As faith leaders, we are called to build a society that promotes dignity for all people. That effort is undermined, however, when the rules governing the electoral process amplify the voice of a small segment of the population while diminishing that of the rest. Now we understand that Speaker Silver and the New York State Assembly has supported a bill that would institute a system of public campaign finance similar to the successful New York City program, and the time for us to show our support has come. A group of us including, Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church Rev. Dr. James Forbes, are heading up to Albany for a pray-in and preach-out on April 30th. Please show your support by:
1) Following this link and signing on to this “faith leader letter” [CLICK HERE.]
2) Joining us at for an informational meeting at 2pm on Wednesday 4/10 at Judson Memorial Church (Enter at 239 Thompson Street, head for the Garden Room).
3) Sharing this email with your faith leader colleagues, and promoting this event within your own faith communities (a brochure will be coming soon for you to do forward online or in print).
4) Joining us up in Albany on Tuesday, April 30. Transportation will be arranged from NYC for any who are interested in going. In the meantime, please RSVP below.
You can also keep fair elections in your prayers. It is an absolute necessity that government start working for the people, and not the business interests funding the elections. Please pray for a more fair and just NY State.
Rev. Michael Ellick
Some of you may have already heard about this through the Occupy Wall-Street or Occupy Faith grapevines, but here is your official invitation to the “Money-Out/Voters-in” Day of Action on Saturday Afternoon, January 19th… join us at the Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South. Doors open at 12:30p, program starts at 1p.
After the main program at the Kimmel Center, we will then be heading down to 1 Federal Plaza at 4p for an actual marriage ceremony between two corporations. Can’t miss that, right? Bring your handkerchiefs… it’s going to be a real tear-jerker.
Join OWS Faith Leaders and many other allies from around the city and the state for this important and exciting program, designed to kick off a united effort to support our three objectives:
1. Overturn Citizens United
2. Enact Publicly Financed Elections in New York State and Washington
3. Expand the Vote
You and/or your institution can help make this day a success by taking two steps:
1) Allow us to add your organization’s name to our list of endorsers (reach out to Sam to let him know: SMassol@commoncause.org)
2) Reach out to all of your members and supporters and encourage them to participate in the day of action on January 19th.
Together we can make a difference. Can we count on your support?
You can find out more about the Money-Out/Voters-In Day of Action, Jan. 19 below or on their website.
JANUARY 19 EVENT SCHEDULE
The Skirball Center at NYU
60 Washington Square South
12:30 – 3:00
- Forum with speakers and entertainment
- Facilitated breakout sessions to discuss how to move forward on each of our three objectives
1 Federal Plaza
4:00 Outdoor Public Event
- In honor of the notion of that a corporation is a person, help celebrate the marriage ceremony between a person and a corporation.
Organized by Occupy Wall Street
The Brennan Center for Legal Justice, NYU
Judson Memorial Church
New Roosevelt Initiative
Occupy Wall Street
United Federation of Teachers
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
Money-Out/Voters-In Day of Action, Jan. 19, 2013
We Demand Democracy!
In 2012, big money Super PACS and voter suppression schemes assaulted our system of self-government and lost…this time. But they’ll be back to try to buy or steal our democracy unless we stop them.
That’s why New Yorkers and Americans across the country – along with a large labor, public interest, voting rights, faith and environmental coalition – are organizing a national Money-Out Voters-In Day on January 19, 2013. That weekend is the intersection of the 3rd anniversary of Citizens United, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the Inauguration of a pro-democracy President.
With over 80 cities participating, the centerpiece will be New York City and our target Albany, which we hope will take up the Fair Elections Act in the coming months.
Our system of government isn’t so much broken as rigged. The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United disastrously overturned a century of campaign finance law to concentrate even more political power in the hands of special interests and billionaires. At the same time, 22 states tried to restrict the freedom to vote by erecting unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to registration and voting. In most of those states, voters successfully fought back and stood up for the rights Dr. King was talking about in his historic address at the Washington Monument in 1957, when he exhorted, “Give us the ballot! Give us the ballot!”
