Press

Press

Thu Jan 12, 2017
#NOTallin: Regional Faith-based Coalition Announces Opposition to Q Renovations -Cleveland Scene

Representatives from the Greater Cleveland Congregations announced their opposition to using public dollars on arena renovations without public input or benefit. The GCC, said several speakers, is "NOT all in." 

The group decried the "fast-track" nature of the financing deal announced last month, which will use multiple public revenue streams to supplement Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert's private investment in an exterior overhaul. The public portion was estimated to be $70 million, but could be more than double that cost due to interest. 

The GCC demanded that elected officials — Mayor Frank Jackson, County Executive Armond Budish, both city and county councils — slow down the process so the public can meaningfully have its say. 

Mon Jan 9, 2017
Chris Hedges Talks with Michael Gecan About Building Organizations -Truth Dig

When asked why he told poor Brooklyn communities in 1980 to raise a quarter of a million dollars without government aid, community organizer Michael Gecan responded, “Because power is organized people and organized money.”

In the latest episode of “On Contact,” the author of “Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action” went on to tell Chris Hedges that “most activists stress organized people and forget organized money ... we stress both.”

Wed Jan 4, 2017
Back of the Yards: Lessons from a Community Organizer, by Mike Gecan -Boston Review

On the Wednesday after November’s presidential election, I found myself in the Back of the Yards area of Chicago’s South Side. I was there to meet with Roman Catholic priest David Kelly. Father Kelly is executive director of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, which he runs out of a converted school building on Fifty-first and Elizabeth. He and his team feed the hungry and bring together the perpetrators and victims of gang gun violence in the community. 

The Back of the Yards neighborhood—once a sprawling, spewing, foul-smelling collection of stockyards, polluted streams, tenements, and churches—was the original industrial area of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the largest network of community-based organization in the United States, of which I am co-director. 

Thu Dec 15, 2016
COPS / Metro Compels Accountability for Housing Bond -Rivard Report & San Antonio Express-News

As the City of San Antonio’s first ever housing bond moved forward, COPS / Metro Alliance leaders pressed for accountability, arguing that the current structure of the bond excludes the concerns of long-time residents of San Antonio.  Leaders are fighting so that some funding can be directed to the rehabilitation of aging homes, multi-family housing that includes a mix of market, workforce and affordable rental rates, as well as guidelines to address questions of what kinds of developers and developments get funded.   Leaders challenged the mayor and city council to gather stakeholders to address these issues before the proposal goes to the voters.

Within hours, in response, the City Council voted to create an oversight committee to track development of the housing bond....

Wed Dec 14, 2016
BUILD's Turnaround Tuesday Movement Hits Milestone of 240 Employed -BUILD

BUILD has been at the forefront of the jobs movement in Baltimore and has leveraged its 4 decades of organizing experience to cultivate partnerships to promote jobs for returning citizens.   Aso f early December the movement has employed 240 individuals.

Tue Dec 13, 2016
Remembering Carmelia Goffe -New York Times

The Metro IAF sadly reports the death of Carmelia Goffe, East Brooklyn Congregations leader.  Ms. Goffe helped lead the resurrection of East New York through EBC's fights for Nehemiah housing, community policing and improved schools.  We ask that you continue to keep Ms. Goffe and her family in your prayers.

Fri Dec 2, 2016
BUILD Revitalizes Oliver & Broadway East Neighborhoods in Baltimore -Baltimore Sun

....In the aftermath of the killings, local residents and churches, as well as the organization Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development, called for action.

The result was a $10 million agreement with the Reinvestment Fund, a community development organization. A little more than a decade ago, Oliver had 623 abandoned houses.

There are now 188 rebuilt units, mostly two- and three-story rowhouses. There's a whole block of North Broadway that has been restored to splendid Victorian appearance....

Wed Nov 23, 2016
Oped: Trump, Sessions and Nehemiah -- A Fateful Choice for the Next AG -New York Daily News

A s faith leaders, we have long studied the biblical story of the person who returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the walls of his beloved city. Nehemiah was both a visionary and a realist. He knew he needed a trowel to reconstruct the walls of the city. But he also kept a sword at hand to defend himself and his fellow workers from attempts by opponents to undermine their work.

