Close

Not a member yet?Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

News and Media

Tue Nov 20, 2018

A Spotlight on Rufaro Jenkins, Leader with the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) -WIN


Rufaro Jenkins is a native Washingtonian with a passion for her community.
 
Ms. Jenkins found WIN in 2008 when she learned that the city would be closing her apartment complex, Parkway Overlook, and that all 266 families would have to move out.  A friend told her, “if there would be any organization that would fight for the right to return and affordability with us, it would be WIN”.
 
Jenkins became deeply involved in the campaign and at her first action she witnessed her neighbors and other DC residents standing up and demanding action. This experience made her feel, “like we had a voice in the city,” and pushed her to fight harder.
 
Again, she saw the power of collective action when, while struggling to get a meeting with Council Member Barry, a team of WIN leaders showed up to a meeting at Bearny Elementary school on MLK Ave in Southeast DC, all wearing blue WIN t-shirts, and demanded that Barry meet with WIN. Then Council Member Barry finally agreed to sit down with the group, leaving Ms. Jenkins in awe of how powerful every DC resident could be, by coming together consistently and persistently in pursuit of justice.
 
Over the years, Ms. Jenkins has led and spoken at multiple WIN actions, helped lead a tour of the property with a former Mayor, held a community vigil, led voter efforts, and organized countless tenant meetings to keep the redevelopment of Parkway Overlook a central issue in the city.
 
After nearly 10 years of involvement with WIN, Ms. Jenkins reflects on what keeps her coming back:
 
“The work is not about any one person, or one issue. All the struggles and the concerns of this city are the concerns of WIN. WIN helps residents come together from all eight wards to make a difference and to be the liaisons between residents and public officials so that they can work together and truly ensure that no one is left behind or pushed aside.”
 
By day, Ms. Jenkins works for the federal government. However, her work doesn’t stop there. Ms. Jenkins is still the President of the Parkway Overlook East and West Tenant Association, Founder and CEO of Heavenly Flava, a board member for Brighter Day Enrichment Academy and Manpower DC, and a co-founding member of New Life Ministries.
Mon Nov 19, 2018

In Anne Arundel County, 1,100+ Leaders Unite, Pledge to Make The County a Better Place -Anne Arundel Connecting Together


Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT) Leaders at inaugural action
 
After two years of listening to communities, congregations and individuals, including 2,800 one-on-one conversations, over 1,100 leaders from Anne Arundel County packed First Christian Community Church for an inaugural action to commit to working together to make Anne Arundel a better place for everyone to live. Six broad issues were identified as priorities for the newest IAF organization, Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT):
 
1. Affordable Housing
2. Safe and Effective Schools
3. Efficient and useful Public Transportation
4. Freedom from Addiction and Mental Health Challenges
5. Just and Fair Immigration Policies
6. Gun Violence Reduction and Safety in our Communities
 
ACT asked candidates for county council, state’s attorney and county executive in attendance if they would pledge to work with and meet regularly with ACT, and all but one agreed.
 
 
 
Wed Oct 31, 2018

IAF Statement on Tragedy in Pittsburgh -Industrial Areas Foundation

Tue Oct 9, 2018

Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT) united, in search of solutions, going beyond the politics of division. -Anne Arundel Connecting Together


Photo Credit Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group

As the multi-congregational choir raised the roof, over 1,100 people from Anne Arundel county overflowed into First Christian Community Church and into a tent set up outside.  They committed to ACT and to work together to make Anne Arundel County a better place for everyone to live.


After more than two years of listening to communities, congregations and individuals, including 2,800 “one-on-one” conversations, six broad issues were identified:

  1. Affordable Housing
  2. Safe and Effective Schools
  3. Efficient and useful Public Transportation
  4. Freedom from Addiction and Mental Health Challenges
  5. Just and Fair Immigration Policies
  6. Gun Violence Reduction and Safety in our Communities

During the action, candidates for county council, state’s attorney and county executive were asked if they would pledge to work with and meet regularly with ACT.

MEDIA
http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ac-cn-new-church-coalitiion-20181006-story.html

Photo Gallery:  http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ac-cn-connecting-together-20181004-pg-photogallery.html

 

Tue Oct 2, 2018

PERSON SPOTLIGHT: Tita Concepcion -Metro IAF NYC


My name is Tita Concepcion, I am a member of Our Lady of Presentation – Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, and a long-time resident of the Breukelen Houses in Canarsie. 
 
