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July 13, 2015

DJAN and DC4PW at GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2015

5 Workshops . . . 4 Aftersessions . . . 2 Lunch Events . . . A Farmworker Justice Rally . . . A Special Concert . . . and more!

Michael Kinnamon, Todd Adams, Sandhya Jha, William Lee, Allen Harris, April Johnson, Jack Sullivan, Sekinah Hamlin, Steven Baines, Kristen Walling, Phoebe Spier, and others.

Where? General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), July 18 - 22, 2015, in Columbus, OH.

For more details: www.call2justice.info

Please join us at General Assembly!

Or follow us on Twitter at #call2justice

Farmworkers, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Leaders to Hold Vigil at Wendy’s to Urge Fast Food Giant to Join Social Responsibility Program

On Sunday, July 19 at 6:15 p.m., organizations and members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from the U.S. and Canada, in attendance at the Disciples of Christ General Assembly, will join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) — an award-winning organization of Florida farmworkers — for a Farm Worker Support Vigil at Wendy’s on 2020 N. High Street in Columbus. Together, they will call on the Dublin based burger giant to join its fast food competitors in supporting the Fair Food Program (FFP), a groundbreaking collaboration that has won praise from the White House to the United Nations for its unique success in addressing decades-old farm labor abuses at the heart of the nation’s trillion-dollar food industry.

The Flames Keep Burning: A Litany of Praise and Protest

L: God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, God of Rahab and Ruth and Vashti, you who have stood with us from the beginning of time;

P: Lord, hear our prayer.

L: The arc of the universe may very well lean toward justice, but the arc is long and the struggle is never-ending;

P: Lord, hear our prayer.

How American Muslims Are Helping Black Churches Rebuild After Spate Of Fires

By Carol Kuruvilla

Muslims are bringing hope to Christian communities in the South after a recent spate of fires devastated black church buildings.

Three Muslim organizations have teamed up to raise money to rebuild worship centers in Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina that were destroyed by fire the past few weeks.

The “Respond With Love” campaign, organized by the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, the Arab-American Association of New York and Ummah Wide during the holy month of Ramadan, has already raised close to $25,000 with the help of more than 500 individual supporters.

For the full article, click here.

The Danger of a Single Story

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I'm a storyteller. And I would like to tell you a few personal stories about what I like to call "the danger of the single story." I grew up on a university campus in eastern Nigeria. My mother says that I started reading at the age of two, although I think four is probably close to the truth. So I was an early reader, and what I read were British and American children's books.

Refugee Crisis in the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Tens of thousands in the Dominican Republic are facing deportation as an extended deadline to apply for legal status quickly approaches. The vast majority of those affected by the Foreign Regularization Plan are undocumented Haitian migrant workers and those born in the Dominican Republic to undocumented workers. Human rights organizations estimate that as high as 200,000 Dominican-born people will now be stateless, including 60,000 children, as a result of the new policy.

There is already a trend of what the Dominican Republic government calls "spontaneous" returns to Haiti, where families who are afraid of being split up are taking advantage of government organized buses to Haiti. With most of these families, only certain members qualified for status in the Dominican Republic through the registration process and others did not. Many are moving in with extended family in Haiti, many of whom already live far below the poverty level.

Refugee & Immigration Ministries Invites All to Celebrate a Month of Freedom

In an effort to urge the United States to end family detention, activists for refugee families across the nation are instituting the #freefamilies handle for social media. The goal of this campaign is to provide a human face to the injustice of family detention.

The idea is simple: for families to take selfies of themselves holding a sign calling on the administration to end family detention that includes the hashtag #FreeFamilies. Families can also explain why they want to end family detention on the sign.

Refugee & Immigration Ministries along with other partners will collect the selfies and make a collage using storyboard that will be presented to government officials urging an end to family detention.

Nepal Granted Temporary Protected Status

On April 25, 2015, Nepal was rocked by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated a region ill-equipped to deal with such a massive disaster. The aftershocks resulted in additional tremors, landslides, avalanches and destruction, further complicating recovery efforts. The United Methodist Committee on Relief estimates that nearly 9,000 people were killed. Many more were grievously injured and hundreds of thousands were left homeless.

A few months later, on June 24, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson designated Nepal for Temporary Protected Status for the next 18 months—until December 24, 2016.