Instead of only defensively fighting off attacks on democracy, however, the groups participating in Money-Out/Voters-In Day are positively advocating three broad solutions because we demand democracy!
*Overturn Citizens United with a constitutional amendment so that a momentary five conservative Supreme Court majority doesn’t enshrine the ethic that money is speech and corporations are people. Already, 140 Members of Congress, dozens of cities and nine states — most recently Montana and Colorado by over-whelming majorities — are in favor.
*Enact Publicly-Financed Elections by extending to New York State and Washington the kind of small donor matching system we have in New York City. Then the impact of a voter’s voice won’t depend on the size of her wallet.
*Expand the Vote by not merely fighting back suppression efforts like restrictive ID Laws laws but also by expanding the electorate with such approaches as early voting, universal voter registration, same day registration, voting by mail, and a National Democracy Day on a Saturday in November.
After the public backlash against the Adelsons, Kochs and Roves — and the electoral majorities of pro- democracy candidates for the House, Senate and President — this is the most opportune moment since the Watergate reforms to galvanize and organize around a Democracy-for-All Program. For unless we “fix this,” to use President Obama’s election night phrase, it’ll be harder if not impossible to pass so many other advances such as climate change, a living wage, a more progressive tax code, violence control and immigration reform.
We come together for a National Day of Action on January 19 not because it’s easy to reverse Citizens United but because it’s essential. Unless we act, money and suppression will continue to veto popular majorities on issue after issue. While there are important organizations working separately on campaign finance reform and voting rights, it’s also urgent that we unite to work together on the two sides of the same coin of democracy. That can only happen when elected officials in state capitols and Washington listen more to voters than donors.
Please Join the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate in
“A Pray-in for the Climate” in front of the White House
January 15, 2013
The 84th Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
11:00 am - Gathering at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (1313 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC)
12:00 pm - Religious Procession to the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW)
12:30 pm - Prayerful Vigil - Asking that the President and the nation find the strength and wisdom to steer us away from the Climate Cliff
Please note: Some participants may feel called to risk arrest by non-violently disregarding the conventional regulations and assuming positions of prayer in the area near the White House fence.
Call To Action: A Pray-in For the Climate We are facing a Climate Cliff, and we are calling upon religious and spiritual leaders, other believers and all people of good will to join us to address its danger by participating in “A Pray-in for the Climate” in front of the White House on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.
Super-storm Sandy, the drastic droughts in our corn country, record-breaking Arctic ice melt, and unheard-of floods in Vermont, let alone disasters in Australia, Russia, Pakistan and Africa, all warn us: the disruption of our planet will not wait for our “normal” political paralysis to end.
We are inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose 84th birthday we celebrate on January 15th:
“We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now…. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: ’Too late’.”
by Nathan Schneider
A year ago around this time, Occupy Wall Street was celebrating Advent — the season when Christians anticipate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. In front of Trinity Church, right at the top of Wall Street along Broadway, Occupiers set up a little model tent with the statuettes of a nativity scene inside: Mary, Joseph and the Christ child in a manger, surrounded by animals. In the back, an angel held a tiny cardboard sign with a verse from Luke’s Gospel: “There was no room for them in the inn.” The reason for these activists’ interest in the liturgical calendar, of course, was the movement’s ongoing effort to convince Trinity to start acting less like a real estate corporation and more like a church, and to let the movement use a vacant property that Trinity owns.
