Press

Thu Jan 25, 2018
State Advocates Push for Smart Guns in Washington -New Canaan News

Connecticut has become ground zero of sorts for spurring development of smart guns that use technology to prevent accidental or unauthorized discharge of firearms, particularly by children.

The state government is one of 122 jurisdictions in the nation to join in a “request for information” to gun manufacturers on what steps they are taking to develop smart-gun technology. The RFI has been orchestrated by an ad hoc group, Do Not Stand Idly By, made up primarily of religious leaders.

Thu Jan 25, 2018
DNSIB Campaign Pushes Forward, Inspires US Mayors to Act -Do Not Stand Idly By

On January 25th, 100 Metro IAF leaders from 10 states fanned out across the Washington, DC metropolitan area for a full day of actions and meetings with more than a dozen local and national leaders concerned with gun violence.

The meetings resulted in preliminary commitments secured from New Haven Mayor Harp to present Metro IAF's DNSIB strategy to the African American Mayors Association Conference and to work with Boston Mayor Walsh to organize a special Gun Safety Technology and Manufacturer Accountability session at a US Conference of Mayors meeting hosted by Mayor Walsh.

Mon Jan 22, 2018
Lake County United Secures Approval of 146-Bed Behavioral Hospital -Daily Herald

As a result of Lake County United’s continued effort to establish relationships with power players who share an interest in diverting those who are mentally ill from jail, LCU helped build the strong support necessary to win a unanimous approval of a 146-bed behavioral hospital in Waukegan, IL. The hospital will be owned by U.S. HealthVest, and will have all the elements of a much needed crisis stabilization unit.

Tue Jan 16, 2018
BUILD: Gov. Hogan, What is Your Plan to Stop Violence in Baltimore? -Baltimore Sun

Dear Governor Hogan,

I am writing in my capacity as pastor of the First & Franklin Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. For the past year, our congregation has set aside part of our weekly worship to remember those who have lost their lives to gun violence. Each week, we have held up purple ribbons as we prayed, each ribbon representing a life lost to gun violence in Baltimore. We have prayed. We have grieved. And now we are moving those prayers out of the sanctuary, into the street and finally to our elected officials.

I am also writing as a member of BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development). First & Franklin and BUILD leaders and organizers plan to be in Annapolis Thursday to present to the legislature — and the larger state of Maryland — the 343 purple ribbons representing the number of people killed in 2017 as a result of gun violence in our city....

Mon Jan 15, 2018
Jersey City Together Persuades Mayor to Pledge 50% Affordability on Site -Jersey Journal

In January, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop sent a letter to Honeywell to demand an increase in affordability on a 95-acre site from 5% to 50%. This comes after Jersey City Together spoke to thousands of people across Jersey City and secured commitments from the majority of the city council in support of this change. The Interfaith Community Organization, a previous IAF affiliate, successfully sued Honeywell to force remediation of chromium contamination on the site decades ago.

Tue Jan 2, 2018
Baltimore Brings in New Lawyers to Restart Police Contract Talks -Baltimore Sun

....The Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, a leader with the community group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD, said the city and the union urgently need to reach a deal.

“With everything that the city is facing in terms of violent crime, it’s essential that the mayor and police union leadership get on the same page with each other,” said Connors, whose group has pushed city leaders to fight violence....

Sun Dec 31, 2017
Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk : Replace Despair with Volunteerism in 2018 -Cleveland.com

Look around you. Are you troubled by what you see in the world? Early in the Bible, God was so upset with human conduct so as to flood the earth. Rabbinical commentary suggests it was both shechitut ("corruption") and hamas ("brutal violence") that triggered God's reaction.

Today, upon witnessing violence and brutality, many avert their eyes. For example, there was a recent story with data showing Cleveland as America's fifth most deadly city. Now surely the violence in our neighborhoods merits urgent attention. But when two days later, Cleveland was designated as one of National Geographic's "Best of the World" destinations, many chose instead to whistle a happier tune and wish away our serious problems.

Tue Dec 12, 2017
MOC Wins Significant Step for Renters Protection in Marin County -Marin Independent Journal

Less than a year after kicking off an organizing effort to address eviction threats in Marin County, the Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) won a significant victory.

On December 12, in response to pressure from MOC leaders, the Marin Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to support a mandatory mediation program for renters. The ordinance will require mediation when requested by a tenant or landlord for rent increases exceeding 5% per year. The ordinance would apply to unincorporated areas of Marin County which include approximately 8,300 renter-occupied units.  About 1 in 4 of those renters pay more than 50% of household income on rent...

Thu Nov 9, 2017
Gecan: Elites Can't Keep Writing Off Americans Who Voted for Trump -Chicago Sun Times

After the 2016 election, my view was that the voters had rejected not just Hillary Clinton, but also the modern Democratic Party – a party top-heavy with celebrity candidates and dominated by Wall Streeters, Silicon Valley stars and academic and professional elites.

