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The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world—higher than China, higher than South Africa under apartheid, higher than any of the most oppressive and authoritarian regimes you can think of.

As we consider this fact, it is important to note that 63% of those in jail have not been convicted of a crime. On any given day, there are half a million people in the U.S. who rot in jail because they cannot afford bail for even the lowest-level offenses. The main victims are poor and working class individuals who sit in jail for months, often losing their jobs, custody of their children, or the ability pay their rent or feed their families (even if they are innocent!).

Not only are money bail systems ineffective in ensuring that people will show up to court dates, but they create a drain on public funds. The only ones who gain are the insurance companies that profit off the bail bond system!

Watch this engaging 3-minute video on the facts about bail.

Do you know how many people sit in your local jail because they cannot afford bail? Wondering what you can do about it?

Help organize your local community in order to ensure that there are fair and effective bail practices--the results can be striking! In just over two months, the community of Hudson County, NJ decreased the local jail population by 20% by reforming their bail practices.

Email LIVE FREE today to learn more about how to make a difference.

Posted In: Live Free, Racial Justice

We did it!

We did it! President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to take away health insurance from 24 million of God’s children and together we stood up and said no. Our families come first, not big insurance and drug companies and CEOs.

Many of you showed up at town halls to share your stories, spoke from the pulpit, called and visited your Congress Members. Together with the broader movement, our prophetic resistance helped mobilize the nation against this mean-spirited effort, which could have caused 53,000 million people to die prematurely each year.

We won, but this fight to protect the health and safety of our families is just beginning: Medicaid and Medicare will be threatened again by upcoming tax and budget cuts.

We must also continue to stand with our neighbors facing deportation, our sisters and brothers suffering from mass incarceration, and the least among us who will be hurt the most by massive tax breaks for the rich.

Help us continue to hold politicians accountable today: Chip in $7 dollars or more to help PICO provide support for people of faith and their allies on the ground who are fighting – and winning.

https://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/2115/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=13711

With your help, no one will stand alone.

Thank you for all you have done – and all you will do in the months ahead.

CALIFORNIA
San Diego Organizing Project

150 leaders from SEIU, SDOP and other allies in San Diego told Congressman Issa “Don’t Take My Health Care”. Sr Maureen from SDOP was one of the delegation that met face to face with Congressman Issa to deliver the message.

Watch more >>

 

COLORADO
Together Colorado

Faith leaders in Denver urge officials to fight GOP plans for immigration, health care
During a meeting of the Fifth Episcopal District of the AME Church, organizers provided attendees with names and phone numbers for a number of Republican members of Congress, including Ryan, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora.

Read more >>

 

INDIANA
IndyCAN

PICO affiliate IndyCAN organized dozens of diverse clergy and ACA recipients for a prayer vigil on the floor of Eskenazi Hospital, calling on newly elected Senator Young to protect over half a million Hoosiers who will lose coverage if the ACA is repealed.

See photos >>

 

LOUISIANA
Micah

Obamacare supporters: Call representatives, let them know implications of repealing program
“We need people to start tweeting, emailing, writing and calling their representatives to let them know the implications of repealing,” said state Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, D-Baton Rouge. She spoke at a rally for supporters on the State Capitol steps.

Read more >>

 

MICHIGAN
Michigan Faith in Action

Calling for “a season of civil disobedience,” [Rev. Dr. William] Barber says Flint is “the Selma of the 21st Century”
“No matter how much money or power you have, you’re not going to wage war on the poor without a fight back,” [Rev. Barber] said. “Somebody always lifting truth. The coverup will be uncovered. Truth, Mr. Trump — murder is not just shooting somebody with the guns that you keep giving the people, but murder is a governor in your party signing on a policy to poison the water and the lives of the community.”

 

Read more >>

 

MINNESOTA
Isaiah

Metro area clergy unite against Medica withdrawal, demand public health care solution
“Over 312,000 Minnesotans — all of whom are low-income, many of whom are poor, children and pregnant women, as well as people struggling with mental illness — among what Jesus called ‘the least of these’ will be forced to change their health insurance plan as a result of Medica’s withdrawal,” the clergy letter reads. “Many will lose access to the doctors and hospitals of their choice. Most will face additional agony of confusion and frustration with navigating complex systems.”