- Rev. Richard Cizik, President of The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
- Rev. Bob Edgar, CEO, Common Cause; Former head of National Council of the Churches
- Rev. Michael Ellik, Judson Memorial Church, NYC; Occupy Faith/Occupy Sandy
- Green Hevra, community members
- Rev. Philip Lawson, Pastor Emeritus, Easter Hill UMC Church, Oakland, CA; National Council of Elders
- Rev. John Merz, Rector, Ascension Episcopal Church Brooklyn, NY; Occupy Faith/Occupy Sand
- Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Social Justice Organizing Program, Re-constructionist Rabbinical College
- Nipponzan Nyohoji Buddhist Community
- Jacqui Patterson, NAACP – Director, Climate Justice Initiative
- Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
- Dr. Rajwant Singh, Sikh Council on Religion and Education
- Father Louie Vitale OFM, Franciscan Friar, Co-founder Nevada Desert Experience
- Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., President, HipHop Caucus, Washington, DC
- Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director, NETWORK
- Dr. James Hansen
- Interreligious Eco-Justice Network of CT
- Chief Oren Lyons, Faith keeper, Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation
- People of the Onondaga Nation
- Bill McKibben
- National Council of the Elders
- Rev. Tom Carr, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Hartford, CT, Interreligious Eco Justice Network, CT
- Rev. Terry Ellen, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice in the National Capital Region
- Ted Glick, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
- Cynthia Harris, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate
- Dr. Mark Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation
- Fr. Paul Mayer, Climate Crisis Coalition
- Ibrahim Ramey, Muslim American Freedom Society
- Karen Scott, Center for Liberty of Conscience
- Lise Van Susteren, MD, Advisory Board, Center for Health and the Global Environment, NWF
- Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
Join the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate in a “A Pray-In for the Climate” in front of the White House on January 15, 2013, the 84th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. See Letter of Invitation
As people of faith and spirituality we are deeply concerned about the effects of climate change ravaging our planet, and we are compelled by our traditions and collective conscience to take action together on this deeply moral challenge. Therefore, we call for interfaith actions across the USA to awaken our nation’s elected officials, as well as all civic and business leaders and households, to the urgent need for immediate and effective action to address the climate emergency.
As a first step, we call on our leaders to enact policies that dramatically reduce wasted energy and significantly shift our power supplies from oil, coal and natural gas to wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable energy sources. We must equitably phase-out all fossil fuel subsidies. We also call on our leaders to enact policies to help people here and abroad prepare for and withstand the terrible impacts of climate change that are already occurring and that will grow much worse in the years ahead.
We are compelled to heed Martin Luther King Jr’s call to appreciate the “fierce urgency of now” and his warning that “in this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.”
Our Call is: To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). We must hold forth a brighter vision for our human future within the community of creation as we seek commitment to a set of clear, widely held moral principles.First, it is morally wrong to unjustifiably cause human suffering and death. Human-induced climate change is correlated with storms, floods, droughts, crop failures, diseases, and water and food shortages, as well as associated breakdowns in political, economic, social and ecological systems. These breakdowns compromise human security and are already harming and killing people here and abroad. The greatest impacts are falling on low-income people, communities of color, Indigenous peoples, and others who have contributed little to climate change. We have a moral obligation to rapidly reduce our carbon pollution to minimize these disproportionate impacts.
The second principle is to honor our moral obligation for equity and justice. The shift to a sustainable, energy efficient and renewable energy economy can create millions of good jobs and support healthy families and communities. We must ensure that this shift is a ‘just transition’ that protects the most vulnerable among us and prepares all of us for the impacts of a changing climate. It should spread the investments in solutions and the benefits of new approaches equitably, enable whole industries to make the changes needed, provide adequate resources for workers and communities adversely affected by the shift, and ensure that all Americans have a democratic voice in how those decisions are made.
The third guiding moral principle is to protect the Earth, which is the source of all life. Virtually all the world’s religious and spiritual traditions proclaim that we have a moral obligation to be good stewards of the Earth and all of its creatures and processes. To disrupt the climate that is the cornerstone of all life and to squander the extraordinary abundance of life, diversity, and beauty of the planet is a moral failure of the first order.
Our capacity for repentance and forgiveness inspires hope in a future where we can recover from the errors of our past, repair the damage we have done and share in the act of healing the Earth. May we rely on the guidance of our faith traditions and spiritual teachings to find the power to act with courage and conviction to create a brighter, more secure and sustainable future for all of us, our children and all future generations.
