When a synthetic drug flooded a Tucson neighborhood, church leaders got real...
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So. Arizona Interfaith Changes State Law to Combat Drug

Tucson, AZ -- When neighborhood users of SPICE, a synthetic marijuana with side effects including seizures and disorientation, began walking into traffic and collapsing on church and school grounds, leaders from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church stepped into the void to identify solutions.  

In collaboration with Southern Arizona Interfaith (SAI), church leaders soon launched a campaign to “Give them Food” in addition to collaborating with local law enforcement and county health department to educate residents about the drug and prevent its sale.  One of the meetings drew over 250 area leaders.

Last fall, SAI and Pima County Interfaith co-hosted a nonpartisan accountability session drawing more than 500 leaders to address several issues, including SPICE.  In the presence of hundreds of voters, candidates promised to introduce a bill to criminalize SPICE ingredients and to help law enforcement press charges against dealers.

This spring, Rep. Pamela Powers (LD9-D) negotiated the inclusion of SPICE ingredients in a bill (HB2033) sponsored by Rep. Heather Carter (LD15-R) on controlled substances.  Governor Ducey soon signed it into law.

SAI leaders are pointing to this victory as an “example of the great things we can achieve when we work together,” including bi-partisan cooperation in the expansion of the bill to include SPICE.  Leaders also recognized the Tucson Police Department, St. John’s Pastoral Council and the Pima County Health Department for its collaboration.

Leaders are now working with City of Tucson Councilmembers Richard Fimbres and Steve Kozachik to follow through on their campaign pledges to pass a stricter local ordinance prohibiting the sale of SPICE in Tucson.

South-Side Tucson Church Deals with 'Spice' Epidemic, Arizona Daily Star

Pima County Interfaith, SAI & Allies Challenge Candidates for State Legislative and County OfficeWest / Southwest IAF

Southern Arizona Interfaith Confronts ‘Spice’ Epidemic in TucsonWest / Southwest IAF

QUEST Trains Vets in Cybersecurity

San Antonio, TX - When Jacob Mireles returned home from deployment in Afghanistan and Kuwait last year, he applied to Project QUEST for Rackspace’s Open Cloud Academy cyber security track in Information Technology.  When he ran into financial issues, Project QUEST assisted with the mortgage and utilities.  

Mireles went on to complete the program, and soon after graduation, was hired by IP Secure as a Security Control Assessor, testing risks attributable to software and hardware systems.

When asked if he could have graduated without the help of Project QUEST, Mireles (in photo second from left), said simply, “No.”

Over the last four years, more than 550 students have graduated from the Open Cloud Academy, with 72% now employed in IT.  With special boot camps like “Linux for Ladies” or the cyber security track in which Mireles participated, QUEST is helping feed local demand for local talent.  Said Deborah Carter, senior director of the Open Cloud Academy, “San Antonio has the second-largest cyber security industry in the country, only following Washington DC.”  She went on to note that Rackspace “looks forward to continued collaboration with Project QUEST.”

Rackspace’s Open Cloud Academy Celebrates Four YearsKENS Channel 5 [pdf]

Project Quest and Rackspace Train Local Veterans for Cyber Security JobsLa Prensa San Antonio [pdf]

Project Quest & Rackspace Collaborate to Train Veterans for Cyber Security JobsNowCastSA [pdf]

Training Vets to Work in Cyber SecurityKTSA [pdf]

Rackspace’s Cloud School Adds Cybersecurity Track, Enrolls VeteransSan Antonio Business Journal [pdf]

Open Cloud Academy Launches Cybersecurity Program for VeteransSilicon Hills [pdf]

Linux for Ladies, Rackspace Aims to Bring More Women Into ITExconomy [pdf]

Want to support the ongoing training of West / Southwest IAF organizers?  

Consider making a one-time or monthly investment in the Interfaith Education Fund.

Copyright © 2017 West / Southwest IAF, All rights reserved.

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