• #PardonRicky to Prevent a Lifelong New Yorker's Banishment to a Country He Doesn't Know
    Deporting a lifelong New Yorker for struggling with addiction is cruel, and Governor Hochul could easily stop it by granting him a pardon!
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  • Dear Bishops, Save Catholic News Service!
    Catholic News Service (CNS) was founded in 1920 and has been in operation for 102 years. Throughout its history, it has offered timely, informative, and objective news that served to reliably inform American Catholics about the church in Rome and at home. In 2021, Pope Francis praised the media outlet saying, "Catholic News Service has provided an invaluable contribution to the English-speaking world through its coverage of the church’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel and witnessing to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.” According to David Gibson, Director for the Center of Religion and Culture at Fordham University, Catholic News Service provides, "a counter witness to the proliferation of ideologically driven Catholic media platforms that are driving the church apart." Further, Gibson writes, "Domestically, the effective shuttering of CNS will have a terrible practical effect because diocesan newspapers and websites across the country depend on CNS content to fill out their page with news about the church in other dioceses and around the world." While a number of bishops and Catholic leaders have voiced their disagreement with the decision to close CNS's domestic operations, Fabrizio Mastrofini, spokesman for the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life has called the decision "a mistake" that will "create opportunities for ideologically driven news outlets to fill the gap." With the explosion of so many well-funded, so-called "Catholic" media outlets driving anti-Francis and anti-Vatican II storylines, Catholics in the United States need media outlets they can trust. Catholic News Service - a news organization who has earned a reputation for professionalism and journalistic integrity provides that service.
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  • Release Angel Argueta Anariba from ICE detention and reunite him with his son and community!
    Angel Argueta Anariba fled Honduras in 1998 in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch to support his family. While in the United States, Mr. Argueta celebrated the birth of his son, worked in construction, and sent money back to Honduras to take care of loved ones. Unfortunately, Mr. Argueta has been in ICE detention since 2014, after serving several years at Otisville Prison in New York State for a prior conviction. He has now been in ICE detention longer than the original prison sentence he served. In Mr. Argueta’s own words, “In the past seven years, ICE has transferred me 14 times to different jails across six different states, including New York, New Jersey, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.  At many of these detention centers, I have been physically abused, threatened with deportation, and told to my face that I will only leave here on a plane to my country or dead.” Mr. Argueta spends 23 hours of his day in his cell. He faces routine discrimination and neglect of his needs–from his most basic needs for food, water and sanitary living conditions to his health care needs and more. He also faces ongoing retaliation for demanding his rights be respected. He has filed countless complaints against the facility due to the violations of his human rights which have gone entirely unaddressed. In the midst of a global public health crisis, he is at high risk of contracting COVID-19, including long-COVID health complications due to his asthma and other health issues. Mr. Argueta has participated in multiple hunger strikes to demand that his basic rights be met. His longest hunger strike lasted for 34 days. Mr. Argueta recently won a decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that will allow him to continue fighting to stay in this country permanently based on his fear of persecution in Honduras. He needs to be released so he can fight his case in the community. While in detention he learned English, obtained his G.E.D., worked as the teacher’s assistant to assist others in math, and helped many others pass their G.E.D. tests. He has goals of working to support his family and being an advocate for other immigrants. No one deserves to be isolated from their families for this long. Grant Mr. Argueta bond on Tuesday, April 5th. Learn more about the horrible ICE conditions Mr. Argueta has faced here: https://theintercept.com/2022/03/31/ice-detention-climate-crisis-migrants/ https://theintercept.com/2021/02/19/ice-detention-cold-freezing-texas-louisiana/
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  • Make sure Congress supports affordable, accessible broadband
    Representative James Clyburn and Senator Amy Klobuchar have been leading the effort to ensure all people have access to affordable broadband internet. They know that many people cannot afford to buy internet, or that it is not available near their homes to begin with. They know that people can't start to learn how to use the internet unless they have members of their community beside them helping them choose and get online. People of color and low-income people face much lower broadband adoption rates. We need a permanent broadband benefit to make the internet more affordable, digital inclusion programs to help people sign up and use technology and programs that will bring broadband infrastructure where it's not yet availble.
