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Faith advocacy aids Newsom’s decision to sign executive order for conservation by 2030

California joins the global effort to fight climate change by taking on the goal to conserve 30% of state lands by 2030, making us the first in the nation

Faith based organizations, alongside numerous other non-profit, environmental advocacy, and legislative efforts paid off today in a innovative and far reaching executive order to protect California lands and waters.

2020’s Legislative session has been filled with many powerful moments for LOPP-CA, and our collective power as those moving in Christ has only become more and more apparent. The signing of this Executive Order N-82-20 (full version here) aligns with our priority of Environmental Stewardship set at the opening of this year, and is specifically important because of how much our advocacy mattered in this fight – faith organizations, and especially LOPP-CA, were notably instrumental in placing this issue as a moral priority in California.

LOPP-CA’s Director Regina Banks spoke to this victory by saying “California Lutherans have been closely tracking imminent dangers to safe, affordable drinking water, as well as the environmental racism at play in who does, and does not, have water security. As the climate crisis, pollution, and irresponsible corporate practices have made water stewardship increasingly difficult, we welcome the opportunity to leverage the Governor’s executive order, which sets clear guidelines for conservation, to protect and redeem California’s watersheds. The God-given life-sustaining gift of water requires our careful stewardship, so all people and creation can endure for generations to come.” 

This is a monumental achievement, and our church has a right to be proud of our work today. Here is a link to a statement from Creation Justice Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition – of which LOPP-CA is a member – dedicated to advocating for care of God’s creation. Faith leaders across the US have been pushing for this 30% by 2030 goal via a letter writing campaign, and California is the first to see these advocacy efforts pay off!

We can and often do make a difference; the spirit moved in this victory, and will continue to do so as we reach further to make our world a better place. Join with us in celebration today, and with us in further advocacy on issues in the upcoming year!

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Events Local Events State Uncategorized

Youth Group Prop 18 Contest!

Get your Youth Group involved in this November Election around Prop 18 by writing a letter to the editor BY OCTOBER 11! There is prize money!!


WHAT IS THIS CONTEST?

– Glad you asked! Lutheran Office of Public Policy (LOPP-CA) believes that it is our work as the body of Christ to engage with our government through advocacy and government. With this commitment in mind, we are hosting a letter to the editor writing contest surrounding Prop 18, and will get that letter posted to a California news source!

WHAT IS PROP 18?

– Prop 18 is simple yet powerful: this ballot measure would allow 17 year olds turning 18 by the time of the General Election to vote in that years Primary Election. This lets youth decide who they are actually voting for: many counties in California belong solidly to one party or other, meaning whoever is elected in the primary likely to win the office. Allowing youth to vote in the primary will make a more equitable voting process and allow their voices to truly be heard. For more on the Proposition as well as our stance, look at our voter guide.

WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?

– Youth applying should be connected with a ELCA youth group ministry. Each applicant will submit a letter of approximately 250 words stating why Prop 18 is important to them and how voting will help build their future. The top 3 letters will receive prize money ($1000, $500, and $250 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place respectively) to their youth group to spend as they need, and the letters will be posted! Once you have written you letter, you can submit it to Regina Banks, our director, at regina.banks@elca.org. We are aiming to have all submissions by October 11, so that’s your deadline!

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN WRITING

  • You should be knowledgeable about Prop 18 and other Ballots that you would be voting on this election!!! Here is a link to our voter guide which describes the props in detail!
  • Prop 18 is specifically for youth; this is about inspiring a upcoming generation to engage in the political process, so don’t be afraid to embrace your youth-fullness! This letter is about voting YES on Prop 18!
  • We will push to have these letters posted in Newsletters around California! These letters will influence this November election, and will encourage a yes on Prop 18!
  • This letter is about you; facts and figures can be helpful in advocacy, but this letter to the Editor project is about your personal story. Your letter should be made almost (if not entirely) of your own personal story, convictions, and vision for what could be possible by passing Prop 18.
  • Feel free to write both as a person of faith and a citizen. This isn’t necessarily a religious defense, but your testimony as to why this is important to you.

REACH OUT TO US!!

If you have questions, feel free to reach out to either Regina Banks or James Williams, our Communications Coordinator (submissions should be sent to Regina) via the “contact us” drop-down under “get involved”. LOPP-CA is HAPPY to talk with your congregations about this opportunity!