We will keep Nehemiah very much in mind as we begin to test the tendencies of the new administration. Does it want to be rid of the reproach of bulging and costly prisons and jails? Does it want to end the warehousing of young people charged with minor offenses and those with mental illness? Or does it want to maintain these profoundly anti-American policies and ambush those who seek to reverse them?

We hope and pray that the President-elect’s choice for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, will pick up a trowel and join us in a constructive campaign to rebuild a more equitable and efficient criminal justice culture in our land....

Thu Nov 10, 2016
Party Needs to Recommit to Average People, Not Financial Wizards, Stars -New York Times

...the lessons of this election is to recommit itself to the vast majority of non-rock-star Americans who still live in physical space -- blocks, neighborhoods, subdivisions, trailer parks, workplaces, fading cities and aging suburbs and towns. The core issue for these Americans is the lack of long-term living wage work, especially for those who are not college educated....

Wed Nov 9, 2016
One LA Takes on Los Angeles Traffic and Wins with $120B Bond Election -One LA

Building on a four-year campaign, One LA leaders and their allies shaped, pushed for and passedMeasure M to raise $120 Billion for new rail lines, improved bus services, and street and highway projects which will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and make finding and getting to a job easier for working poor families across LA County....

Mon Nov 7, 2016
Politicians Should Trust in the People They Hope to Represent -Baltimore Sun

In the summer of 1971, I went to Chicago to train as an organizer at the Industrial Areas Foundation (I.A.F.), which was founded in 1940 by the late Saul Alinsky, a colorful personality who is widely regarded as the father of community organizing.



Of the many things he talked about during that training, he made two points that have stayed with me over the course of my 45-year career spent organizing in Baltimore and across the country....

Tue Nov 1, 2016
More Police is Not the Answer - by Common Ground -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....

Tue Nov 1, 2016
COPS / Metro Fights for $450M Bond for SAISD Children -San Antonio Express-News & More

Only one month after raising municipal wages for the second year in a row in San Antonio, COPS / Metro is now fighting to leverage necessary funding for school improvements…$450 Million, to be precise.  Elaine Ayala of the San Antonio Express-News reported that two weekends before Election Day, dozens of COPS / Metro leaders block walked  – asking voters to scroll to the end of the ballot to the last two measures.  Leader Maria Tijerina explained that TRE funds would support after-school, summer and enrichment programs, freeing up money to help the district reach the $15 / hour wage they are fighting for....

Sun Oct 30, 2016
Hundreds March to Cast Ballots, Protest Dearth of Early Voting Sites -Cleveland.com

Several hundred voters marched to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Sunday to cast ballots and protest the limited number of in-house early voting locations in Ohio.

The marchers departed at 2:30 p.m. from the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and traveled a half-mile to the Board of Elections headquarters on Euclid Avenue.

Greater Cleveland Congregations and the Amalgamated Transit Union organized the event to encourage Cuyahoga County residents to vote early before the general election on Nov. 8...

Sun Oct 23, 2016
Valley Interfaith Gets Out The Vote for Health District -The Monitor

Valley Interfaith is working hard to get parishioners to vote in favor of Proposition 1.

The faith-based nonprofit organization called a news conference Saturday to reiterate its stance on the creation of a healthcare district. Parishioners from a number of churches pledged their support and signed a proclamation that reflected their intentions.

“Valley Interfaith has long had a vision of a community that has a healthcare system that will take care of the most vulnerable — health care that will serve the uninsured, the elderly, our children and our working families,” Valley Interfaith leader Eddie Anaya said. “We believe that an educated vote will result in the passing of Proposition 1.”

Sat Oct 15, 2016
Citizens UK Goes to Court to Protect Vulnerable Refugee Children -The Guardian

Documents lodged in the high court on Friday criticise the government for failing to deliver an actual process to facilitate the transfer of child refugees under theDublin regulation, effectively forcing charities and volunteers to do the government’s job by carrying out the necessary legal and logistical work. “There is no functioning state system and what system there is, is currently almost entirely dependent on private actors,” the documents state.

Legal papers also reveal that the cases of 111 children eligible to come to Britain have simply not been processed because of the lack of an effective system.

