Public Safety

Public Safety

Mon Apr 3, 2017

When neighborhood users of SPICE, a synthetic marijuana with side effects including seizures and disorientation, began walking into traffic and collapsing on church and school grounds, leaders from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church stepped into the void to identify solutions.  Church leaders, in collaboration with Southern Arizona Interfaith, soon launched a campaign to “Give them Food” in addition to collaborating with local law enforcement and county health department to educate the community about the drug and prevent its sale. Over 250 area residents attended one of the community meetings.

In fall 2016, SAI and Pima County Interfaith hosted a nonpartisan accountability session drawing more than 500 leaders to address several issues, including SPICE.  In front of hundreds of voters, candidates promised to introduce a bill to criminalize SPICE ingredients and to help law enforcement press charges against dealers.

This spring, Rep. Pamela Powers (LD9-D) negotiated the inclusion of SPICE ingredients in a bill (HB2033) sponsored by Rep. Heather Carter (LD15-R) on controlled substances, that Governor Ducey signed it into law.

SAI leaders are pointing to this victory as an “example of the great things we can achieve when we work together,” including bi-partisan cooperation in the expansion of the bill to include SPICE ingredients.  Leaders also recognized the Tucson Police Department, St. John’s Pastoral Council and the Pima County Health Department for its collaboration.

Leaders are now working with City of Tucson Councilmembers Richard Fimbres and Steve Kozachik to follow through on their campaign pledges to pass a stricter local ordinance prohibiting the sale of SPICE in Tucson.

Pima County Interfaith, SAI & Allies Challenge Candidates for State Legislative and County OfficeWest / Southwest IAF

Southern Arizona Interfaith Confronts ‘Spice’ Epidemic in TucsonWest / Southwest IAF

 

Tucson In a Cat-and-Mouse Fight Against Nasty Synthetic DrugArizona Daily Star [pdf]

 

Wed Aug 27, 2014

Doña Francisca’s death by car, the 4th accident in front of the Sherwood Village senior living facility, brought clarity to members of Aging Latinos in Action. Without a stop sign, seniors were left vulnerable to rushing and inattentive drivers. ALA reached out to COPA for training, then conducted their own research actions and meetings with sitting Council members to secure a crosswalk in front of their living facility. In photo, ALA leaders process down their newly installed crosswalk.

Said leader Fermin Gonzalez, “We’re not part of history…we’re making history!”


Sat Jul 14, 2012

Greater Cleveland Congregations, alongside allies from across the state of Ohio, championed an innovative criminal justice reform bill that will reduce or eliminate many barriers to employment for ex-offenders returning to their home communities.  Governor John Kasich went to Greater Cleveland Congregations for a public bill signing ceremony and celebratory event in Cleveland on July 14, 2012.


Sun Feb 26, 2012

On Feb. 20, nearly 1000 people from 40 congregations across Cuyahoga County assembled to elicit commitments from all five candidates for County Prosector, including:

  1. Eliminating the practice of encouraging juviniles to waive their right to counsel.
  2. Reforming the County's data system to track and abolish the practice of overcharging.
  3. Reducing racial disparities in prosecution.
  4. Increasing diversion and treatment programs for you.

Tue May 3, 2011

In response to the tragic murder of 12-year old Sean Johnson, BUILD acted quickly to call on Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to allocate a permanent police foot patrol to keep the neighborhood safe. BUILD is working with Major Melvin Russell, Eastern District Police Commander, and the Mayor to improve public safety and provide opportunities for neighborhood youth.


Tue Jan 4, 2011

South London Citizens' pioneering work on safety has been widely recognised and is increasingly emulated by statutory bodies (City Hall, Metropolitan Police, Liverpool MET, local authority safety partnerships). The first retail City Safe zone, Lewisham Shopping Centre, scooped recent business awards due to its success at tackling crime, increasing positive youth role‐models, raising investment and building stronger business partnerships. This led to the endorsement of City Safe by Westfield who plan to adopt the scheme in their next retail development. Research shows that theft and violent incidents have fallen since City Safe has been implemented in Lewisham, where citizens, businesses and security staff are working together.


In the News


police shooting, #BLM, Jayson Negron, Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard

CONECT Demands Police Reforms Following Fatal Shooting of 15-Yr Old

Friday, June 2, 2017
FOX Channel 61 & ctpost
A dozen CONECT Clergy and Lay leaders gathered at the site of 15 year-old Jayson Negron's fatal shooting by a Bridgeport Police Officer with several of Jayson’s family members (his sister, aunt and cousin) to call for 1) a timely and transparent investigation, 2) the use of body and dash cameras by the Bridgeport Police Department, and 3) the prioritization of de-escalation and racial/cultural sensitivity training for all Bridgeport police officers.
 
