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Wed Apr 26, 2017

LI-CAN Launches Opioid Fight -Long Island Congregations and Neighborhoods

 

1300 people jammed a high school gym on Long Island on April 26 to launch LI-CAN's campaign on the opioid crisis.  Concrete pledges of action were made by 23 congregations, 6 public school districts, and 207 high school students as part of LI-CAN's Covenant to End the Opioid Epidemic.  At its next major event, in October, LI-CAN will ask corporate and political leaders to make specific contributions to help end an epidemic that claimed 493 lives on Long Island in 2016.  Days after the event, LI-CAN leaders stood with Sen. Charles Schumer to applaud Schumer’s push for new federal legislation to help stem the flow of deadly fentanyl into the U.S.

 
 
Tue Apr 25, 2017

In Boston, GBIO Fights Back Against Discrimination -GBIO

At Greater Boston Interfaith Organization’s April 4 Delegates Assembly, over 175 leaders unanimously ratified GBIO’s new campaign: Out of Many, One, designed to fight the targeting of Muslims, Jews, Immigrants, and other minority communities. Those attending committed to bringing over 900 people to GBIO’s May action.

The goals of the Out of Many, One campaign are (1) to support the Safe Communities Act, which protects Massachusetts residents’ civil rights by making sure our tax dollars are not used to deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry, and (2) to support the Muslim community through a series of Teach-Ins at Muslim, Christian, and Jewish congregations throughout Greater Boston. At these Teach-Ins, participants will share and listen to stories about the specific threats facing the Muslim community, and will learn what MA residents can do to support their Muslim neighbors.

GBIO also sent a delegation of 12 leaders to attend the Metro IAF March 2017 key leaders meeting held in Baltimore to further address fighting discrimination as a larger Metro IAF collective.

Tue Apr 25, 2017

BUILD: Baltimore Youth Hold Mayor Accountable -BUILD

Founded by BUILD and NO Boundaries Coalition, the Baltimore Youth Organizing Project (BYOP) turned out 150 youth and accompanying adults to a Mayoral Accountability action to hold Mayor Catherine Pugh accountable to her campaign promises of 1000 year-round jobs for youth, fully funding recreation centers & community schools, and school funding.  The youth demanded – and got – recognition from the Mayor. Because of the disciplined and persistent pressure from youth, the Mayor committed to work with BYOP on the BUILD One Baltimore agenda and to continue to build a relationship between the Mayor and BUILD/BYOP.

Tue Apr 25, 2017

United Power for Action & Justice: 150 Leaders Trained in Chicago Metropolitan Area -UPAJ

During the last two weekends in February, United Power trained 150 leaders in four organizing workshops to help new and existing leaders assess the current political moment and learn from organizing strategies of United Power and other IAF affiliates. Leaders used these lessons as they developed organizing and action strategies for different regions of Cook County in March & April.

Tue Apr 25, 2017

East Brooklyn Congregations: Leaders Demand Safety, Housing Repairs from NYCHA and Transportation Commissioner -DNA Info

When Brooklyn Director and his managers refused to meet with 200 NYCHA tenants from four developments because the Director’s office could not afford the one hour of overtime, residents decided to act. The action from the Director’s office demonstrated an obvious lack of respect for their tenants. Thus ensued four days of action by EBC and tenants to confront NYCHA managers.  EBC sent a delegation to the Hope Gardens development office to confront the manager for not showing-up. Fr. Hoffman led a group of 25 people, and again, the manager refused to meet with them.

The group conducted a phone bank in the lobby with tenants calling 25 executives and managers from NYCHA, starting with the Chairwoman, and asked the managers to fix the intercom at 120 Menahan Street. EBC ran this action in response to recently posted letters instructing tenants to "call-in" about an intercom that had been broken for over a decade. The logic was that if managers wanted tenants to call rather than meet face to face, that's exactly what EBC would do.

The manager eventually emerged and was furious at the scene. He and his superior offered to take individual complaints, but the group refused to be bought off.

