• We Pledge To Resist Deportation And Discrimination Through Sanctuary
    Calling upon the ancient traditions of our faiths, which recognized houses of worship as a refuge for the runaway slave, the conscientious objector, and the Central American refugee fleeing the civil wars of the 1980s, Sanctuary is once again growing among communities of faith that are standing in solidarity with immigrants and marginalized communities facing immoral and unjust deportation and discrimination policies. We find ourselves entering a new phase of U.S. history wherein the politics of fear has stoked an atmosphere of racism and xenophobia across the country. The new Administration has pledged to criminalize, detain and deport undocumented people at new levels that will tear families and communities apart. As people of faith and people of conscience, we will take civil initiative out of our moral obligation to embody principles of human rights and dignity, and resist any harmful and unjust policy proposals that further undermine due process and lead to racial profiling and discrimination. By signing this pledge, we are dedicating ourselves to educate and activate our congregations, to amplify and respond to the voices of immigrant leaders, and to speak out against the discrimination of any and all marginalized people. We are ready to open the doors of our sacred spaces and accompany those facing deportation and discrimination. We support those answering the call to provide sanctuary at schools, hospitals, college campuses, community centers and family homes. We will work with partner organizations to create sacred space of sanctuary wherever it is needed.
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    Created by Rev. Alison Harrington Picture
  • Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio: Close Rikers and Invest in Restorative Justice
    When 16-year-old Kalief Browder was sent to Rikers in May 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack, his family could not afford the $10,000 bail. He spent nearly three years awaiting trial with no conviction, two of them in solitary confinement, fighting for his life in a place notorious for rampant violence by inmates and correction officers alike. At age 22, this innocent young black man committed suicide. Nearly 8 out of 10 people at Rikers have not been convicted of a crime – they are waiting for a trial. And the majority of those held cannot afford bail. As of 2015, 41 percent of those detained at Rikers had a mental health issue. This is more than all the adult patients at New York State psychiatric hospitals combined. In the new Bill Moyers documentary, “Rikers,” former detainee Ralph Nuñez said, “It’s gladiator school for real. If you get there and you don’t have a weapon to defend yourself, you have an issue.” You can watch the full documentary below. Rikers is a place dangerous to the flesh, a place where surviving turns you inside out and erodes your soul. As people of faith, it is our moral responsibility to stand for the marginalized, to care for the poor, to have compassion for the children of God who are behind bars, whose lives are shattered, and who live in danger every day. New York City has a history of failed reforms for Rikers. Though Governor Cuomo and City Council President Melissa Mark-Viverito have both have called for Rikers to be closed, Mayor de Blasio has said it would be too complicated and too expensive to do so. Locking up just one person at Rikers costs $208,500 a year – a price New Yorkers pay with our taxes. Imagine those funds redirected to more just systems and centers in the five boroughs. And as we think about comprehensive solutions, we must create bail reform, “speedy trial” reform and alternatives to incarceration. https://vimeo.com/191660327
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    Created by The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis Picture
  • Dear Pres. Obama: Will You Honor Your Commitment To Protect The People Of Standing Rock?
