• An open letter to clergy who prayed with Donald Trump
    I asked your Lord and mine this question as I was jailed last week for preaching the gospel that every life is precious to God. I had to ask: where are my fellow evangelicals now? And I heard the prophet Amos, echoing through the valley of history: For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (Amos 5:12) The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. (James 5:4) I remembered what Frederick Douglass said about our faith after our denominations splintered over the moral question of slavery and the nation stood on the brink of Civil War: Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference. My brothers and sister, I do not single you out because your position is unique. You inherited a heresy, and you are not alone in perpetuating its cruel errors. But in our present crisis, you have publicly embraced a president and a party that embody the abuses of power that the Biblical prophets decried. Millions of people have been led astray by your error, and the whole world is now reaping the consequences. I single you out because the people I know and serve literally cannot afford the cost of your willful blindness. I pen this letter as I stand in support of another group of clergy called to nonviolent direct action against the cruel attempt to withdraw healthcare from the poor and others. I also write to you in faith and in love because I know that redemption is possible — we all raise our voices and sing the words penned by a reformed slave trader, “I once was lost but now am found / Was blind but now I see.” I have watched the sons and daughters of slaveholders work alongside the daughters and sons of enslaved people to build a new and vibrant moral movement. I have prayed with people who decided to follow Jesus when they heard you preach years ago but are now following Jesus to jail because they know this is what faithfulness requires. I write because you have celebrated your unprecedented influence in this administration and the time has come to use it. In prayer and hope, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II Senior Pastor, Greeleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) President, Repairers of the Breach
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  • Tell ICE: Let Pastor José Be! #SanctuaryNow
    The School for Conversion (SFC), a Durham-based religious education center committed to “making surprising friendships possible,” has joined together with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, and a coalition of religious and community-based partners to make a public announcement of why we have offered sanctuary to Pastor José Chicas. Chicas fled his native El Salvador during its civil war in the 1980’s, seeking asylum in the United States. In the 1990s, before Chicas and his wife experienced a spiritual conversion, he struggled with alcoholism. During that time, he was charged with and pled guilty to driving under the influence and domestic abuse. But 20 years ago, Chicas reconciled with his wife, received a call to preach, and has served his family and community in North Carolina for two decades. Under the new aggressive immigration enforcement policies of the Trump administration, Chicas has been targeted as a “criminal” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which ordered him to leave his family and congregation last Tuesday without any hope of ever returning. “My congregation is calling, asking me, “‘When can you come back? We miss you,’” said Jose Chicas, who pastors Iglesia Evangelica in Raleigh, NC. “I met Pastor Jose through his son, Ezekiel, who shared about how his father was to be deported the day before he was scheduled to graduate from a Wake County Elementary school,” said Rev. Barber. “The Jesus I follow had to immigrate to Egypt when he was a child, where neither he nor his parents had papers. When he grew up, that same Jesus said to his followers, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ As a disciple of that brown-skinned Palestinian Jew, I don’t have any option but to embrace Jose and his family.” Please join Rev. Barber, myself and other community partners in asking that ICE grant Pastor José relief by signing and sharing this petition.
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  • Support a Budget That Helps People in Poverty
    During a time when the basic rights of individuals in our community are under siege, our faith calls us to take action.
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  • #StandWithBearsEars: Stand with Tribes.
    Our national monuments, parks, and other public lands serve as the storytellers of our country. Yet, only in recent decades have they include the stories of communities of color. Bears Ears National Monument is the first and only National Monument primarily devoted to highlighting the spiritual, cultural, and natural heritage of tribes. Yet, it is the first national monument being threatened by the Trump Administration, followed by threats to dozens of others designated after 1996.
