monterey County Low-Income, Undocumented Families
When Maria Elena Manzo (upper left photo), an asthma educator from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, first discovered that children of Monterey County undocumented were unable to qualify for free life-saving asthma inhalers -- and that those in Santa Cruz county did -- she immediately reached out to COPA-IAF. She and other COPA leaders organized hundreds of conversations over the next few years to build the political will, first for a $500,000 county-funded pilot project providing basic healthcare services to undocumented families, and now for Esperanza Care.Read more
The expanded program will provide at least 2,500 low-income undocumented residents, including farm workers and their families, with full-scope primary and preventative care, labs, radiology, medication and specialty services. A third-party administrator will be hired to issue enrollment cards, administer payments and track data.Read more
In photo, Episcopal Bishop Mary Gray Reeves leads joint study session with Monterey County Board of Supervisors and COPA leadership on healthcare for undocumented residents.Read more
$500 thousand has been allocated to pay for lab tests, radiology and pharmacy services -- things generally unaffordable for residents concentrated in the agriculture or hospitality industry. The purpose is to prevent future visits to the county hospital's emergency room. The Episcopal Diocese estimates that between 1,200 and 2,000 uninsured undocumented county residents will be eligible for the program. According to Canon Jesus Reyes:Read more
COPA leaders' impassioned case for county funding of health services for uninsured, undocumented children appeared not to fall on deaf ears at a meeting of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. The County Health Department director followed up with a request that the Board budget $500 thousand for a pilot project to make low-price prescription drugs and other specialty services available such children.Read more
United Way of Santa Cruz County recognized the organization's efforts (and its collaboration with Community Foundation and 1st 5 nonprofits) with an "Advocacy Award" for COPA leadership (pictured above).
Said leader Fermin Gonzalez, "We're not part of history...we're making history!"Read more