    On October 25th the Episcopal Priest Rev. John Floberg of Standing Rock issued an urgent call to Faith Leaders and people of faith and conscience around the nation to stand with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. Hundreds of faith leaders have responded to this call by going to Standing Rock, and by calling on their communities to take action to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Clergy and Faith Leaders acknowledge the role we and our institutions have played in past and ongoing oppression of Indigenous people. It is of the utmost importance that as a country we acknowledge and affirm Native People’s sovereignty and right to prosper and stand in solidarity to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We ask that all people across the nation sign on to this letter in support of the demands outlined by Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault, and Rev. John Floberg, supervising Priest of the Episcopal Church in North Dakota. First, we call on the Army Corps to deny the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline which violates the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty, would endanger the drinking water of 10 million people, and is a risk to our climate. Energy Transfer Partners has ignored formal requests to voluntarily “stop work.” It’s time to revoke their permit. Second, we call on the Federal Department of Justice to investigate the Morton County Sheriff Department’s conduct on the Standing Rock Reservation, including: -Inhibiting free speech -Wrongful arrest -Excessive violence in removing the Water Protectors -Harassment of Native Americans, including blocking free travel between Bismarck and Standing Rock Reservation and stopping people without cause Third, we call on the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into how North Dakota engaged the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. What enabled them to remove peaceful protesters as a “State of Emergency”? How can the EMAC process be restructured to prevent this use of EMAC? Fourth, President Obama, we call on you to fulfill your commitment to protect the children of Standing Rock. As you said in a 2014 visit to Cannon Ball, ND: “I understand that the Lakota word for “children” -- “wakanyeja” -- comes from the word “wakan” -- “sacred.” That’s what young people are -- they’re sacred. They’re sacred to your families and they’re sacred to your tribe, and they’re sacred to this nation. And every day that I have the honor of serving as your President, I will do everything I can to make sure that you see that our country has a place for everyone, including every single young person here -- and all across the Dakotas and all across America, and that you’re getting the support and encouragement you need to go as far as your hard work and your talent will take you. That is my commitment to you -- to every single young person here.” We implore you to honor the commitment you made to the Indigenous people of this country, and to act with honor and justice and defend all we hold sacred: our children, water, and the health of all communities.
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  • Together, We Can Create a Nation Where Everyone Thrives. Join Us.
    WE SAY ENOUGH! We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. As communities of faith and conscience, we have a moral obligation to call out evil in high places, to challenge the lies we are being fed, and to refocus our nation’s attention on the conditions that are leaving people and places locked up, locked out and left behind. Any hope for a new future demands that there be a reckoning -- a moment to unapologetically expose the ugly truths of our nation’s past and present. We declare that moment is now. WE ARE ENOUGH! We are the ones we have been waiting for. As determined spirits, fired by an unshakable faith in a bold, transformative vision for the future of our nation, we have the power to alter the course of history. We will not stop, nor will we be satisfied until every person in this country enjoys full access to the opportunity to thrive and live a life of dignity. WE DEMAND ENOUGH! We reject the fraudulent narrative of scarcity. We know there is more than enough for everyone to thrive. We stand in the sacred truth that sharing in the earth’s abundance ensures there will be plenty for all. We will no longer tolerate systemic racism, nor continue to accept the self-interested, unbridled greed and hoarding of wealth that creates conditions where millions of our people are forced to live without enough -- economically and socially. We insist on a better future for our nation. A future that doesn’t depend on chance, but on avenues of opportunity where our children attend quality schools, our communities are safe and our families are whole. A future where we can leave our homes without fear of death, detention or deportation. A future that guarantees good jobs with living wages. One with bold investments that strengthen our communities. We demand ENOUGH for all of our families to thrive. We Say ENOUGH! Join the refrain. Join the movement. Together we can define a new moral agenda for our next President and the future of our nation.
