OTOC Changes Treatment of Immigrants
After a public challenge from OTOC
leaders, the Omaha Police Department Chief issued an official bulletin to all officers about the validity of the matricula consular
(identification issued by consulates) as alternative ID. Also at OTOC’s urging, local ICE implemented a new program which would allow some parents of small children to return to their families while awaiting their deportation hearings.
Bulldozers Welcomed in SW Houston
After four years of battle with City officials, TMO
leaders celebrated the roar of bulldozers in Southwest Houston that would soon get rid of an abandoned, burned out condominium
complexthat had been described as a "public nuisance." Leaders credit community organizing and the cooperation of city council members with this move to eradicate blight.
Water Lines Installed in El Paso Colonias
For the first time ever, clean water will flow into the homes of two hundred families in El Paso colonias
, thanks to the efforts of Border Interfaith
leaders who successfully fought for El Paso Water Utilities to install new water distribution systems
. Says Rev. Pablo Mata: "the people got it done!"
IESC Forces Trash Companies to Pay
In collaboration with environmental allies, the Associated Pomona Teachers, and Cal Poly Pomona, the Inland Empire Sponsoring Committee
(IESC) forced developer Valley Vista to pay $100K per year for City air quality code enforcement at the project site. The company also agreed to additional investments in a "Clean and Green Fund" administered by the Pomona Community Foundation."
Baton Rouge Leaders Take on Transit
Having organized broad public support for a historic $17 Million bond election to fortify and revamp public transit in Baton Rouge, Together Baton Rouge leaders shifted the political culture of the city by publicly critiquing the Transit Authority
for lack of transparency and slow rate of change. The Baton Rouge Advocate
notes, "this is the first time...a group of just citizens is holding a public agency accountable." Their delegates assembly drew 30 of 32 candidates
Working Together Jackson Battles Blight
Working Together Jackson
launched its first Delegates Assembly in November with representatives from 35 member institutions committing to build congregational organizing teams and to develop five neighborhood collaboratives. Mid-City leaders are exploring strategies to combat blight
. Other action teams will focus on education, workforce development and local public sector accountability.
Governor Writes Project IOWA into Budget
At the urging of AMOS, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad dedicated $100 thousand for workforce development program Project IOWA in his proposed two-year state budget.
Austin Celebrates Living Wage Advance
After five years of Austin Interfaith shaping the public conversation about wages and incentives, three Austin city council members formed an economic incentive sub-committee and proposed (with the support of leaders
) an $11 / hour wage floor for corporations applying for economic incentives. Leaders need one more vote for the proposal to pass. The organizations' long-term work also resulted in the County of Travis adopting a similar wage standard
Project QUEST Celebrates 20th Anniversary
A gala luncheon marked the 20th anniversary of Project Quest with over 400 business and community leaders, graduates and participants celebrating the achievement of pulling nearly 5,000 individuals out of poverty and into middle-class careers. Honorary co-chairs included three former San Antonio Mayors: Henry Cisneros, Phil Hardberger, and Howard Peak. Honorees included Tom Frost, Charles Cheever, Jr., County Judge Nelson William Wolff, current Mayor Julian Castro and W/SWIAF Director Ernesto Cortes. The event raised over $166,000 for Quest.
Louisiana Leaders Celebrate New Hires
NCLSC leaders celebrated the hiring of 20 NOVA graduates in Lake Providence, many with living wages of $40,000 per year with career path and benefits. NOVA is a workforce development program established by the Northern & Central Louisiana Sponsoring Committee.
COPS / Metro Backs Successful Pre-K Bond
One thousand Cops / Metro Alliance leaders from 35 member institutions assembled to support a successful bid for a sales tax increase to fund Pre-K education
. The 1/8th cent sales tax increase will expand access to full-day Pre-K through model centers located throughout the city, benefiting families across San Antonio.
EPISO Fights School Finance Disparities
When El Paso leaders discovered profound spending disparities between schools within
the Clint Independent School District, they acted swiftly. Hundreds of El Paso leaders organized and successfully leveraged commitments, from all school board candidates, to eliminate disparities in per-student funding. More here
Border Interfaith Challenges Test Regime
In response to stories from teachers and school administrators about the negative impact of excessive testing, hundreds of Border Interfaith
leaders assembled with candidates for state and federal congressional seats and leveraged commitments that they work to reduce the number of tests required.
Northern Cali Leaders Say...
"Let the real politics begin."
On the heels of the Bay Area Organizing Committee's "Assembly for the Common Good," which drew leaders from over 20 congregations and non-profits who engaged local officials and committed to working together, Marin Organizing Committee leaders asserted in an Marin Independent Journal op-ed
that citizenship requires active participation in the decisions affecting the public -- over and beyond voting.
Cortes Honored at Harvard
Executive Director Ernie Cortes, Jr. was honored at Harvard University for "restoring American democracy" by teaching "thousands of people how to harness and direct their anger."
Seminars with Harvard & MIT Professors Inform Work
In October, the Interfaith Education Fund hosted seminars with Harvard University public health professor Kathy Swartz and MIT labor economist Frank Levy. Sixty-seven leaders and organizers analyzed opportunities and dangers within the Affordable Care Act and well as the costs and benefits of paying for community college with loans. Leaders returned to their cities and launched successful campaigns around healthcare, public education and the labor market.