West / Southwest IAF
The West / Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation is a network of broad-based institutional organizations building power to revitalize our democracy for constructive social and economic change. We are part of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s first and largest network of community organizations.
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Read below for recent victories. Click here for more extensive News Coverage.
May 6, 2013
800 VIP Leaders Renew Call for Expanded Medicaid in Arizona with Governor Jan Brewer & Key Legislators
“Meeting city, state, faith and education leaders on Thursday, [Republican] Sen. John McComish, of District 18, voiced his continued support for Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to expand Medicaid in the state at a panel hosted by the Valley Interfaith Project (VIP)…..McComish and [Republican State] Rep. Heather Carter, of District 15, pushed the expansion that would give Medicaid to about 300,000 low-income Arizona residents.
VIP’s crowd included nearly 800 people from surrounding churches, school districts and organizations.” [Photo by David Jolkovski, Ahwatukee Foothills News]
McComish Voices Support for Governor’s Medicaid Expansion, Ahwatukee Foothills News (05/06)
Refusing Medicaid Expansion Means Abandoning Neighbors, Arizona Central (05/19)
April 30, 2013
‘Together Louisiana’ Leaders Keep Pressure on Gov. Jindal
“With a call for a “pragmatic” approach to the expansion of Medicaid healthcare for the poor, the leaders of the Together Louisiana alliance of congregations has challenged Governor Bobby Jindal and lawmakers to work with the federal government on expanding health coverage for the poor. ”We don’t need an ideological discussion about Obamacare,” the Rev. Melvin Rushing of Baton Rouge told a State Capitol rally. ”We need our state’s technocrats to sit down with the national Medicaid technocrats and work through this issue as the practical, pragmatic matter it is.”
“Our Views: Poor need coverage,” The Advocate (4/29)
“Medicaid expansion wins support,” The Advocate (4/24)
“Editorial: If Gov. Jindal won’t accept Medicaid expansion, lawmakers should,” The Times Picayune (4/24)
April 24, 2013
Project IOWA Celebrates One Year of Success
“Douglas Wells’ path to a well-paying job with potential for advancement had a few bumps, but the 27-year-old credits perseverance and a publicly and privately funded training and mentoring program with helping him reach his goal.
Wells completed a welding course and has been working at the Bridgestone Firestone tire plant in Des Moines. For now he is driving a forklift, but he is sure there are opportunities for advancement. More important, this father of two young girls will be able to set an example…. [In photo: Douglas Wells speaks at the Iowa Capitol. Photo Credit: Rodney White, Des Moines Register]
Wells is one of 57 participants in the Project Iowa program who have completed job training…The initiative was formed last year by AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy).”
Year of Success in Training Program, Des Moines Register
April 24, 2013
TMO Press Conference Responds to Immigration Bill
“[Gabriela] Nieto spoke Tuesday during a news conference called by The Metropolitan Organizationat which Houston faith and business leaders responded to a new plan for comprehensive immigration reform. The legislation, unveiled last week by a bipartisan group of senators, is the first major overhaul of U.S. immigration policy since 1986.
Speakers including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Rabbi David Lyon of Congregation Beth Israel said the highest priority should be creating a process for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status and eventual citizenship.”
[Photo: Business leader Stan Marek, flanked by Catholic Bishop DiNardo and UMC Bishop Janice Riggle Hui. Photo Credit: Olivia Tallet, La Voz]
Faith, Business Leaders Encouraged by Immigration Bill, Houston Chronicle
Clergy Urge Support for Immigration Reform, Jewish Herald Voice
April 11, 2013
Valley Interfaith Brings Spanish GED Prep to Hidalgo County
In civic academies on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Valley Interfaith leaders learned that there were almost no Spanish GED classes or testing sites in the County of Hidalgo and a lack of classes to prepare. This led some to travel hours to Brownsville – the only available site in the Rio Grande Valley.
Leaders worked with the McAllen Independent School System and St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church to expand Spanish language GED preparation classes, and with South Texas College to begin Spanish GED testing in Hidalgo County. Today, more than 60 students are enrolled. [Photo Credit: Steve Taylor, Rio Grande Guardian]
Valley Interfaith Plans to Expand GED En Espanol Program, Rio Grande Guardian
April 8, 2013
Project IOWA Gives Workers Stability and Dignity
“Jalissa Daniels wrote dark poetry as an early adolescent…She became pregnant at 15, graduated from Scavo Alternative High School and worked at convenient stores and temp agencies. Even though these jobs helped pay the bills, they were not fulfilling…Finding full-time work with benefits was looking grim…
The[n] Rev. Diane McClanahan, one of the pastors at Trinity United Methodist Church, encouraged Jalissa to consider a new program called Project IOWA, which was initiated by AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy)….”