Read more >>

 

MISSOURI
Missouri Faith Voices

Obamacare supporters rally at Congressman's Springfield Office
Missouri faith voices and Springfield’s NAACP are teaming up to also pray for better healthcare and to send the letter. The letter asks the congressman to help repair and expand Obamacare rather than get rid of it.

Read more >>

 

OHIO
Ohio Organizing Collaborative

At march in Warren, forum in Youngstown, participants pan move to repeal Obamacare
Whether they peacefully marched near one of the Mahoning Valley’s major hospitals or sat around a table and talked, participants’ worries were the same: Repealing the Affordable Care Act without offering a replacement will be detrimental to millions of Americans.

Read more >>

Posted In: Health Care



**UPDATE** Great news! We now have 60 faith communities officially signed on to the DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network, from 17 religious traditions (including Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Christian) and 18 municipalities.


TAKE ACTION

Join us as we launch the DMV Santuary Network with more than 60 sanctuary congregations in the DC/MD/VA region working to provide support and solidarity to neighbors, friends and family who fear being detained, deported or profiled.

We'll start with a vigil at 11:45 at Foundry United Methodist Church on 16th and P street NW, and will end with a march to the White House for a collective prayer.

Will you join us to ensure that no one in our communities stands alone? RSVP on the Facebook event page and invite your friends!

WHEN: Tuesday, March 21 at 11:45 AM to 1 PM

WHERE: Foundry United Methodist Church - 1500 16th St NW, Washington DC, 20036 


NEXT STEPS

GET YOUR CONGREGATION INVOLVED: If you are a congregation interested in joining the network, please sign up here and and indicate how your congregation can participate.

SHOW UP WITH US AT ICE: April 4, 8:30 AM at the Baltimore ICE Office, 31 Hopkins Plaza, Baltimore, MD

DMV SANCTUARY CONGREGATION NETWORK MEETING: Wednesday, April 26, 6-9pm, All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard St, Washington, DC

FIND US ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow us on Facebook @DMVSanctuaryCongregations

WEBSITE: Go to www.sanctuarydmv.org/congregations/ for more information about how to get involved


PARTICIPATING CONGREGATIONS

Name of Congregation

Denomination

City

State

All Souls Church, Unitarian

Unitarian

Washington

DC

Assisi Community

Catholic

Washington

DC

Calvary Baptist Church

Baptist

Washington

DC

Calvary Episcopal Church

Episcopal

Washington

DC

Capital City Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

Cleveland Park Congregational UCC

UCC

Washington

DC

Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community

Catholic

Washington

DC

Dumbarton United Methodist Church

UMC

Washington

DC

Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Episcopal

Washington

DC

First Congregation UCC

UCC

Washington

DC

Foundry United Methodist Church

UMC

Washington

DC

Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Catholic

Washington

DC

Inspire DC

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

Interfaith Families Project of Greater Washington, D.C.

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

Memorial United Methodist

UMC

Washington

DC

Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal

AME

Washington

DC

Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist

UMC

Washington

DC

National City Christian Church

Disciples of Christ

Washington

DC

New Community Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

New York Avenue Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian

Washington

DC

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Catholic

Washington

DC

Seekers Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

St. Alban's Episcopal Parish

Episcopal

Washington

DC

St. Stephen and the Incarnation

Episcopal

Washington

DC

Temple Sinai

Jewish

Washington

DC

The District Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

The Sanctuaries

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

The Table Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

Washington Ethical Society

Unitarian

Washington

DC

Western Presbyterian

Presbyterian

Washington

DC

Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Unitarian

Adelphi

MD

Inge Benevolent Ministries dba Muslimat Al Nisaa Shelter

Muslim

Baltimore

MD

Bethesda Friends Meeting

Friends

Bethesda

MD

Bethesda Presbyterian

Presbyterian

Bethesda

MD

Cedar Lane UU Church

Unitarian

Bethesda

MD

River Road Unitarian-Universalist Congregation

Unitarian

Bethesda

MD

Westmoreland UCC

UCC

Bethesda

MD

Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW)

Non-denominational

Cabin John

MD

Shirat HaNefesh (Song of the Soul)