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  • It’s Time To Pass Reparations
    Reparations are needed in order to heal the racial tensions and divisions within culture. Black people in the United States have been demanding reparations for centuries because of the gross physical, psychological, spiritual, cultural, and economic violence inflicted upon them by the U.S. government. While centuries have passed since the first Africans were forced into chatel slavery, their pain continues to pass down from generation to generation in the form of systemic racism and inequality. Reparations are an attempt to help heal our nation from this pain in the form of compensation, healing, education, restitution, and guarantees that the U.S. government will never engage in harming Black people again. We believe that in order for reparations to be viable, they must respond to the needs of descendants of formerly enslaved Black Americans in ways that address issues of structural racism and inequality. We believe that local, state, and federal policymakers should advance reparations inclusive of the following: All descendents of formerly enslaved Black Americans must be issued individual payments at a level that directly correlates with the racial wealth gap that currently exists between White and Black individuals and families. While White Americans exploited the labor of formerly enslaved Black Americans, these payments can help their descendants build economic power, especially those living in poverty as a direct result of slavery. All descendents of formerly enslaved Black Americans should have free college tuition to any 4-year or 2-year college or university. For decades, Black Americans were denied entry and access to higher education. In order to close the education gap that has structurally put Black Americans at a disadvantage, all financial barriers to higher education should be eliminated. All descendents of formerly enslaved Black Americans who currently have student loan debt should have that debt forgiven. Sustained strategic investments should be made to strengthen the Black community including business and startup grants for Black owned businesses; strategic investment in healthcare systems that serve Black communities; as well as strategic investments to schools that primarily serve Black Americans. The state should provide free mental health services and healthcare to all descendents of formerly enslaved Black Americans. All descendants of formerly enslaved Black Americans should be offered down payment grants and housing revitalization grants for their homes. Where the theft of land and community has occurred or continues, local protections and strategies should be employed to return what was stolen to Black and Indigenous communities; protect Black communities from gentrification and other forms of exploitation; and commemorate the loss of life from past massacres, lynchings, and other forms of racial violence. All formerly incarcerated people should have their voting rights restored; and three-strike laws and mandatory minimum laws (which were designed to exacerbate the incarceration of Black and poor people) should be abolished. While there are various approaches to reparations being advocated across social justice movements, we believe these are some of the key approaches that policymakers must consider as a part of developing reparations. We are calling on local, state, and federal leaders to make a long-term commitment to advance reparations today! Co-Signers The Truth Telling Telling Project of Ferguson National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) Coming to the Table RVA Coming to the Table National Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity Fellowship of Reconciliation Atlanta Savannah Center for Jubilee and Reconciliation Racial Justice Rising, Western MA Psychoanalysis for Social Responsibility Potbangerz St.Louis Sophia Project StLouis Center for Educational Equity
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  • Pardon Assia Serrano and End Her Family Separation
    Assia Serrano is a Panamanian immigrant survivor of manipulation and abuse. After spending 15 years incarcerated for actions she took as a young person under the coercive influence of her abuser — her then-partner, a man 20 years older than her — Assia’s sentence was shortened under the Domestic Violence Survivors’ Justice Act. But instead of being released to reunite with her family in the U.S. (including her two children), New York State handed her directly over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE then moved quickly to deport Assia before she had a fair hearing on her right to remain in the United States. Now, she has almost no pathway back to the US to reunite with her family without a full and unconditional pardon. But if the Governor pardons Assia, she has numerous pathways to come back and secure permanent status here with her family and loved ones. Assia belongs at home with her community and loved ones, not in Panama where she hasn’t been since she was 15. ICE is intent on making Assia’s already prolonged family separation permanent and destroying Assia’s dreams for her family and future. Indeed, while Assia was incarcerated, she has worked as: a translator; a caregiver in the Children’s Center caring for people during pregnancy (an issue she is especially passionate about because she was pregnant when she was arrested), as well as for their children; and as a teacher in classes focused on prenatal care and sex. She remains actively involved in her own children’s life, despite her abusive ex-partner’s attempt to withhold access to their children, and despite the fact that she has now been deported. You can read more about Assia and other detained immigrant domestic violence survivors here: https://prismreports.org/2021/07/16/immigrant-domestic-violence-survivors-are-re-victimized-by-the-state/ You can also read more about how ex-Governor Cuomo's gender based violence includes his failure to free imprisoned survivors, a legacy that Governor Hochul now has the chance to undo: https://truthout.org/articles/cuomos-gender-based-violence-includes-his-failure-to-free-imprisoned-survivors/ Please take action by demanding that Governor Hochul use her discretionary power as Governor to grant Assia's pardon application and end ICE transfers in NY.