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    Created by Erika Maye
  • End Discriminatory Car Towing in Philadelphia / Fin al Remolque Discriminado de Carros
    [Español Abajo] • Live Stop towing is financially crippling for low-income families. An average Live Stop tow costs $500 to $1,000 in fees and tickets. If a driver cannot pay, or is scared about being undocumented, and does not claim their vehicle within 15 days, the car is sold at public auction. • Live Stop towing leaves families on the side of the street in the middle of the night, putting people in danger. The fear of being pulled over or losing a car has an emotional and mental impact on people. •Philly grew for the first time in 50 years because of the immigrant population. Immigrants are key to a thriving city and help the growth of Philadelphia through starting new businesses, paying taxes, and enriching the city’s culture. Live Stop towing undermines these benefits. • Nearly half a million Philadelphia residents have been affected by Live Stop since 2002. This has a disproportionate effect on undocumented immigrants who are barred from obtaining driver’s licenses in Pennsylvania. Reinterpreting the law will have a tremendous impact on the lives of immigrants and all low-income families in Philadelphia. • This is an opportunity for Philadelphia to be a leader in the state and country. While we work on a statewide campaign for driver’s licenses for all immigrants, regardless of immigration status, Philadelphia can take a concrete step that will alleviate the negative impacts of not having a license. ******************************************************************************************************* • El remolque de vehículos tiene un efecto financiero agobiante para las familias de bajos ingresos. El costo estimado por un encuentro con Live Stop es de $ 500 a $ 1.000 en cargos y multas. Si el conductor no puede pagar, o tiene miedo por ser indocumentado, y no recupera su vehículo dentro de 15 días, el vehículo se vende en una subasta pública. • El remolque de vehículos deja a los conductores en la calle en medio de la noche, poniendo a las personas en peligro. El temor a ser detenido o perder el vehículo tiene un impacto emocional y mental en las personas. • Philadelphia creció por primera vez en 50 años debido a la población inmigrante. Los inmigrantes son clave para una ciudad próspera y ayudan a su crecimiento a través de la creación de nuevos negocios, el pago de impuestos, y enriquecen la cultura de la ciudad. El programa Live Stop que remolca los vehículos menosprecia estas contribuciones y beneficios para la ciudad. • Casi medio millón de residentes de Philadelphia se han visto afectados por el programa Live Stop desde el año 2002. Esto tiene un efecto desproporcionado sobre los inmigrantes indocumentados que son excluidos de obtener una licencia de conducir en Pensilvania. La re-interpretación de la ley tendrá un tremendo impacto en la vida de los inmigrantes y todas las familias de bajos ingresos en Philadelphia. • Esta es una oportunidad para que Philadelphia sea líder en el estado y en el país. Mientras trabajamos en una campaña para que el estado de PA otorgue licencias de conducir para todos los inmigrantes, independientemente de su condición migratoria, Philadelphia puede dar un paso concreto ahora para aliviar los efectos negativos de no tener una licencia.
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    Created by New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia Picture
  • No Justice without a 9th Justice: Tell the Senate to appoint a Supreme Court Justice now!
    Today as in the past, we need the Supreme Court to maintain immigrant rights, voting rights, women’s rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, and marriage rights for all who call America home. But the delay in Senate consideration of Judge Garland’s nomination leaves a vacancy on the Supreme Court – jeopardizing our freedom, equality, and access to justice. As people of faith from different and diverse faith traditions, we know from firsthand knowledge that millions of our neighbors and their livelihoods are on the line. We call upon the Senate to take action because we recognize and honor the sacred task with which our nation’s Supreme Court justices are charged. Within our western religious canon, we are guided by the words of King Solomon – wisest of judges – who conferred his Proverbs with this purpose: “That (people) may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity.” (Proverbs 1:2-3) Today the work of justice in our nation is at risk of being thwarted and wise guidance being denied its people by the continued refusal of the Senate leadership to hold hearings. As representatives of many religious and spiritual traditions, we therefore, respectfully urge the Senate to fulfill its duties as outlined in the Constitution by holding a fair, timely, and comprehensive hearing for Chief Judge Merrick Garland. In faith and in shared hope for our democracy,
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    Created by Abhi Janamanchi
  • A Call For An End To Violence Against Black People And Law Enforcement Officers
