• Walmart wages violate our core moral values
    As people of faith, we urge Alice Walton to heed the call of the prophet Isaiah, “Maintain justice and do what is right.” (Isaiah 56:1) We stand with workers like Jasmine Dixon from store number 3533 in Denver. Jasmine has two young sons, but struggles to feed them because she is only paid $11.95 per hour. Jasmine has to skip meals and relies on food stamps and food banks to feed her kids because she works at Walmart. We stand with workers like Mary Watkines, who organize because "It is hard for me to understand how a company can do this to people: my coworkers work hungry while stocking food all day. I have coworkers who have to sleep in their car in the parking lot because they can't afford an apartment. Others are parents who work all day only to go home to children who are hungry.” It is immoral that Walmart workers and their families go hungry every day. Alice Walton, we call on you to recognize your moral obligation to end the pain of hunger by ensuring that your workers can feed themselves and their children. We stand with Walmart workers launching a 15-day Fast for $15. Together with allies, workers are lifting up the call for $15 an hour and access to full time work at Walmart-- conditions that would allow workers to feed themselves and their family. It is a brave effort to turn what has often been a source of private shame for workers into a demonstration of public outrage. Will you stand with Walmart fasters by signing on to this letter to Walmart board member Alice Walton calling on Walmart to meet its moral obligation to our communities?
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  • Stand with Catholic Church Workers!
    In recent years, many Catholic workers have been unjustly terminated or deprived of fair contract renewals. These firings have typically targeted those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), those who are in relationships not recognized by the Church, those who support women’s equality in Church and society, and those who have made decisions about family life in the sacredness of their conscience. These unjust terminations are not only spiritually, emotionally, and financially devastating for the individual, but they also impact students, parishioners, family members, colleagues, and others, often diminishing their level of trust and respect for the Church.
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  • Dear Presidential Candidates: #WeMakeAmericaGreat
    As people of faith and moral courage, we believe all people are part of one family, and that we need to act together to build a world that respects everyone’s dignity. We reject the messages of candidates whose platforms, language, and campaigning exclude, discriminate against, and perpetuate violence towards members of our communities because of their citizenship status, gender, race, or sexuality. Many 2016 presidential candidates have chosen to build their campaigns on fear. Their use of xenophobic, racist and derogatory language has activated nationalist and white-supremacist groups throughout the country, inspiring further hate speech and violent hate crimes against immigrants and people of color. More so-called “moderate” presidential hopefuls have failed to stand up against these dangerous ideas. Some have defended the racist term “anchor babies” to describe infants born to undocumented parents, recommended we track immigrants like FedEx packages, and suggested we send air-strike drones to the U.S.-Mexico border. Our Values As people of faith and moral courage, we are called to welcome the sojourner and love our neighbor. We are appalled by the ugly, divisive, and cowardly tactics from candidates running for the most powerful office in our country. The United States was founded on the moral principles of liberty and justice for which civil rights leaders have struggled to make a reality for generations. We can’t move backwards to policies that resurface segregation. Instead we must move forward, with moral principles that value the diversity of all people and make America great. This includes immigrants, both new and established, and a range of identities in gender, faith, sexuality, race, and ethnicity that enrich our communities and strengthen the values we hold as people of faith and people of good conscious. Our vision of a better and more just world means calling on all political leaders to recognize the inherent value of all people, regardless of citizenship status, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. Please sign this petition if you are ready to dump the divisive language and policy proposals pushed by extremist candidates, so that together, we can make America great!