Jewish

Chevy Chase

MD

College Park Church of the Nazarene

Nazarine

College Park

MD

College Park United Methodist

UMC

College Park

MD

University United Methodist

UMC

College Park

MD

Church of the Ascension

Episcopal

Gaithersburg

MD

Mowatt Memorial

UMC

Greenbelt

MD

Hyattsville Mennonite Church

Mennonite

Hyattsville

MD

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church/Iglesia San Mateo

Episcopal

Hyattsville

MD

Episcopal Church of Our Savior

Episcopal

Silver Spring

MD

St. Camillus Catholic Church

Catholic

Silver Spring

MD

Vedanta Center of Greater Washington, DC

Hindu

Silver Spring

MD

Covenant Shepherd Church

Non-denominational

Waldorf

MD

Beverley Hills Community UMC

UMC

Alexandria

VA

Great River Tendai Sangha

Buddhist

Arlington

VA

Kol Ami:  Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Jewish

Arlington

VA

Rock Spring UCC

UCC

Arlington

VA

Wellspring UCC

UCC

Centerville

VA

Temple Rodef Shalom

Jewish

Falls Church

VA

Herndon Friends Meeting

Friends

Herndon

VA

Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston

Unitarian

Reston

VA

United Christian Parish - Reston

UCC

Reston

VA

All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)

Muslim

Sterling

VA

 

The DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network is a partnership between Sanctuary DMV and PICO National Network

 

 


Posted In: Immigration, Racial Justice

MRM Pull Quote

By Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, PICO National Network

"Inauguration"

and so it began
again…
the chaos, the void, the formlessness

we felt the night falling
kith and kin threatened by the darkness
bottles and epithets lobbed from passing cars
court police pursuing the peaceful prophets

but Jubilee got it right:
this darkness “is not of the tomb, but of the womb.”

hovering over the uncertainty is a presence, a voice
calling in the Light

the people sitting in darkness
will see a great Light,
and for those who sit in the region and shadow of death
Light is already dawning…

las morenas,
clothed with the sun
prepare to march in the Light
crying out lest hope unborn dies

houses of faith
shod with moral courage
rehearse songs of resistance, prayers of hope
forging acts of revolutionary love

Kindred:  We are light.
Now is the time to shine with abandon.
Now is the time to inaugurate the light in others.

In the Light, we can defend and protect the vulnerable.
In the Light, we can nurture Beloved Community.
In the Light, we can cultivate Prophetic Resistance.
In the Light, we can be fearless in our hope, daring in our vision.

Yes
It begins
Again
In love, in hope, in faith, in the Light
The Resistance

Inspired by Genesis 1:2, Matthew 4:16, Revelation 12:1-4, Valarie “Jubilee” Kaur, James Weldon Johnson, and the prophets of the Resistance.

IndyCan leaders participate in a recent prayer vigil calling on Sen. Todd Young to protect the Affordable Care Act. (Photo courtesy of IndyCan)

PICO National Network, through its Center for Health Organizing, is working to stop is working to stop efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. PICO federations across the country are calling on strategic legislators to protect the ACA and the millions of Americans who rely on it for health care. Below are just a few of the affiliate-organized actions that have happened over the last few months.  

San Diego Organizing Project

Roughly 150 leaders from the San Diego Organizing Project, SEIU, and other ally groups recently gathered to tell Rep. Darell Issa (CA-49), “Don’t Take My Health Care.” Sister Maureen Brown from SDOP was a member of the delegation that met face-to-face with Rep. Issa to deliver the message. Both Univision and Telemundo covered the event.


IndyCAN

IndyCAN organized a diverse group of clergy members and ACA recipients for a prayer vigil on the floor of Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, where participants called on newly-elected Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) to protect more than half a million Hoosiers who will lose coverage if the ACA is repealed. IndyCan leader Shelly Dykstra, who called herself an ACA “success story,” shared what would happen to her family if they were to lose their health care coverage.

