• Jeanette's Family Needs Her
    Jeanette Vizguerra, a Colorado community leader and mother, is facing deportation. Jeanette has led the fight against her own deportation since 2009, part of her secret to success is her die hard community. She needs it again, today! Share this and spread the word. Jeanette has lived in Colorado for twenty years, has 3 small children who are US citizens and has given selflessly as a community activist. She worked for SEIU as a labor organizer and volunteered with her children’s schools, the Aurora Neighborhood Watch Program, Rights for All People, the American Friends Service Committee and contributes to the Romero Troupe. She founded Dreamers Mothers in Action-Colorado. Jeanette has worked hard to build her community in Colorado and has inspired many with her courage and passion. Jeanette’s story exemplifies the brutality of our immigration system that is unjustly separating families and denying many the ability to live with dignity. Although this immigration system has tried to destroy Jeanette’s dignity, she is still fighting to be with her children and she needs our support!! History: Jeanette Vizguerra (A# 089-826-036), came to the US in 1997 with her husband and daughter. They fled after her husband, a bus driver, had been threatened at gun point for the third time. Jeanette worked cleaning office buildings and became a key member of her SEIU local, 105. Eventually she became an organizer, leading the fight for better pay and benefits for all janitors. She also joined a local advocacy group called Rights for All People as one of its founding members. She worked to establish trust and relationship between the immigrant community and the police. She and her husband started a moving and cleaning company and eventually had three more children, all US citizens. Jeanette’s case began in 2009 when she was pulled over for an expired license plate and then arrested for driving without a license (at that time Coloradans couldn't get a license if they couldn't prove status). That traffic stop led to a police officer discovering documents she was going to use to apply for a third job this discovery resulted in a misdemeanor. The economic downturn had impacted the moving company and her husband had taken ill so she was the only breadwinner for her family. In 2013, as she was awaiting an appeal in her case, she received a call from Mexico that her mother was dying. Despite 17 years in the US and thousands of miles, Jeanette and her mother spoke weekly. There are no humanitarian visas or programs available for those circumstances and Jeanette decided she had to be at her mother’s side before she died. She flew to Mexico the next day and, as she was in the air, her mother died. After 7 months of trying to build a life and send for her children, it became clear to Jeanette that at 40 she was too old to get good paying work in Mexico and decided to return to the US. She was detained at the border, and with the help of community, released back to Denver, where she has continued to pick up the threads of her life. This is why Jeanette needs your support. Sign and share this petition widely. http://www.groundswell-mvmt.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Jeanette.png
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  • The Groundswell to Keep the Internet Open and Free
    Two years ago, millions of us rose up in a movement to protect the open Internet -- and we won. Net neutrality keeps the Internet an open platform for people of all faiths and backgrounds to communicate, create, and organize online. Today the Internet is a space where all of us -- no matter the content of our beliefs, color of our skin, size of our wallets -- have an equal voice. The Internet has become the prophetic platform of the 21st century. Through online actions, we have protected sons and daughters from deportation, uplifted communities in the aftermath of mass shootings, changed federal policy on hate crimes, told untold stories, and much more. We have showed up for one another, as people of faith and moral fiber, in life-giving ways. But today, President Trump's appointee announced that he will overturn net neutrality rules. We vow to be part of the resistance. In this critical time, we need net neutrality now more than ever to fight and defend the future of our democracy. Our marches, vigils, petitions, and calls to action depend on organizing on an open Internet. So today, we vow to continue to champion faith and moral voices in the fight to protect the open Internet as a moral imperative. We, as people of many faiths and backgrounds, ask lawmakers to do the right thing as a moral imperative. Please sign and share this now.
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  • After Chapel Hill, Let our Muslim Neighbors Know - We Are With You
    Early Wednesday morning, students Deah Barakat, aged 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan, 19, were gunned down in their Chapel Hill home by a neighbor. The Muslim community is upset at the tragic loss of innocent life, scared for their children and feeling alone. While the motive for the shooting is still unclear, it is important that we move quickly to show our Muslim-American neighbors and colleagues that we care for them and are equally horrified by this shooting. As people of diverse faith and moral traditions, let our Muslim American friends know that we stand firm with them in this difficult time and reject the hateful actions of this shooter.
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  • Discrimination and fear don't belong in our schools - Sign Now!