This summer I took action at City Hall and confronted NYCHA managers and this mayor for allowing my daughter to be assaulted.  
 
For years we’ve had problems in our buildings: a lack of heat & hot water, mold, dirty elevators and local managers who treat us with total disrespect. But the turning moment for me started with men lurking in our lobby because the front door lock was broken. We’d call and call but it would stay broken.
Then one day my daughter was sexually assaulted. I was outraged, and decided that enough was enough. I invited my neighbors over to my house to see if they were tired of being treated like trash by this administration. We knocked on doors and we got organized.
 
One of my neighbors in the building next door had so many rats that she was afraid to go out at night. Rats! We had to host meetings during the day because the rats would take over the courtyard at night. 
 
At City Hall, I testified, rallied and confronted NYCHA.  I challenged this mayor’s indifference to the health and safety of half a million black and Latino New Yorkers like me. We’re tired of being treated like second-class citizens.
 
We take action to get a reaction, and the very next day my door was fixed. I got the mayor to do his job and make it safe for my daughter and me again. But I was just getting started.
 
Later I organized more than 70 parishioners and neighbors to host a press conference with Councilwoman Inez Barron. We got more attention and more of a reaction. Soon they were getting rid of the rats and cleaning out people’s mold.
 
As Fr. Skelly mentioned, we helped win $2.2 billion for repairs.  There are hundreds of thousands of us that still need repairs. We’re going to need more money, real leadership and strong accountability.  
 
After 5 years, I don’t trust this mayor to do it on his own. That’s why all of you and I will keep taking action. 
 
Wed Jul 25, 2018

Jersey City Together Demands Action on Rent Control, Housing Code Enforcement -Jersey City Together

200 tenant and faith leaders won commitments from Jersey City Mayor Fulop and Council President Lavarro to work on an ordinance to address rent and housing violations for the June 13th council meeting. Jersey City Together is pushing for wholesale reform of Jersey City’s enforcement operation for unaccountable landlords. After a year of working with Fulop and the city council to hold mega-landlord Trendy Management accountable, 80 of 140 of the landlord’s buildings were sold after finding 1,750+ housing and health code violations. But new landlords who bought the properties continue to ignore the city’s rent control law. Leaders shared their stories of living in conditions where raw sewage poured out into hallways, living with pest issues and rent control violations.
 
Press Coverage:
 
Wed Jul 25, 2018

Durham CAN Pressures City Council to Prioritize Affordable Housing in Downtown Durham -Durham CAN


Faith leaders, housing advocates, and public housing residents in Durham gather to remind city council leaders to use public land to build affordable housing so we can have a downtown for all.

Durham CAN pressured the Durham City Council to prioritize affordable housing on over 4 acres of city-owned land in the heart of Downtown. When Durham CAN heard the city was considering an outright sale of the land to the highest bidder, over a hundred leaders gathered at noon holding mirrors to remind council that what we do with land is a reflection of our values, and of who gets to be included in the flourishing of downtown. The mayor then presented a proposal at the city's work session that reflected our top priority and included all of our demands: a minimum of 80 units of affordable housing for families under 60% AMI, including a commitment for a developer to work with the Durham Housing Authority to accept residents with vouchers. Durham CAN won strong press coverage, including a front page story in the local newspaper.

Mon May 21, 2018

GCC’s Action on Criminal Justice Yields Recognition and Continued Commitment from County Prosecutor and Presiding Judge to Fight for Reforms -Greater Cleveland Congregations


GCC packs leaders at St. John AME Church in fight for additional criminal justice reforms.
 
On April 24th Greater Cleveland Congregations held an action with 435 of its members at the historic St. John AME Church in Cleveland.  Present at the action were Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley and Administrative and Presiding Judge John Russo, who reiterated their plans and commitments to fight for additional criminal justice reforms that address mass incarceration, such as expanding opportunities for drug court for those suffering from addiction, new second chance diversion initiatives, and policies to end the practice of over-charging.  GCC leaders also heard compelling testimony from a member of our community who was victimized by over-charging and served a 10-year prison sentence for stealing 10 packs of batteries.
 