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  • An Appeal to Christians Against the False Doctrines of White Christian Nationalism
    God calls us to explicitly reject every form of white Christian nationalism. We appeal to all Christians to affirm that Christ alone is the source of our faith, hope, and love. Interpretations of Christian faith tainted by racism, nationalism, or the desire for domination are idolatry. Initial Signatories: Audrey Arechiga-Kajs, Fort Worth, TX Elder Jeremy Auullt, Milwaukee, WI Rev. Ivy Beckwith, Cleveland, OH Dr. Lyla Best, Watford City, North Dakota Rev. Lindsey Borden, New York, NY Elle Peare Cason, New York, NY Elder Peg Corwin, Endicott, NY Rev. Chris Dela Cruz, Portland, OR Jane Derickson, Highstown, NJ Rev. Tom F. Driver, Ph. D, East Windsor, NJ Rev. Alistair John Drummond, Invorgordon, Scotland The Rev. Dr. Cheryl Ann Elfond, Endwell, NY Elmer Ewing, Ithaca, NY Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen, San Jose, CA Elder Christine Gorman, New York, NY Michèle Gorman, Concord, CA Rev. Duncan Hanson, Ph.D., Seattle, WA John Hesford, Red Wing, MN Rev. Laura Jervis, New York, NY Steve Knowles, Gonzales, CA Anne Leader, Ph.D., Auburn, Al Wendy Linscott, Howick, South Africa Doug Linscott, Howick, South Africa Angie Loannidis, Whitmore Lake, MI Rev. Anne McAnelly, Santa Cruz, CA Rebecca L. Mebert, Binghamton, NY E.F. McGee, DDS, MBA Rev. Michelle Moe, Phoenix, AZ Rev. Kenneth Moe, Phoenix, AZ Pastor Jethro Moore II, San Jose, CA Rev. William E. Myers, Traverse City, MI Rev. Dr. William C. Myers, Traverse City, MI Rev. Cynthia Rose Parr, Marietta, GA Rev. Stephen H. Phelps, New York, NY Brooke Pierce, New York, NY Rev. Steve Pinkston, San Jose, CA Rev. Tomas Pistore, Kenton, OH Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, Pennsylvania, PA Pastor Catherine Renken, Kennesaw, GA Mark Rutledge-Gorman, Portland, OR Catherine Rutledge-Gorman, Portland, OR Erica Ramirez, Ph.D. Rev. Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Bronx, NY Margaret Bacon Schulze, San Francisco, CA Rev. Dr. Joseph Sellepack, Broome County, NJ Dr. Milton C. Sernett, Syracuse, NY Rev. Byron Shafer, Ph.D., Highstown, NJ Rev. Dr. J. Richard Short, Roswell, GA Martha Somers, MD, South Point, OH Rev. Andrew Stehlik, New York, NY Rev. Henry Sun, Ph.D., Benicia, CA Norman J. Teller, Schenectady, NY Rev. Patricia Tull, Ph.D., Louisville, KY Emrys Tyler, Pagosa Springs, CA Frances Unsell, Darien, CT Rev. Arthur O. Van Eck, Fife Lake, MI Steve A. Wiggins, Ph.D., Hellertown, PA Rev. George Williamson, New York, NY Jill Wright Rev. Judy Wrought Cradling Institutions: Auburn Theological Seminary Rutgers Presbyterian Church (All biblical quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.)
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  • Make teaching LGBTQ+ History required in school!
    In the USA schools in only 4 out of the 50 states are required to include LGBTQ+ history in their curriculum. There are 6 states that have "no promo homo" laws that require schools to not teach LGBTQ+ sexual education. We need to change this so that LGBTQ+ children of the future understand that it is okay to be themselves.
