IAF Meets with Pope francis
A West/Southwest IAF delegation of 20 leaders and organizers, including Coloradans for the Common Good Lead Organizer Jorge Montiel, met with Pope Francis on October 14 to share the work of broad based organizing.
Read more about this exciting visit: https://www.cocommongood.org
Together Louisiana "On a Roll"
There are moments when you know all the hard work has been worth it. For 130 faith and community leaders from across the state, Tuesday was one of those moments.
On Together Louisiana's "People on a Roll" Conference on Tuesday, the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEFFA) released a report on the impact of industrial tax exemption reform, a seven-year campaign of Together Louisiana.
The report was a bombshell.
You can read the full IEEFA report here.
“Nearly $300M in tax revenue came rushing back to local governments last year after ITEP reforms, report says,” The Advocate
“Industrial tax break reforms strengthened Louisiana business climate, study finds,” The Illuminator
“Together Louisiana hosting ‘People On a Roll’ Conference,” WVLA
Governor Edwards' statement on the report.
Let's keep people on a roll!
Dr. Theron Jackson and Dr. Rose Thompson
My new book: sometimes david wins
Purchase here: https://actapublications.com/sometimes-david-wins/
Purchase here: https://actapublications.com/sometimes-david-wins/
how to make real progress on guns
We are three typical Americans. One of us lost his father when a young man with a gun killed him as he opened his store in Chicago. Another of us is the son of an NYPD officer, who worried every day as his father left for work, and then became a pastor in what once were the “killing fields” of East New York, burying young men gunned down in the surrounding streets. A third grew up in a tough Chicago neighborhood and woke up one morning in 1965 to see the faces of three of his teenage neighbors, 15 and 16 years old, on the front page of the morning paper. They had gone out the night before, high on pep pills, and shot to death an elderly man for the $17 in his pocket.
We are three very different people, from different places, with different religious traditions, but we are bound together, in part, by the common denominator of gun violence, of sudden and stunning death.
It’s clear what can’t be done about gun violence because of the political protection provided by those who value gun possession over the lives of innocent shoppers and schoolchildren. They are practicing a modern form of idolatry. The idol is the gun and all the profit made by those who make, sell and distribute guns.
So there’s no point in trying to convert the idol worshipers. They have chosen their object of adoration. No massacre, no casualty counts of 9- and 10-year-olds or senior citizen food shoppers will shake their faith. There’s also no point in calling for changes that well-funded and entrenched political forces steadfastly refuse to make. They are intractable. They are resistant to any moral or ethical or pragmatic challenge.
So we don’t want to waste another minute stuck in the latest cycle of futility. Instead, we are writing to challenge those who do value life over gun-delivered death to take the steps that can be made in spite of right-wing opposition.
One such step is identifying those gun shops that supply these weapons to killers and would-be killers and forcing them to shut down. A very small fraction of gun dealers, probably less than 5%, supply the overwhelming majority of weapons that show up at crime scenes. The market works at its demonic best, with killers quickly learning which gun dealers are willing to sell the most destructive weapons to the most dangerous individuals. The word spreads fast, as do the guns.
But the same market that enables them to prosper can be used to shut the bad-apple gun dealers down. The nation’s police and sheriff departments, as well as federal military and law enforcement agencies, can require that the gun makers who wish to do business with these governmental bodies stop doing business with the bad-apple dealers.
Governments purchase about four out of every 10 guns sold in the U.S. As soon as public-sector gun purchasers announce this policy, key players in the gun industry will be forced to make tough choices. They say they prefer self-regulation to strong laws? Let’s see if they’re able to weed out the worst actors in their industry. This is something that can be done. And New York City and New York State, Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul, should be front and center in this effort: Use not only your bully pulpits, but your leverage.
The same thing goes for gun safety innovations. Integrating effective security technology into weapons would stop many of the accidental deaths of children who grab an adult’s gun, would make stolen guns unusable, and would reduce or end the harm done to police by those who wrest their weapons away from them and fire. This can be done and should be done. And New York City and New York State should lead the way here as well.
We realize that these are limited measures, given the hundreds of millions of guns already circulating in America. We know that there will be other days of gun-driven violence and death ahead. But if we can prod gun manufacturers into no longer supplying the worst of the gun dealers with weaponry, and start equipping guns with state-of-the-art safety technologies, then the next violent 18-year-old may not get his hands on a killing machine. The next classroom may not be a scene of carnage. The next community may not be thrown into the living hell that Newtown and Buffalo and Uvalde are experiencing.
Since 1965, the toxic combination of violent young men and guns have scarred our lives — and the lives of our communities. Pragmatic measures to slow and eventually stop this flow are possible to enact. But will those who claim to want real change do something?
