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August 19, 2015

RESOURCES: Observing the 10th Anniversary of Katrina/Rita


1. Social Media sharing. 

a. Please share Creation Justice Ministries’ Facebook post

b. Please retweet Creation Justice Ministries’ Tweet

c. OR, if you have your own messaging and links to spread, please feel free to either use the attached meme/contact me about co-branding a similar meme with a different message. I’d be happy to make one for any of you this week.

2. Encourage people you know to download the refreshed version of our 2006 education, Bible study, and prayer resource: Through the Eye of the Hurricane: Rebuilding Just Communities. Download Now»

3. Forward/share the following email content:

August 17, 2015

Percentage of Uninsured Drops Significantly Since ACA Took Effect

Fewer than 12 percent of Americans remain uninsured in the first half of 2015, a sharp decline from over 17 percent in 2013 before the Affordable Care Act’s major expansion initiatives took effect. According to a Gallup report released on Monday, Arkansas saw the biggest drop in its uninsured rate – 13.4 percentage points – and four other states also showed double digit drops. No state saw a statistically significant increase in the percentage of uninsured over this time.

Seven states now have uninsured rates at or below 5 percent, while eight states have uninsured rates over 15 percent. Nearly 21 percent of Texans, for example, remain uninsured, as do more than 18 percent of Wyomingites. See how the uninsured rate in your state improved thanks to the ACA.

Over 175 Groups Call for Congress to End to High-Stakes Testing

This week over 175 civil rights and education groups signed on to a letter asking legislators to abandon the failed policies of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act's most recent iteration, No Child Left Behind. Written by Jitu Brown, the National Director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, the letter joins the debate surrounding ESEA, and specifically, the debate over the role of high-stakes testing and accountability in school reform. Brown and the letter's signers resolutely decry the idea that high-stakes testing is the only way to ensure accountability in schools, and they argue that this extreme focus on testing actually harms low-income students and students of color.

Pope Francis's Call to Pray for Care of Creation


Creation Justice Ministries welcomes with joy Pope Francis’s call for Roman Catholics to join in Christian unity with the Orthodox Church in observing September 1 as a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. 

For the Orthodox community in the United States, September 1 has significance beyond its proximity to back-to-school events and Labor Day weekend. It is the beginning of the liturgical year, which brings symbolism of renewal as well as significance to the date. The Orthodox Church has observed the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation since 1989.

Creation Justice Ministries Executive Director Shantha Ready Alonso said, “Prayer is powerful. Uniting in prayer will give us the spiritual strength we need to face the most daunting challenge humanity has known: to heal and restore God’s web of creation before it is too late.”

As Tensions Rise, Israeli Extremist Supports Burning Churches

Early Saturday morning Saad Dawabsha became the second member of his family to die from injuries sustained in the July 31st arson attack on his home. Dawabsha is survived by his wife and four year old son who both remain hospitalized.

In the aftermath of the arson attack tensions between settlers, the Israeli government and Palestinians have increased. Nine Israeli settlers were detained following the attack, however no arrests have been made and on Monday seven of the settlers were released. Within the past week three Israeli soldiers were injured when a Palestinian plowed his car into them, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s car was attacked in Hebron by a Israeli settler, settlers attempted to set fire to a public park in a Palestinian West Bank village, and a Bedouin tent near the West Bank city of Ramallah was set on fire. Near the Bedouin tent the words “revenge” and administrative” were spray painted on a rock in Hebrew, likely a reference to the administrative detention of settlers following the arson attack.

Continued Bipartisan Support for Expanded Background Checks on Gun Sales

Two years after the failure of Senate legislation to expand background checks on gun purchases, the public continues to overwhelmingly support making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks. Currently, 85% of Americans – including large majorities of Democrats (88%) and Republicans (79%) – favor expanded background checks, little changed from May 2013 (81%), according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

The survey, conducted July 14-20 among 2,002 adults, finds opinions about other gun policy proposals also are largely unchanged from two years ago, shortly after the December 2012 school shootings in Newtown, Conn. Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) favor laws to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns, and 70% back the creation of a federal database to track all gun sales, while a smaller majority (57%) supports a ban on assault-style weapons.

Secretary Kerry Rravels to Cuba to Re-open US Embassy Havana

Earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cuba for a ceremony to formally re-open U.S. Embassy Havana. This visit marks the first time a U.S. Secretary of State has stepped on Cuban soil in 70 years.