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  • We Stand With Rev. Warnock and For Moral Leadership In Our Politics
    We know all too well that it’s not enough for our political leaders to identify as people of faith if they actively fight against economic and racial justice. Many congressional leaders have done that over the years. Instead, we need to see faith in action. Faith without works is dead! We stand by leaders like Senators Warnock and Ossoff, who have committed to infuse new moral leadership into our national politics. As Warnock said in an MSNBC interview after his election, “I was [inspired] by the ways in which [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] used his faith to bring people together to solve big problems in the public square.” We the undersigned stand with Rev. Warnock and other political leaders who, grounded in justice and love for all, are committed to doing the same. (photo source: Jon Ossoff [@ossoff] Twitter)
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  • Tell Illinois Congress Members to Support PPC 1st 100 Day Priorities
    The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival continues to push the new federal administration to support the 14 Policy Priorities and establish plans of action for the first 100 days of office. As the new administration takes seat in DC, it is equally important that Illinois legislators support the priorities to ensure that the US Congress works alongside the administration to support a new moral and economic agenda. On behalf of the 140 million poor and low-income people in the country, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival – and our 45 state coordinating committees, thousands of religious leaders, scholars, economists, advocates and hundreds of supporting organizations – insists that the following policies from the Poor People’s Jubilee Platform take precedence during the first 50-100 days of the new administration and 117th Congress. Our 14 Policy Priorities: 1. Enact comprehensive, free and just COVID-19 relief 2. Guarantee quality health care for all, regardless of any pre-existing conditions 3. Raise the minimum wage to $15 / hour immediately 4. Update the poverty measure 5. Guarantee quality housing for all 6. Enact a federal jobs program to build up investments, infrastructure, public institutions, climate resilience, energy efficiency and socially beneficial industries and jobs in poor and low-income communities 7. Protect and expand voting rights and civil rights 8. Guarantee safe, quality and equitable public education, with supports for protection against re-segregation 9. Comprehensive and just immigration reform 10. Ensure all of the rights of indigenous peoples 11. Enact fair taxes 12. Use the power of executive orders 13. Redirect the bloated Pentagon budget towards these priorities as matters of national security 14. Work with the Poor People’s Campaign to establish a permanent Presidential Council to advocate for this bold agenda
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  • The Senate Should Not Compromise On The Backs Of The Poor
    If those of you in the Senate are willing to stand strong & wage a principled fight, some of your Republican colleagues may be willing to change. But if they can always force a compromise that ultimately covers up their tyranny, they will never change. I know it might seem strange for me as a preacher to take this position, refusing to just accept something & choosing to let the bottom fall out, even if it produces more suffering temporarily. But this wisdom comes from my faith. Do you remember the story? Moses would not compromise with Pharaoh. “Let my people go” meant all, not some. And it resulted in more temporary suffering on the path to full freedom. We must not forget that this is the week when Rosa Parks sat down on a bus & an entire community walked 381 days in the face of violence because they refused to compromise. Doing so, they exposed Jim Crow to the world & won new allies. If they had compromised for a more “humane” application of segregation or more “Negro” bus drivers, we may have never had the kind of civil rights movement that came into being. And perhaps you recall what the Scripture, in St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, says about how Jesus could have compromised & not suffered, but it was important to expose the evil & injustice openly. The point I’m making is that many poor & low-wealth people would rather see you & others fight—and they would rather join you in that fight—than to see a so-called compromise that is not even half of what’s needed touted as easing pain though most of the pain would continue anyway. We hear you & others saying now that we have to do something, but when “centrist” Republicans had the leverage of the Supreme Court seat, they demanded nothing. Now they want to pass the least amount possible & act as though it is a compassionate act. They are all over the TV now touting the $900 billion. Where were they when the HEROES Act was first passed? For them to act as though they are coming to the rescue now is like throwing a drowning man a life raft with a hole in it when you could have given him a lifeboat with an inboard motor. It is cruel hypocrisy. You may get something done, but we would be mistaken as a society to celebrate your efforts & compromise. We cannot normalize the celebration of mediocre & always accept the least common denominator when it comes to poor & low-wealth people & the essential workers of this nation. If your gang of six had truly been moved by conscience, stood together, & fought for just relief before the Barrett confirmation, McConnell would have bowed & the president would have given in. This is not principled compromise but pitiful capitulation to a mean-spirited majority leader who is allowing even his own constituents from the mountains to the cities to suffer while he caters to the greedy & those with a lust for power above all else. To have to compromise in the midst of a deadly pandemic with over 265,000 dead feels like the Three-Fifths Compromise