Cuba Named First Country to End Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday declared Cuba the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child.

The WHO said in a statement that an international delegation that it and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) sent to Cuba in March determined the country met the criteria for the designation. In 2013, only two children in Cuba were born with HIV and five with syphilis, the statement said.

“Cuba's success demonstrates that universal access and universal health coverage are feasible and indeed are the key to success, even against challenges as daunting as HIV,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said in the statement.

EDITORIAL: Jeremiah Wright's Words Hauntingly Relevant Today

In 2008, the presence of then-Senator Barack Obama in the race for the White House became troubling, it seems, to a nation which had always been wracked and ruled by racism. There seemed to be a growing panic that this African-American might just win the Democratic nomination and worse, the presidency. A move was put in place to try to upend Obama's campaign by using what strategists was sure would work -- racism.

How best to do that than to use a couple of soundbites by Obama's then-pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.? The soundbites showing Wright preaching were chosen precisely because his words and his presentation would feed into the fear of black people that racists know well. Surely, the strategists thought, if they could show that Obama was listening to an angry black man who appeared not to buy into the myth of American exceptionalism, the country would be swayed, Obama would lose the election, and things would go back to normal.

EDITORIAL: Mixing Deportation and Criminal Justice Systems Harms Communities

By Richard Smith

A beautiful young woman, her father’s arm around her shoulder, was shot dead near San Francisco’s Ferry Building last week. The rest of us are left to weep with her grieving family and carry them in our deepest prayers and thoughts.

Sadly, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and a chorus of anti-immigrant organizations with troubling histories of racial bias are exploiting this tragedy for political gain. These opportunists now seek to punish entire communities for the horrendous actions of one person. This will not make any of us safer.

We can and must do better.

Much media attention has focused on the issue of Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds or detainers — requests for local jails to detain people so ICE can pick them up for deportation. But there’s a problem: These ICE holds are unconstitutional.

Resources for Advocacy

The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare is pleased to announce the release of the updated practice toolkit, A Social Worker's Toolkit for Working With Immigrant Families - Immigration Status and Relief Options. This toolkit provides a basic overview of the dynamics of the U.S. immigration system as it impacts children and families in the child welfare system.

The toolkit includes practical appendices with resources for accessing vital documents, facilitating communication between child welfare and immigration legal counsel, and a summary of immigration relief options applicable to youth in care. Download the toolkit here.

In addition to practice toolkits, the CICW offers a range of practice resources for both child welfare professionals and immigrant youth and families. Visit the website to learn more about the resources that are available.

Upcoming: Webinar on Ending Family Detentions

Subject: July 13th Webinar- The Continued Movement to End Family Detention and Promote Community-Based Alternatives to Detention

July 13th at 4 PM Eastern, Please join the Interfaith Immigration Coalition for awebinar: The Continued Movement to End Family Detention and Promote Community-Based Alternatives to Detention

While a June 24th announcement by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson promises to limit the incarceration of babies, toddlers, kids, teens and moms in immigration detention camps, our faith communities continue to push for this damaging practice to end all together.

Job Opening: Missionary Oblates JPIC is Hiring a Communications Coordinator

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate – Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Office is seeking a full-time Communications Coordinator. The Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation coordinates social justice ministry and advocacy efforts in the United States of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on behalf of the interests of the poor and abandoned in the U.S. and 65 countries where the Oblates are in mission.

July 9, 2015

ACTION ALERT: National Week of Action to End Immigration Detention

Immigration detention is an inhumane and unjust system of mass incarceration that targets immigrant communities across the United States. The U.S. currently has the largest immigrant detention infrastructure in the world with a sprawling network of over 200 facilities. Subjected to abysmal conditions, people locked up in immigrant detention languish in a punitive limbo as their immigration court proceedings play out. With over 145 reported deaths in immigration custody since 2003, it’s time that the U.S. government move towards permanently dismantling its immigration detention system.

 You can sign a petition to end immigration here.

  Host an Action For members interested in hosting an action or event please contact DWN Organizer, Aurea Martinez, 202-803-6690 or at amartinez@detentionwatchnetwork.org, for support.