This ‘Village’ is Helping the Underemployed, Des Moines Register
March 8, 2013
Arizona Bishops & Clergy Strategize on Immigration Reform
75 bishops and clergy from Lutheran, Jewish, Presbyterian, Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist faiths strategized on the future of immigration reform at an ecumenical gathering organized by the Arizona Interfaith Network.
Bishop Gerald Kicanas, of the Catholic Diocese of Tucson told the group that “today is a day to develop…strategies” and challenged clergy, asking “what can we do to mobilize our congregations?” Episcopal Bishop Kirk Smith asserted that “the current system is broken, cruel and an affront to God and man.”
[Photo Credit: Nicole Krug, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona]
Interfaith Immigration Gathering Held, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
March 6, 2013
NTO Rallies at Capitol Again For Texas Medicaid Expansion
“Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday on the front steps of the Capitol to rally in support of Medicaid expansion….Willie Bennett, along with 45 other members of theDallas Area Interfaith, turned up for the march that snaked down Congress Avenue and up to the Capitol. Bennett said more than 3,000 individuals and 38 institutions had signed up in favor of Medicaid expansion.”
“Anderson and her 66-year-old mother, Martha Anderson, were among about 60 Tarrant County residents who gathered at the St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Fort Worth … for the 200-mile bus trip to Austin. The trip was organized by the Allied Communities of Tarrant (ACT)” in coordination with the Network of Texas Organizations, including Austin Interfaith, The Border Organization, EPISO, Border Interfaith, TMO, WIN, WTOS, Valley Interfaith and COPS / Metro Alliance.
Protesters March on Texas Capitol for Expanded Medicaid, Star Telegram
Hundreds March to Capitol to Show Support for Medicaid Expansion, Dallas Morning News
February 27, 2013
PCIC Wins In-State Tuition for DACA Students in Pima County
150 PCIC leaders, DREAMers and their parents filled the Board Room at Pima Community College and cheered when the Board of Governors voted 4-1 in favor of in-state tuition discounts for DACA students. Currently, hundreds of undocumented local students pay five times the in-state rate and are not eligible for financial aid.
PCIC leader Melanie Nelson spoke of the six Deferred Action Civic Academies held at her church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, last fall. “These students have lawful status now, but they can’t afford the high tuition. Before DACA we had several attempted suicides in our parish. Now they need an pathway to an education and a future,” she said. Before the vote, Jimmy Ojeda, a homeowner and parent, from St. John’s, and Monica Leon, a U of A graduate, from Casa Maria Catholic Worker shared their own immigration stories. The group’s goal is now to get the University of Arizona system to follow Pima’s lead.
February 27, 2013
COPS / Metro Wins Bexar County Support for Medicaid
“On a bipartisan vote, Bexar County commissioners Tuesday urged Texas lawmakers to expand the state’s Medicaid program and take advantage of federal matching funds under the Affordable Care Act.2014 to 2017, expansion will bring $27.2 billion in federal revenue to Texas for just over $3 billion in state investments,” said [Republican]County Judge Nelson Wolff….
“Medicaid expansion is a must,” COPS member Gloria Mora said. “As people of faith and as Christians, we find it morally repugnant that the state leadership would deny health care to a large segment of our population,” she said.”
Bexar Commissioners Urge Medicaid Expansion, San Antonio Express News
February 26, 2013
Valley Interfaith Leverages Hidalgo County Support for Medicaid
“…Valley Interfaith members were at Hidalgo County Commissioners Court to urge commissioners to pass a resolution in support of Adult Medicaid. In a news release, Valley Interfaith said it urges other counties in the Valley to stand also in support. The Rev. Javier Leyva, a Valley Interfaith leader, pointed out that expanding Medicaid would bring over $400 million in Medicaid funds to Hidalgo County and nearly $670 million to the Valley overall.”