Prosecutor O’Malley also highlighted two major policy initiatives that GCC fought for over the past two years.  First, his office's policy of utilizing agencies outside of the prosecutors office to investigate police use of lethal force cases in our county.  Second, the establishment of the county's first ever Civil Rights Unit, run out of the prosecutors office. This is one of only three such Civil Rights Units in the nation, and it has already been responsible for reviews of cases that have resulted in the overturning of three wrongful convictions and counting. 
 
An article summarizing the action may be found HERE.
Mon May 21, 2018

WIN Organizes for Immigrant Legal Services, Affordable Housing -Washington Interfaith Network


WIN Leaders launched new Ward 1 demands around affordable housing and immigration to six candidates for Ward 1 councilmember.| Photo by David Choy 

On April 25th Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) packed the basement of Sacred Heart Catholic Church with 304 leaders and 6 candidates vying for Council Member of Ward 1 in D.C. Sacred Heart is the largest immigrant church in DC and the turnout reflected that diversity. The action was WIN’s first attempt at doing an action in both English and Spanish, using 300 interpretation headsets. Demands were made for $2.5 million to expand legal assistance for immigrants, to build affordable housing on a piece of land owned by the National Parks Service, and to take on a slum landlord in the neighborhood.


Mon May 21, 2018

In NYC, Leaders Continue the Fight for Affordable Housing Solutions, Increasing Number of Council Members Agree to Support Metro IAF NY’s Housing Plan -Metro IAF NYC


Metro IAF NY Leaders Rally at City Hall in New York City to Fight for Affordable Housing
 
On May 17th more than 150 East Brooklyn Congregations & Metro I.A.F. leaders endured sweltering heat to remind the mayor that they are not giving up until they make New York City affordable and just for everyone. Leaders were joined by Council members Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Laurie Combo, Jumaane Williams, Adrienne Adams, Rafael Salamanca & Barry Grodenchik. They each gave Metro IAF NY tremendous recognition for their track record, history of action, and plan to solve the crisis.  
 
Metro IAF NY is demanding a deal to build 15,000 units of senior housing, repair NYCHA from top to bottom, bring justice to slumlords, and use city money for rents residents can afford. And they are getting a reaction: Mayor de Blasio has been desperately calling council members urging them to back off; and Speaker Corey Johnson finally reached out and asked to work together again.  
 
The rally followed 8 days of action with 5 other press conferences involving a total of 418 leaders. These council-led tours of NYCHA apartments and empty lots, which also included council members Rafael Espinal and Antonio Reynoso, received significant media coverage.  Please see most of the press coverage below.
 
So much of the political class is now running to catch up to Metro IAF NY’s leadership & solutions. De Blasio will soon, too. And, when he does, Metro IAF NY will have saved the soul of New York City. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FULL PRESS COVERAGE –
 
Inspection tour of NYCHA continues as city council battles mayor for billions in city budget | WPIX 11 New York
 
Inquilinos de NYCHA exigen una pronta solución a los problemas que sufren sus viviendas - Univision
 
Fund Fair Fares, senior housing in city budget - Greenpoint Star
 
Bushwick residents, leaders rally for senior housing - Greenpoint Star
 
Father Edward Mason, Brooklyn Pastor - Greenpoint Star
 
Councilmember rips NYCHA conditions - The Bronx Free Press 
 
NYCHA tenants, councilman hold rally for more funding - Bronx News 12
 
How Monica is making it happen this week | WPIX 11 New York
 
NYCHA tenants, council members press mayor for better conditions - Brooklyn New 12
 
NYCHA tenants, officials rally for more senior housing options - News 12 Brooklyn 
 
Demandan mejoras para gente mayor en edificios de vivienda pública - Noticias 1
 
Concejales inspeccionan edificios de NYCHA - Telemundo 47
 
Condiciones deplorables en vivienda publica - Telemundo 47
 
布勒克倫公屋惹兒哮喘 母子被迫分居兩地 - Epoch Times
 
 
NYCHA residents will give city council members tours of their homes | WPIX 11 New York
 
NYCHA Tenants Demand More Money - CBS local news 
 
City Council member tours Canarsie NYCHA complex - Bronx News 12
 
Concejales de Nueva York realizan tour de inspección en viviendas públicas de NYCHA - Univision 41 Nueva York - Univision
 
City Council pols hear horror stories while visiting NYCHA housing in Brooklyn - NY Daily News
 
NYCHA residents give NYC Council members tour of living conditions in Brooklyn - ABC 7 New York 
 
NYCHA residents to give council members tour of properties - NY Post 
 
Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 7, 2018 - Kings County Politics 
 
Mon May 21, 2018

A Spotlight on Meryl Paskow, a VOICE Leader Fighting for School Commitment to Honoring Muslim and Jewish Holidays in Virginia -VOICE

 
Meryl attends Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston, VA.
 