Now on Tuesday, in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington State and Maine, voters rejected not only Donald Trump, but also the chaotic and unproductive political culture that he embodies and promotes – a culture top-heavy with family members, Wall Streeters, business titans and generals....

Tue Nov 7, 2017
DAI Negotiates Police Acceptance of Parish ID for No. Texas Immigrants -Dallas Morning News & More

For the first time in North Texas, immigrants without state ID will be allowed to use parish identification cards to identify themselves with Farmers Branch, Carrollton and Dallas Police Department officers.   Dallas Area Interfaith leaders negotiated this ground breaking police department policy change in the aftermath of the passage of anti-immigrant State Senate Bill 4, in order to engender greater trust between police and immigrants.

More than 1,500 immigrant leaders filled the sanctuary at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Farmers Branch in a standing-room-only assembly of leaders across multiple faiths and denominations....

Wed Oct 18, 2017
TMO Demands, Wins Extension of Harvey Disaster Food Aid -KIAH & Houston Chronicle

As thousands of Harvey survivors spent hours in line attempting to meet the deadline for emergency food aid, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), TMO leaders organized a press conference at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to demand an extension of the deadline for families.

Said Fr. Simón Bautista, “For two days in a row [my parishioner] got in line at 6 a.m. and by the time she was seen, around 7 p.m., she was told that her last name was not being seen that day. She returned at 3 a.m. to find that 10 to 15 individuals were already in line. These individuals and families have been waiting in the heat, missing work and some still haven’t received the benefits..."

Tue Oct 17, 2017
1,600 VOICE Leaders Pack Forum with VA Gubernatorial Candidates -WJLA & Metro IAF

On Sunday night, nearly 1,600 Metro IAF Virginians from 58 VOICE congregations and schools throughout northern Virginia secured commitments from Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Mr. Ed Gillespie (R) and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (D) to raise Virginia's felony larceny level, increase support for public schools and the Housing Trust Fund, fix Washington's crumbling public transit, support DREAMers and convene law enforcement and educators to end hate crimes and bullying. Leaders and Clergy from all different faiths and ethnicities packed a Prince William County high school auditorium and reignited the call for "We the People," a building of the citizen power required to demand action on its statewide Election Agenda, to forge alliances across the political and economic spectrum to move on these issues, and to compromise where necessary to create change...

Mon Oct 16, 2017
COPA Launches $2M Health Care Expansion in Monterey County -The Californian & Monterey Herald

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.

Esperanza Care, is a $2 million program that will expand the pilot primary and preventive care program to make it more comprehensive and available to more people.  It will also provide access, for the first time, to outpatient services at neurology, diabetes, heart and dermatology clinics....

Tue Sep 19, 2017
COPS/Metro Hikes Base Municipal Wage in San Antonio to $14.25 /Hour -San Antonio Express News & More

Months after 750 COPS / Metro leaders challenged candidates for San Antonio City Council and the Bexar County Commissioners’ Court to support their living wage agenda in a nonpartisan accountability assembly — and then delivered 8,555 voters to the polls in support of their agenda — both Bexar County and the City of San Antonio increased entry wages to $14.25 per hour.

This is one of several steps leaders have initiated to raise public sector wages to $15 / hour by 2019....

Fri Sep 8, 2017
For Renters, Harvey was the First Blow, Followed by Orders to Move -New York Times
"Members of The Metropolitan Organization, a group of Houston religious congregations, urged Houston’s City Council on Wednesday to establish a grace period for late September rent payments. The poor and undocumented were especially vulnerable, clergy members said.
 
“Many of them have not worked nine or 10 days now because their businesses have been blown away,” said the Rev. Edward Gomez, an Episcopal priest...."

Fri Sep 1, 2017
WIN Secures DC Mayoral Pledge on Hiring, Community Safety -Metro IAF
WIN packed First Rock Baptist Church in Southeast DC with more than 650 faith leaders, returning citizens and workers to address DC Mayor Muriel Bowser around key issues in the city. Mayor Bowser embraced the vast majority of WIN’s asks, commiting to WIN’s campaign to hire 5,000 returning citizens and people from high unemployment areas, and improving safety, affordable housing and immigrant and Muslim rights.  

Fri Sep 1, 2017
AIM Wins Pledge from MD Senator to Fight Privatization, Defend Pensions -Metro IAF

AIM leaders won a pledge from Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno to work with Metro IAF to fight privatization, preserve pensions and expand public transportation in the region and especially in the state of Maryland. 