    Together we watched Alton Sterling and Philando Castile die in police encounters within 24 hours. So far 137 black people have been killed by police this year alone. Some of us are numb and tired; others angry and heartbroken. Then, we watched in shock as a lone gunman disrupted a peaceful protest in Dallas and opened fire on police, killing five officers, followed by another shooting in Baton Rouge killing three officers. We have now entered a moment of deafening crisis -- distrust, division, and ongoing violence. We know that the heinous actions of lone gunmen do not represent the Black Lives Matter Movement. We have marched by your side, prayed with you at vigils, and have heeded your calls to action. In every moment, you have never stopped calling for dignity, justice and respect through peaceful nonviolent protest. But already fear-mongers are using the deaths of these police officers to vilify and stifle the Black Lives Matter movement and erase the justice demanded by Sterling, Castile, and countless others. They are justifying the militarization of police departments, surveillance of black activists, suspicion and profiling based on race, and hostility toward communities of color. Black activists and communities: We ask that you not despair. We ask that you feel our love by your side, and let this love keep you brave and resolute, just as you have made us brave and resolute. We are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Humanist, and other people of moral conscience. We are black, brown, white, gay, straight, lesbian, bi, and trans. We grieve the loss of every Black life lost in encounters with police. We are with you because we know all lives cannot matter unless black lives matter. Law enforcement officers: We see you. You are on the frontlines every day. You are our spouses and children; you are our brothers and sisters; you are our neighbors and friends. You have pledged to protect us: the officers killed in the line of duty in Dallas died while protecting the most vital function of our democracy – our freedoms to march, protest and express ourselves. We ask that you share our prophetic grief. We grieve every police officer killed in the line of duty, and those wounded in attacks, just as we grieve every black son and daughter killed in a police encounter. It is an undisputed fact that systemic racism is a historic and intractable problem across America, including in America’s police departments. We believe the best way to honor all the people we grieve is to find a solution – together. We pledge to dismantle racism with revolutionary love – for police officers and the black and brown communities who struggle each day for dignity. We will hold all perpetrators of violence accountable, even as we build bonds of understanding and respect between police officers and communities. We will call for police accountability, even as we show love and respect for every officer who shares our commitment to end all forms of violence. We will stand by the side of women and men who bleed to give our children a more just and beautiful world. We will not be bystanders. This is our #propheticgrief. This is our #revolutionarylove. We are called to #mendthegap. And #westandwithlove. Signed: Valarie Kaur Michael-Ray Mathews Brian McLaren Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis Bishop Gene Robinson Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson Sister Simone Campbell Rabbi Sharon Brous
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  • People of Faith Statement on Pulse Orlando Shooting
    Our faith traditions call us to love one another, to mourn those who have died, to comfort the despairing, to speak out against injustice, and to work for the transformation of our world. In this time of mixed emotions and responses, we turn to our faith for guidance, hope, and healing. We lift up the voices of LGBTQ people and stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community against transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia. We acknowledge that this shooting is part of a larger culture of hostility toward transgender, gender nonconforming, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. We reject the use of religion to promote judgment or violence toward LGBTQ people. We acknowledge that the shooting at Pulse occurred on “Latin Night” and disproportionally affected the Latinx LGBTQ community. We lift up the voices of LGBTQ Latinx people and stand in solidarity with the Latinx community against racism, the targeting of black and brown bodies, and the ongoing criminalization of Latinx lives. We disavow rhetoric that seeks to devalue and dehumanize Latinx people. As we seek to respond to this tragedy, we celebrate the lives of those who were killed and the gifts of their sexual and gender diversity. Our faith traditions draw us closer together—not to further exclusion, fear, or enmity. We lift up the voices of LGBTQ Muslims and stand in solidarity with the Muslim community against Islamophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, and the scapegoating of Islam for this act of violence. We mourn and seek justice together as a community of faith. We also lift up those who are diagnosed with mental illness. We refuse to succumb to rhetoric that hastily or unduly assigns mental illness as the cause of this tragedy, further stigmatizing those diagnosed with mental illness. As people of faith, we long for a world where love triumphs over hate and fear. Our faith traditions call us to seek justice. We commit to working so that all people can flourish and live whole, authentic lives.
