In the book of Amos, "we are reminded about the call to work for justice in this world. The EPISO-Border Interfaith Leadership Academy on June 15-16 at Christ the Savior Catholic Church in northeast El Paso provided a listening and learning opportunity to heed the call. At the Leadership Academy, senior Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) community organizers Sr. Maribeth Larkin and Joe Rubio offered participatory training on broad-based community organizing...."
Hosted by Our Lady Mother of the Church, leaders participated in IAF leadership development training in Colorado.
COPS/Metro leaders from St. Leonard Catholic Church organized a "Human and Spiritual Development" Assembly in which seventy-five (75) parishioners attended and participated in small group conversations about the role of the church in their lives.
On Pentecost, St. Mary’s by-the-Sea and La Iglesia de San Pablo Apostol Episcopal Churches sponsored a 'Gathering of Immigrants' which drew 100 parishioners from the two congregations, as well as guests from All Saints Episcopal Church in Carmel. Participants met over lunch to share a piece of their families’ immigration story and to listen to each other. St. Mary’s in Pacific Grove is home to many English-speaking retirees, while San Pablo’s in Seaside is made up of first-generation Spanish-speaking immigrants. The event was co-chaired by Father Martin Juarez, from San Pablo’s and Kirsten Matsumoto from St. Mary’s. Click below for full report.
A Gathering of Immigrants by Jack Herbig
Hosted by Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and the Austin Interfaith Affordable Housing Team, a civic academy on codeNEXT (a proposed overhaul of the city's zoning code) drew 120 mostly East Austin residents to learn, share housing stories and identify opportunities for concrete action before the City Council votes on it.
Building on a groundbreaking accord between Dallas Area Interfaith (DAI) and the Police Departments of Dallas, Carrollton and Farmers Branch -- in which the police agreed to accept parish identification cards as alternative ID -- upwards of 800 parish ID cards have been issued since the campaign was launched four weeks ago. With some parishes requiring active membership from applicants for at least six months before issuing the card, the waiting list of submitted applications has, so far, exceeded 2,000 applicants and is expected to grow.
This joint effort with the Catholic Diocese is bringing immigrants out of the shadows and into fuller participation in congregational life. 700 applicants were newly registered as members of their parish, even after years of regular church attendance. Teams of leaders identified by DAI, and trained (in Spanish) through a collaborative effort with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and the Interfaith Education Fund, are helping keep the cost of the parish IDs affordable for families.
Without an ID, said one parishioner, "we are scared of what could happen if we are stopped by the police." With parish ID, families are feeling a greater sense of belonging and confidence in dealing with law enforcement.
In training sessions held this month, police departments have committed to training their officers to recognize these cards as alternative identification.
[Photo Credit: Telemundo 39]
Crean Identificación Para Ayudar a Inmigrantes en el Metroplex, Telemundo 39 [pdf]
One hundred sixty-six Legal Permanent Residents participated in a citizenship workshop organized by Arlington Mansfield Organizing Strategy (AMOS) and Catholic Charities of Dallas in which they obtained legal advice about their individual cases.
Hosted by St. Joseph Catholic Church in Arlington, Texas, this workshop is part of a larger effort to prepare over 1,000 long-term residents to become US citizens and become engaged in public life.
Fifty members of Santa Catalina organized a listening session, and two rounds of house meetings, with their pastor, Fr. Larry Sanders, C.SsR. In the conversations, stories emerged about the opioid crisis, education, immigration, and family issues. The session was hosted and facilitated by the parish council which plans to work with Fr. Larry to address the issues raised.
80 West Prep Academy parent leaders engaged with Las Vegas, Bolden Area Command officers (and representatives from the Metro traffic bureau) and secured commitments to improve safety and traffic in the West Prep neighborhood.
This successful engagement built on two months of school-based house meetings with concerned parents and community members.