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Metro IAF is making moves in: Connecticut IllinoisMaryland Massachusetts New JerseyNew YorkNorth Carolina Ohio Virginia Washington DCWisconsin Germany

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 Where We Stand 

Metro IAF Statement on Police Killing of George Floyd

The last minutes of George Floyd’s life evoke the 22nd Psalm:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
And are so far from my cry
And from the words of my distress?
O my God, I cry in the daytime but you do not answer;
By night as well, but I find no rest.

So, too, do our thoughts go to our own memories of Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray--sons of our cities: New York, Cleveland, and Baltimore--black men murdered by police brutally, callously. Our anger and rage rise again.

The white officers’ knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes while he pleads for his mother evokes 400 years of kidnappings, lynchings, rapes, family separations, slavery and forced labor, share cropping, equity stripping, unjust imprisonment, medical experiments, job discrimination that denies the humanity and full citizenship of black Americans.

As we watch protesters in Minneapolis and other cities across the country, we know their lamentations must be shouted, must be heard, must not be silenced. For it is only in giving voice to the pain and suffering of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the thousands of other black people killed in our cities and millions scarred by racism that we might ever begin to imagine a new future.

The shouts must be louder, broader and much longer before this can come to pass though. And we must listen; we must take account. We must relate to the many people who are suffering. In so doing, we must ask: How is God speaking in the streets? What new message, what good news do we hear?

We hear the anger at a criminal justice system that is racist, unfair and out of control especially in relationship to the African American community. It's Floyd today but who tomorrow? It was Christian Cooper one week, who will it be next week? We hear young people fed up with what they see as the inaction of the generations just ahead of them. We hear young people gripped by despair, filled with anger and not seeing any way to take that pain public except by going to the streets.

What we hear is political leaders, law enforcement leaders, religious leaders, and corporate leaders have failed on so many levels to stop police officers from killing black people. Police killings of black people, police intimidation of black people while driving, when shopping, while living must end, now. The next generation in the streets is demanding systemic change in police accountability and policing.

As our cities are in turmoil, we pray for peace. We want to channel ours’ and others’ rage and anger to make these and other changes, to create new realities. In a moment that appears hopeless and despairing to many, we renew our call to organize for justice---as we did in Cleveland to win a US Department of Justice consent decree to reform the Cleveland police in the aftermath of the Tamir Rice murder, and as we are doing in Baltimore to win living wage jobs for 850 returning citizens at John Hopkins Health System and other anchor institution employers, and as we have done to win statewide criminal justice reform in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Virginia. The job is not done. We are dedicated to building more power to purge injustice from the system from the ground-up no matter how long it takes. In this dark hour, we are propelled to this call to which we invite all to join us.

June 5, 2020
Highlights of Metro IAF’s organizing over the last
3 months during the Covid-19 pandemic

Secured 75 Covid-19 Testing Sites in New York City

Conceiving and securing an agreement with NY Governor Cuomo to open walk-in Covid-19 community testing sites at 75 churches across New York City, where until now there were none even though most residents do not own cars;  Organizing a team of Community Health Volunteers, who in partnership with the Milwaukee Health Department, will be making daily calls to Covid positive people to determine the next steps in possible medical treatment.

Held 3M Accountable for Price Gouging

Holding 3M accountable for N95 mask price gouging that affects frontline healthcare and other workers in our institutions in Maryland, Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, organizing 20 states attorneys general and 3M shareholders with $13+ billion under management to secure changes in 3M’s distribution and pricing practices;  See op-ed on 3M in largest suburban paper in IL:  Price gouging on needed equipment must be stopped.

Major Victories on Eviction Prevention,
Restriction & Moratoriums

Pushing Massachusetts Governor Baker to sign some of the strongest eviction prevention legislation in the US, securing $25 million from CARES Act funds to protect renters from eviction in Wake County, NC, working with the Virginia Attorney General to compel landlords in Northern Virginia to abide by pandemic crisis eviction restrictions, getting VA Governor Northam and VA Supreme Court to extend the eviction moratorium until July 1st, winning a 1-year moratorium on evictions from the Alexandria VA Public Housing Authority, and organizing with immigrant mobile home park and public housing tenants in Wake, Orange, and Durham Counties, NC to hold owners accountable for predatory rents/fees and housing code violations.

Criminal Justice Wins on Universal Testing, Early Release, Driver's Licenses & New Public Defender in Prince William County

Winning commitments from New Jersey Governor Murphy and Massachusetts Governor Baker for universal testing in state prisons, preserving funding in Virginia's 2021 budget to restore drivers licenses to 627,000 residents who had them suspended due to unpaid court debt, fees, and fines as well as the first ever public defenders office in Prince William County, Virginia’s third largest and only majority people of color county; and securing early release of non-violent prisoners from jails in Durham County, NC to protect them from Covid-19 infection.

Feeding Thousands in Central Maryland

Partnering with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and restaurants in Anne Arundel County, to feed thousands of children and families in central Maryland.

Won On-Line Education Opportunities & New Funding

Winning Milwaukee public schools' commitment to provide on-line learning and 30.000 ChromeBooks to students (for six weeks MPS provided no virtual learning), pushing the NY City Housing Authority to provide internet access to 35% of residents with school age children and their families who lack it, adding and then preserving $52.7 million in new funding for Jersey City, NJ's poorest public schools, and fighting for funding for interpreters and other services for Latino students in schools districts in Durham and Forsythe Counties, North Carolina.

Collective Saves Big on Competitive Energy Purchase 

Training 350+ institutional leaders with the Community Purchasing Alliance Cooperative (CPA), Metro IAF’s social business venture, on how to use social media, raise money and mange finances/cut expenses during the pandemic. Organized 150 institutions (schools, houses of worship, non-profits, colleges) with CPA in IL, MA, CT, MD/DC in collective, competitive energy purchase to save money.
Metro IAF, is part of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s first and largest network of multi-faith community organizations. Our 23 member organizations have deep-roots in the political and financial power centers in the eastern United States and Europe.
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