 
 
 
 
"The most meaningful thing to me this past year has been working to make the Fairfax County school superintendent’s promise to VOICE to accommodate students’ obligations on Jewish and Muslim holidays a reality. I’ll never forget the look on the assistant superintendent’s face at the first Fairfax County School’s Calendar Committee meeting I attended when I spoke up without hesitation about the Muslim holidays — apparently they had never had a Jewish parent do that before. The School Board had no idea how serious we are in VOICE about standing for the whole. It is because we do this that we are successful in building strong relational power to win on the issues that are most important to us — like honoring our holidays. It has been amazing to work on this issue alongside VOICE leaders of different faiths and I am proud to be a part of this team effort.”
 
Mon May 21, 2018

1,200 Leaders Turn Out for Common Ground’s 10th Anniversary Action in Milwaukee -Common Ground


Common Ground leaders celebrate 10 years of action in Milwaukee, WI
 
On April 29, 2018, at the Italian Community Center, Common Ground celebrated the 10th anniversary of its founding, with dancing, music, cheering, inspiring speeches, and a new campaign.  Oh, how we celebrated, with more than 1200 members mirroring the makeup of the larger southeastern Wisconsin communities in which we live and sharing the same passion for making our home a better place for all.  

We gathered together to recognize our successes, renew our dedication to complete the work we have undertaken, and vote on beginning a new campaign on jobs and work.
 
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and District Attorney John Chisholm recognized Common Ground’s tenacity and positive contributions to Milwaukee. Milwaukee Rising, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, Fair Play, Milwaukee Neighborhoods Now, United Parents Café, Southside Caucus, Watershed, and Do Not Stand Idly By have either become a part of the Milwaukee area lexicon (at least among the powerful) or are well on their way, a seeming impossibility a decade ago.
 
TENacity, Common Ground’s name for the celebration, provided impetus for its next campaign:  

efforts to expand access to living wage jobs in the Milwaukee area.  Common Ground will partner with local businesses and job training programs to expand access to living wage work in Milwaukee, especially for formerly incarcerated and chronically unemployed people.  Additionally, Common Ground pledged to identify and hold accountable temp agencies that mistreat their workers.
Thu Apr 26, 2018

GBIO Leader Testifies at Public Hearing on Massachusetts Healthcare Systems Merger -Greater Boston Interfaith Organization

Bonny Gilbert, chair of GBIO’s Health Care team, testified at a public hearing on the merger of healthcare systems Beth Israel Deaconess, Lahey, and others. Gilbert argued for protections against consumer cost hikes, saying, “There has never been a merger that has not increased costs… We cannot afford to allow any more mergers solely on the basis of well-intended, yet unaccountable goal statements. You, the Public Health Council, have a responsibility to the Massachusetts citizens to require that this merger live up to its goals by requiring it to maintain per capita health care spending growth at or below the benchmark, and to document this compliance, with consequences for any failure.”
 
--Read More Here--
Thu Apr 26, 2018

OCJU Organizes for Rural Jobs Access, Immigrant Student Resources in North Carolina -Justice United


Lattisville Grove MBC leaders applaud candidates supporting Justice United’s Agenda
 
253 Justice United leaders filled the sanctuary of Lattisville Grove Missionary Baptist Church for a public meeting with candidates for the Orange County Board of Education, the largest employer serving rural Orange County with close to 1,000 staff, and a key institution that shapes the futures and opportunities available to over 7,400 young people. 
 
Candidates committed to hire over 140 African American and Latino teachers within the next four years to resolve racial hiring disparities in the teaching staff, increasing access to jobs for people of color; as well as the hiring of bilingual front office staff for every school (currently only 2 of 12 schools have bi-lingual front office staff, and the student body is 20% Latino). Candidates also committed to develop a continuing education unit to assist guidance counselors in helping immigrant students navigate a path to higher education. 
 
