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Thu Feb 2, 2012

Alinsky, Foreclosures and Holding Banks Accountable -The Huffington Post


<p style="\\&quot;text-align:" left;\\"="">Memo to the Obama Administration: if you want to see the makings of a national model to hold big banks accountable for fixing foreclosure-devastated neighborhoods, go to Milwaukee and talk to citizen leaders of a community organization who are practicing what Saul Alinsky preached.

Tue Jan 17, 2012

Dear President Obama: You're No Saul Alinsky -Forbes

By Ralph Benko, Contributor

Obama is no Alinsky. Would that he were!  One of Alinsky’s main successors is Arnie Graf. Mark Shields privately describes Graf as belonging in “the social justice hall of fame.” Graf briefly mentored young Barack Obama, a memory recently shared with this columnist (some of which also was recorded by the National Journal’s Will Englund).  In 1986, young Barack Obama came to a national training, conducted in California by Alinsky’s legacy organization, the Industrial Areas Foundation. Over 100 young people attended. Graf was a trainer there. He ended up having three personal conversations with young Obama....

Mon Jan 16, 2012

Put focus on home health care for seniors -News Day



There is hardly a day when we don't have a conversation with someone about an elderly relative who needs care. Who among us on Long Island isn't touched by seniors in the family who can no longer cook a meal or shower unaided, or who prematurely move to a nursing home because they can't afford or find a qualified home health aide?  The number of seniors on Long Island is quietly growing larger by the year, and the challenges in providing quality home health care and the workforce to deliver it are growing too.  Through several hundred individual conversations with congregants of different faiths and backgrounds, those of us at LI-CAN (Long Island Congregations Associations and Neighborhoods, a multifaith, nonpartisan citizens' organization) have heard the frustration of those unable to find qualified aides. Demand for home health aides far exceeds the number available, even though thousands of Long Islanders are unemployed....

Fri Dec 23, 2011

Launch of the Neukölln Citizens’ Organization -BMW Stiftung



After the successful setup of independent citizens’ organizations in Berlin-Schöneweide and Berlin-Wedding/Moabit, Berlin-Neukölln has also created the conditions for a functioning civic organization based on the community organizing model.  With its members including some 40 Neukölln groups, including migrant organizations, school development associations, neighborhood centers and church communities, and co-funded by local businesses, associations, and foundations, the Neukölln Citizens’ Organization will be officially and formally launched at an inaugural event. 

Tue Dec 20, 2011

In Gilded City, Living Wage Proposal Still Stirs Fears -New York Times

In 1996, the Industrial Areas Foundation, an organizing group that has built thousands of homes across New York City, proposed that private firms contracting with the city pay food service workers, security guards, cleaners and temporary office workers a wage that ranged at the time from $7.25 to $12 an hour. “We started with a pretty simple idea: If you work full time, you shouldn’t be poor,” recalled Jonathan Lange, an organizer with Metro I.A.F., the local affiliate.

Wed Dec 7, 2011

Washington Interfaith Network says it will hold D.C. politicians accountable -The Washington Post


As far as the District’s local political spectacle goes, it’s awful hard to beat a Washington Interfaith Network “action.”  It’s bully democracy in the best sense, with politicians forced to stand in front of huge swaths of voters and answer simple questions with a yes or no.

Thu Dec 1, 2011

New multi-faith coalition has political, social agenda​ for New Haven, Fairfield counties -New Haven Register

BRIDGEPORT — In what founders call a first of its kind for the state, a new multi-faith coalition is being formed today with the intention of effecting some change in the political arena.  Gov. Dannel Malloy, Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey, Sen. Joe Crisco, D-Woodbridge, and insurance and health care industry leaders are scheduled to appear at the founding assembly for CONECT, Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.

Thu Dec 1, 2011

Churches, synagogues CONECT to join force to fight social ills -Connecticut Post

BRIDGEPORT ---- A significant new multi-faith organization, united to fight such social ills as unfair banking practices, high health insurance costs and abusive treatment of immigrants, got a rousing start Wednesday night as about 1,500 packed an East End church to incorporate CONECT.

Wed Nov 30, 2011

Multifaith coalition urges Cleveland schools to restore programs -Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In its first major public action, Greater Cleveland Congregations, a newly formed coalition of churches, synagogues and mosques, is calling on the Cleveland school district to restore programs recently cut to save money.

Tue Nov 29, 2011

Amid the uproar during the past few weeks over the proposed living wage law there’s one important point that you might have missed: the city already has a living-wage law. Its rules cover thousands of workers employed under more than $1 billion worth of contracts with the city.  In fact, New York City had one of the first living-wage laws in the country, though the city’s first bill covered just a couple thousand workers. Passed in 1996, over the veto of then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the legislation was championed by advocacy organizations such as the Industrial Areas Foundation as well as local unions. It required that private firms contracting with the city to provide food services, security guards, cleaners, and temporary office workers pay their employees a living wage that ranged at the time from about $7.25 to $12 an hour.

Sun Nov 27, 2011

Eric Schneiderman is right to fight Obama administration\'s bad foreclosure settlement with the banks -New York Daily News


While most attention is focused on a drawn-out debt crisis in Washington and spasmodic demonstrations in several cities, the most important economic and political battle of the period is being played out largely under the radar.  This struggle pits the White House and a set of attorneys general who want a quick and limited settlement with the major banks over their conduct during the foreclosure crisis against another set of attorneys general, led by Eric Schneiderman of New York and Beau Biden of Delaware, who are pushing for more in-depth investigations and a much larger financial commitment to address the damage done to American homeowners.