    San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has proposed that teachers and staff at Bay Area high schools within the Archdiocese accept “morality clauses” that condemn homosexuality as contrary to “natural law,” contraception as “intrinsically evil,” ordination of female priests as impossible, and use of assisted reproductive technology as a “grave evil.” Every staff member is expected to “conduct their lives so as to not visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths.” The Archbishop is also attempting to reclassify all Catholic school employees, including teachers, administrative staff, custodial and food service staff, as “ministers,” a move that could eliminate anti-discrimination and other workplace protections for those staff members. Students need a safe space free of judgment and fear. Not only is the move completely out of step with modern Catholic teachings and beliefs, but we could lose some of our best teachers and staff.
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  • Widen the Circle at the 2015 Family Synod
    The synod would benefit from listening to Catholic representatives from diverse constituencies and from engaging in the dialogue Pope Francis has promoted throughout his papacy. We believe widening the circle will create greater understanding among the synod fathers whose final recommendations to Pope Francis may impact our Church's pastoral practice for years to come. This petition is sponsored by: Aggiornomento, Australia (ACCCR) American Catholic Council Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Renewal (ACCCR) Australian Reforming Catholics ARC (ACCCR) Call to Action Catholic Church Reform International Catholics for ministry CfM, Australia (ACCCR) Catholics for Renewal, Austraiia (ACCCR) Catholic Network for Women's Equality, Canada CORPUS The Cyber Community, Australia (ACCCR) DignityUSA Federation of Christian Ministries/Roman Catholic Faith Community Council Fortunate Families The Friendship Group WA, Australia (ACCCR) FutureChurch Inclusive Catholics, Australia (ACCCR) International Movement of We Are Church Loretto Women's Network National Coalition of American Nuns New Ways Ministry Noi Siamo Chiesa (Italian section of IMWAC) Pfarrei-Initiative, Schweiz Pfarrer-Initiative Austria Parrish Initiative Switzerland RAPPORT Roman Catholic Womenpriests RCWP-USA Sisters of Providence Peace With Justice Committee, St. Mary-of-the-Woods Southeastern Pennsylvania Women's Ordination Conference Vision of Faithful People (Netherlands) Voice of the Faithful We are All Church, South Africa (WAACSA) Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual Women and the Australian Church WATAC (ACCCR) Women's Ordination Conference Women's Ordination Worldwide
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  • People of faith demand Gov. Cuomo allow special prosecutor to investigate police killings
    Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Mike Brown. Yvette Smith. John Crawford. Kimani Gray. Aiyana Stanley Jones. Reka Boyd. Sean Bell. Ezell Ford. Alex Nieto. Oscar Grant. The list goes on. Our black and brown brothers and sisters are being killed by police every 28 hours. This is unacceptable. We demand that the federal government do more to protect and bring justice to our brother and sisters of color. Our faith traditions tell us that we are all God’s children and created in His image. This calls for every person, regardless of race or ethnicity, to be live in communities free of fear from the very individuals called to serve and protect them. If you too are deeply disturbed by the incidents of police brutality impacting our communities of color … If you too are heartbroken and mourn with the families who have lost loved ones to police violence … Add your name to stand with us as people of faith to demand action.
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  • RSVP: VOICE-Buffalo Public Meeting
    As people of faith we believe that we should be an undivided community. On August 28, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial, along with 250,000 religious and labor leaders calling for an end to racism, segregation and poverty, and to call for guaranteed civil and economic liberties for all. On November 6th join us at 7 PM Elim Christian Fellowship (70 Chalmers Ave., Buffalo 14214) as we bring our community together with our public officials for the 2014 VOICE Buffalo Public Meeting! You may have already heard, but if not, we have had some major breakthroughs recently and this year’s public meeting is one you can’t miss! The Sheriff’s office, Erie County Legislature and County Executive have committed to work together with VOICE-Buffalo and the community to reinstate the Local Conditional Release Program in early 2015. The Sheriff’s office, members of the Erie County Legislature and the County Executive will be joining us on November 6th to discuss the benefit of the Local Conditional Release Program and to share their commitment to its reinstatement. We are also in dialogue with the Sheriff’s office about creating a Restorative Justice program at the Alden Correctional Facility to bring trained community leaders to work with youth through restorative conferences and peace circles. We will also highlight the work and commitment of the congregations who are becoming ‘Peace Hubs’ by training facilitators in peace circles, restorative practices and community organizing. Please RSVP to join us on November 6th at 7pm, to build a bridge over the river of injustice.