Four of seven seats on the Board of Education are up for election this May. With only one incumbent running, it’s clear that change is coming to the leadership of Orange County schools. Justice United will continue to organize to hold Board members accountable to delivering on these solutions.

 

Thu Apr 26, 2018

A Spotlight on Cynthia Stevenson-Eaglin, a WIN Leader Fighting for Community Safety and Affordable Housing in Washington, DC -Washington Interfaith Network

Cynthia Stevenson-Eaglin is a lifelong resident of ward 8.  After being born and raised in Parkchester Housing Cooperative, and graduating from Ballou High School, she moved to Parkway Overlook in 1991.
 
Ms. Eaglin soon found a church home at A.P. Shaw United Methodist Church (now Brighter Day Ministries) just a few steps from Parkway Overlook. After struggling with drugs and alcohol in her earlier years she credits growing in Christ Jesus for helping her be a light in the community.
 
Ms. Eaglin got involved in the community. “My best memories are when we had Robinson Place Day. We would cookout and feed all of our children. I can remember feeling so safe that I would leave my door open and neighbors would drop in to visit. We had a real sense of pride in the community.”
 
Later, when the community got more dangerous Ms. Eaglin kept leading and fighting for Parkway Overlook. In the early 2000’s Parkway Overlook experienced murders and robberies that threatened the sense of safety and community. In particular, Mrs. Eaglin remembers when Dorine Fostion, a grandmother who was sitting in her living room on Robinson Place minding her own business in August 2005, was killed by a stray bullet that came through her window.  Ms. Eaglin who was working in the office of Parkway Overlook, helped implement security cameras.  She, a few neighbors, and congregation members also began walking the streets, singing and reading scriptures. “There were a couple of buildings in particular that had a lot of problems. I would walk around those to discourage problems. We reclaimed our community”. They worked with Police Seventh District, challenged the Washington Post to shine a light on the lives lost in their community, not just those in wealthier parts of the city, and even got the National Guard involved.
 
Ms. Eaglin remembers when Daniel and Farah from LEDC came to tell tenants that the buildings were closing down, but they had rights as residents and should exercise them.  She says, “I was nominated from the father above to do this work. I thank God for giving me this assignment to look after this community.”
 
Mrs. Eaglin is the Vice President of the Parkway Overlook East and West Tenant Association. She works for WMATA as a Metro Bus driver, is now a homeowner a few minutes away from Parkway Overlook, is happily married to Mr. Kevin Eaglin, and is still an active member of Brighter Day United Methodist Church – A.P. Shaw Campus.
Thu Apr 26, 2018

5 DC Houses of Worship Sign Up to Receive Solar Panels and New Roofs -Community Purchasing Alliance

Watch this short video on CPA’s Solar Panels and New Roofs Offering
 
 
 
Five DC houses of worship have signed contracts to go solar and have their old roofs replaced through a group purchase negotiated by the Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA), Metro IAF’s member-owned purchasing cooperative based in Washington, DC. The innovative deal helps churches, synagogues and other houses of worship who have old leaking roofs and cannot afford to repair or replace them. As part of CPA’s Sunroof Initiative, the organizations will have new roofs and solar panels installed at no upfront cost, and will pay deeply discounted rates for the electricity generated by solar.
 
“We’ve taken matters into our own hands,” said Reverend Brian Jackson of Randall Memorial United
Methodist Church. “No more buckets in our church catching water from our leaky roof.”
 
The houses of worship will receive a combined $500,000 in roof replacements paid for by the savings and solar incentives that are part of DC’s meaningful effort to shift toward renewable energy. “This is an incredible opportunity to help organizations doing some of the most critical work in our communities - feeding the hungry, providing shelter for those displaced by DC’s ever-rising cost of living, and providing space for afterschool programs for our children,” said Felipe Witchger, Executive Director of the Community Purchasing Alliance. 
 
Participating houses of worship include Capitol Hill United Methodist Church and Northeastern Presbyterian Church in Woodridge, Ohev Sholom and Tifereth Israel Congregation in Brightwood, and Randall Memorial United Methodist Church in Deanwood. At least five more churches throughout the city are expected to join CPA’s Sunroof Initiative over the next few months, with the new roofs and solar power systems likely installed by the end of 2018.
 