EBC also confronted the Transportation Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg. More than 225 leaders and students from 14 institutions, including a large contingent from Epiphany Lutheran School, came out to force Trottenberg to publicly commit to meet with EBC on Thursday, May 4th.  During that meeting, EBC will continue to build a better relationship and begin to get commitments for much needed speed bumps, traffic lamps and street lamps.  

Overall, within four days, 500 leaders took action on NYCHA, transportation and sanitation.

Tue Apr 25, 2017

Common Ground: Training Offered in Spanish for Latino Leaders in Milwaukee -Common Ground

Organizers from Common Ground and sister Metro IAF affiliate in North Carolina, Durham CAN, trained 35 Latino leaders in Spanish at St. Adalbert’s, the largest Latino Catholic church in the state. The 35 leaders committed to turn out 300 people to Common Ground’s upcoming Delegates Assembly to increase the power needed to secure a meeting with the Chief of Police.

Tue Apr 25, 2017

Manhattan Together & South Bronx Churches: Fighting for a Better Special Education Data System in NYC -MT & SBC

On March 19th, over 400 Manhattan Together (MT) and South Bronx Churches (SBC) leaders gathered with New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to push the City Government for action to improve their broken Special Education data system and to push for more repairs in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments. The Comptroller also promised to work together to expand programs for children with Autism and ensure new potential funding for NYCHA is paired with accountability to make sure the money helps tenants.  

New leaders also presented the organizations' campaigns on immigration and homelessness. So far in 2017, MT and SBC have held two legal clinics and four know your rights sessions, connecting with over 500 immigrants and their families. New immigrant leaders who have come forward through these sessions are helping to shape our April 30th Action with NYPD Commissioner O'Neill and work beyond that.

The Assembly was covered by the New York Daily News, 1010 Wins, and The Villager.

Mon Apr 24, 2017

Durham CAN Takes Steps to Repossess and Redevelop Vacant Land for Neighborhood Revitalization -Durham CAN

517 leaders secured commitments from city officials to repossess a 20+ acre vacant site that a for-profit Philadelphia company has failed over the last 10 years to redevelop and to address neighborhood crime, blighted properties, deteriorated playgrounds, etc.  Durham CAN seeks to redevelop the 20+ acre site into affordable housing, small local retail, and a grocery store.

Nearly a decade has passed since land at Fayette Place became vacant, and residents of this community are still living and worshiping in close proximity to the largest undeveloped downtown transit-oriented site in Durham. It has languished as an eyesore in the heart of the historic Hayti community. Brenda Bradsher, a lifelong resident of this community said, "We kept waiting and waiting to see what would happen, and nothing happened,".

Neighbors also addressed issues of crime, blighted properties and deteriorated playgrounds.

Watch the video HERE.

Read more here:

 
 
 
 
Sun Mar 26, 2017

In Fight Against Mega-Landlord, Leaders Win Long Overdue City Housing Inspections -Jersey City

 

 

 

On Sunday, March 26th, 175+ tenant & Jersey City Together leaders gathered at St Paul's Episcopal Church to hold one of the city's largest landlords - Trendy Management - accountable. The owner, Esther Kaplan, had promised to attend, but cancelled at 12pm the day of the action. After tours of one of their buildings with leaders, press, & public officials, the city has begun systematically investigating their buildings. Inspections of the first 6 of their properties have resulted in more than 325 violations. The company owns more than 140 rent-controlled apartment buildings in Jersey City.