Prior to the American flag being raised at U.S. Embassy Havana, Secretary Kerry delivered remarks, highlighting the benefits brought about through the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

From Secretary Kerry's speech:

"The establishment of normal diplomatic relations is not something that one government does as a favor to another; it is something that two countries do together when the citizens of both will benefit. And in this case, the reopening of our embassies is important on two levels: People-to-people and government-to-government.

Pope Francis Calls for Global Bankruptcy Process

In July, Pope Francis called for an international bankruptcy process to build economic stability, ease poverty and diminish inequality. He said, "If a company can declare bankruptcy, why can't a country do so and come to the aid of others?" He spoke about how debt hurts people all over the world whether it's Greece, Puerto Rico or Africa.

The Pope expressed support for a bankruptcy process that Jubilee USA works on at the United Nations. The UN just adopted nine principles for establishing such a system. Jubilee's Executive Director Eric LeCompte consulted the bankruptcy road map for the UN and presented to the UN how such a process could work. Puerto Rico's religious leaders, including the Catholic Archbishop of San Juan, are calling for some bankruptcy process to help the US Territory. Archbishop Roberto González Nieves calls for Jubilee in Puerto Rico and around the world in TIME Magazine. González Nieves argues such a process could relieve debt, limit austerity and invest in people.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: NRCAT Human Rights Fellowship

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture seeks an individual to be the NRCAT Human Rights Fellow. This exciting new fellowship will involve full-time work for one academic year (October 2015-May 2016), and will involve working directly with NRCAT staff and interfaith partners, gaining first-hand knowledge of the education, organizing and communications work necessary for policy change and social transformation in an interfaith context.

The fellow's time will be primarily focused on NRCAT's U.S. Prisons program, building and supporting NRCAT's nationwide network of interfaith partners and community leaders, assisting with coordination, outreach and organizing efforts to amplify campaigns to support human rights and an end to torture. Additional responsibilities will include providing program and social media assistance in the overall work of the NRCAT office and staff.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Campaign Organizer

Faith in Public Life is seeking applicants for a Campaign Organizer to support our work for non-discrimination in Jacksonville, FL.

Organizer will assist the Senior Organizing in building and supporting efforts in Jacksonville, FL to transform the values debate and mobilize faith communities to address the issue of discrimination in Jacksonville. The Organizing Associate will report to the Senior Organizer and work collaboratively with FPL’s Washington DC staff. This is a 3-month contract position.

Responsibilities

Build relationships with faith leaders, key stakeholders and people of faith.
Give logistical and event planning support for national and state strategy meetings, campaign and network launches;
Represent FPL at coalition meetings;
Track leadership lists of the growing networks in Jacksonville; build, maintain and expand an effective database for the Organizing Program.

Other responsibilities include but are not limited to: building a cohesive volunteer infrastructure, interacting with local activists, organizing local advocacy and media trainings.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Outreach Intern

Faith in Public Life seeks an Outreach Intern to work 20 hours a week to provide support to our programmatic operations. This is an opportunity to gain communications and outreach experience by working with the leading organizations in the field of religion and politics.

This internship comes with a stipend of $600 per month contingent upon fulfilling 20 hours per week.

Responsibilities

§ Assist FPL staff in identifying opportunities in the news and political environment to amplify the message of the faith leaders and organizations

§ Research different segments of the faith community to identify dynamic faith leaders working for justice and the common good

§ Assist FPL’s Senior Organizer in conducting outreach to strengthen relationships with our faith partners and cultivate new partners, generally via phone calls

§ Track political developments that relate to FPL’s educational and issue campaign work

§ Occasionally attend meetings or events with FPL staff

§ Other duties as assigned by FPL staff; interns also have the opportunity to design their own projects as approved and supervised by FPL staff

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Jubilee USA Regional Field Organizers


This fall, Jubilee USA seeks to hire part-time and full-time organizers in Georgia, New York, Minnesota, Arizona, Iowa and Oregon. For more information send an inquiry to jobs(at)jubileeusa.org.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Jubilee USA Communications Director

Jubilee USA Network seeks to hire a Communications Director at Jubilee's fast-paced and results-motivated national office. Jubilee only seeks exceptional, professional, strategic and organized individuals who are passionate to impact policies that affect millions of vulnerable people annually.