 

Thu Mar 29, 2018

GBIO leader Beverly Williams Receives JALSA’s Community Champion Award for her Work on Criminal Justice Reform -Greater Boston Interfaith Organization

In January 2018, Beverly Williams was honored as a recipient of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action’s Community Champion Award. Beverly, along with Alan Epstein, Co-Chairs the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization's Criminal Justice Reform team has led the organization's 40+ congregations in the pursuit of meaningful criminal justice reform legislation.
 
After GBIO committed to a four point Criminal Justice Reform platform in 2016, Beverly and her team began bringing these issues directly to legislators.  GBIO’s platform included (1) Repealing Mandatory minimums for drug offenses, (2) pretrial and bail reform, (3) eliminating excessive post-release fees and fines, and (4) eliminating excessive time in solitary confinement. GBIO leaders held face-to-face in-district actions with State Senators and Representatives throughout Greater Boston, then built networks of allies, including Reform Jewish Congregations and African Methodist Episcopal leaders throughout Massachusetts, who could meet with legislators in vital swing-districts.
 
As a result, all four of GBIO’s issues were addressed in October’s ground-breaking Senate Bill, as well as the House’s slightly more conservative November bill, described by the Boston Globe as the house’s  "most sweeping criminal justice bill in years.” Details are now being worked out in conference committee.
 
Beverly is most proud of GBIO’s success on mandatory minimums. “Nothing had moved on this issue for 18 years,” says Beverly. “When the Council of State Government did a study of our MA criminal justice system, back in 2016, mandatory minimums were not even under review. For us to have pushed it, and now it’s in conference, that’s a big deal!”
 
Beverly’s passion for this issue is deeply personal.  “In my community, the reality is most young men between 18 and 25 are locked up. I could see that locking people up and punishing them, especially in low-level crimes, was not the answer.” She was determined to change a system that left many low-income people and people of color locked in a cycle of incarceration and poverty.
 
As Beverly became more involved in the fight for justice, she realized, “It wasn’t just about investing in the issue but about investing in myself. For me to have an impact, I had to develop my own leadership skills.” She attended an IAF regional training and built new skills by diving into the work, taking on new roles, even when she wasn’t sure she was ready. “I had to build relationships with powerful people, with people in the streets,with people I hadn’t had relationships with before. In having these relationships, in listening to other peoples’ stories and impressions and thoughts, I learned more about myself. I learned to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”
 
Although she is honored to receive the Community Champion Award, Beverly is clear that there is “still much more work to be done.” Of the House and Senate bills, she says, “if we get a major win out of this, there are going to be more people out of prisons and we need to keep fighting for them. We need to make sure they get much-needed services. We need to get them into jobs.”
 
Thu Mar 29, 2018

New IAF Sponsoring Committee on the Ground in North Carolina State Capitol and Surrounding Areas -Wake County Sponsors


Wake County Leaders Participate in Introductory Training Sessions

For the last year, leaders from thirty diverse institutions from across Wake County, NC have been working on assembling a diverse, countywide, broad-based, non-partisan organization connected with the Industrial Areas Foundation. 
 
Wake County Sponsors expects at least 400 leaders from across Wake County to attend its first Internal Assembly on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cary, NC. 
 
In preparation for this first internal action, 230 African American, White and Latino leaders representing more than 25 institutions have participated in introductory training sessions in March; at least 70 more are expected at the final session on April 9th.
Sun Feb 25, 2018

In Memoriam: Rev. Jeff Krehbiel, IAF Leader, 1992-2017 Ministry of Formation and Persistence -Metro IAF

“…And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says: And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?  Will he delay long in helping them?  I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  Luke 18: 6-8
 
In my first week of organizing, I followed Rev. Jeff Krehbiel down a dark and chaotic block—horns blaring from speeding cars & shouts from drug dealers for offers to buy— to the home of Jenny Bernadel, a member of West Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, DE.  I had recently been assigned to work with Rev. Krehbiel and other religious and community leaders to build an IAF organization in Wilmington.  Rev. Krehbiel asked me to visit Ms. Bernadel, a Jamaican-American member of his church, who lived in the most well kept home on her otherwise blighted Eastside Wilmington block.  
 