 

"Mold and Flooding, but no heat: Residents unite to take on Mega Landlord"

Jersey Journal (Caitlin Mota)

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2017/03/jersey_city_residents_with_no_heat_living_in_mold.html#incart_2box_hudson

 

"Jersey City Together Group helping tenants hold management company accountable"

Jersey City Independent (Ricardo Kaulessar) http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/2017/03/jersey-city-together-group-helping-tenants-hold-management-company-accountable/

 

"Mega-Landlord hit with 100+ violations after residents rally for action"

Jersey Journal (Caitlin Mota)

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2017/03/more_than_100_violations_for_mega-landlord_after_r.html#incart_river_index

 

"Here's hoping mayor keeps promise to hold mega-landlord accountable" (Op-Ed)

Op-Ed (Earl Morgan), Jersey Journal

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/04/heres_hoping_mayor_keeps_promise_to_hold_landlord.html#incart_river_index

 

"Another 200+ violations issued to Jersey City mega-landlord"

Jersey Journal (Caitlin Mota)

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2017/04/another_186_violations_issued_to_jersey_city_mega-.html#incart_2box_hudson

 

Wed Mar 22, 2017

Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) Fighting to Create a Community Equity Fund -Cleveland

GCC loaded up three busloads of leaders and held a 175-person outside the corporate headquarters of Quicken Loans in Detroit.  The action was done together with our ally organization in Detroit, DRIVE (Detroit Regional Interfaith Voice for Equity) and focused on engaging Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in bringing fairness to the proposed deal to spend $160 million in public funding to build a new glass atrium on the outside of Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavaliers play.  As part of the deal to upgrade the Q, GCC is fighting to create a Community Equity Fund, which would provide a dollar-for-dollar match of all public money in deal and direct it towards areas of critical importance in Cleveland: jobs for the unemployed, mental health and addiction support, and capital projects in distressed neighborhoods.      
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tue Mar 14, 2017

IAF's Mike Gecan: Baltimore's Turnaround Tuesdays change lives -Baltimore Sun

Only 43 miles separate Zion Baptist Church in Baltimore from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation's capital, but it would be hard to imagine two more different — and culturally distant — places.

For two hours on a recent Tuesday morning, I sat in on what is called Turnaround Tuesday — a creation of a citizens organization, Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development and an affiliate of the group I co-direct, the Industrial Areas Foundation. Seventy five residents were in their chairs at 9:00 a.m. sharp to participate in a program that was one part AA meeting, one part religious service, one part boot camp, one part job-preparedness training and all parts remarkable. Turnaround Tuesday had been operating for two years, based on BUILD's effective local organizing and the commitment of Baltimore's premier anchor institution, the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, to hire hundreds of residents returning from prison or jail. To date, 274 people have already been hired to living wage jobs, and scores more are in the pipeline.

Fri Mar 10, 2017

Metro IAF's Greater Cleveland Congregations: GCC Wins Pledges from Three County Council Members to Stop Fast-Track of Quicken Loans Arena Renovations -Cleveland

 

Greater Cleveland Congregations continues their fight for fairness in the proposed deal from the Cleveland Cavaliers to spend $160 million of public money to upgrade Quicken Loans Arena.  GCC is fighting for a dollar-for-dollar match of all public money going into the deal to go towards a Community Equity Fund, which would provide critical supports for Cuyahoga County residents around mental health and addiction services, jobs for the unemployed, and capital improvements in distressed neighborhoods.    

On March 9th, GCC held an action with 425 leaders at Elizabeth Baptist Church in the Slavic Village neighborhood as part of their ongoing fight to bring fairness to the proposed deal being pushed by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The action featured a number of powerful speakers, including the mother of Alianna DeFreeze, the 14 year-old girl who earlier this year was brutally murdered while on her way to school and whose body was left in a vacant home.  Three key members of the Cuyahoga County Council pledged to slow the deal down and stop fast-tracking it.

GCC members will take the fight to Dan Gilbert's doorstep next week. A caravan of families who have been left behind by the ‘Cleveland Renaissance’ will drive to his headquarters in Detroit on March 21st for a daylong demonstration there.

Media:

www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2017/02/15/gcc-choreographs-masterful-opposition-to-quicken-loans-arena-renovations

 
 
 
Sun Mar 5, 2017

Durham CAN Leaders Affirm Durham as a City of Inclusion -news observer

Over 1,300 Muslims, Latinos, Refugees and allies turned out for a successful public negotiation with Sheriff, Police, City, County and School governments. Both the Sheriff and Chief of Police ratified their commitment not to collaborate with ICE and continue strengthening relationships with immigrants and the general community. Durham Public Schools Superintendent agreed to work with CAN in restricting, as much as possible, immigration enforcement activities within the school district's campuses.