CONECT called on Mayor Ganim, Police Chief Armando Perez, and State's Attorney Platt to meet with CONECT on these issues. Depending on the progress of the investigation and what it shows, CONECT may call for other changes in the future as well.
 

Community Organizing in Tucson, SPICE, Neighborhood Safety, Arizona IAF

Southern Arizona Interfaith Passes SPICE Ordinance in Tucson

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Arizona Daily Star & Tucson News Now

Fresh from a state legislative victory allowing the criminalization of SPICE, Southern Arizona Interfaith leaders succeeded in persuading local policy makers to pass a city ordinance against the nasty synthetic drug.  Tucson City councilmembers listened intently as leader Christina Crawford described how SPICE gave her son seizures and spasms, and as Msgr. Raul Trevizo and other leaders described finding vomiting and passed out youth on St. John the Evangelist church grounds.

Councilmembers praised the team for their persistence over 18 months, before unanimously voting to include the new chemical in a Tucson drug ordinance.  Reporters recorded the standing ovation Southern Arizona Interfaith leaders delivered to the Council upon passage of the ordinance.

Said leader Lorena Santos, “Look what we can do when we work together!  This is just the beginning!”

Tucson City Leaders Pass SPICE OrdinanceTucson News Now

Tucson In a Cat-and-Mouse Fight Against Nasty Synthetic DrugArizona Daily Star [pdf]


Gun Safety, Campus Safety, Do Not Stand Idly By, College Campus

Metro IAF Launches "Are Guns Allowed On Campus?" Online Petition

Monday, March 6, 2017
Metro IAF


Community Policing, Keisha Krumm, Rev. Will Davis, Rev. Ciara Davis #BLM

More Police is Not the Answer - by Common Ground

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Urban Milwaukee

Every American understands the fundamental value of self-preservation — of literally being able to live and breathe another day.

For most Americans, this translates into having a good lock on the door, a security guard in front of a building, or a police department that responds to signs of danger or sightings of people who seem bent on crime or destruction.

For African Americans, especially African American males, self-preservation is not something that can be taken for granted....


Gun Violence, safe guns, Do Not Stand Idly By, Weapons Manufacturing

Rabbis Join Rally in Fight to Stop Gun Violence

Friday, October 14, 2016
NJ Jewish News

A broad coalition of political and religious leaders — including prominent members of New Jersey’s Jewish community — rallied Oct. 6 on the steps of Newark City Hall to demand that weapons manufacturers join them in their fight to halt gun violence.

Under a banner reading “Do Not Stand Idly By,” Christian and Jewish activists urged large and small municipalities to insist that the guns they purchase for police departments include safety features to prevent the weapons from being fired by people other than the officers to whom they have been issued....


Alton Sterling, police shooting, Louisiana IAF, Community Policing

Together Baton Rouge Leaders "Refuse to be Divided"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
New York Times

In a press conference covered by the New York TimesNational Public Radio and theWall Street JournalTogether Baton Rouge leaders repudiated recent violence and called for careful and intentional dialogue about community divisions and policing. “We condemn violence of any kind…” said Lee Wesley, the pastor of Community Bible Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.  During the press conference, leaders stood behind the lectern wearing “Together Baton Rouge” buttons and hoisting signs saying “We refuse to be divided.”


Community Policing, Sheriff Richard Wiles, Arturo Aguila, Public Safety

Border Interfaith Leaders Build Trust with El Paso Sheriff

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
El Paso Times

Over 80 leaders of Border Interfaith participated in three meetings with El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles (including Lieutenants and Deputies) over the course of two months to build relationships of trust and to address community concerns...


Alton Sterling, #Blacklivesmatter, Community Policing, Louisiana IAF

300 TBR Leaders Call for Changed Policing and Economic Reforms

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
The Advocate & More

Over 300 leaders of Together Baton Rouge called for both law enforcement and economic reforms at a luncheon meeting held at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church.  The call to action occurred after breakout sessions in which leaders substantively listened to each other.  Said Rev. Lee Wesley, “It is not our goal to return to where we were before Alton Sterling was shot.  It is not our goal to get back to business as usual.  It is our goal to move forward.”


Community Policing, #Blacklivesmatter, Josephine Lopez-Paul

DAI Calls on Police, Community to Build Trust for Better Policing

Sunday, July 10, 2016
Dallas Morning News

At a community meeting organized by Dallas Area Interfaith, there were no easy platitudes in reference to the Thursday night shooting of police officers and protesters that left five officers dead...  


Community Policing, #Blacklivesmatter, Alton Sterling, Gov. Edwards

Together Baton Rouge Secures Broader Investigation into Lethal Shooting of Alton Sterling

Thursday, July 7, 2016
The Advocate & More

Shortly after leaders of Together Baton Rouge called on the Justice Department to widen the scope of its investigation into the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, saying it should include possible state criminal violations, a spokesman for Gov. John Bel Edwards responded, saying that the U.S. attorney’s office will not only investigate whether civil rights were violated, but also potential state and federal violations....