  Join an Action PA: On Saturday, July 11th, groups will join outside of the Berks Family Detention Center in Leesport, PA for a liberation concert. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/760193144079550/

WA: On Saturday, July 11th, join groups outside of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington to hear stories of those who fought the detention system and won and LGBTQ celebrations.

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1661669370720073/

July 5, 2015

Who is Working on the Fourth of July?

On this Fourth of July, as we gather with friends and family around barbecues and picnic tables across the country, we celebrate the accomplishments of the American patriots who built this country. But, as many of us are enjoying a well-deserved day off, millions of low- and middle-income workers are being required to work on a federal holiday without any sort of overtime compensation.

This is the result of outdated overtime rules that cover fewer and fewer salaried workers each year.

For years, the Economic Policy Institute has been working with and urging the Obama administration and the Department of Labor to introduce overtime reforms to give millions more workers pay for the overtime they work. Specifically, we've called for raising the salary threshold below which workers are guaranteed overtime pay. And just this week we had a major breakthrough.

5 Things Disciples of Christ Should Know From UCC Synod 2015

By Sam Lovett, Oreon E. Scott Intern for Prophetic Ministry, Disciples Center for Public Witness

The UCC joined our national mourning for those killed at Emanuel AMC in Charleston, South Carolina, and also overwhelmingly adopted two resolutions intent on dismantling racism.

Delegates voted to divest from and boycott companies that are complicit in the occupation of Palestine, but rejected a resolution that would have applied the term “apartheid” to the Israeli occupation.

A resolution calling for labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) failed, but an ambitious schedule for transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources by 2040 passed. The Synod also voted to urge nations who send things into outer space to stop scattering junk.

Find the rest of the list here.

New US Trade Bill Says, “Settlements = Israel”

On Monday US President Barak Obama signed into law Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that includes constraints designed to protect Israel in future negotiations with the European Union (EU). Critically, this TPA legislation includes language (“Israel or in territories controlled by Israel”) that will make the protection of Israeli settlements part of those negotiations.

Some Middle East analysts such as Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now have argued that measures to introduce such language into not only the TPA legislation, but multiple other bills moving through Congress, seeks “to codify in U.S. law the view that there is no distinction between Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories (referred to euphemistically in these bills as "Israeli-controlled territories" or "territories controlled by Israel").” According to Friedman, such bills “will not protect Israel from pressure from Europe over settlements. They will, instead, further discredit U.S. leadership and policy in the Middle East arena - an arena in which even Israel's closest allies in Europe have run out of patience with Israeli governments that talk about supporting two states but pursue actions that tell a far different story.”

CHN: Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act; Congress Continues Attempts to Take it Down

The Supreme Court’s decision last Thursday upholding the use of subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) didn’t stop Republicans in Congress from talking about their next steps to try to repeal the law (for more information on the Supreme Court’s decision, read CHN’s statement). According to CQ, several Republican leaders have indicated they’ll likely use a process known as reconciliation to try to repeal the ACA. In fact, CQ quoted Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, as saying, “Now it’s clear that this is the highest and best use for reconciliation, as full a repeal as this process allows.”

Under budget resolution rules, reconciliation instructions may be given to a number of different committees requiring them to come back with legislation that would produce savings, usually by cutting spending in programs under their jurisdictions. As was noted in a previous Human Needs Report, because reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered, they can pass the Senate with only a simple majority instead of the 60 votes required in most other Senate deliberations. However, unlike the budget resolution itself, bills drafted as a result of reconciliation instructions have to be signed into law by the President and therefore are subject to a possible veto. President Obama would veto legislation that repealed or crippled the Affordable Care Act; overriding the veto would require a highly unlikely two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate. (For more information on reconciliation, see this piece released last week by the Senate Budget Committee.)

ICYMI: Re-establishment of U.S.-Cuba Diplomatic Relations

It has been 54 years since President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced the termination of diplomatic relations with the island nation of Cuba. Today at the White House Rose Garden, President Barack Obama announced that the United States and Cuba would restore full diplomatic ties after half a century, starting with the reopening of embassies in each country.

Later this month, Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cuba to personally take part in the formal reopening of the United States Embassy in Havana. This will mark the resumption of embassy operations since diplomatic relations were terminated in 1961. Moreover, Kerry's arrival in Havana marks the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to Cuba since 1945.