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Local Events Updates

September 2020 – Legislative Update (updated)

Many things have happened this year, and we have won almost all of our priority bills! LOPP-CA’s advocacy this session was important in making many bills into law. We take specific pride in the passing of AB 3070 and AB 3073, as we pushed and fought hard for these bills! Here is the list of our vitories:

  • A law providing guidelines for the pre-enrollment of recently incarcerated persons into the statewide food assistance Calfresh Program, a bill that our office co-sponsored alongside advocacy organization Bread of the World (AB 3073)
  • A law altering and strengthening anti-discrimination procedures within courts in the jury selection process. Discrimination within the jury selection process has been noticed by many, and this legislation is powerful in giving advocates the tools to address systemic racism within the justice system (AB 3070)
  • A law creating a funded campaign for protections and health awareness during COVID-19 for agricultural workers, which includes thousands of migrant workers (AB 2043)
  • A law establishing one of the nation’s first mandatory task forces to study the issue of Slavery’s legacy within the United States and the need for reparations for African Americans; the task force will create proposals of mechanisms that can be enacted to address the need of reparations (AB 3121)
  • A law barring criminal conviction of a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. This law will expand a persons ability to contest cases of unlawful imprisonment on the basis of discrimination, and thus open a doorway to pursue equity within the justice system (AB 2542)

Californians  also saw a monumental victory with the signing of AB 1876, expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable communities, specifically immigrant workers. ITIN tax filers were previously barred from receiving refunds from their state tax claims, despite paying more than 3 million in taxes annually. LOPP-CA has fought for over 4 years with 60 organizations, making this a milestone for Lutheran advocacy in California.

Other Legislative updates:

  • A bill pushing for a one-time cash-via-card food assistance stipend towards migrant workers, many of who have been left out of our government’s efforts to help during this COID-19 crisis, was vetoed by Governor Newsom. (AB 826). This bill was a priority for many of our coalition partnerships.
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Events Local Events Racial Justice Updates

Text Banking for Prop 16!

Our sustained action every other Monday at 6pm


This coming November is a chance to pursue our baptismal calling to advocacy in many ways. In moving in our churches firm commitment to fighting the sin that is racism and building a country that holds all of as children of God, we are having continued advocacy for voting YES on Proposition 16 until the election.

We will be meetings every other Monday at 6pm to Text bank California Voters, asking them to vote YES on Prop 16! We welcome all to come and join, even if you haven’t done so before (we will train you!). It is very easy, and all you have to do is follow the directions at the sign up below!

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Uncategorized

Governor signs AB 1876, making Expansion of EITC into law!!

WE. HAVE. WON!

There are no words that can truly express how great a victory this is for all. The Expansion of the EITC to immigrant ITIN Tax Filers puts California on the right side of history, and is nothing short of God’s compassion and justice coming into the world.

Prior to this week, hundreds of thousands of people were locked out of one of California’s most influential and powerful poverty-fighting measures, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Over 600,000 ITIN number holders were suffering the unjust position of working hard, building economies, paying taxes, but receiving no tax refund. No longer. Vulnerable communities such as migrant workers in healthcare, farming, service work and so much more are now covered in the EITC.

 

This win means so much, and has been a long time coming. The Cal-EITC Coalition, of which LOPP-CA is a proud member, has fought hard and won a campaign spanning more than four years and involving more than 60 organizations. This in means care for the vulnerable. This win means California is the second in our nation to take this step in  protecting so many vulnerable non-citizen immigrant communities. This win means God’s love is extended to more of the body of Christ, and for that there cannot be enough celebration. 

Below we have linked the Cal-EITC Coalition’s official press release, which holds more information on this monumental victory:

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=02197ef57f&attid=0.1&permmsgid=msg-

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State Updates

Legislative updates and Bill summaries: end of session 2020

*Being updated regularly

This legislative session was full of highs and lows, unexpected turns, and strained by a global pandemic, climate catastrophes and more. LOPP-CA has followed multiple bills throughout this time, diligently following legislation that embodies our moral understanding of God’s commandment to run after justice and peace in all ways. 

“…Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled… Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Excerpts from the Beatitudes


Now is the end of the legislative year 2020, and there are five bills we have tracked that have made it past the legislature and currently sit on the Governor’s Desk. The bills and a brief summary of each are below:

 

Food Access: extending God’s table to the most vulnerable

  •  AB 826: Emergency food assistance: COVID-19 – This measure creates an one-time fund for emergency food assistance that will help millions of people throughout California find food security during this COVID Crisis; This bill specifically uplifts immigrant communities that have been left out of many pandemic relief efforts. See a bill fact sheet made by California Association of Food Banks here.