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    Created by Rev. Noel Andersen
  • Tell Goff Public: Stop Promoting For-Profit Prisons
    The mass incarceration of vulnerable people in our country is a profound injustice and must stop. Jesus taught his disciples to pray: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive the debts of others." (Matthew 6:12) Minnesota has the second lowest prison population in the nation, yet has the second highest growth in incarceration rate. As a result of this trend, our prison population is overcapacity and state officials are considering investment requests to open a new private prison facility in Appleton. Our current prison system in Minnesota unjustly and disparately impacts people of color. African Americans make up 35% of prisoners despite being just 6% of the state’s population. Rather than working to heal this racialized injustice and invest in reforms to keep people out of prisons, Swift County has hired Goff Public to promote the opening of a for-profit prison owned by Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) - the largest and oldest private prison owner and operator in the U.S. which has extracted nearly $1 billion in profits over the past 5 years. CCA’s prisons have been dogged by allegations of maltreatment, neglect, and abuse. As just one heinous example, just this past July in Texas, 250 immigrant children were given the wrong dose of vaccine in a CCA facility. This dehumanizing prison system which profits off incarceration of human beings is a deep and profound violation of the sanctity of human life. Minnesota can do better; Goff Public can do better; we can do better than solve the prison overcapacity problem by simply building more prisons, especially prisons making a profit off the vulnerable in our society. Minnesota has no place for a company like CCA, or any company that seeks to profit off incarceration. Therefore as people of faith, we call Goff Public to cease and desist their efforts to promote the CCA facility in Appleton MN, or any for-profit incarceration enterprise.
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  • People of Faith Stand with Sandra Bland’s Family to Demand Justice
    On the morning of July 13, 2015, Sandra Annette Bland was found dead in her jail cell at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, TX. The video of Sandra's brutal arrest confirms she was subject to a violent, racist and traumatic encounter with the police. And though we still don’t know what happened next, one thing is clear: a traffic stop for a failure to signal should not lead to death. Since Sandra’s death, clergy and others have been keeping a daily vigil outside the Waller County Sheriff’s Office and County Jail. The lack of transparency surrounding both Sandra’s death and arrest has led to a national outcry demanding #Justice4Sandy. We want people to know that Sandy still speaks; her voice can’t be silenced. But over the past week, opposition to our peaceful vigil has escalated – and we are being harassed by law enforcement. First, the space where we gathered was barricaded. Then the tree providing shade for our vigil were cut down. We continue to receive death threats and were told by Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith to “go back to the church of Satan that you run.” As people of faith and moral courage, we condemn these acts and stand with the Bland family in their pursuit of justice for Sandra. Specifically we’re demanding the Department of Justice: 1) Open an investigation into the suspicious circumstances surrounding Sandra’s arrest and death. 2) Call for the immediate termination of Officer Brian Encinia who unlawfully arrested Ms. Bland. 3) Uphold the right of people of faith to peacefully assemble and protest free of intimidation, harassment, and fear. OUR VALUES The Black Lives Matter movement awoke our national consciousness to the persistent system of white supremacy and structural racism that penetrates each of our institutions. As people of faith and moral courage, we have a responsibility to stand in the gap of this broken system that has taken the lives of so many people. Amplifying stories like Sandra’s is one step in building a world where Black lives matter, and all of us can live in safety and peace. We invite people of faith to support the Bland family’s demands for justice for Sandra, and defend our ability to mourn and vigil.
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  • Tell Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson to drop charges against #BlackLivesMatter protesters
    In December of 2014, over 3,000 people of all ages, races, and religious traditions gathered at the Mall of America to proclaim that Black Lives Matter; to proclaim an end to the "business as usual" economic policies which oppress and impoverish; and to proclaim that the terrorization of people of color through police violence and mass incarceration must stop. The gathering was a beautiful expression of non-violent protest and was filled with clergy, families, activists and artists who sang, preached, spoke-out and engaged in a powerful die-in. As protesters laid their bodies on the floor in symbolic death and solidarity with Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, and the thousands more lost to police brutality, I stood with other clergy, encircling the peaceful protesters, and prayed. With hands lifted heavenward, I prayed that our economy (and the Mall of America which so powerfully represents it) would stop using the bodies of Brown and Black people to enrich the few. I prayed that the hundreds of police who surrounded us wearing bullet-proof vests, riot helmets and carrying weapons could see, especially in this season of the birth of the Christ child, the truth about the humanity and vulnerability of