Thu Nov 10, 2011

More focus needed on housing fix (By Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va.) -The Hill

U.S. Senator Mark Warner reacts to VOICE's organizing around the foreclosure crisis in Northern Virginia.

Mon Oct 31, 2011

Interfaith group seeks help from banks in housing crisis -The Washington Post

Members from more than 40 religious institutions across Northern Virginia are asking some of the country’s largest banks to commit to helping rebuild neighborhoods that have been devastated by housing foreclosures. Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) drew a crowd of about 900 congregants, political leaders and representatives of two major financial institutions — Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase — to Freedom High School in Woodbridge on Sunday to discuss the issue.

Sun Oct 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street\'s anger isn\'t enough: How the push for change can be sustained -New York Daily News

More than two years ago, on a brilliant July morning, we were two of about 350 New Yorkers who took to CharlotteLondon were doing the same thing. It was a coordinated campaign led by the pastors, rabbis, imams and lay people in hundreds of religious and civic institutions associated with the <a data-cke-saved-href="\\" href="\\&quot;\\&quot;" title="\\&quot;Metro" industrial="" areas="" foundation\\"="">Metro Industrial Areas Foundation.

Mon Sep 26, 2011

Grassroots Groups Rally To Control Health Care Costs -WBUR (Boston NPR)

BOSTON — Many health care experts say the U.S. will not wrestle down health care spending unless consumers jump into the debate. But explaining the wonky world of health care finance is tough, even in the medical mecca of Boston. That’s not stopping two grassroots groups that played a key role in passing the state’s health coverage law. On Sunday night they held their first rally on healthcare spending at a church in Roxbury.

Wed Sep 21, 2011

Prince William Residents Blame Robo-signing For Rash Of Foreclosures -WAMU Radio

Prince William County has the highest rate of foreclosures in Virginia, and residents of one neighborhood who blame the foreclosure rate on the practice of 'robo-signing,' are demanding accountability from the banks and an investigation by state officials.  At the height of the foreclosure crunch, approximately 25 percent of homes in the Georgetown South development in Manassas were foreclosed and vacant. 

Wed Sep 21, 2011

Probing Pr. William foreclosures, group sees widespread irregularities, ‘robo-signed’ papers -The Washington Post

Lenders may have foreclosed on hundreds of homeowners in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park using unreliable, “robo-signed” documents, according to a report by the group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement.

Wed Sep 7, 2011

New interfaith group seeks peace, justice: -Cleveland Plain Dealer

On Monday, our nation will celebrate Labor Day. It will be marked by parades and picnics, and here in Cleveland, by the air show and the 10th annual Peace Show. With unemployment hovering around 9 percent and higher in cities like Cleveland, growing numbers of uninsured workers, collective bargaining under attack, and predictions of another recession, some might ask what there is to celebrate on a day that honors the American worker.

Fri Aug 26, 2011

Group Organizes Litmus Test For 4 Mayoral Candidates -Baltimore NBC WBAL TV

A candidates forum sponsored by Baltimore City's oldest and largest faith-based organization drew four candidates on Thursday.  

Fri Aug 26, 2011

In debate, mayoral candidates vow to double youth jobs -The Baltimore Sun

Candidates vying to be Baltimore's next mayor promised Thursday evening to double funding for after school programs, create 1,000 summer jobs for youth and renovate or rebuild all of the city's schools.  Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, former city planning director Otis Rolley and State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh vowed to support an agenda drafted by the interfaith coalition BUILD that centers on the needs of children and the city's outlying neighborhoods.

Thu Aug 18, 2011

Americans Facing More Inequality, More Debt and Now More Trouble? -PBS News Hour

Did America's record-high level of economic inequality in 2007 help cause the financial crisis of 2008? With Americans' borrowing back on the rise and signs that economic inequality is growing, could there be another financial crisis in the near future? Paul Solman continues his series of reports on U.S. economic inequality.

Tue Aug 16, 2011

U.S. Bank steps up The bank says it will commit more than $16 million to the effort to stabilize Milwaukee neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosure. -Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  U.S. Bank did the right thing last week in announcing that it would commit more than $16 million to help neighborhoods in Milwaukee hammered by foreclosures.  The bank is the fourth to pledge money to stabilize housing efforts in the wake of the housing crash. Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo have pledged $15.2 million to the Milwaukee Rising initiative started by the community organization Common Ground. The effort is focused on the Sherman Park neighborhood.

Fri Aug 5, 2011

Maryland tuition law must be defended -The Baltimore Sun

Regarding the recent article about the lawsuit over the Maryland Dream Act ("Vote on tuition bill faces lawsuit," Aug. 2), I believe democracy should be upheld.

I was one of hundreds in attendance when the law was heavily debated in the State House. Over the last year,Maryland Industrial Areas Foundation has committed itself to true grassroots organizing and building a diverse base of African-American, Caribbean Americans, Latinos, and others who support the law. Our organizing culminated when we turned out a multitude of diverse supporters to witness the passage of the tuition bill in April. I'll never forget the rainbow of faces, both immigrant and American-born, unified on that day.

Sun Jul 31, 2011

Coming Together to Pray, and Also to Find Reduced-Rate Energy Deals -New York Times

WASHINGTON — Like manna from heaven, thousands of dollars in new revenue is raining on a group of congregations here from the unlikeliest of sources: the utility bill.