PCI, VIP Clergy Help Advance Arizona's Stay-at-Home Order, Express Concern About Broad Definition of Essential Services
The governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order still loosely defines essential businesses as golf courses, nail salons and gun shops. These employees would have to continue reporting to work, catering to non-essential needs, at great risk of contracting the virus and spreading it to others. That’s in no one’s interest....
COVID-19 Demands That We All Make Sacrifices for the Common Welfare, Arizona Mirror [pdf]
Ducey Orders Arizonians to Stay Home Except for 'Essential Activities' Due to Coronavirus, Arizona Daily Star [pdf]
Arizona Mayors to Gov. Ducey: Issue a Shelter-In-Place Order, AZ Family [pdf]
Forty members from St. John the Evangelist Church and the neighborhood attended a civic academy yesterday to learn about “public charge.” This new policy by the Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security would affect many legal immigrants who are applying for permanent residency (green cards) and penalize applicants if they or their families have received government support such as SNAP (food stamps), subsidized health care, and other support that the government has labeled a “public charge.”
As rumors of this new policy surfaced, immigrant churches and Pima County Interfaith started conducting research. The fear began a few months ago when the press began to talk again about this policy. Rumors and misinformation led many immigrants to renounce their citizen children’s benefits out of fear. Among those immigrants most affected by this proposal are low-income families, single mothers, and children with chronic illnesses.
At Sunday’s session, a single mother asked if she could lose her permanent residency if she continued to receive AHCCCS, Arizona’s version of Medicaid, for her infant baby. Fortunately, she received her visa through the VAWA program that so far is exempt from being a 'public charge.'
After the session, some attendees thanked the St. John team for making this presentation. They said they felt more relaxed now that they knew which programs would be counted as 'public charge.'
A young mother said, "I'm going to register for citizenship classes and I'm going to apply to become a citizen. I'm afraid this administration will find another way to revoke my residency and separate me from my family."
Tim Walrath and Ana Patricia Chavarin from Pima County and Southern Arizona Interfaith were among the statewide education supporters who delivered a whopping 270,000 petition signatures on July 5th in Phoenix. This shows the power of this grassroots movement of faith, education, and other advocates to work on behalf of children and families.
Arizona voters will now have the chance in November to restore $690 million in funding for our schools, allowing us to attract and retain the best teachers and provide our children with the high-quality education they deserve.
View/download InvestInEd White Paper HERE.
125 Pima County Interfaith resident leaders of Ward 3 Tucson assembled and secured commitments from primary candidates Felicia Chew, Paul Durham and Tom Tronsdal. The session was organized by Pima County Interfaith Civic Education Organization, Southern Arizona Interfaith (SAI) and Literacy Connects. All three candidates pledged to support keeping Tucson an Immigrant Welcoming city, to support PCI efforts to fight SPICE and other drugs in Ward 3, and to meet with the organizations if elected.
Candidates Chew and Tronsdal committed to increasing funding for KidCo and JobPath, keeping low-income bus fares at their current level, and protecting the number of bus routes.
Attendees committed to vote, get others to vote, and to knock on doors in Ward 3 neighborhoods. Two "Neighbor to Neighbor - Walk & Call" sessions have already been scheduled.
After a campaign that included educating County Supervisors about the economic (and life) impact of JobPath workforce development program, leaders of Pima County Interfaith won a 18% increase in funding for the program, from $423 thousand to $500 thousand. Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 for the increase after Pastor Steve Springer of Dove of Peace Lutheran Church and Lindsay Leonard, a JobPath graduate, spoke.
Former students like Patty Popp credit JobPath for helping them bridge the gap between minimum wage work and a living wage career. After training for an associate's degree in radiologic technology, she kept on advancing to her current position as Director of Clinical Operations at Radiology Limited. Her story can be read in the first article below.
Southern Arizona Training Program Lifts Students Out of Minimum Wage, Arizona Daily Star
Long Term Impacts of JobPath Graduates on Pima County, Applied Economics
"St. Philip's in Tucson engages in the political and electoral processes on more than one level. It was a founding member of Pima County Interfaith Civic Education Organization, a nonprofit advocacy organization that takes action on issues that impact families and communities at the local and regional levels. The advocacy and education have included issues such as gun violence, immigration, environmental economics, education funding, Sandwell-Weiss said.
The group hopes that by providing information and helping people connect those issues to their faith, especially Jesus' call in Matthew 25 to find him while caring for people on the margins of society, "hopefully it will make a more informed electorate and an electorate that will work to make some changes," she said."
Episcopal Congregations Find Ways to Engage in Current Political Cycle, Episcopal News Service
In the second of three steps to secure funding for workforce development and affordable housing, PCIC leaders testified before Pima County Supervisors, persuading them to support (4-1) an expanded bond package which includes a building for workforce development program JobPath ($1M), affordable housing ($20M), neighborhood reinvestment ($25M) and open space / environment ($80M).
Randy Mayer, the pastor of Good Shepherd UCC, argued that this bond was an opportunity to leave the County in better shape than they found it. He also pledged the support of PCIC and Southern Arizona Interfaith to help pass the propositions this November -- the final step towards victory.
After 6 Pima Community College campuses and 3 PCC adult learning centers challenged the 30 religious institutions of PCIC to a friendly competition of 'who can sign up the most voters,' Bishop Kicanas responded with a public endorsement of the Pima County bond.
PCIC leaders soon followed up with a civic academy for 40 pastors of 8 denominations, in addition to twenty more scheduled at individual congregations, libraries and community centers. The intent of the civic academies is to educate voters about the potential community benefit of the seven proposed bonds, as well as the costs. This is part of a long running campaign to expand workforce development opportunities offered by JobPath.
PCIC-CEO Educates Pastors on County Bonds, The New Vision
Bishop Kicanas Endorses Pima County Bond, The New Vision
Over 250 leaders of Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) convened at St. Phillips in the Hills to celebrate 25 years of success. Since 1980, PCIC has leveraged upwards of $100 million in state and local funds into projects that benefit the common good including KidCo, JobPath, local parks and recreation centers across the County.
In addition to enjoying a youth-led mariachi band and desserts, participants honored longtime and retired leaders Episcopal priest Paul Buckwalter, Methodist Pastor David Wilkinson, former PCIC/AIN Lead Organizer Frank Pierson, former Diocesan CCHD representative Joanne Welter, and deceased former Tucson Mayor and PCIC leader George Miller. Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Tucson Catholic Dioceses chaired the event, which included stories from six younger leaders. Congressman RaÃºl Grijalva, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, former State Rep. Ethan Orr and Southern Arizona Leadership Council Chair Lisa Lovallo from Cox Communications were among the speakers.
The event not only celebrated PCIC, but also raised $20,000 for the organization.
Interfaith Council Celebrates 25 Years of Service, Tucson News Now - Fox 11
Celebrating 25 Years, ABC News 13
Live Coverage, ABC News 13
Additional Photos, PCIC Facebook
PCIC clergy and leaders piled into City Hall to deliver a letter signed by 50 clergy requesting that the City not raise fares for low-income bus riders. The City Manager had proposed that Tucson double the fares of low-income people in addition to increasing all fares across the board. Bus riders and PCIC leaders filled the room while 60 listened from outside...
Concrete Example of Religious Leaders Standing Up for the Poor, Voces de Casa Maria
Tucson Drops Plan to Raise Bus Fares, Arizona Daily Star
Photos of PCIC in action, PCIC Facebook Album