Black and Brown lives. I prayed that somehow I might continue to find the courage to put my white, woman’s, clergy body in the places that Jesus would have put his body—in solidarity where people are harmed. But instead of receiving our multiracial, peaceful ritual as a witness for justice, the Mall of America and the City of Bloomington responded with police in military and riot gear, shutting down the Mall for a period of time. “What started as a demonstration of Dr. King’s vision of the 'beloved community,' became a reminder of what Dr. King warned could destroy our nation: the triple giants of racism, militarism, and extreme materialism,” said Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, one of the protesters charged. The Mall of America and the City of Bloomington augmented their militarized response by infiltrating meetings and surveilling social media to find the organizers of the protest and charge them with multiple offenses, including trespassing—an action that even former prosecutors have called a misuse of power. Instead of protecting the powerless from the powerful-- the mandate from our faith traditions and, indeed, the core ethical responsibility of our legal system--Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson has used her great power to buttress the powerful against those who hold far less power. On August 5th, in response to a defense motion, the most serious of the charges were dropped against the organizers. But there remain offenses which still require costly legal fees to fight. We demand that City Attorney Sandra Johnson drop ALL the charges against the #MOA36. OUR VALUES This die-in and the prayer that surrounded it were my Advent and Christmas practice. They were my way of marking the reality that God seeks to be born into real people’s lives and real people’s suffering. When Black and Brown lives still don’t matter enough to be paid a living wage, or kept out of the school to prison pipeline, or be spared a fatal bullet from a police officer’s gun, then people of faith of all races need to witness to the fact that Black Lives Matter—even in the rotunda of the Mall of America. HOW IT WILL BE DELIVERED To highlight the need for an end to business as usual and a new economic way of life that honors Black and Brown lives, we will personally deliver these signed petitions to City Attorney Sandra Johnson during the Labor Day commemoration.
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  • Tell ICE: Stop Deportation of Jewish Homeschooling Family
    No mother should be forced to flee her homeland in order to homeschool her children because of anti-semitic bullying. Yet, Petra Albrecht was not free in Germany to homeschool her children because Germany’s outdated laws have banned homeschooling since World War I. German families who choose to homeschool their children face legal action, including prison, the loss of custody of their children and fines. Petra had chosen to homeschool her youngest child Jayson because he was experiencing anti-Semitic bullying in school, in a country where a least one-fourth of the population remains openly anti-Semitic even post World War II. She lost her parental rights and was forced to flee to the U.S. But here the family has come across more hardship. Petra and Nicole were picked up by Immigration Enforcement and have been in U.S. immigration detention for 11 months, in separate facilities. Jayson was sent back to Germany alone, and is being held in an orphanage in or near Berlin, though he had an open asylum case. The German government refuses to tell the family his exact whereabouts, and the U.S. government refuses to release Petra and Nicole. OUR VALUES To be Jewish is to be an immigrant. The Albrecht family continues a history of Jewish migration that reaches back to the Old Testament and our exodus from Egypt – stories we retell on holy days. That’s why one of Judaism’s central teachings is to “welcome the stranger” as you would a friend. We’re calling on all people of faith and moral courage to stand with Petra, a mother separated from her children, and demand immigration enforcement officials release and reunite her with Jayson and Nicole. In his last letter to his family before being extradited to Germany, Jayson wrote, "I promise you that we will be together again soon..."
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  • Say No to Hate! Sign a letter of support to Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer in Georgia
    Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer was desecrated by a spray painted hate message that quoted Leviticus 18:22 and threatened the church with burning. “We are clear this is not just vandalism; this is life-threatening hatred. When people who cite chapter and verse to send others to hell, they are usually prepared to personally send you there,” said Global Moderator Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “It is sad that we have to remind people that hate is not a Christian value.” “As an African American woman, I know that hate is hate. Whether it is the shooting of the Charleston nine, burning of churches, or spray painted threats on church doors, the intent is to silence us with fear for our lives,” said the Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, MCC Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries. “We will not be silent! Silence will not protect us. It will only embolden those who use guns, torches, and spray paint because they have not opened themselves to the power of love.” Send your love by adding your name, and if you can go the extra mile, make a donation for the repairs and the security system at: http://www.gofundme.com/mccofourredeemer
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  • Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Take Down That Flag!