ISAIAH

PICO Affiliate ISAIAH, along with Take Action Minnesota and other allies, organized 40 leaders for two actions, one at the office of Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06), and another at the office of Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03). Their message: “Keep your hands off our health care."
 Video footage of the actions can be seen on ISAIAH's Facebook page

*

For more information about what a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would mean for millions of Americans, read PICO National Network's recent statement decrying efforts by House Republicans to repeal the ACA, and a recent op-ed offering guidance to those working against the repeal published on The Huffington Post

Posted In: Health Care

By Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp, Temple Sholom, Cincinnati OH

The need for sanctuary is not a new concept for the Jewish people. We have fled persecution for generations – thousands of years of fear and oppression. In each generation, there were righteous people hiding and protecting Jews against targeted hate.

These rescuers began as bystanders, watching with horror the deportation, murder and directed violence against the Jewish people. In each situation, and in particular during the time of the Holocaust, Jews turned outside of their own community for help. By protecting innocent Jewish victims, these righteous people risked their livelihood, their property and in most cases their safety. These bystanders, became our rescuers not through casual acts of charity, but rather through true heroics, without which the death toll of our people would be thousandfold.

It is not just our Jewish history that makes us aware of the need to help and protect others. Our sacred text, our Torah, mentions the commandment to “care for the stranger, for you know the soul of the stranger,” thirty-six times different times. For Jews, this is not just a holy rule, but also a holy number of rules. 18 (known as chai – think l’chaim!) is the number for life, which means that 36 is the number of 2x life (or double chai). This can be interpreted that caring for the other lifts up the sanctity of our life as well as the life of the other.

We live in a world where life is not always valued, where the “other” is not our neighbor but someone to be feared and where hate is acceptable and targeted oppression is mainstream. Yet, these are not the only things that exist in our world. Love exists too. And righteousness. And the pure goodness of our fellow human beings. These are the elements of sanctuary – to protect and love the stranger, to seek out justice in his name, and to care for her as our own. In due time, may we look back upon this time and know that we chose love, we were righteous and we brought more life into our world.

Jane Gould Pull Quote


Artwork by Selena Garrauld, Lynn MA




Artwork by Miguel Valdez, Lynn MA



Artwork by Jason Cruz, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Lynn MA


Artwork by Jason Cruz, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Lynn MA


Reflection By Rev. Jane Soyster Gould, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Lynn MA

Lynn, Massachusetts was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and Frederick Douglass lived in Lynn.  But our teens know little of the history of the city in which they live.  And they get taught nothing about the connections among sanctuary movements of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries that form their immigrant city.  Some are the grandchildren of African Americans who came north with the great migration.  Others are part of families that fled the violence of El Salvador.  Most come from families rooted in the Caribbean, South and Central America, and Africa who came to the United States seeking the American Dream.  They all live in a forgotten mill city that offers teens few chances for education, employment, and advancement.

Last summer 7 teens in our congregation took part in an Underground Railroad Learning Trip.  They visited sites from Massachusetts to Maryland.  They walked, quite literally, where Harriet Tubman walked.  They saw monuments that marked the location of speeches of white, male politicians and ignored the thousands of Africans sold into slavery on the same spot.  And in Baltimore they met with local Black Lives Matter Movement leaders because it's all connected.

Immigrant teens... undocumented teens... teens with undocumented parents... mixed race teens... black teens... GLBTQ teens... molested and abused teens... bipolar teens... homeless teens... unaccompanied teens... drop-out teens... unemployed teens... teens with their own children... incarcerated teens... teens in the system... confused and conflicted teens... addicted teens... angry teens... They all need places of safety and security.  They need to tell their own stories and hear the stories and struggles of others.  They need to make the connections so that they, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., can be "creatively maladjusted" to racism, discrimination, religious bigotry, wealth inequality, militarism, xenophobia, sexism, heterosexism, hatred, and violence.  And so that they remember that they stand in a long line of prophetic resisters who offered sanctuary.

In worship, we invite all to the eucharistic feast saying, "This is the Lord's Table and all are welcome here."  My hope and prayer during these difficult days is that we will open our doors and hearts wide offering sanctuary to all who need a place of safety.

Neal Anderson Pull Quote

By Rev. Neal Anderson, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada

As people of faith, our various theological understandings call us to act in the face of injustice. May we continue to find the ways in which we answer that call.