Brawley is the senior pastor of St. Paul Community Baptist Church and co-chair of East Brooklyn Congregations and Metro IAF. Mosbacher is the senior rabbi of Temple Shaaray Tefila and a leader of Manhattan Together/Metro IAF. Gecan is senior adviser to the leaders of Metro IAF.
Massacre at Ludlow, Co
I begin my book - Sometimes David Wins - with the Ludlow Massacre, in 1914 during the Coal Field War in Southern Colorado. Part of my motivation derives from the uncertain role my grandfather, Silas Gilbert Pierson, an executive with Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I), played as the event unfolded. Another part flows from Ludlow's prominence in labor history and United Mine Workers of America organizing.
You can pre-order my book here: https://actapublications.com/sometimes-david-wins/
Sometimes David Wins
I've been getting questions about when my new book, Sometimes David Wins, will be published. As of now it looks like May 30, 2022. Between now and then If you want a copy it's best to pre-order to be sure you get one:
Pre-order David Sometimes Wins:
Good book on organizing for change
Pre-order David Sometimes Wins:
IAF Lights Up New Orleans
TOGETHER NEW ORLEANS TO UNVEIL COMMUNITY LIGHTHOUSE PLAN AT COUNCIL
Releases two-minute video short TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 10AM
CITY COUNCIL CLIMATE & SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE
CITY HALL, 1300 PERDIDO STREET
To confirm your attendance at the hearing, click here
To watch the video short on the Community Lighthouse Project, click here
(available after 2pm Saturday)
New Orleans - It's been in the works since the days immediately after Hurricane Ida, but the Community Lighthouse Project will get its first formal unveiling this Tuesday, March 22nd at New Orleans' City Council.
The Community Lighthouse idea, a brain-child of Together New Orleans, is an ambitious plan to build a network of resiliency hubs at eighty-five community organizations and congregations across South Louisiana, each with commercial-scale solar and backup battery storage to serve as response hubs in the wake of a disaster.
The project, as its organizers are quick to point out, is still in an early phase of development, but it's getting plenty of street buzz and mainstream recognition already.It received prominent mention in a Wall Street Journal feature story last month about back-up power systems across the country.
And last week, the US Department of Energy selected the Community Lighthouse Project to be one of fourteen proposals nationally to receive technical assistance under its Energy Storage for Social Equity initiative.
This Tuesday, March 22nd at 10am, at the invitation of At-large Council Member and Committee Chair Helena Moreno, the Community Lighthouse Project will get its most thorough public airing to date at City Council's Climate and Sustainability Committee.
In advance of the hearing, Together New Orleans is releasing a two-minute video short about the plan which will be available on youtube after 2pm Saturday.
Whitman and Robinson - Timely
Walt Whitman -- Democratic Vistas (1867)
"America, if eligible at all to downfall and ruin, is eligible within herself, not without; for I see clearly that the combined foreign world could not beat her down. But these savage, wolfish parties alarm me. Owning no law but their own will, more and more combative, less and less tolerant of the idea of ensemble and of equal brotherhood......It is the fashion of dilettants [sic] and fops (perhaps I myself am not guiltless) to decry the whole formulation of the active politics of America, as beyond redemption, and to be carefully kept away from. See that you do not fall into this error. America, it may be, is doing very well upon the whole, notwithstanding these antics of the parties and their leaders, these half-brained nominees, the many ignorant ballots, and many elected failures and blatherers."
Building the Institutions for Revolt
Posted on Jan 15, 2017
By Chris Hedges
Michael Gecan, Senior Advisor, Industrial Areas Foundation
Inevitability be damned!
Don died earlier this month. Here is his obituary: https://maranamortuarycemetery.com/obituary/donald-h-shelton/
The people of Queens need more power
The pandemic offers Americans a chance to look hard at the ways in which government has failed society—but also a chance to do something about it.
As Judt said and then wrote, 11 years ago, “Why do we experience such difficulty even imagining a different sort of society? Why is it beyond us to conceive of a different set of arrangements to our common advantage? Are we doomed indefinitely to lurch between a dysfunctional ‘free market’ and the much-advertised horrors of ‘socialism’? Our disability is discursive: we simply do not know how to talk about these things anymore.” Read it here.
IAF reporting from New Jersey: The virus has turned NJ prisons into death houses
New Jersey Star Ledger Editorial Board:
The virus has turned NJ prisons into death houses. The governor must act now
New Jersey Together: The governor and his 'team' delayed a full month after we pressed them to test in the prisons. Every day cost lives. We agitated like crazy, and they finally began testing about ten days ago -- too late for many.
In response to my latest piece in the New York Daily News, a few top leaders have asked me to talk about ‘creativity.’ I think we’ve tried to discuss this in the distant past once or twice. The phrase I think more accurately describes what I try to do is ‘play of mind.’ So, what does THAT entail?