    On June 17, 2015 one young, white man filled with hate accepted the hospitality of nine African Americans and then massacred them. His descent into hatred is well-documented. He has provided a gallery of photos glorifying racist logos and images. We can do nothing to assuage the grief and shock of those who mourn the Charleston Nine. But we can make their slaughter stand for something. We can take action against the display of the flag that motivated the murderer of the Charleston Nine, the latest but certainly not the first, to put into violent action the message of a flag that represents hatred and bigotry.
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  • Stand in Solidarity with Families of Charleston Church Shooting
    On Wednesday night, a gunman opened fire in a historic African American church – at least 9 people were killed, including the pastor. The shooting is the largest attack on a faith community in recent US history. As people of many faiths and beliefs – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, Humanist, and others – our hands tremble with the horror and grief of this bloodshed in a sacred space. We must move quickly to show the community of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church our solidarity, and that we are equally horrified by this shooting. We stand with the Charleston community and reject the hateful actions of this shooter. And we pledge our love and support as the community mourns and begins to heal.
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  • Tell the Cleveland Indians it's time to change their racist name and mascot
    My name is Toni Buffalo, I am a Lakota person of faith and a member of the United Church of Christ. I started this petition because it is time for the Cleveland baseball team to change their racist mascot and inappropriate team name. To me, this is personal – as a Native American woman, a mother, a grandmother and an educator I see the impact of this harmful imagery on our Native youth and students. When our culture is boiled down to a stereotypical team name or a racist team mascot that falsely represent 2.9 million people and 566 federally recognized tribes, the result is our young people suffer and cannot reach their full potential as God’s children. For all youth to grow up in a world that is healed of prejudice, we must dismantle the racist imagery and names in our society. Our indigenous tradition teaches us that we are all relatives to one another through Mother Earth. Our faith tradition tells us that we are all created in God’s image. Holding on to racist images and inappropriate names only serves to injure our common humanity and to disfigure God’s image in all of us. For more than 100 years, the Cleveland baseball team has adopted the name “Indians” and perpetuated the myth of Indigenous peoples as savages in this continent. It's the same negative stereotype that was used to justify genocide and land theft from our communities. The racist caricature of Chief Wahoo is similar to the smiling face of Little Black Sambo and equally offensive. There is nothing funny or endearing about racism. Join me and people of faith around the country in calling on the Cleveland baseball team to change their racist mascot and inappropriate team name!
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  • Brooklyn College: Stop Defamation of Religion
    Pamela Geller is an infamous anti-Muslim zealot who instead of targeting extremists has made a career harassing mainstream Muslim Americans. Hatred against minority groups (Blacks, Gays, Jews and others) is increasingly unwelcome on campuses around the country. Unfortunately, Geller's organization, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), was designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) but that does not stop New York's MTA and other mass transit systems from accepting her defamatory ads on trains and buses and platforms. Despite mass transit's reluctance to post all the ads because of the trouble they could incite or provoke, courts have forced MTA and SEPTA (in Philadelphia) to post Geller's ads because of their readings of 1st Amendment protections. Sad to say, Geller and her lawyers have distorted the principles of free speech by ranging far beyond political critique to outright lies designed to equate Islam (a religion of 1.2 billion people) with Nazism and with Savagery. This campaign has a harshly negative effect on Muslims living in New York and in other locations featuring her messaging. nor is it conducive to encouraging Muslims to work in partnership to confront the challenge we all face. Such anti-Muslim prejudice is often cited as a reason for the worsening cycle of violence abroad, perpetrated by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. For example, terrorist Anders Breivik referenced Geller's hate blog a dozen times in his manifesto before he killed more than 70 people in two attacks in Norway, seeking to justify his attacks. A clear link exists between anti-Muslim messaging and harassment. Students of Brooklyn college should be protected during this time and also hear a message of support from the President's Office. As an educational institution, Brooklyn College is a space for free debate but the school (its administration and the student community) should ensure a level of quality as well as accuracy of information. This can be accomplished through organizing debates on the claims and distortions made by Ms Geller and other Islamophobes; disseminating accurate information regarding diverse faith traditions, cultures and ethnic groups; and investigating any financial and social relationship between hate groups and the academic institution.
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