during slavery. It was wrong then, & compromise is wrong now. What is needed is character. McConnell & any who have helped the wealthy while they let the poor suffer & die will face the judgment of God. I say this with great love & tears for this nation. But the blood of all those who suffer & die needlessly is on the hands of the US Senate. Many of us believe that you all have not fought McConnell hard enough in the open. We know instinctively that if this disease was destroying the lives of the wealthy, the lives of senators & their families, there would be an all-out public battle. Imagine for a moment that suddenly the pandemic caused every senator to lose their income, their food, their homes, their health, & their lives. If that happened & McConnell was blocking help, there would be calls for the people to rise up, to march on the communities where politicians live. If there was compromise after this kind of fight, & it was a principled compromise that cut what the wealthy get so that the poor & low-wealth have everything they need, perhaps that could be morally justified. But the compromise being suggested now is morally indefensible, constitutionally inconsistent, & economically insane. Those of you who sit in the Senate can refuse to act or make backroom deals because the poor & low-wealth are so thoroughly dismissed. The word “poor” is hardly if ever even spoken on the Senate floor. And because the primary pain is felt by poor & low-wealth people & communities like those in Appalachia & Alabama, stalling & compromise have been the order of the day. This is the great sin of this moment. All those who are refusing to do right by the least of these are under judgment, not just in the hereafter but now. James, the brother of Jesus, speaking as led by the Spirit of God, said it like this: "Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you." With deep love for the people and hope that you will hear the Spirit of the Lord through my feeble words and human effort, BISHOP WILLIAM J. BARBER, II Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
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  • Demand Secretaries of State ensure fair and just statewide elections
    To: Secretaries of State More than 222,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. We are faith leaders who face this election with the gravity of burial rites, sitting virtual shiva, and praying the Janazah for our people. Before this pandemic began, we were wary of the death toll. Nearly 700 people a day were dying of poverty before the pandemic. 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions teeter on the edge of losing health insurance now. 140 million Americans, and growing, are low-income or poor. In 2016, over 1 million voters were denied their right to vote because of systemic racist voter suppression laws. As of today, the Senate has failed to renew the Voting Rights Act for 2,680 days. We cannot face this election season without their voices and stories within us. We cannot silently bury another member of our church, mosque or synagogue. We know who we are voting for this election season—every one of the 222,000 forever silenced. Every one of the 1 million-plus disenfranchised from voting. Every one of the 133 million, of the 140 million. Every one of us. Among our spiritual ancestors are those who endured violence and intimidation at every turn in order to vote: Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Sister Antona, the Rev. James Reeb, and Jimmie Lee Jackson. Protecting our democracy and the right to vote is our sacred duty. We call on you now drawing from our collective moral center to insist that you fulfill your duty to execute a fair and just election that protects our democracy. We implore you to count every vote and ensure that voters are free of intimidation and harassment. As faith leaders in communities, we know that people are scared. We implore you to ensure voter safety in your states. It is our collective sacred duty to ensure a just democracy. In his famous line which has echoed across generations, the English poet John Donne wrote that we should “never send to ask for whom the bell tolls / it tolls for Thee.” When he wrote those words, church bells in an English village were used to call the community together for funerals. This year, as more than 7 million Americans have contracted covid-19 and over 222,000 have died, we have used bells, pots and pans to mark the evening shift changes by honoring the frontline healthcare workers who risk their lives every day to care for the sick. They do not have to ask for whom the bells toll. They toll for everyone who has stepped up to do their part in the midst of this global crisis. On November 3rd, in each of the 50 states, faith leaders and their communities will ring the bells, cast votes and publicly pray for a just democracy. We petition you to fulfill your role in this Election Season by ensuring all votes are counted and the election is free of intimidation and harassment. In the abiding Spirit of Love and Justice, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II President, 
Repairers of the Breach Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: 
A National Call for Moral Revival 
 Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis 
Executive Director, Kairos Center Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival 
 
Rev. Dr. Iva Carruthers 
General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Rev. Dr. Alvin O’Neal Jackson, D. Min. National Executive Director, Poor People’s Campaign Min. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove School for Conversion Rev. Abhi P. Janamanchi Senior Minister, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church Bethesda, Maryland Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson Minister, Palomar UU Fellowship Vista, California Rabbi Rick Jacobs President, Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner Director, Religious Action Center Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism
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