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  • Grant Arturo Hernández Garcia's Stay of Deportation
    Arturo Hernández, married for 21 years, has two daughters, a 19-year-old in the DACA process and an 13-year-old U.S. citizen. He and his family have lived in Colorado for 19 years. Arturo is a small business owner and started his company as a subcontractor in the construction industry in 2008. He provides employment for an average of 8 or 9 people annually. Since leaving Sanctuary he has organized and advocated for better policies and educated thousands of citizens on the realities of our immigration system. Arturo has worked hard for himself and his family and has helped to employ others. ICE detained Arturo on April 26th, 2017, at his workplace despite a letter from ICE indicating he would not be deported. Community won his release and Senator Bennet introduced a private bill that gave Arturo a stay of deportation until March 15, 2019. Join us in asking immigration to extend his stay another year as his family's court case continues. The Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition welcomed Arturo into sanctuary October 19th at First Unitarian Society of Denver. We continue to act on our commitment to welcome and accompany our immigrant neighbors into our community because we are called upon to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Arturo is our neighbor, and his threat of deportation is a threat to our entire community. We do not accept anyone's right to tear apart loving families in our community. We chose to bring Arturo into sanctuary two years ago because it was just, and believed the injustice of our immigration policy is an offense against our community and our faith. Because of the significant suffering his deportation would cause his daughters, his wife and the families of his employees, we ask that his deportation be stopped immediately and that he be granted a stay of removal so he can stay with his family. We urge you to Sign and Share this petition asking Director Lynch to grant Arturo a stay of removal. Such action would not only be in line with the teaching of our faith traditions, but true to the values of our communities and nation. Please read the letter to Jeffrey Lynch, Deputy Field Office Director of the Denver ICE office below, sign your name, and press submit to add your name to Arturo’s petition requesting a stay of removal on his deportation! Help us keep up the momentum by sharing widely and asking your friends to do the same! Dear Mr. Lynch, I am writing to ask that you stop the deportation of Arturo Armando Hernandez Garcia A#087-952-389 and grant him a stay of removal so he can remain with his family. Arturo Hernández, married for 18 years, has two daughters, a 17-year-old in the DACA process and a 11-year-old U.S. citizen. He and his family have lived in Colorado for 17 years. Arturo is a small business owner and started his company as a subcontractor in the construction industry in 2008. He provides employment for an average of 8 or 9 people annually. In 2010, Arturo was arrested by the local police of the City of Lonetree, while working construction, where he was verbally assaulted and wrongly accused of threatening an American with a knife. He was arrested, and when he arrived at the jail, he was placed on an immigration "hold." He was detained by immigration without having been found guilty of the charges and having his day in court. He later proved his innocence in court, so in late 2010 they withdrew the criminal charges and he was acquitted. Although the courts found him innocent, deportation proceedings with ICE continued and on April 26th, 2017 he was detained at his workplace despite a letter from ICE indicating he would not be deported. Arturo has viable legal options to remain in the US, including an application his in-laws submitted in 2005 that is still pending and whose priority date is currently being challenges in court. Because of the significant suffering of his daughters, wife and the families of his employees, we ask that his deportation be stopped immediately and that he be granted a stay of removal so he can stay with his family while he awaits the court's decision.