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  • A Moral Call To Defend Healthcare
    All of our faith traditions teach that healthcare is a moral issue. To care for another human being is to care for God in the Jewish tradition because God’s image is stamped on each human person. Christians know that Jesus healed the sick in his earthly ministry and taught his followers that they care for him when they care for the sick. Because of the Prophet Mohammed’s commitment to healthcare, the world’s first public hospitals were started in Muslim countries. When President Trump recently toured the cradles of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, he visited nations that guarantee universal healthcare to all of their citizens. People of conscience who do not belong to a particular faith tradition recognize that, among the developed nations of the modern world, the United States is the exception because we do not guarantee healthcare to all of our citizens. We face a moral crisis not only because healthcare is a moral issue, but also because the injustice of some people receiving the very best care while their neighbors die without access to healthcare is immoral. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman." Persistent inequities in income, education, civil rights and access to the ballot are moral issues because they impact the quality of life for people in this nation. But Dr. King saw what many who risk losing coverage today know all to well: without access to healthcare, life itself is at risk for many Americans. Access to healthcare, literally a matter of life and death, is currently before the Senate which you lead. We write as fellow Americans to demand immediate action to save the Affordable Care Act and to expand access to healthcare in the United States of America. And we pledge moral resistance to any policy that would deny access to us and our fellow Americans. Forward together, not one step back! Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II Repairers of the Breach, Moral Revival Movement Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove School for Conversion
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  • Stand Up and Be Counted! 1000 Congregations Strong For Sanctuary
    If there ever was a time to stand up in support of sanctuary, it is now. Each congregation that stands up could be the difference that decides someone’s future. The more of us that stand up, the more likely we’ll be able to get the government to think twice before tearing our families apart. The Sanctuary Movement provides a moral and prophetic platform for immigrant leaders to tell their stories and change the hearts of minds of the broader public. Anti-immigrant hate has no response to the power of faith and moral communities standing together with immigrants. In the sanctuary movement, your denomination or spiritual background doesn't matter as long as you're committed to standing with immigrant leaders. The movement is multi-faith and open to all people of faith and moral courage who feel the call to act on their convictions. There are so many congregations already involved that have yet to be officially counted. To get there and to show the power of the Sanctuary Movement, we want to get beyond 1000 congregations. Sign here to say your congregation supports sanctuary and encourage other congregations you know to do the same. What is a Sanctuary Congregation? A Sanctuary Congregation is one that chooses to take prophetic action and protect people through various actions that range from housing immigrants in immediate danger of deportation to providing legal assistance, accompaniment to court, organizing alongside us, and much more. If you’re already doing some of this work, then you are a Sanctuary Congregation! Sanctuary is also expanding to be in solidarity with all vulnerable populations in the Trump era at every level—including people of color, LGBTQ communities, Muslims and anyone who is facing discrimination from the current political crisis. Now is not the time to hesitate. Sign here to stand up and be counted for Sanctuary.
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  • The Open Internet is Under Attack. We Vow to Protect It.
    Two years ago, millions of us rose up in a movement to protect the open Internet, and we won. The open 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. We will not let President Trump's appointee overturn net neutrality protections. 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 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.
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  • Grant Colorado Mother, Maria de Jesus Jimenez Sanchez, a Stay
    “Maria, originally from Mexico, has made the U.S. her home for almost 20 years and is a resident of south Aurora near Denver, Colorado. She was detained at her check in on Wednesday morning, April 14th. Maria has her own small cleaning business and is the mother of 4 children- the eldest is a DACA recipient, the 3 youngest are citizens. Her fifteen year old daughter has special needs and Maria advocates for her at school and is her main caregiver. After the local field office denied Maria's new stay application in March, Maria hoped that Immigration agents would allow her to attend her daughter's IEP meeting at school April 18th and time to arrange better care for her. Instead Immigration detained her because of President Trump's new policies that prioritize the deportation of all immigrants who are undocumented. Her lawyer has applied to have the stay denial reviewed. In 2001, Maria was issued an expedited removal order near the border after traveling home to visit her ill mother. She returned to the US shortly thereafter to be with her family. In 2012, she was detained for driving without a license and as a result spent 6 months in ICE detention. She and was eventually granted a stay of removal, which has been renewed each year until now. Maria wants to remain in Colorado because this is her home where she can continue to take care of her children and grow her business.”
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  • David is an important member of our community. We must stop his deportation.
    David is one of millions of hard-working people whose lives are being ripped apart by a cruel and widening dragnet that has been criminalizing, detaining and deporting people. David came to the United States in the mid 1980s and obtained a work permit. David has worked as a landscaper for many years. Since 2013, he has checked in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), never missing an appointment, and was allowed to stay and keep his work permit. Thanks to his hard work, David and his wife Leticia watched their four children become thriving adults. All four of his children have benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program that has provided relief from deportation and, granted work permits. He and Leticia have been married for 32 years and are parishioners of Little Flower Catholic Church in Reno. In the Trump era David’s traffic citation meant that ICE revoked his work permit and targeted him for deportation. David's last check-in with ICE was scheduled on April 5th, David, his family and legal counsel feared that officials would take him into custody and prepare him for deportation. David’s deportation could bring fatal consequences. David’s only contacts in Mexico are in his home state of Aguascalientes, a state where violence is pervasive—especially against U.S. returnees who are assumed to have wealth. One of David's friends was brutally attacked, tortured, and killed after returning from the United States. The implications for David’s medical care could be dire. His children have grown up in the U.S. and have almost no knowledge of Mexico—his youngest was only 1 when he arrived. Deportation could also be a death sentence. David and three of his children suffer from Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that weakens the heart. The treatments they receive in the U.S. are inaccessible in many parts of Mexico, particularly for those who do not have financial ability to pay for medical care. David's many friends in Reno, as well as his supporters in Reno's interfaith community, are campaigning to protect him from unconscionable and unwarranted persecution. David decided to take Sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada. He will remain in Sanctuary until he has assurances from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that by appearing at their office he will not be deported and separated from all he knows. For all these reasons, we are asking the Gen. John Kelly, Secretary of DHS, Thomas D. Homan, Director of ICE, and the ICE Salt Lake City Field Office to grant David a stay of removal from deportation, to keep David with his family, allow him to work and ensure he doesn’t meet potential fatal consequences upon deportation.