Sat Mar 4, 2017

Do You Want to Know if Your College Allows Guns on Campus? -DNSIB Petition

While states across the country pass new “campus carry” laws, students and their families deserve access to information on colleges’ policies related to firearms. Therefore:

 

THE U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION should compile data on campus gun policies; and

COLLEGE PRESIDENTS & COLLEGE RATINGS SERVICES should make this information easily available to current and prospective students.

 

To read the full petition and sign,

go here:  http://bit.ly/2llmO0k

Wed Mar 1, 2017

Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE): Trains 100 Muslim Leaders -VOICE

In the last 3 weeks, VOICE trained 325+ leaders including 125 from eight Northern VA mosques and schools. (As of 2017, one-third of the people who attend VOICE member & discerning member institutions are Muslim, 60,000 Muslims.)  VOICE leaders took commitments to “twin” with an institution near them that has a community different than them (politically, racially, ethnically, religiously, etc.). VOICE leaders will do listening sessions with their “twinning” partner throughout 2017 to build closer bonds and figure out how we may want to act together locally and at the state level when VA will be one of only two states that will hold a state-wide election.

Tue Feb 14, 2017

In Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) are #NOTallin -Cleveland.com

GCC #notallinIn an effort to stop a fast track approval for a $160 million renovation for Quicken Loans Arena, Greater Cleveland Congregations held a press conference demanding that money be put back into the community instead. Other demands also included transparency of any proposal terms and a $160 million dollar-for-dollar match of investment into the community through jobs for people from distresses neighborhoods, after-school programs and other uses.

See more video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JQ-70JCB08

 

Greater Cleveland Congregations Goes Toe To Toe With Stadium Welfare

More than 200 people packed Cuyahoga County Council chambers February 14th, 2017;   resolution to spend 282 million in tax dollars to renovate Quicken Loans Arena at issue.

Members of 
Greater Cleveland Congregations, a non-partisan coalition which represents 100,000 people across 43 congregations and partner organizations in Cuyahoga County, made up the bulk of the crowd.

"I find this deal unconscionable," said GCC member Donna Weinberger of Solon. "This deal is not fair, equitable and not the best we can do to bring vitality and growth to all our neighborhoods."

GCC at Council Meeting

Thu Feb 9, 2017

Action in Montgomery (AIM) Stands for Constitutional and Human Rights, Stakes Claim on 2018 Election -AIM

More than 600 people packed the sanctuary of Silver Spring UMC to launch Action in Montgomery’s 2017 Listening Campaign and to stake a claim on the future of Montgomery County. Leaders celebrated AIM’s recent victories and called on county officials to ensure that Montgomery County residents are welcomed and treated fairly, regardless of faith or immigration status, and to partner with AIM and the community to expand affordable housing, quality and affordable afterschool care, and to work for a just transit system for workers and riders. 

Sat Feb 4, 2017

Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO): Massachusetts State Senate President Commits to Pushing Through Criminal Justice Reforms -GBIO

After a Feb 2nd action of over 900 people, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization has been in the news around Criminal Justice, Affordable Housing and Health Care.

“This is the time, We are a close as we’ve ever been.” Massachusetts Senate President Rosenberg said this after committing to pushing through GBIO’s platform on Criminal Justice Reform, which includes pretrial bail reform, the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, the elimination of excessive fees and fines and the elimination of excessive use of solitary confinement.

On Affordable Housing Dr. Jeanette Callahan, of Bethel AME in Roxbury was quoted in the Boston Globe. “It’s time sensitive. There will come a point when people can no longer afford to live in this city,”

In Healthcare, GBIO and more than two dozen additional group groups representing Massachusetts hospitals, nonprofits, labor unions, and other organizations are urging Governor Charlie Baker to oppose any federal policy changes that couldthreaten Medicaid coverage for thousands of poor and disabled people across the state, as well as the viability of the state’s subsidized health care insurance through the exchange.