Supervisor: The Communications Director is supervised by the Campaigns Director who is in turn supervised by the Executive Director. Jubilee's Executive Director hires the Communications Director

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Jubilee USA Policy Director

Jubilee USA Network seeks to hire a Policy Director at Jubilee's fast-paced and results-motivated national office. Jubilee only seeks exceptional, professional, strategic and organized individuals who are passionate to impact policies that affect millions of vulnerable people annually.

Supervisor: The Policy Director is supervised by the Campaigns Director and is hired by the Executive Director.

Location: Washington, D.C.

Start Date: ASAP

August 12, 2015

President Obama, Congressman John Lewis, and Others Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, on August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law -- a landmark piece of legislation breaking down barriers across the South that prevented countless African Americans from voting.

Last week, President Obama hosted a discussion at the White House to mark the Act's 50th anniversary, featuring Congressman John Lewis, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, and others.

Click here to watch the President's remarks.

The White House Defends the Iran Deal

The U.S. and our international partners have secured the strongest nuclear arrangement ever negotiated. Thanks to the nuclear deal -- formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- the world can verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Presidential Candidates Speak on Hunger

The videos released so far were made by Republican candidates Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Democratic candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Martin O'Malley, and Bernie Sanders. View them at www.circleofprotection.us. The other declared presidential candidates were contacted but have not yet provided videos.

The videos are being disseminated through the networks of all of the Circle’s members. They can also be viewed on YouTube.

"We are praying for a president who will make ending hunger and poverty a top priority of his or her administration. Are you that leader?" the letter asked. Read the full letter.

Circle of Protection members, including Bread, will not publicly evaluate the policy positions or endorse any candidate.

Terror Attack on Palestinian Village

Two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village of Douma were firebombed in the pre dawn hours of July 31st. According to witnesses, two masked men spray painted “revenge” in Hebrew and then firebombed the houses before running toward the nearby settlement of Ma’aleh Ephraim. While one house was empty, the Dawabsheh family of four lived in the other. 18 month old Ali Saad Dawabsheh died in the attack.

Later that day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, “This is a terror attack in every respect. The State of Israel deals forcefully with terror, regardless of who the perpetrators are.” In an attempt to compare Israel’s response to the attack in Douma with that of the Palestinian Authority following terror attacks on Israeli citizens, Netanyahu said, “We deplore and condemn these murderers. We will pursue them to the end. They [Palestinians] name public squares after the murderers of children. This distinction cannot be blurred or covered up.”

August 11, 2015

CHN: Odds of Year-End Deal on Spending Increase as August Recess Approaches

The Senate Appropriations Committee cleared its final appropriations bills on July 23, marking the first time in six years that all 12 appropriations bills have made it through that chamber’s committee (the House Appropriations Committee has also passed all 12 bills, and the full House has passed six of those 12). It looks to be a hollow milestone however, as it is unlikely any spending bills will get full Congressional approval by the September 30 fiscal year deadline.

Members of the House of Representatives headed home for the annual August recess last week, but before they did, House Speaker John Boehner acknowledged that a temporary extension of current spending levels, also known as a Continuing Resolution or CR, would be needed to prevent a government shutdown. As noted in the July 20 Human Needs Report, Senate Democrats have said they will block all appropriations bills from moving forward because they adhere to restrictive sequestration spending caps, and President Obama has threatened to veto the bills for the same reason. In addition, the House is scheduled to have only 10 legislative days in September, and the Senate only has 15 days, leaving too little time to work out a larger deal that both sides could agree upon. A CR would be expected to extend current funding into November or December.

Dems Demand Higher Wages for Senate Cafeteria Workers

Senate Democrats are turning to their own cafeteria at the U.S. Capitol in the fight over a $15 minimum wage.

Dozens of Senate Democrats are calling on Republicans to cancel an agreement with Restaurant Associates unless the upper chamber's food service contractor raises wages.

"It is important that all Senate cafeteria and catering workers are able to do their jobs in a positive and supportive work environment,” a group of 41 Democrats wrote in a letter to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), whose Rules Committee oversees the contract. "If Restaurant Associates is unable to treat and compensate its employees appropriately, we urge you to terminate the contract and find a different vendor.”

Partnerships for Opening Doors: A Summit on Integrating Employment and Housing

The USICH, DOL, HUD, and the Butler Family Fund are pleased to release a new report with tips for how communities can increase access to good jobs for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. The report, Partnerships for Opening Doors, signals the Administration’s commitment to increasing employment and economic security for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.