Thu Aug 10, 2017
GCC Prevails at Ohio Supreme Court re: Referendum Petitions -Cleveland.com
In a major ruling setting an important legal precedent, the Ohio Supreme Court ordered the Cleveland City Council Clerk to accept referendum petitions collected by GCC and its allies seeking to put on the ballot the deal to vastly expand Quicken Loans Arena with $160 million in public funds....
 

Tue Aug 8, 2017
Texas Standard Covers Story of EPISO Success in Colonias -Texas Standard

In radio coverage about the Texas governor zeroing out the Colonia Initiative Program’s nearly $860,000 budget, a story about the success of the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Committee (EPISO) emerged.

When Fr. Ed Lucero-Rodin first arrived in El Paso in the 1980s he reported being “shocked by the living conditions …[with] people using centuries-old wells for non-drinking water and DIY septic-tank systems.”  He joined EPISO, which equipped him to tackle issues like sewage seeping into the groundwater which was causing many in his congregation to get sick.

After decades of success in fighting for water and sewage infrastructure in the colonias, he can now point to a street named after him in a subdivision that used to be a colonia.  All the streets are named after El Paso Interreligious  Sponsoring Organization (EPISO) leaders who successfully fought to bring water and waste service to this area.

This story was covered by the Texas Standard in the context of the state of funding for colonias today.

As Funding Dries Up, Colonia Residents Struggle Without Basic ServicesTexas Standard [pdf]

Tue Aug 8, 2017
‘Turnaround Tuesday’ Helping Those Who’ve Hit Rock Bottom Get Back Up -CBS Baltimore

The figures are pretty dismal. 75 percent of those who are released from prison, will be back behind bars within five years. And only half of those who remain free have jobs. That’s why what’s happening in the basement of Zion Baptist Church every Tuesday is so remarkable....

Mon Aug 7, 2017
300 CONECT Leaders Back South Korean Immigrant Facing Deportation -The Hour

More than 300 St. Jerome and CONECT leaders turned out on August 7th for a Prayer Vigil in support of Jung Courville and her family after her recent order of deportation. Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and Senator Richard Blumenthal also attended. Attendees signed 426 letters of support.

Wed Aug 2, 2017
250 BUILD Leaders Demand Release of Mayor's Anti-Violence Strategy -Metro IAF
BUILD turned out 250 members on August 2nd to demand Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh release her comprehensive strategy to fight violence. BUILD called on the Mayor to convene top law enforcement, corporate, and philanthropic leaders along with BUILD & the City Council to review the plan and make it actionable.

Mon Jul 31, 2017
PCI Secures Council Pledges to Double JobPath Funding -Tucson.com

125 Pima County Interfaith resident leaders of Ward 3 Tucson assembled and secured commitments from primary candidates Felicia Chew, Paul Durham and Tom Tronsdal.  The session was organized by Pima County Interfaith Civic Education Organization, Southern Arizona Interfaith (SAI) and Literacy Connects.  All three candidates pledged to support keeping Tucson an Immigrant Welcoming city, to support PCI efforts to fight SPICE and other drugs in Ward 3, and to meet with the organizations if elected.

Candidates Chew and Tronsdal committed to increasing funding for KidCo and JobPath, keeping low-income bus fares at their current level, and protecting the number of bus routes.

Attendees committed to vote, get others to vote, and to knock on doors in Ward 3 neighborhoods.  Two “Neighbor to Neighbor – Walk & Call” sessions have already been scheduled.

Fri Jul 28, 2017
EBC Wins NYPD Pledge to Push for Gun Safety with Glock -Metro IAF
East Brooklyn Congregations had an incredible assembly and action at the end of July with NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, Housing Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and 1,400+ East Brooklyn Congregations-Metro IAF leaders.  The sanctuary at St. Paul Community Baptist Church was standing room only, and there were many more people in the entry way, chapel and in rooms downstairs.
 
The themes of the night were criminal justice and immigration, affordable housing, and launching EBC’s largest ever action on Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, October 9th.
 
EBC had an incredible breakthrough with Commissioner O'Neill who committed publicly to meet with Glock firearms....

Thu Jul 27, 2017
Together Louisiana Reminds Sen. Cassidy of Medicaid Promise -The Advocate & More

To the surprise of many, both Louisiana Senators voted in favor of two health care measures that would roll back Medicaid funding.  In response, Together Louisiana publicly reminded one of the Senators of his Medicaid promises:

“Sen. (Bill) Cassidy has shown, in a way that has been refreshing and sometimes surprising, intelligence, thoughtfulness, content knowledge and compassion in his assessments of the realities of the health care bills as they’ve worked their way through the House and the Senate.  He has said in many occasions and many different forms, in small settings and large settings, including face to face interviews and to members of Together Louisiana, that he would not support the Senate bill in the current form because it was too devastating an effect on individual people and on health care markets. And yesterday he voted for that bill....”

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