 

Mon Jan 30, 2017

Metro IAF Leader Rabbi Mosbacher & the Trump Refugee Order -Associated Press

Rabbi Joel Mosbacher had just finished the morning's Shabbat service when he got an urgent message: Rabbis were needed at New York's Kennedy Airport. People were being detained under President Donald Trump's sharp travel restrictions on refugees. Would he come pray?

By sundown, Mosbacher was part a group of rabbis at the airport, playing guitar and conducting a Havdalah service marking the end of the Sabbath. About 2,000 people gathered to rally against the new policy.

"We know what it's like to be the stranger," said Mosbacher, a Reform rabbi at Temple Shaaray Tefila, noting that Jewish refugees were at times turned away from the U.S. "As a person of faith, it was so important to be there."

From pulpits to sidewalk vigils, clergy have been part of a religious outpouring against Trump's plan to suspend refugee entry from seven majority Muslim countries. Faith leaders who support the president's executive order as a way to fight terrorism have been far less vocal, ceding the religious discussion to those overwhelmingly opposed to the president's sweeping immigration order, which suspends refugee admissions for four months and indefinitely bars refugees from Syria.

Rally at Kennedy Airport

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which runs the largest refugee resettlement network in the country, said it "strongly disagreed" with the prohibitions and pledged to work "vigorously to ensure refugees are humanely welcomed." The Orthodox Union, the largest association for American Orthodox synagogues, acknowledged the complexities of fighting terror, but said "discrimination of any group solely upon religion is wrong and anathema to the great traditions of religious and personal freedoms upon which this country was founded."

 

Mon Jan 30, 2017

South Bronx Churches (SBC) & Manhattan Together (MT) Building Power with Immigrants -South Bronx Churches & Manhattan Together

On January 30th, leaders from South Bronx Churches and Manhattan Together held relational meetings with most of the 100 immigrants who came to a legal clinic hosted by the SBC member organization, the Mexican Coalition. Many of these immigrants were eager to build power to make positive change in their communities and beyond. This is the first of several such immigrant focused relationship building events planned for Manhattan and the Bronx over the next two months.

Sun Jan 29, 2017

1,200 Strong: PATH Leads Fight for Sanctuary County -PATH

Working with members of the County Council, People Acting Together in Howard (PATH) leaders organized a 1,200 person action January 29 in support of a bill that would make Howard County a Sanctuary County. At the action, over 300 people committed to hold house meetings in their communities to understand the challenges facing immigrants today.

See more coverage here:

http://www.foxbaltimore.com/news/local/howard-countys-sanctuary-proponents-meet-sunday

http://www.apps.howardcountymd.gov/olis/LegislationDetail.aspx?LegislationID=2738

http://www.abc2news.com/news/region/howard-county/gathering-in-support-of-howard-county-sanctuary-bill

Tue Jan 3, 2017

Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) - Calls for Leaders to Act on Criminal Justice, Housing and Healthcare -The Boston Globe

Over 900 people filled the main sanctuary pews and two overflow rooms at Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plains to call on elected officials to work with Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and the community to address equality and justice during these times of uncertainty. Testimonies of how the Affordable Care Act has saved lives of those in attendance were among the many stories told to pressure the city council, state leaders and those on the national scene to create more affordable housing, protect healthcare and to act on criminal justice reform.Over 900 Gather to Call Leaders to Act

 

Wed Nov 23, 2016

Trump, Sessions and Nehemiah: A fateful choice for the next attorney general -New York Daily News

“They which built on the wall, and they that bore burdens . . . everyone with one of his hands worked in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.”

The Book of Nehemiah, 4:17

Opinion piece by Metro IAF Leaders, Rev. David Brawley, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, Rev Patrick O'Connor and Bishop Douglas Miles.

Mon Mar 14, 2016

DuPage united: Meet Your Muslim Neighbor -Pakistan News

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