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West/Southwest IAF Updates
Metro IAF Updates

COPS/Metro's GOTV Effort Passes Groundbreaking "SA Ready to Work"

[Excerpts]

A trio of sales tax measures to train San Antonio workers for new jobs, expand public transit and renew the city’s early childhood education program were passing by an overwhelming margin with a majority of the vote counted Tuesday night.

The workforce and VIA ballot measures had little organized opposition while the forces in favor had the backing of business leaders, heads of chambers of commerce and grassroots organization COPS/Metro. The two campaigns, plus the third to renew Pre-K 4 SA, spent more than $1.7 million to convince voters to pass all three measures.

The workforce proposal was COPS/Metro’s baby. The organization — which founded the workforce development program Project Quest more than 25 years ago — pushed City Council earlier this year to pump $75 million into workforce development as part of a $191 stimulus package and later put their weight behind the ballot measure.

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Monumental Victory for California IAF: Tax Credit Extended to ALL Californians

On Friday, Governor Newsom signed into law an expansion of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to include ALL Californians, regardless of immigration status.

While the June budget deal initially limited an expansion of eligibility to immigrants with young children, this latest decision will extend the credit -- year after year -- to cover 2 million undocumented immigrants.

California IAF leaders have been organizing since March to find relief for immigrant workers who have been disproportionately impacted by the health and economic fallout of Covid-19.

“What we have been pressing for is justice for essential workers, not charity,” said Fr. Arturo Corral, Pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Los Angeles. “It cannot be disputed that immigrant workers are bearing the brunt of pandemic-related health risks in order to keep all our boats afloat. We could not provide food for our families without their labor. They pay billions in local and state taxes, and they contribute over 180 billion dollars to our economy. And they have been ruthlessly left out of federal relief."

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AMOS Secures $5 Million in New Funding for Longterm Workforce Development in Iowa

At the urging of AMOS leaders, Governor Reynolds is investing $5 million for job training paired with wrap-around services from CARES Act funds.

After hearing stories from Iowans facing the stress of unemployment amidst a shifting economic environment, AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) began researching how to help workers get back to work in living wage jobs.

"Losing a job is a trauma for workers and their families," said AMOS leader Rev. Dr. Benjamin Bell Jr. "We know that workers need not only training to be able to access higher-wage work, but also support for that trauma, childcare access and assistance to help them complete a training program and be ready to re-enter the workforce."

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IAF, Texas Orgs Raise Alarm on Impact of Executive Order on Undocumented Immigrants

[Excerpts] 

Whenever [TMO leader] Father Carmelo Hernandez makes a live appearance on his church's YouTube channel, he asks the same question each week: "Have you filled out your census form?"

The parishioners of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Houston are largely Hispanic, undocumented or of mixed status, living in one of the most diverse cities in the nation. Hernandez has spent months using his pulpit to demystify the census, disentangle the misinformation and quiet the fears that congregants have about being counted.

But news that President Trump signed a memorandum Tuesday that would exclude many of his parishioners from congressional apportionment is enough to scare them back into invisibility, he said. To them it is proof — against Hernandez's many efforts to the contrary — that the census is a trap and should be avoided.
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Working Together Jackson, Allies, Remove Symbol of Confederacy from State Flag

[Excerpts]

Working Together Jackson interfaith leaders stood on the steps of the Catholic cathedral in downtown Jackson Thursday morning, calling for the immediate removal of the Mississippi state flag.

In a resounding a voice, they said any discussion of what design should replace the current flag must not impede the current goal: Taking down a flag associated with white supremacy.

"Anything is better than what we've got now," said Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church International.

People have been protesting for racial justice in Mississippi and across the nation this month at levels not seen since the civil rights movement more than 50 years ago.

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Michael Gecan: Recovery Will Take More Than Money

The pandemic offers Americans a chance to look hard at the ways in which government has failed society—but also a chance to do something about it.