P R E S S R E L E A S E
For Immediate Release
Tuesday December 4, 2012
Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz, 347-982-1677 (English & Spanish)
Rev. John Mertz, 718-930-1268 (English)
Luis Casco, 347-207-4113 (English & Spanish)
AT MAYOR’S HOME FAITH LEADERS DEMAND ALTERNATIVE HOUSING FOR RESIDENTS LIVING IN POST-SANDY MOLD INFESTED HOMES
WHERE: Home of Mayor Bloomberg – 17 East 79th Street, Manhattan NYC
WHEN: 11AM TUESDAY DECEMBER 4, 2012
WHO: Faith leaders working with Occupy Sandy victims will be joined by community organizers and community members of affected areas to make an urgent plea to the Mayor to immediately provide housing solutions to those displaced by Superstorm Sandy.
WHAT: Without the housing alternatives that the mayor ought to have provided by now many victims have had no choice but to stay in their devastated and mold-infested homes. As a result many are getting terribly sick from these conditions. The lack of housing coupled with the misinformation of the dangers of living with mold are putting these vulnerable communities at greater risk than necessary.
“The Katrina ghost is being resuscitated by the slow response of the city and lack of guidance and vision for the Federal Government. It is clear to me that as we, people of faith, have responded in opening our Churches, synagogues, and other sacred spaces and it is long overdue that the government and those who have accumulated and have the resources, in their care, need to step up. It is a crisis and we need our structures in place to adapt and work for the most vulnerable among us,” Rev. Ruiz, who has worked along Occupy Sandy’s hub at St. Jacobi’s Lutheran Church, stated. These devastated communities are encountering completely avoidable challenges due to the lack of alternative housing making much more difficult the task of rebuilding.
We are living in a mold infested community,” said resident Luis Casco, “One of my neighbors is a 67 year old woman who cannot run her daycare any longer and has a respiratory disease and is living in mold.”
“We are people, not animals, we should not be living in these horrible conditions.” added Casco.
Rev. Caliendo, who works as a chaplain for the nurses, added “one of the most important factors in this entire situation is that the Rockaways was an under-served community the storm has decimated all services, the most important medical services. Over the last couple of days I along with mental health professionals are working to organize mental health support in the churches. Although a group of concerned doctors, nurses and advocates have been on conference calls with the mayor’s office, no progress has been made to aid and deliver resources needed to avert the crisis”.
Community members and faith leaders demand that the Mayor answer the immediate need for housing. Denying them this human right means that the mayor is failing in his duties and undermining the tremendous efforts these communities are making to recover.
Hello all – we realize this is extremely short notice and that this is frustrating for some, but this is the nature of the evolving situation with Sandy recovery.
We will be holding an emergency information meeting this Thursday (12/6) at 10a at Judson Memorial Church (enter at 239 Thompson Street and look for the Garden Room) to update faith leaders with the evolving recovery situation. As can be expected, there are far too many people living in houses with dangerous mold, and we will need to take a stand to have Bloomberg and city agencies recognize this and take action.
- Minister’s plea, below
- Article: Worker Health Advocates Say 9/11 Mistakes Repeated in Sandy Clean-up
- Video: Cold And Mold In The Rockaways: Bloomberg’s Stealth Visit
- Petition Page
- Build Better Facebook page
Occupy Radical Christian LivingSat. Dec. 8 Come to Trinity Wall Street at 12:30p.m. for an extension of Trinity Institute’s conference on Radical Christian Living. Gather at 12:30 in front of Trinity Wall Street for leafleting, singing and engaging with faith leaders involved with Occupy Sandy, Strike Debt, A People’s Investigation and more. [Facebook page]
One of the most important factors in this entire situation is that the Rockaway was an under-served community the storm has decimated all services, the most important medical services. Over the last couple of days I along with mental health professionals are working to organize mental health support in the churches. Although a group of concerned doctors, nurses and advocates have been on conference calls with the mayor’s office, no progress has been made to aid and deliver resources needed to avert the crisis.
The NSNYA nurses will be soon coming out with a press release on their assessment of the situation I hope you can spread the word and gather support of the interfaith community.