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  • Sign the Religious Freedom Pledge: Standing Together Against Anti-Muslim Bigotry
    BACKGROUND In an historic event at the Washington National Cathedral on October 23, 2015, over 100 faith leaders from Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Muslim communities joined together to commit to reject and speak out against bigotry, discrimination, harassment, and violence based on religion or belief. In the wake of increased hate speech, hate crimes and discrimination against Muslims and persons perceived to be Muslim, it is vital for us all join this same commitment to condemning and speaking out against bigotry, discrimination, harassment, and violence based on religion or belief. America was founded on the ideal of religious freedom, and as Americans of all faiths and none, we need to work together to ensure those promises for all. Ideals don't uphold themselves- it takes action and courage from all of us to advance them. Will you join us in endorsing this Pledge? Beyond endorsing the Pledge, we invite you to join us through hosting an event in your local congregation, where members of your faith community can talk about anti-Muslim bigotry and how the faith community can stand united. FOUNDING PLEDGE ENDORSERS INCLUDE: His Eminence Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Imam Mohamed Magid Pastor Dr. Bob Roberts Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson Dr. Rajwant Singh Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer Dr. Carroll Baltimore Rev. Brent Walker Imam Talib Shareef Rabbi Jack Moline Dr. Azhar Azeez Sr. Patricia Chappell Rev. Barry Lynn Rev. Richard Cizik Imam Omar Suleiman
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  • Tell the Obama Administration to Prohibit LGBTQ Discrimination in Foster Care
    For the more than 400,000 children in foster care across our nation, this action would have an enormous, life-changing impact. The teachings of our respective faiths may diverge on issues of theology and practice, but all speak clearly of our duty to protect the stranger, the orphan and the widow: the most vulnerable members of our society. We are called to do all we can to ensure children grow up with loving, supportive families that will set them on the path toward happy and healthy adulthood. Removing the barriers that currently prevent LGBT adults from becoming parents for these children has the potential to bring an estimated two million potential parents forward to provide loving, permanent homes. The primary reason hundreds of thousands of children remain in, or age out of, the foster care system is a lack of qualified homes. This is a moral travesty. This Administration has made historic progress in the advancement of LGBT rights across the country and your Department has been at the forefront of these changes. Yet, if action is not taken before the end of the Administration to prohibit discrimination in adoption and foster care, a critical piece of this work will remain woefully unfinished. It is crucial that the Obama Administration takes decisive action to ensure that otherwise qualified adoptive and foster parents are not turned away simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, and that LGBT and gender non-conforming youth in care do not face discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. A foundational principle of our child welfare services is the best interest of the child. We firmly believe that ensuring qualified parents are not turned away, simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, in addition to protecting youth themselves, is one of the most important steps you can take to meet the needs of children in foster care. Further, we do not believe there should be any exemption to permit religiously affiliated child welfare providers to discriminate against LGBT youth and prospective parents while conducting public foster care and adoption placements and service delivery with significant sums of taxpayer dollars. Such an exemption would undermine this foundational principle by prioritizing the provider’s religious beliefs over the best interests of the children they contract with the government to serve, while also sanctioning discrimination with public dollars. Although the primary responsibility of child welfare agencies and their contractors is to meet a child’s need for safety, permanency and well-being, many LGBT youth face physical threat, harassment, rejection and discrimination from state-funded providers. Due largely to family rejection, LGBT youth are over-represented in child welfare systems compared to their non- LGBT peers, are placed in group homes and residential facilities at higher rates, and often exit to homelessness and increased risk of commercial sexual exploitation. While some states offer explicit protections for LGBT youth, most do not, and an LGBT youth’s safety, well-being, and fair treatment depends largely on a luck of the draw. This month is the last National Foster Care Month of the Obama Administration. We hope you will take this opportunity to use your authority as Secretary to put the needs of children first by issuing guidance ending discrimination against potential adoptive and foster parents and children in foster care based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, without exceptions.