[Excerpt]

Until the pandemic arrived, I had been spending about four days a month in southern Ohio. It’s a rural area roughly 100 by 100 miles, bounded by the Ohio River on the south, the Indiana line on the west, Chillicothe to the north, and Athens to the west—home to 350,000 residents. For someone like me, Chicago-born and -bred, who has lived and worked in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, and points in between for the past 40 years, driving from town to town and hamlet to hamlet, with appointments often 60 miles apart, was an entirely new experience.

I began this effort because I had long thought that the kind of organizing that my colleagues in the Industrial Areas Foundation and I practiced, begun by Saul Alinsky in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago, had settled into urban and metropolitan areas, but had largely avoided rural communities. This was not a conscious decision or a conscious strategy. It was a drift. But the drift worried me. I kept looking at electoral maps and seeing a sea of red in the center of the country, in Ohio counties like Ross and Scioto and Gallia counties that once had been home to the United Mine Workers union and that had been mixed politically, but that now leaned strongly to the right.

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California IAF Urges Gov. Newsom to Help All Essential Workers, Demanding Justice Not Charity

On Tuesday evening, May 5, over 1,200 California IAF leaders, 10 Bishops and 7 state legislators converged on Zoom and Facebook Live to demand the Governor and legislature provide immediate relief for essential workers left out of state and federal relief. 

"There are millions of California workers who take care of our elders, our children, grow our food, and get it to the stores. Many of them are undocumented, but their work contributes billions of dollars to the California economy," said Rev. Dr. Julie Roberts-Fronk, Co-Chair of the action and a leader with ICON.

Undocumented immigrants represent 10% of the California workforce, pay over $3 billion in state and local taxes and add $180 billion to the economy. They comprise 33% of agricultural workers and 32% of healthcare workers in California, working at great personal risk during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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DIY Disaster Response: NYC & Churches Step Up to Fill Federal Void on Coronavirus Testing

[by NY Daily News Editorial Board]

As New York figures out how to limit the spread of a nasty bug while reopening the economy bit by bit, it’s become bitterly clear we cannot count on the feds to deliver the testing kits and other basics essential in the new normal.

Good for Mayor de Blasio, then, for moving to ramp up Gotham’s own production of personal protective equipment and rapid testing kits.

The city’s manufacturing firms now anticipate they’ll be churning out 465,000 face shields and 100,000 new surgical gowns per week within 10 days.

Perhaps even more important, with global supply chain shortages hobbling states’ ability to run coronavirus tests and Washington missing in action, the city aims to produce 50,000 test kits per week by May.

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Metro IAF Raises Alarm on Protective Equipment Shortages, Calls for Centralized Logistics

[Excerpt]

“We believe the Defense Logistics Agency ― not White House staffers ― is best equipped to take control of critical supplies and move them where they’re needed most,” said Joe Morris, an organizer at the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a network of religious and labor organizations that has been raising alarms about shortages of protective gear. “That effort needs serious coordination with state and local leadership, without political interference.”

[Photo: Huffington Post footage]

Trump Says Covid-19 Supply is Under Control, He Doesn't Need a CzarHuffington Post


Metro IAF Calls On 3M to Prevent N95 Mask Price Gouging by Distributors

[Excerpt]

Metro IAF, an affiliate of a 75-year-old organizing network, isn’t usually involved in procuring emergency medical gear. The group has a history of working on issues such as jobs, criminal justice, education, and housing. But its focus has changed in recent weeks as clergy in some of the churches that belong to the network began to get desperate reports from their members on the front lines.

“We were all hearing the same story over and over again: We don’t have the equipment we need, we don’t have masks, we don’t have what we need to protect ourselves,” said Rev. David K. Brawley of the St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East Brooklyn. Many of Brawley’s congregants are front-line health care workers — “the folks who work in services within the hospitals, and not just doctors, also the folks who people tend to forget about,” he said. “These are people I deeply care about and love.”  

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