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  • Give Waverly teachers a FAIR contract, NOW
    For our students to be successful, they need a stable school environment. Negotiate a fair contract that will stop the revolving door of employees and end the persistent instability for students. We, the undersigned want a resolution to the contract negotiations with the Waverly teachers. We want the board and/or the Waverly superintendent to settle the contract now. You have heard different parents and community members speak. We are here to show you in numbers how much we want this NOW. This petition is signed by parents, coummunity members and alumni. SHARE
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  • Dear Attorney General Sessions: Take a public stand for full restoration of the Voting Rights Act
    We are alive again in a time of unprecedented attacks on the hard-won voting rights of African Americans and all people of color. Your new office at Main Justice—adorned with the photographs of influential, courageous civil servants—is a weathered but enduring symbol of the best and the worst of our nation’s history and the power of the law to protect those seeking to overcome the tyrannies of racism and inequality. Prior to passage of the Voting Rights Act, a predecessor of yours, Robert F. Kennedy, was sworn into the office as the 64th Attorney General in a time of national turmoil. The building housing your office now honors his name. Yet at that time, many predicted that he could not be a full friend to civil rights— that he could not identify with the plight of African Americans and those in the pits of poverty, living under the yoke of subjugation and centuries of oppression. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, though, made a choice. After far too many spilled their blood marching unbowed in defense of our children’s futures and our dignity, the Department of Justice did not sit out in the fight for Black political power and the fundamental right to vote. The Department of Justice took a side. It was the side required by the Constitution then, and it is required by the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act now. Where there was resistance to equal opportunity and equal rights for all citizens, Attorney General Kennedy’s Department, imperfectly, but in accordance with the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, the anti-poll tax Amendment of 1962—and then, instrumentally, the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964—stood with the people fighting for our dignity, justice, and the soul of American democracy. Now, as then, not one of us can stand on the sidelines. Least of all the Department of Justice. It is our belief that we must choose which side of history we will inhabit, and that each new day and every new role we take on holds within it a possibility to choose the right side. As the newly-confirmed 84th Attorney General of the United States, the time to choose is now undeniably upon you. The Voting Rights Act, an act you hold chief responsibility to provide oversight for is not and never has been—as we believe you would now agree—“a piece of intrusive legislation.” This act is the heart of our country’s obligation to the martyrs of Selma and signals nationwide that racism will not control our country’s future. Your predecessor Robert F. Kennedy famously said, "Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation." You are beginning on a new journey. As thousands gather in Selma on this historic occasion, as our chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Sessions, we call on you to stand now for fully restored voting rights, human rights, and for equal justice under the law. If you are willing, please reply affirmatively to this request. We welcome your endorsement of the immediate renewal of the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. If you are unwilling, we will not be moved in our determination to demand that we live up to the full promises and obligations of our Constitution and to stand with the people of these United States against the scourge of racism and for our deepest held moral values. In the struggle for Truth and Justice, The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II The Rev. Dr. Traci D. Blackmon Penda Hair, Esq. Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner Hank Sanders, Esq. Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner Irving Joyner, Esq. Sister Simone Campbell, SSS The Rev. Mark Thompson The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. Jim Wallis Valarie Kaur The Rev. Noel Castellanos The Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson The Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews The Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Lewis The Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, Bishop Gene Robinson The Rev. Brian McLaren
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  • When hate targets our neighbors, we stand together in solidarity
    Our current political leadership has openly targeted, marginalized and discriminated against minority communities. It has been just weeks since the Trump Administration entered office, and a number of faith communities have already been shaken by their actions and orders. Our Muslim and Jewish neighbors have experienced ongoing threats of violence on our streets and in their places of worship. This is not acceptable. Yet sometimes we become so focused on the resistance efforts that we forget to express our affirmation and solidarity with those who are being marginalized. As people around the world seek to engage effectively, let us remember that in the context of incredible dehumanization, recognizing the humanity of one another is a powerful act of resistance. Affirming the dignity of the marginalized helps empower those who are being targeted, honors the diversity of our nation, and strengthens our own local communities. We recognize that our sisters and brothers in faith are enduring oppression, and we stand with them in solidarity. By signing this letter, I commit to serving as an ally for those who are being oppressed, to reach out to my Jewish and Muslim neighbors, and to #LoveMyNeighbor.
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