For the recent Daily News piece, an early aspect of the play of mind was my re-reading of Caro’s great book, Power Broker, particularly the remarkable chapter, One Mile. Last year, Matthew Marienthal and I attended a talk by Caro, not long after his short book, Working, was published. So Caro and that single mile and the East Tremont neighborhood in the Bronx were on my mind.
So were the themes of change and what I call our ‘hidden history’ – the many stories of impact by a wide range of groups and institutions, including our own, that never make it as ‘super stories.’ One of those stories was the SBC/Metro IAF effort to imagine, design, and align the forces necessary to create the Mott Haven Campus.
Finally, the current crisis was the intense context for the thoughts, readings, experiences, and intuitions swirling around. So that’s the first phase of my work.
"But what about another story of change — change generated by organized citizens who have their own vision of what would improve or enhance their community and their lives? Why do we so often forget to tell this story?" Story by Michael Gecan in the NY Daily News.
Another Win for Colorado workers! An additional 30,000 Coloradans working in the food and beverage manufacturing industry now qualify for emergency paid leave - including thousands of UFCW Local 7R members! Read more HERE
HOUSTON – Alba Garcia, 51, has a decision to make. Does she pay rent Wednesday or does she buy food for her 7-year-old daughter?
“Maybe I should try and pay my rent because I can’t bear for me and my daughter to be on the streets. I can beg for food but I can’t lose my apartment," she said in Spanish. Joe Higgs, an organizer for The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) acted as a translator. TMO works with Holy Ghost Catholic Church where Garcia is a member. Story here
AS THE BLACK MARKET TRADE of its N95 respirator masks has continued to swell, pressure is mounting on 3M, which manufactures the masks and other protective gear, to crack down on price gouging among its distributors.
Tuesday, amid widespread reports that vendors of medical supplies are wildly overcharging for the desperately needed protective devices, the Minnesota-based company insisted that it is committed to combating the inflation of prices for its products used during the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement about both price gouging and the sale of counterfeit masks, which also appears to be a problem, 3M promised that it “will aggressively pursue third-parties that seek to take advantage of this crisis. We are working with law enforcement authorities around the world — including, in the U.S., the U.S. Attorney General, state Attorneys General, and local authorities.”
But some civic groups are asking the company to do more. The Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, or Metro IAF, a Queens-based nonprofit, responded to 3M’s statement yesterday with a letter to the company’s CEO, Mike Roman, insisting that Roman make it clear to the company’s distributors that if they take advantage of the desperate need for protective gear they won’t be able to sell 3M’s products in the future. Intercept story here.
Immigrants in the Dallas area mask their symptoms so they can continue to work, according to Josephine López Paul, lead organizer with Dallas Area Interfaith.
“We’ve seen our service industries obliterated,” said Ms. López Paul. “Immigrants are being hit the hardest right now and there’s no safety net for them." Story
Memos from CDC to White House lay out rationale for possible widespread use of face coverings
Federal officials debating whether to recommend that face coverings be routinely worn in public are responding to increasing evidence that infected people without symptoms can spread the coronavirus, according to internal memos provided to the White House by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Simple cloth masks that cover the mouth and nose can prevent virus transmission from such individuals when they are out buying groceries or seeking medical care, according to the memos obtained by The Washington Post. Story
Colorado emergency child care expands to include grocery, construction workers
The announcement came after two groups representing grocery and food processing workers — Coloradans for the Common Good and the state grocery workers union, United Food and Commercial Workers — urged Gov. Jared Polis and other state officials to give such workers the same kinds of protections available to front-line health workers.
"We have heard from many families and business owners who are part of our member congregations that due to the economic slowdown they are struggling to pay their regular bills including their rent and utility bills." - TMO leader Bryan Lopez of Assumption Catholic Church
In the only public testimony at today’s Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) meeting, Texas IAF Rev. Miles Brandon of Central Texas Interfaith called on the PUC to create assistance programs and halt cutoffs for customers impacted by the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. At the meeting the PUC voted to create the “COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program” providing financial assistance and halting service disconnections for low-income and unemployed customers in deregulated markets such as Dallas, Houston, and Round Rock.
More telling even than the testing and ventilator story is the politics of masks...
Billionaire Mark Cuban has been trying to do his part to help hospital workers get more protective equipment, working with a non-profit group and delving into the market himself to find gold-standard N95 respirator masks he could buy for medical personnel.
He uncovered something else instead.
What he found poking around in that marketplace is leading him increasingly to believe that respirator maker 3M Co. is shirking its duty to keep prices low and get masks where they’re needed most during a national emergency. The problem, he says, is that 3M sells the masks through a network of resellers who aren’t held accountable for raising prices and don’t have to direct their sales to hospitals.
“3M lists all its distributors online, the ones buying and selling these things, and these distributors are making as much money as they possibly can,” Cuban said in an interview. “It’s wrong, it’s criminal.” Bloomberg reports.