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  • Dear Candidates for President, Senate, and Governors: Will You Advance a Moral Agenda?
    Our moral traditions have a firm foundation upon which to stand against the divide-and-conquer strategies of extremists. We believe in a moral agenda that stands against systemic racism, classism, poverty, xenophobia, and any attempt to promote hate towards any members of the human family. We claim a higher ground in partisan debate by returning public discourse to our deepest moral and constitutional values. Please add your name to call on our 2016 presidential candidates, senate candidates, and governors to advance a moral agenda.
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    Created by Repairers of the Breach PPC: NCMR
  • Protect our children. End the #LeadEpidemic.
    Every child deserves a safe and healthy home. Innocent children are being lead poisoned and our current laws do nothing to stop it. Over 1.6 million low-income families rely on the federal government to provide them with safe, decent, and affordable housing. Yet, the majority of these homes are clustered in areas at high risk of lead poisoning. Lanice Walker learned this truth the hard way. When she received a housing voucher, she felt like she could breathe again, like her children finally had a place to grow and thrive for the first time. Shortly after moving into her new home, Ms. Walker’s hopes were shattered when all of her young children were diagnosed with lead poisoning. Unknowingly, Lanice Walker and her family had moved into a home that was rife with lead hazards. Today, her youngest children Emaurie and Mahogahny receive special education services while Ervin struggles to speak. This mother’s dream of security became a tragic reality. (Mahogahny is pictured above. Photo credit: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune) Across the country, families like the Walker's have been exposed to dangerous lead hazards in their homes, with poor and communities of color disproportionately at risk of harm. These risks are multiplied by outdated policies that don’t respond until after a child suffers severe brain damage. Our respective faiths teach us that life is sacred and as such we each have a responsibility to care for one another and protect the most vulnerable in our society. It is time to pay more than lip service to these beliefs because, in this case, inactive faith invites death. Taking action to end the #leadepidemic is a way to respond to the call to confront and eradicate that which harms the most vulnerable in our human family. To ignore the threat of lead poisoning, or the devastating effects it has on our children, is to turn our backs on all we hold to be sacred and true. The Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act of 2016 will identify lead hazards before a child is harmed, ensure that federal policies reflect the prevailing science, and allow families living in toxic homes to move if they so choose. These actions are critical to stem the tide of lead poisoning and represent the long overdue solution to a widespread problem that has endangered far too many lives. Signing this petition is a good first step in calling on our country’s moral consciousness to protect our children and telling Congress that we wont stand by as more children are lead poisoned. Called to do more? Here are some suggestions: Spread the Word to Project Our Children - Movements grow in strength as people are engaged. Make sure this crisis is known more broadly by sharing with your networks and communities by word of mouth, on your website, in your newsletter, on your social media pages. The more people know, the more they can protect themselves and others at risk of lead poisoning. Here are some informative articles that can be shared with your community: The Poison in Our Walls: http://nyti.ms/1VTRv8P We Know How To Stop The Epidemic Of Lead Poisoning. So Why Aren’t We?: http://bit.ly/1ZwWM4q Legislation to protect children in public housing from lead exposure introduced in House and Senate: http://bit.ly/1pIrACr Durbin, Quigley target lead hazards in Section 8 housing with new bill: http://trib.in/1QSE6pi Federal housing policy leaves poor kids at risk of lead poisoning: http://trib.in/1QlbIzc Chicago medical clinic prescribes legal help for housing: http://apne.ws/1pIrWcn Stand with Us and Join the Movement - Partner with us for change as a faith leader or as a community. Let others know that faith inspires action to end the #LeadEpidemic through your endorsement. Add your organizations, institutions, and communities to the growing list of those publicly standing in solidarity through endorsement as a means of addressing this #LeadEpidemic harming our nation's children. (Send us a message through our Facebook page to endorse the bill as a community or organization.) If we act together, we can end the #leadepidemic!
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    Created by Alicia Crosby