Please read in the spirit of meditation and prayer:

Spirit of life, spirit of love,

May this prophetic community of resistance be revived and revitalized in a spirit of devotion to the common good. 

May we affirm the worth and dignity of immigrants creating a clear pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans and not one more deportation.

May we affirm the worth and dignity of all workers by ensuring our commitment to organizing, collective bargaining and resisting corporate greed.

May we affirm and promote the worth and dignity of all Americans of voting age by ensuring access to the power of the ballot to every person. 

May we affirm the worth and dignity of all our children by ensuring well funded quality education for all.

May Black Lives Matter in every institution and system of this nation as we resist the stain of white supremacy.

May we affirm and promote the worth and dignity of every person by resisting the hegemony of economic and racial narrative that permits the exclusion of our people and our communities from realizing power in public life and facilitates the extraction of wealth and resources from our communities.

Give us the strength and wisdom to fight back against injustice and dehumanization. May we speak truth to power!

We are exposing, in our words and deeds, the destructive nature of Empire and declaring our commitment to “fight for our freedom” from Empire, to resist it with every resource at our disposal.

May we be reminded by our common mean that we are strongest when we work together toward a common vision and when we stand on the side of love!

May it be so, blessed be and

Amen

By Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews

Catalina Morales, an immigration organizer with PICO National Network federation ISAIAH, can sum up the importance of congregations providing sanctuary to undocumented immigrants in just 30 seconds.

“When people know that someone is undocumented, their humanity is taken away, so there are a million things that can happen to someone who is undocumented because they’re not seen a human being anymore,” she said during a recent Immigration 101 teach-in held by ISAIAH. “So, part of declaring sanctuary—and why it’s so crucial for this to happen in a congregation— is you’re saying ‘no, this person is a child of God, and they’re not alone.’”

On Jan. 17, faith communities across the country will unite around the principle that no one should stand alone. They’re joining forces for a Sanctuary Day of Action in support of those living in the United States without documentation, and sending a powerful message to President-elect Trump: we will stand together against harsh immigration proposals that threaten to tear apart families.

The Sanctuary Day of Action is an effort of PICO National Network, The Sanctuary Movement, Church World Service, Groundswell Movement, the United Church of Christ, and Justice and Witness Ministries. These groups, which are already working to bolster faith-based sanctuary efforts and keep families together— are using the occasion of Trump’s inauguration to bring attention to their efforts.

Hundreds of new congregations will join the Sanctuary Movement to declare their congregations as safe havens if the Trump administration makes good on its promises to engage in the mass detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants. While undocumented immigrants are the primary targets, we know that African-Americans, Muslims, and others may need sanctuary as well. These congregations, which cross many different faith traditions, are taking a prophetic stand and affirming their dedication to protecting communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and deportation protection policies, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

PICO’s member organizations and congregations have been involved in this movement—congregational sanctuary is part of PICO’s Protecting Our Families platform and the work of LA RED, PICO’s campaign to protect the rights and help preserve the dignity of immigrant families.

PICO federation Acting in Community Together in Organizing Northern Nevada (ACTIONN) was recently part of a community effort to provide sanctuary to Reno, Nevada resident Jose Gastelum-Cardenas. Because of the effort, Gastelum-Cardenas, who received physical sanctuary from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada for four days, received a yearlong suspension of his deportation status. “We have grown in faith a lot,” Gastelum-Cardenas’ wife, Arlene Torres, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Thanks to the work of the Merced Organizing Project (MOP) and Faith in the Valley, seventeen congregations in the greater Merced area are in the process of becoming designated sanctuary spaces for undocumented immigrants, and members of other groups who may fear for the actions of the incoming administration.

“It’s all about creating an inclusive community,” MOP community organizer Crisantema Gallardo recently told New America Media. “With those sanctuaries, we want to let them know that in that congregation, they are welcome and seen, and that they are going to be treated with respect.”

Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews is PICO National Network's Director of Clergy Organizing. 

*

For updates on PICO’s sanctuary work and the Sanctuary Day of Action, follow @PICOnetwork on Twitter. To follow the day's events online on Jan. 17, use the hashtag #SanctuaryRising.

Posted In: Immigration, Racial Justice

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