Ms. Bernadel was afraid to leave her house after coming home from work to go to Bible study. Police, she said, never patrolled in her neighborhood and the local recreation center was closed so the teenagers had nothing to do, except harass people.  Ms. Bernadel was angry and distraught as she spoke; she didn’t know what to do.  Rev. Krehbiel took her hand and asked “who else in the neighborhood do you know that feels the way you do?”  The next week we returned to Ms. Bernadel’s house and met with 5 of her neighbors, launching a year long organizing drive for community policing and youth investment.
 
The campaign culminated in a showdown with then Senator Joseph Biden about the misappropriation of Federal Community Policing funding by the Wilmington Police Department— instead of deploying beat cops to patrol Ms. Bernadel’s and other Wilmington neighborhoods, the department bought armored trucks and other heavy weaponry.   
Rev. Krehbiel challenged Senator Biden in an early morning meeting with other IAF leaders at Bethel AME as he started to defend the police department. “Senator, we want the $10 million in Community Policing monies in Wilmington to be used for officers to walk a beat in Ms. Bernadel’s neighborhood and we are going public with our demand in two weeks.”  Senator Biden’s face turned red and the vein on the side of his head started pulsing…..  he was speechless…with rage.  He left almost immediately after this confrontation, making no commitments.
 
At a packed IAF action with 500 leaders at Bethel Apostolic Temple two weeks afterward in the pouring rain, Wilmington’s Mayor and Police Chief announced the reassignment of officers to Wilmington’s neighborhoods and monies to expand recreation opportunities at an Eastside Boys and Girls Club.  Ms. Bernadel never missed a West Presbyterian Bible Study after that.  She told me later it was the first time a pastor had visited her home.
Rev. Jeff Krehbiel practiced ministry on the ground: in homes, neighborhoods, homeless shelters, recreation centers, churches, and taverns.  IAF organizing formed Jeff.  In turn through song, conversation, worship, faith, anger and persistence, he formed us: young adults, cities, congregations, politicians, neighborhoods, denominations, senators and a vice president, and organizers.  
 
Jeff led the drive for the next generation of Presbyterian Clergy to take up community organizing; now it is a growing movement in the denomination through Next Church.  His mentor:  the Rev. George Todd would be proud.  Jeff reorganized West Presbyterian and Church of the Pilgrims, into vital congregations using the practices of IAF relational organizing.  Working with other leaders at Washington Interfaith Network, Jeff helped lead the renaissance of DC neighborhoods with more 
affordable housing, renovated libraries and recreation centers, and green jobs.  He helped transform 
DC’s corrupt and evil homeless service system from warehousing families to providing permanent supportive housing. For Jeff, faith and organizing were symbiotic. 
 
Over 20 years, I organized with Jeff in Wilmington and Washington DC, a witness to and beneficiary of his faith in the transforming power of organizing for ordinary people, for the church, and for the world.  
 

“And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” 
 
Without question: in the ministry of formation and persistence of Rev. Jeffrey Krehbiel.
 
 
——Martin Trimble, Metro IAF Supervising Organizer MD,DC, VA, NC
Sun Feb 25, 2018

BUILD listens to 1,100 Residents, Ratifies Plan to Fight Baltimore Violence -BUILD


BUILD trains 120 members and leaders on January 13, 2018 to rebuild city of Baltimore
 
Baltimore’s unprecedented violence last year made national news, and BUILD responded by listening to approximately 1,100 city residents about their experiences with violent crime and what they most 

want the Mayor and City officials to act on immediately. BUILD organizers and institutions documented each conversation and identified the top issues for action as: Youth Trauma & Opportunity; AddictionRecovery; Policing; and Jobs & Economic Opportunity. The action plan was ratified by 150 attendees at a Citywide Action Team meeting in late 2017.
 
BUILD has already trained 120 members and leaders to be the Nehemiahs that will rebuild a broken city and formed issue action teams to research and turn the large-scale problems the community faces into actionable issues.
 
Sun Feb 25, 2018

Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign Pushes Forward, Inspires U.S. Mayors to Act -Do Not Stand Idly By


Metro IAF Leaders Escort New Haven Mayor Toni Harp back to the US Conference of Mayors meeting. Photo Credit: David Choy

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 in April of 2018 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. Read more on the day of action here.