VETOED

  • AB 3073: CalFresh: pre-enrollment – California is the largest food producing state in the U.S, but still faces the tragic truth that 1 in 8 Californians are food insecure. Bill AB 3073 expands the CalFresh program to those disenfranchised through the carceral system, giving guidelines to both pre-enroll the currently incarcerated as well as enroll formerly incarcerated people. This bill is designed to extend the basic human need of food towards some of our most vulnerable.

PASSED

Racial Reconciliation: repairing harm, embracing the full Body of Christ

  • AB 2542: Criminal Procedure: discrimination (California Racial Justice act) – This bill creates a legal pathway to the sin of racism within legal prosecution. Specifically, it disallows criminal prosecution on the base of Race, Ethnicity, or National Origin and paves a way to legally challenge racial bias within any criminal case. This is a monumental bill toward gaining racial equality in California. A fact sheet for the bill is found here.

PASSED

  • AB 3070: Juries: Peremptory Challenges LOPP-CA supports this bill as another attempt for California to address systemic racial injustice. This Bill bolsters the legal framework of identifying and rectifying racial bias in the jury selection process. There are many key changes to the current legal process made, all of which can be found by viewing the bill analysis here.

PASSED

  • AB 3121: Committee to Study Reparations – This legislation creates a 8 person committee to begin the difficult work of reckoning with the legacy of racism and slavery in the U.S,  which will ultimately make recommendations on how best to address Reparations towards African Americans. More on this bill can be found here.

PASSED

 

Worker Protection: guarding those that serve others

  • AB 2043: Occupational Safety and Health: agricultural employers and employees: COVID-19 -Introduced by Representative Robert Rivas in District 30, the bill, “Ensures enforcement by Cal/OSHA of its COVID-19 guidance, funds a targeted bilingual outreach campaign to educate agricultural workers on Cal/OSHA guidance, as well as COVID-19-related paid sick leave and workers compensation benefits, and directs Cal/OSHA to track and report workplace investigations related to the agricultural industry.” This bill was introduced as a package to support California’s vulnerable and necessary farm workers, neighbors that provide food for our entire nation. More on the bill here.

PASSED

Anti-poverty Legislation: expanding our social net to hold those that work

  • AB 1876: Expanding California EITC to Immigrant ITIN Filers – This is a long standing battle to broaden the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which current immigrant ITIN tax filers do not receive. The Federal and State income tax return credit is one of the most powerful tools available for lifting people out of poverty, and this legislation would expand EITC guidelines to include many hard working Californians.

PASSED


This is powerful news, and we are uplifted to see that some change-making bills have the chance to move our state closer to God’s vision of love. We need to fight for change, in all ways possible. We need leadership from Governor Newsom in signing these measure into law.  Advocate by calling or emailing here the Governor before September 30th!

 

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Events Local Events Updates

God’s Work, Our Hands Event! Yes on Prop 16!

Sunday, September 20th: Text Bank advocacy for Prop 16

Sign up link here!!!

California is a vast state filled with people that celebrate God’s diversity; sadly our state hasn’t done enough to live into this joy. We are voting YES on Proposition 16 this November so that we can continue the fight for the beautiful wholeness of our Church, so we can work alongside those moving for racial justice all over our country, so we can fight against gender discrimination,  and so we as God’s Church can stand by our Baptismal covenant of justice. Ephesians 2:14 says, “for he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility..” 

 

LOPP-CA is working with the Yeson16 Coalition to pass Prop 16! We will be running a 1 hour training for our Intuitive Text-Banking system, then jumping into some messaging to California Voters as a group! Don’t worry, we won’t be using your direct phone number, and we will teach you everything you need to know! All you will need is a Laptop (preferred), Tablet, or Phone! SIGN UP ON THE LINK BELOW

https://www.mobilize.us/voteyesonprop16/event/322120/

Our training times are: 12pm, 2pm, 4pm (google hang out meeting link upon registration)

Our text banking happens right after each training: 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 6pm (zoom link upon registation)

Make sure to sign up at our link above so we know how many folks we have coming. Let’s make God’s Work happen!

taken from Equal Vote Yes on Prop 16, Equal Opportunities

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Updates Worship Resources

Hunger Strike Vigil

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Events State UN/National Updates Updates

During Hunger Strike, Faith Leaders Hold Vigil for Immigrant Justice

For Immediate Release: August 20, 2020

Contact: 
Regina Banks: regina.banks@elca.org, 916.208.5334
Rhonda Rios Kravitz: rhondarioskravitz@gmail.com, 916.712.7169
Susan Lange: susanlange.uu@gmail.com, 650.291.4603

Faith leaders host nationwide candlelight vigil in solidarity with detained undocumented immigrants leading hunger strike and other actions to protest inhumane and unsafe conditions in ICE detention facilities

The Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California along with faith-based policy organizations across the country condemn deplorable conditions in ICE detention facilities and stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants on hunger strike at the Yuba County Jail while a majority of those detained at Mesa Verde Detention Facility are currently infected with COVID-19.

