“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 Czar, Huffington Post
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.”Read more
Relentless efforts by Together Louisiana resulted first in local media attention and then national media focus on the new storm brewing in New Orleans.
New Orleans Faces a Virus Nightmare, and Mardi Gras May Be Why, New York Times
Together Louisiana Press Conference (done online)
March 15th Infographic Demonstrating Outbreak in New Orleans, Together Louisiana
How Early Intervention Can Save Lives, Together Louisiana
After the Covid-19 pandemic precipitated an economic crisis of historic proportions, the Industrial Areas Foundation launched a campaign calling on Congress to provide direct monthly aid for the duration of the crisis to American workers -- regardless of their citizenship.
While the recently passed $2.2 Trillion emergency stimulus will provide adults a one-time $1,200 check, it is set to leave out undocumented immigrants -- including those who pay taxes using a Tax Identification Number. IAF organizations across the West / Southwest IAF working with immigrant communities lay out the implications of this decision below:
Health care is a concern to both undocumented immigrants and legal residents.... Last August, the Trump administration tightened restrictions on legal immigrants who receive government benefits, referred to as 'public charges.' The new policy denies green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits.Read more
GBIO Leaders and Coalition Partners Carry a “Check” to the State House for the money saved by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, totaling $71 million per year.
The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), along with partners in the Massachusetts Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition, scored its first win in its 2019-2020 health care legislative campaign. Language passed as part of the 2020 budget gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to develop a proposed value of a drug as well as have a public hearing if MassHealth (Massachusetts’ Medicaid agency) cannot agree with the drug manufacturer on a fair price. Using this negotiating leverage will lower the state’s prescription drug costs, which have doubled over the last five years. This will save the State of MA $71 Million per year in the annual MassHealth budget.
To make their voices heard, GBIO members gathered alongside members of coalition partner organizations at a Health Care Action Day at the State House. Leaders met with legislators and staff, demanding the strongest legislation possible to fight back against the doubling of prescription drug costs for MassHealth over the last five years.Read more
On September 19, the judge supervising Metro IAF NY’s mold focused federal court consent decree with NYCHA agreed to appoint our choice of an Ombudsperson, Cesar De Castro. Mr. De Castro will have the power to force NYCHA to properly fix mold and leaks hire independent contractors at NYCHA’s expense when they fail to do so. This will begin in the Jefferson Houses in East Harlem and rolling out citywide as soon as possible. Tenants will finally have an ally with court backed authority who can hold NYCHA accountable.
This came from years of work by Metro IAF’s public housing leaders to highlight the fact that most tenants still have seen no real improvement in mold remediation and the push for change. Most recently, on 9/13/19, we held a press conference with Council Member Ritchie Torres outside of the Federal Courthouse where we called for the appointment of the ombudsman and for NYCHA to immediately spend the $50 million in ventilation repair funds that we pushed them to allocate.Read more
Over 600 Durham CAN leaders packed the sanctuary of Monument of Faith Church to declare Durham a living wage city. CAN leaders demanded and won impressive commitments on living wages, ban-the-box, local hiring, and job training.
The Chair of the Durham Housing Authority committed to ensure all jobs required to renovate its properties, a $566 million project, will go up from $12.69 to $15/hour within the next two years. All contractors will also be required to pay at least $15 per hour. The priority will be to hire its own residents. Mayor Steve Schewel promised to ensure all jobs generated under his $95 million bond referendum proposal and the Beltline Project will pay at least $15. The Mayor promised the city will work with Durham Technical Community College to ensure the training and hiring of local workers. Leaders from Go Triangle ratified their commitment to pay $15 for most of their jobs.Read more
WIN organized immigrants and allies in DC to push for $2.5 million in city funding to go toward immigrants' legal services. Mayor Bowser hosted budget engagement forums throughout February, and WIN partnered with legal service providers to turn out nearly 200 people to support the funding. In her State of the District address, Mayor Bowser announced that she would raise the funding from $900,000 to $2.5 million.
Baton Rouge, LA - From its earliest days, starting shortly after Hurricane Katrina, the network of religious congregations and citizen organizations that make up Together Louisiana asked:
How is it that Louisiana, a state as rich in resources as Texas, looks so much like Alabama?
That question led leaders to what looks like a normal state incentive program, but upon closer inspection, revealed itself to be anything but. The 87-year-old Louisiana Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) facilitates the largest state-led transfer of public dollars to private corporations in the United States.
In 2016, Together Louisiana released a ground breaking study which revealed just how unusual ITEP is and how much it costs local school districts and other taxing entities ($1.9 Billion every year). The study also showed how the Louisiana Constitution gave the Governor the authority to reform the program, a fact leaders pointed out in a nonpartisan accountability assembly with gubernatorial candidates.Read more
A Win for GBIO: Expanded Massachusetts Senate Bill Includes All of GBIO Criminal Justice Reform Priorities
The Senate bill, introduced September 29 by State Senator William Brownsberger, addresses all four of GBIO’s issues: repealing mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, pretrial and bail reform, reducing/eliminating fees and fines, and shortening length of time spent in solitary confinement — the result of 9 in-district meetings with 23 State Representatives and Senators by over 60 GBIO Leaders. GBIO wants to see the Senate bill do more on mandatory minimums, and will continue to fight for deeper reforms.
On May 18th, GBIO celebrated the leaders of the Criminal Justice Team’s In-District Meeting Campaign.