Tue Dec 26, 2017

Washington Interfaith Tenants & Faith Leaders Drive Progress on Development of 518 Units of Affordable Housing -Washington Interfaith Network


Site of the old Temple Courts homes is now a parking lot
 
Temple Courts, a 211 unit public housing building, was knocked down in December of 2008 by the District of Columbia, scattering over 200 families across DC, Maryland and Virginia, with the promise to tenants that the building would be rebuilt at a later date. Yet due to the national financial crisis that followed, that promise was never fulfilled and construction never began on replacing Temple Courts.  Today the lot where Temple Courts once stood is still vacant, and serves as a nine dollar a day parking lot instead of badly needed affordable housing. Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) leaders and former Temple Courts residents have been working steadily to organize for the redevelopment of the site, and for the selection of a developer that will shape the project around the needs of the residents it aims to serve. MRP Urban and CSG Urban have been selected by the City to redevelop Temple Courts after over a year-long selection process.
 
“This is a huge step forward. We’ve been waiting too long, almost ten years” said Nathan Brown, who grew up at Temple Courts and has been a leader in the recent organizing effort. “Every day that this project does not move forward is another day that former tenants are kept from returning to their homes” said Brown.  “WIN leaders will be there every step of the way. To see the project through zoning, to see that it is fully funded, to get a shovel in the ground, and to get former Temple Courts residents back into the neighborhood as soon as possible” said Randy Keesler, head of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church’s Social Justice Ministry which has helped spearhead the effort.  
 


Parking at $9/hour has replaced affordable homes

 

Tue Dec 26, 2017

Metro IAF NY Affiliates Press District Attorneys to Act on Mental Health and Prison Diversion -Metro-IAF NY


Metro IAF leaders gather to press District Attorneys in New York to go on record about how they will act on the mis-incarceration of people with mental health conditions.
 
On December 5th, 200 leaders from Manhattan Together, SBC, EBC, and allies like the Greenburger Center for Social & Criminal Justice, and the New York Daily News gathered at Town and Village Synagogue in Manhattan. The group asked the Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island District Attorney’s to go on the record on what they will do to help people with mental health challenges avoid prison and get into treatment. This is part of Metro IAF NY’s continued work to build a team that will push for concrete reforms like the establishment of diversion centers, and the expansion of Crisis Intervention Team Training and supportive housing, in New York City. Metro IAF affiliates in Illinois have already made significant progress on crisis intervention, and this expands Metro IAF’s footprint on this issue across the country.
 
In early 2018, Metro IAF NY plans to hold a public forum with the Police Commissioner and officials from the De Blasio Administration to push for further action.
Tue Dec 26, 2017

LCU’s Fight for Crisis Intervention Leads to Invitation to Present Mental Health Strategy to Waukegan Police Officers -Lake County United


LCU leaders, Sheriff, County Board member, Mayor of Waukegan and Waukegan School District Superintendent

As a result of hundreds of Lake County United leaders gathering to meet with the Sheriff, Mayor of Waukegan, County Board Members, and Waukegan Superintendent of Schools, LCU was invited to present their mental health strategy to Waukegan Police Officers during a training on December 15th. The action with Waukegan officials that prompted the invitation to present the strategy pressed for the need to increase training for police to deescalate in a crisis and divert from jail, support affordable housing, and improve and expand college and career counseling.

Wed Nov 29, 2017

GBIO Clergy Show Up in Force Hours Before Massachusetts State House Vote on Criminal Justice Bill -Greater Boston Interfaith Organization


GBIO clergy leaders push for criminal justice reform at the Massachusetts State House

GBIO clergy showed up in force in a rally pushing for changes in Massachusetts criminal justice laws. In the final hours before a House vote on criminal justice reform, close to 200 clergy stood together with Retired Judge Nancy Gertner and several House representatives, calling for a criminal justice system that addresses racial and income disparities in sentencing, removing fees and penalties that keep people trapped in the prison system, and urging the state to spend tax dollars on treating, rather than punishing low level drug offenders with addictions and/or mental health issues.

Majority Whip Byron Rushing thanked GBIO for the work they’ve done so far, and urged GBIO to keep the pressure on during the last hours of debate. The bill passed by a vote of 144-9 on November 14th and now sets up a potential compromise between the state House and Senate to iron out differences in their two respective criminal justice reform bills before sending a bill to the desk of Governor Charlie Baker. Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg fulfilled his February 2017 commitment to push through GBIO’s platform on criminal justice, and if the House and Senate find a compromise, it could be the first major effort to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation in many years.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KwJ1aK3JYg&sns=em

Pages