Hidalgo County Passes Resolution in Support of Medicaid Expansion, Rio Grande Guardian
February 20, 2013
Network of Texas Organizations Fights for Medicaid Expansion
Religious leaders and clergy from throughout the state gathered at the north entrance the Capitol on Wednesday at noon to rally in support of Medicaid expansion…”
[Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa, Texas Tribune]
Interfaith Groups Rally for Medicaid Expansion, Texas Tribune
Death, Taxes, God and Medicaid, San Antonio Express-News
County Judges, Clergy Rally in Favor of Expanding Medicaid, Dallas Morning News
Rally at Capitol Urges Texas to Spend More on Medicaid, Star Telegram
Interfaith Groups Rally for Medicaid Expansion, The Monitor
El Paso Group Joins Others to Urge Expansion of Medicaid, El Paso Times
February 20, 2013
Austin Interfaith Leverages County Support for Medicaid
“At the urging of Austin Interfaith, the Travis County Commissioners Court this week passed a resolution supporting expansion. Dallas County has approved a similar resolution, and Bexar County is expected to do the same next week….
County and legislative leaders joined members of religious organizations, including Austin Interfaith, in a rally outside the Capitol Wednesday afternoon to urge Texas lawmakers to expand the number of low-income people covered by Medicaid.”
Religious Leaders, Politicians, Rally for Medicaid Expansion, Austin American Statesman
February 19, 2013
One LA Wins Fight to Enroll Thousands in Healthcare Services
One LA leaders fought for and won “Community Partner Status” with the LA County Department of Health Services, granting it direct access to the county enrollment system. Now 50 leaders will train to become ‘Certified Application Assisters’, with the power to directly enroll people through the County computer system at 25 One LA mobile enrollment events at member institutions. They will be supported 30 leaders at each institution trained as ‘healthcare experts,’ who will educate and recruit people to attend their institiution’s events. The goal is to enroll thousands of eligible LA residents.
February 13, 2013
Northern Louisiana Interfaith Leverages $208K for NOVA
The Delta Regional Authority awarded workforce development project NOVA $208 thousand to expand training opportunities further into the Delta region. But before doing so, the proposal had to win the approval of Republican Congressman Rodney Alexander and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Northern Louisiana Interfaith successful urged both officials to sign off, which will allow NOVA to pull more people out of working poverty.
DRA Funding Benefits NOVA, The News Star
January 29, 2013
Nebraska Leaders Improve Police & ICE Treatment of Immigrants
After leaders of OTOC’s Immigration Action Team challenged Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer to ensure that immigrants stopped by OPD officers receive fair treatment, OPD issued an official bulletin to all officers informing them that the matricula consular could be accepted as valid identification. (The matricula consular is an identification card issued by consulates verifying the place of residence for foreign nationals.) Photo shows leaders in early encounter with Chief Schmaderer.
OTOC leaders also met with the head of Douglas County Corrections and the regional director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about ways to reduce the number of immigrants with small children being detained in Douglas County jails while they await deportation hearings. ICE has now implemented a new release program which allows up to 100 persons who would otherwise be detained to return home to their families while they await their hearings.
January 16, 2013
Austin Interfaith Leverages Unanimous Vote for In-District Charter School
“School board members have lauded the process that Travis Heights used to garner support for the transformation, which they approved last month. Unlike the district’s failed partnership with [another charter school]… the move to turn Travis Heights into a charter school had the enthusiastic backing of the school’s parents and teachers, joined byAustin Interfaith and Education Austin.
‘It’s a real democratic process that empowers the parents, empowers the teachers, empowers the students,’ said Britt Adams, a special education teacher at the school.”
[Photo Credit: Laura Skelding, Austin American Statesman]
Travis Heights Will Be Austin District’s First Home-Grown Charter School, Austin American Statesman
New Charter Gets School Board Blessing, KXAN (12/18)
Austin School Trustees Vote to End IDEA Charter Partnership, Austin American Statesman (12/18)
January 16, 2013
COPA Celebrates Low Income Healthcare Victory
When COPA leaders discovered a lapsed initiative to provide healthcare to low-income adults in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, leaders organized an assembly with seven out of the ten county supervisors and leveraged commitments to bust through the political blockage to resurrect ViaCare. Congregational and labor leaders of COPA rejoiced when the Monterey Board of Supervisors voted to implement the Low Income Health Care Plan (LIHP) and to extend healthcare coverage to as many as 1,500 additional adults. Said St. Mary of the Nativity Catholic Church and SEIU United Long Term Care Worker leader Mario Torres: “Now sooner, rather than later, I will have a doctor’s appointment and that feels great.”
See more extensive Media Coverage here.