The legal action, brought by Citizens UK, a grassroots network of more than 350 groups, argues that the Home Office has repeatedly failed in its duty to help unaccompanied child refugees trapped in the Calais camp, pointing out a “longstanding failure by the defendant [Home Office] and the French authorities to identify and protect children”....

Sat Oct 15, 2016
IAF Organizer J. Lange Addresses Amalgamated Transit Union -Johnathan Lange

An entire generation of union leadership has been forced to play defense.  But now, standing before the 2016 Convention of the Amalgamated Transit Union, I am here to tell you that this is the time to start playing offense.  Yours is the union to show the rest of us how to do it.  Your leadership is the leadership best equipped to throw the ball far down the field and score.

Fri Oct 14, 2016
Rabbis Join Rally in Fight to Stop Gun Violence -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....

Wed Oct 12, 2016
Dallas Area Interfaith Fights Off Mass Evictions in West Dallas -Dallas Morning News

DAI, in collaboration with the Wesley Rankin Community school and center, organized a meeting to brief hundreds of worried renters about their rights as tenants, the basics of eviction law and to pressure the City of Dallas to intervene on tenants’ behalf.  Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo, along with the Assistant City Attorney, assured renters that extra-legal evictions would not be tolerated.

The next day, the State District Judge Ken Molberg ordered the Dallas landlord to temporarily halt the mass evictions... 

Mon Oct 10, 2016
GBIO Pushes for Community Preservation Act on Boston Ballot -Boston Globe

These days, grass-roots organizations such as Brown’s affordable housing alliance and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization are undertaking a disciplined outreach effort to educate Boston residents on the measure’s potential impact, according to organizers.

Almost 30 church groups from across the region are holding themselves to a strict pledge. At a rally in September, each participating congregation promised to secure roughly 3,000 “yes” votes from Boston residents, and before Election Day, supporters plan to hold a rally on City Hall Plaza.

“We can’t just diagnose the problems with housing over and over again,” said Jeanette Callahan, a doctor who lives in Dudley Square and is organizing through her church to pass the November measure. “We keep thinking we’ve done something and we’ve done nothing. It’s time to look at a treatment plan.”

Thu Oct 6, 2016
NCG Fights Funding of Adelson-Backed Stadium in Las Vegas -Las Vegas Tribune

Naming “seven hidden risks” that public funding of a new Adelson-backed Raiders’ stadium would bring to taxpayers, leaders of Nevadans for the Common Good publicly voiced their opposition to the plan with a well-attended press conference.

Wed Oct 5, 2016
Northern & Central LA Interfaith Launches ACTS to Combat Poverty -KTBS

With Louisiana as the state with the third highest number of poor people, many of them working full-time, Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith leaders are devising new ways to tackle poverty.  Says Pastor Clayton Moore, “If you work, how is it that you’re poor?”

NCLI leaders have launched Another Chance to Succeed (ACTS), modeling itself on Project QUEST in San Antonio and...

Wed Sep 21, 2016
Common Ground Rehabilitates 75 Properties -Common Ground

Common Ground has been working in the Sherman Park community since 2008. While visible progress doesn’t always make front page news, we are happy to report on some recent successes resulting from our community efforts.

For starters, Common Ground has rehabilitated 75 properties in the last five years that are now worth $6 MILLION, increasing property values, decreasing foreclosed properties and creating positive change. These 75 properties are now generating almost $200,000 in annual property tax revenue....

Wed Aug 17, 2016
Insurers Use Process Intended to Curb Rate Increases to Justify Them -New York Times

Matthew McDermott, the leader of an interfaith advocacy group, Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, said: “We’re concerned that the proposed rate increases will drive many employers and many individuals to drop coverage altogether. And we worry that that heads us toward a market failure here in Connecticut.”

Fri Aug 12, 2016
NAIC Pushes for Investment in Arizona Public Schools -Daily Courier

200 Northern Arizona Interfaith Council (NAIC) leaders, with the Prescott College Social Justice Human Rights Program, assembled with all six candidates of Arizona Legislative District 1 to push for increased funding of public schools across the state.  Said Tom Benson, “If we want our community and state to be a desirable place to work, raise a family, as well a retire it must be supported by a strong education system from ....

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