CALIFORNIA — The nationwide vigil, scheduled for Friday, August 21, will be held in solidarity with detained undocumented immigrants at the Yuba County Jail, who began a hunger strike on Wednesday morning in response to reprehensible conditions at the facility, including arbitrary restrictions and practices that ignore COVID-19 distancing restrictions and common sense practice–and now the Nevada City fire, one of hundreds of fires ravishing California, is just 30 minutes away from the jail.

The vigil will also support the demands of individuals held at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility in Bakersfield. These demands include an end to practices ignoring isolation measures as more than half of the detainees held at the facility tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California, a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is spearheading the virtual vigil. Registration is open to all regardless of faith affiliation, and clergy from multiple traditions will be present. The candlelight vigil will begin at 7pm PDT / 10pm EDT on Friday, August 21. The Lord’s Prayer, in different languages, will be at the center of the vigil. Register via bit.ly/2QhXKVf

Regina Banks, Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California, stated: “This could force a local government to take a stand for immigrants and refuse to participate in what has been inhumane treatment.” Faith advocates organizing the vigil seek to be a moral voice in the midst of state-sanctioned suffering and terror. 

The vigil will take place simultaneously with two rallies in support of the strikers at each detention facility.

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Categories
UN/National Updates Updates

Immigrants Hold Hunger Strike in California ICE Detention Facility

For Immediate Release:
gust 20, 2020

Contact: 
Juan Prieto, jprieto@ciyja.org, 510-414-0953
Yuba: Luis Angel, luisangel@pangealegal.org, 415-635-4931
Yuba: Jessica Yamane, jessica@dscs.org , 415-570-8577
Mesa Verde: Jesus Chavez, jchavez@centrolegal.org, 510-947-9911

As California fires rage, undocumented immigrants hold indefinite hunger strike and solidarity action at two separate detention facilities as COVID-19 outbreak ravages majority of detainees

Immigrants launch indefinite hunger strike at Yuba County Jail condemning deplorable conditions while more than half of those detained at Mesa Verde Detention Facility are currently infected with COVID-19  following previous labor strikes and hunger strikes

CALIFORNIA — Despite worsening air quality due to regional fires, detained undocumented immigrants at the Yuba County Jail began an indefinite hunger strike this Wednesday morning in response to deplorable conditions at the facility. From arbitrary restrictions to yardtime implemented by Captain Allan Garza, to the mixing of populations of immigrant detainees with recently detained criminalized individuals—a practice that ignores COVID-19 distancing restrictions and common sense practice—the fires ravishing Northern California are the least of concerns for immigrants detained at the jail 30 minutes away from the Nevada City fire.

“We’re already hearing from hunger strike leaders that Captain Garza has begun to retaliate against them by taking hygienic products and even beverages from them,” urges Itzel Calvo, deportation defense organizer with the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance. “Folks have been organizing inside detention centers across California for five months now, and no significant change is being enacted by state or locally elected leaders. The folks inside felt escalation was needed, even though the air quality poses extra health risks.”

That’s why the hunger strike at Yuba County Jail will go on indefinitely, or until folks detained inside get a meeting with Captain Garza to further discuss COVID-19 precautionary measures.

Simultaneously, individuals held at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility in Bakersfield are demanding an end to similar practices ignoring isolation measures as ICE finally confirms that there is a coronavirus outbreak inside the facility, with more than half of the detainees held at the facility testing positive for the disease. Despite this extremely alarming and damning statistic, ICE and GEO Group are doing nothing to stop the spread, and are instead exacerbating conditions to spread the disease, like limiting cleaning efforts and mixing populations of infected folks with those who are not infected. 

Two rallies in support of the strikers are being organized by community advocates in Yuba County and Kern County, where Mesa Verde Detention Facility sits. Rallies are set to commence Friday, August 21 from 7pm-10pm outside of each facility.

Outside Mesa Verde Detention Facility, the Kern Youth Abolitionist’s are leading a car show in solidarity with detained individuals, with local car clubs doing a honk-and-drive and posters of detained individuals held inside on display. 

Outside Yuba County Jail, community members will read testimonies and demands from folks inside,  including demanding Captain Allan Garza stop Yuba’s unsanitary and unsafe practices. 

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