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  • After Ferguson, We Must Change Police and Court Practices in St. Louis County
    We understand the anger in response to yet another young African-American man, Vonderrit Myers, shot by police October 7. It was two months almost to the day after Michael Brown's killing. Underneath the killings is a web of unjust laws in a patchwork of cities and towns. For example, in September the New York Times reported that municipal court fines have been Ferguson’s second-highest source of revenue. http://nyti.ms/1pJgndl The Washington Post found 71 percent of the people pulled over by Florissant police in 2013 were black. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/ St. Louis city and surrounding municipalities must work together to reform an archaic, unjust system of debtor's prison and institute appropriate community policing procedures that will help police/citizen relationships and help make our area a model for the nation. The new county executive was elected November 4 and we cannot imagine a more important priority than reforming policing and judicial practices across our 91 municipalities. Join us in asking our leaders to pledge action to change these policies as soon as they take office. -- Rev. Dr. Dietra Baker of Liberation Christian Church, Missouri Congregations United, St. Louis -- Laura Barrett, Gamaliel community organizing network, St. Louis
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  • Tell The Obama Administration: Stop Luis From Being Deported & Keep Your Promise
    We are called to welcome the stranger, but Luis Lopez Acabal is not a stranger. Luis is our neighbor. He is a husband and a father, who came as a teenager to escape death threats from gangs and violence most of us can hardly imagine. He worked hard and made a life for himself and his family. He has fought his case through the immigration courts to no avail. We want him to stay. While ICE officials assure us he is a low priority and don’t intend to seek him out, they refuse to offer him the means to remain in the country legally. THE INJUSTICE A grave injustice is happening when people come to the U.S. to escape unimaginable violence but when every day more than 1,000 people are deported, many ripped away from spouses and children, as a result of a broken misguided immigration system. Despite President Obama’s promise to keep families together, Luis’s family is at risk. This is why we welcomed Luis into Sanctuary at our church on Sept. 4th. He will remain in the protection of this sacred space with the support of the community until his deportation order is removed. LUIS’ STORY Luis emigrated from Guatemala at the age of 17, fleeing gang violence in his country, arriving only a few months too late to be eligible for DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals). He has made a life, fallen in love, and married Mayra Canales, a permanent legal resident on the path to citizenship and mother of two U.S. citizen children, one of whom has autism. Mayra has struggled with anxiety and depression for many years. Luis has taken in Mayra’s children as his own, and Kevin (5) and Kimberly (2) consider him their father. He is the sole breadwinner for the family, allowing Mayra to act as a full time caregiver for their children. Kevin has thrived in the new family setting and some of his autism related behaviors have been diminished. Kevin’s success and the support of a loving husband and parenting partner has made a huge difference in Mayra’s battles with depression and anxiety. This deportation threatens not only Luis’ life, as he faces deportation to a country with the 5th highest homicide rate in the world, but also Mayra’s mental health and Kevin’s recent progress. There is no value to our society in taking Luis away from his wife and children. PROVIDING SANCTUARY “God is our refuge,” the Psalmist writes, and the church is called upon to reflect God to the world. We invite people of faith and moral courage around the country to stand in solidarity with Luis and our church as we offer refuge from injustice. We call upon President Obama and Secretary Jeh Johnson of Homeland Security to do justice in the face of brokenness: * Secretary Jeh Johnson and those within Immigration and Customs Enforcement, grant a stay of removal or deferred action to Luis Lopez TODAY. * President Obama, keep your promise – stop tearing apart families like Luis’ and take administrative action to grant Deferred Action for All NOW. CAN WE HELP? Yes – ask Secretary Jeh Johnson to close Luis’ deportation order and encourage President Obama to take action and expand deferred action for all 11 million undocumented people who are already part of our congregations and communities. ICE officials have been directed to use "prosecutorial discretion" in cases like Luis’. Showing Secretary Johnson that Luis and his family have a community that supports and loves him will force them to review Luis’ case. You can also follow Luis’ story and help advocate for him by liking the page and sharing our updates and calls to action. Search “Luis Lopez Acabal Sanctuary” Call Jeh Johnson, Secretary of DHS, at 202-282-8495 and leave a message in support of Luis. It is an answering machine that fills up by the end of the day, so please fill it up with support for Luis: “Hello, my name is ___. I am calling to urge Secretary to Johnson to use the discretion available to him to stop the deportation of Mr. Luis Lopez Acabal, A#088-670-167. Mr. Lopez fits the category of a low priority for deportation and should not be removed from his family and his home in the United States.” Call President Obama and Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, at 202-456-1111 leave a message urging them to take action and defer Luis' deportation. This is a live comment line that will be picked up by a real human being so please be very polite. “Hello, my name is ___. I am calling to urge Director Cecilia Munoz and President Barack Obama to act swiftly to stop the pending deportation of Mr. Luis Lopez Acabal, A#088-670-167. Mr. Lopez fits the category of a low priority for deportation and should not be removed from his family and his home in the United States. The administration, under advisement of the President and Director Munoz, should give guidance to the Department of Homeland Security to intervene in this case and act swiftly to halt the deportation of other parents like Mr. Lopez while they wait to take executive action.”