Gun Safety, Gun Sales, Rev. Francis Skelly, Immaculate Conception

South Bronx Churches' Rev. Skelly Takes on Dirty Gun Sales

Saturday, February 6, 2016
NY Daily News

"Rev. Francis Skelly, whose parish includes many residents of the Melrose Houses, seemed unsurprised that the gun used in the [police] shooting came from the south — or that the seller once hailed from the north.

“This pipeline of guns from the South, up Interstate 95 and into New York City, has been well-established for decades,” said Skelly. “We don’t expect the legislators of those states to fix the problem, even if Bill Bernstein loses his race.”

[Rev. Skelly is pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, a member of South Bronx Churches.]


New Jersey Together, Do Not Stand Idly By, Gov. Christie, safe guns

New Jersey Smart Gun Advocates Press On

Thursday, January 28, 2016
The Trace

It’s been a week since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pocket vetoed a bill that would have updated a controversial 2002 smart gun law widely seen as a detriment to the technology. Asked why the bill was left to die, Christie’s office noted that the smart gun reform was among 100 bills passed “in such a hasty and scrambled way” at the end of the legislative calendar, and sponsors of last-minute measures shouldn’t be “praying for them to be rubber stamped.” In other words, he wasn’t given enough time to read or evaluate the proposal.

But to legislators and activists deeply involved in the vetoed bill’s development, Christie’s explanation doesn’t bear up to scrutiny....


Tamir Rice Shooting, Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk, Black Lives Matter, Police

GCC Rabbi Speaks on Dialogue Re: Tamir Rice Grand Jury Ruling

Thursday, January 14, 2016
Cleveland Jewish News

Given the Cuyahoga County grand jury's decision in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, things in our community are tense. Elevating the dialogue about law enforcement could help release some of that tension.

We need to talk to one another, though people seem to be under the impression one can only be for or against police when it comes to the tragedy of this young man'\’s death. Many have told me you can't empathize with both the Rice family and with Cleveland police.

That’s just not so.... 


safe guns, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, Do Not Stand Idly By

Obama Embraces Smart Guns at Urging of Metro IAF

Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Washington Post

Late last year, a group connected to the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, made up of citizens and faith leaders, sent a letter to President Obama urging him to raise $20 million for developing smart guns before he raises money for his presidential library and foundation.



The foundation’s leaders were thrilled with Obama’s announcement.


Do Not Stand Idly By, Rabbi Mosbacher, Bishop Douglas Miles, Guns

Metro IAF Statement on President Obama's Executive Action on Guns

Monday, January 4, 2016
Metro IAF

Since early 2013, the faith and citizens’ organizing group Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF) – and the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign we initiated – have called on President Obama to stop waiting for Congress to act, and to use Executive Branch powers to curb gun deaths in America. In particular, we have asked the President to use the purchasing power of the U.S. government to push gun manufacturers to exercise leadership in the areas of gun safety technology and responsible distribution.

At the same time, we have been organizing a group of public-sector gun purchasers – mayors, governors, police chiefs, sheriffs, attorneys general and others – who are willing to use their purchasing power, collectively, to press manufacturers for responsible action. Officials from 82 state and local jurisdictions have launched this effort with us...


Tamir Rice, police shooting, Rabbi Caruso, Very Rev. Lind, Pastor Gibson

Failed Justice in Tamir Rice Death Galvanizes Faith Community

Friday, January 1, 2016
Cleveland.com

Western religions generally counsel against pure anger. In scripture, God is lifted up as one who is "slow to anger." Indeed, being slow to anger is aspired to as a virtue for every living being. Yet there are times when anger serves us well – when it is harnessed to confront society's systemic ills and catalyze change.

We are deeply saddened, extremely frustrated, and – yes – angered by the pattern of failed justice and lack of accountability for fair legal processes that once again is evidenced in the Tamir Rice grand jury proceedings and the all-too-predictable decision orchestrated by County Prosecutor Tim McGinty....


Freddie Gray Trial, Peace Rally, Police, Prayer, Rev. Glenna Huber

Peace Rallies Held Ahead of First Freddie Gray Trial

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
ABC News

"We're expressing our outrage and our grief around the current crisis in our city,” said BUILD Clergy Co-Chair, Rev. Glenna Huber. “We're moving that outrage and grief into hope to that we can act on creating a safer Baltimore for all residents."

"It has to be rebuilt,” Father Joe Muth from Blessed Sacrament Church said. “And we feel that by working together we can make that rebuilding happen."


Gun Violence, safety, Jersey City

"We've had enough!" - Pastors Say Jersey City is in Crisis

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
NJ.com New Jersey

The pastors, part of a group called Jersey City Together, said they called Police Chief Philip Zacche's office nearly two weeks ago to request he join them for a Dec. 1 meeting to discuss the recent shootings, and followed up with a letter hand delivered on Friday. There was no response, they said today.