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  • Get racism out of pro sports: Sack the 'Skins!
    My name is Peggy Flanagan, I am a Native American person of faith, and a board member of Sojourners. I’m ready for the NFL to stop treating me like a mascot. I am not a mascot. My daughter is not a mascot. My people are not mascots. It’s time to sack the ‘Skins. For more than 80 years, Washington D.C.’s football team has been operating under public racism. To me, this is personal – as a Native American woman and mother, the word “Redsk*ns” offends me. Worse, it makes me fear that my young daughter will be hurt by seeing the racist images that degrade her people every day. Recently, we saw the NBA oust one of its owners for his private racism. But for more than 80 years, Washington, D.C.’s, football team has been operating under public racism. With renewed attention on racism in professional sports, now is the perfect time to get this slur out of the NFL. Join me, Jim Wallis, and people of faith around the country in calling on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to change the hurtful “Redsk*ns” name! Our faith tradition tells us that when one member suffers, we all suffer. We’re all created in God’s image. But, let me tell you, turning on a television and seeing a racist, derogatory word for my community does NOT make me feel respected. Some of my proudest moments have been marching and demonstrating against this hateful name, and now I’m ready to turn up the heat. Commissioner Goodell needs to take a hint and work to end racism in his league. Join me in standing against the racial slur “Redsk*ns.” The pressure against the Redsk*ns name is mounting – from sports fans, elected officials, media outlets, and more. As a faith community, let’s make sure Commissioner Goodell knows what side we stand on. Peggy Flanagan Sojourners board member, citizen of the White Earth Nation, executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota
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  • FAITH LEADERS FOR PRISON REFORM: REINSTATE CONDITIONAL RELEASE, MR. POLONCARZ & COUNTY LEGISLATURE
    UPDATE - Since clergy and faith leaders met with County Executive Mark Poloncarz on April 22nd he has expressed his support of reinstating the conditional release program and has committed to send representation to the June 10th VOICE-Buffalo public meeting. However, we still to convince the Erie County Legislature and Sheriff Tim Howard that this program must be reinstated. We must collectively show that as people of faith all across Western New York that we are called to address the horrendous conditions of our criminal justice system. We can no longer tolerate our neighbors – youth, young adults, veterans, elderly – suffering after being imprisoned for nonviolent offenses or because of treatable mental health or addiction issues. We call on our representatives to help heal our communities by: (1) Reinstating the Local Conditional Release Program for Erie County (1) Joining us in person at our public meeting on Tuesday, June 10th at 7PM at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary RC Church in Williamsville The conditional release program would give our neighbors a second chance at life – the opportunity to return to our communities and their families with the treatment and support they need. It's our vision of liberation and restorative justice in Erie County! How does it work? Under the Local Conditional Release Program, 25 non-violent offenders are selected for early release if they agree to a year of probation and participation in programs that provide mental health care, addiction treatment, job training or a variety of other needed services. Does it work? Yes, it restores lives while saving county tax dollars. The rate of recidivism (return to prison) for people who participated in the local conditional release program from 1992 to 2005 was 15% – compare that to 65% for those who were released without services and support. Take the inspiring story of Jacqueline Gerald. At a time in her life when she was struggling with addiction and financial pressures to support her family, Jacqueline was sentenced to serve time as a result of laundering charges. While in prison, Jackie applied for the early release program and was accepted. In Jackie’s own words about the program: “If you keep your eyes open and strive to do well, the Lord will make a way out of no way. For me the way the Lord provided me was through this program.” After being released Jackie was accepted to Nursing School with help from Rev. Eugene Pierce, who was the chair of the local conditional release commission, and Mr. Dolansky, who was her probation officer for that one year. Today, Jackie is a registered nurse. “I’ve learned that sometimes in life we think we are not good enough and we can’t pursue our dreams, but the Lord puts people in our lives who will support us.” Let's show County Executive Poloncarz and the Erie County Legislature we believe in liberation and redemption. Add your name to tell our public servants to reinstate the Conditional Release program. For more info, visit VOICE-Buffalo at http://www.voice-buffalo.org/ You can hear more in our coverage by Buffalo's NPR News http://news.wbfo.org/post/clergy-members-call-county-jail-release-program
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