"We've had enough," said the Rev. Laurie Wurm, of Grace Church Van Vorst


Policing, Corruption, Over-Policing, Police Culture, Change, NYC

Learning to Honor the Badge: Gecan Analyzes Three Policing Challenges

Monday, November 30, 2015
NY Daily News

In 1977, I was starting out as a community organizer on the west and northwest sides of Chicago, including in my old home parish, Our Lady of the Angels. Anyone of a certain age from there knows that the OLA school caught fire in 1958 and burned, killing 92 students and three nuns. The shock of that day triggered a national campaign to improve fire safety in schools.

Just 20 years later, the school and community were caught in another crisis that would kill far more young people, over time, than that horrendous fire: an explosion of drug-selling and drug use. In fact, right outside the rebuilt school, drug dealers set up shop every afternoon and evening.

The principal, Marion Murphy...


Do Not Stand Idly By, Gun Safety, safe guns, President Obama

Obama Considers Executive Action on Gun Control

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Christian Science Monitor

“We have traveled here from across the nation to challenge you to stop whining about the power you don’t have, and start acting with the power you do have,” said Bishop Douglas Miles, at a news conference in Washington Thursday. Bishop Miles is a leader in the Industrial Areas Foundation's (IAF) national network of interfaith, interracial community organizations.

The IAF wants Obama to put pressure on gun manufacturers, and should have the clout to do so since the US government is a major purchaser of firearms. The IAF wants the gunmakers to self-police the distribution and sale of their guns sold by dealers who consistently sell guns used in crimes, and they want firearms manufacturers to develop new, safer "smart gun" technologies....


Do Not Stand Idly By, safe guns, NRA, School Shootings

If We Can't Ban Guns, Can We Make Them Safer?

Friday, October 9, 2015
In These Times
Gun-violence prevention group Do Not Stand Idly By (DNSIB) has come up with a plan to bypass Congress altogether. Part of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro-IAF), a nationwide multi-faith network of community organizations, DNSIB seeks to use the government’s massive purchasing power to encourage the gun industry to join the campaign against gun violence.
 
Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, who heads the Beth Haverim Shir Shalom Synagogue in Mahwah, N.J., started the campaign in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Mosbacher is a member of Metro-IAF and has taken part in many of their campaigns. He lost his father to gun violence during a 1999 petty robbery. “We were trying to think, as we always do in community organizing, who else has the power to affect change on gun violence?” he explains....

Gun Safety, Do Not Stand Idly By, Bishop Miles, Violence Prevention

Mr. President, "Stop Whining" About Gun Violence

Friday, October 9, 2015
Huffington Post
With the sun-drenched White House behind him, a prominent Baptist pastor spoke at a news conference that I attended in Lafayette Park yesterday. In a deep, no-nonsense voice, he delivered a stern message to President Obama: "Mr. President, we urge you to stop whining and begin acting."
 
If President Obama is as frustrated and angry as he appeared to be at his recent news conference about the inability of Congress to do something about gun violence in the wake of another mass shooting, Bishop Douglas Miles has similar feelings about the President's lack of leadership....

Do Not Stand Idly By, Gun Control, Gun Safety, White House, Protest

Rabbi's Gun Protest is Personal

Thursday, October 8, 2015
North Jersey Media Group

Joel Mosbacher wishes he wasn’t here.

It is Thursday morning, sunny and autumn-cool, and Mosbacher, a rabbi from Oakland, is standing across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House as a protester calling for tougher gun laws.

“I certainly never imagined growing up that this would happen,” he said....


Gun Safety, Shootings, President Obama, White House, Press Conference

WashPost Covers Metro IAF White House Press Conference

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Washington Post

As is their way, the community organizers and activists at the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) are pushing the president to use the federal government’s purchasing power to promote safer guns. To do business with the government, companies would have to be willing to “remove the barriers to getting smart guns and gun safety technologies to market” and cooperate with law enforcement to “identify and isolate dealers that provide large numbers of guns used in crimes.”


Sex Trafficking, Las Vegas, Pimps, Youth Prostitution, Robert Hoo

What Happened in Vegas

Friday, September 25, 2015
Commonweal

Andrea Swanson was raised in a Catholic military family in Virginia and married a military man. Her husband, Rod, served as an officer in the U.S. Army, became an FBI agent, then rose to supervision of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Las Vegas. That’s where the couple raised their four children, two girls and two boys. Andrea worked as a school nurse. Her husband was sent to Iraq and other foreign countries. Two of their four children would end up entering the armed services—one as a Marine lieutenant and the other as a sergeant in the Eighty-Second Airborne Division. Both deployed abroad.

And then there was Hannah, their youngest child....


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