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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.
Categories
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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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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Categories
Racial Justice State Updates

Board votes to center anti-racist lens in all policy work

The LOPPCA Policy Council unanimously affirmed a move to center an anti-racism lens to fuel and undergird our advocacy priorities as an organization. The Board will work in conjunction with the Director to develop protocols and guidance for how this will be implemented and measured.

What is an anti-racist lens?

“The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.” 

― Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

An anti-racist approach confronts and dismantles systems and structures which promote racism and white supremacy. Such an approach is necessary because anti-blackness and white supremacy are embedded in our history, our present, and the pull of the status quo. Racism is devastating, harmful, and at times lethal to people of color, and it is harmful to our common life together as beloved community.

How does ANTI-RACISM apply to policY-making?

“Americans have long been trained to see the deficiencies of people rather than policy. It’s a pretty easy mistake to make: People are in our faces. Policies are distant. We are particularly poor at seeing the policies lurking behind the struggles of people.” 

― Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

White supremacy was historically created by and continues to be promoted through policymaking, whether explicitly in segregated beaches along California’s coast, or implicitly through access to state programs such as clean vehicle rebates and tax credits. We must ask: Who is in power? Who wrote the policy? Who benefits? Who doesn’t? Who suffers? How does this help build a beloved community? Who is missing at the decision-making table?

An anti-racist approach centers voices, experiences, solutions, and realities of Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color. It also promotes the redistribution of power at every level of society: CEOs, federal lawmakers, city councils, school boards, etc. As a church, the ELCA is reckoning with its own alliances to white supremacy and committing to anti-racist practices. Our advocacy work in California allows us to support and amplify policies by and for people of color within our Lutheran tradition and within our state.

2020-21 LEVN Volunteer

The Board also voted to participate as a placement for a local young adult discernment organization, Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network (LEVN). LEVN is located in Davis, CA and provides spiritual formation, vocational discernment, housing, and meaningful work at a non-profit placement site.

LEVN was founded in 2012 on tenets of intentional Christian community, simple living, service of others, solidarity with the poor, promoting justice, spiritual awareness, and vocational discernment. LEVN strives to provide a just and equitable internship opportunity by providing housing, healthcare, and a stipend for and other essentials.

LEVNers, as they are colloquially named, must have a bachelors degree OR 3 years of professional experience OR an equitable combination of college coursework and professional experience. Staff work with volunteers to attain student loan forbearance if needed. LEVNers receive $1000 reentry fund following completion of the program.

The LEVN volunteer at LOPPCA will work remotely doing communications, social media, and administrative duties as assigned to support advocacy in the Capitol and engagement in our churches.

Categories
State Updates

Bishop Eaton Addresses LOPPCA Followers

A message from Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Elizabeth A. Eaton, to California advocates on what would have been our second annual Lobby Day today. We are grateful for her unwavering support of our work. This year’s Lobby Day has been postponed to September given the special circumstances of the legislative session during COVID-19.

In other news, we received approval for our permit to gather at the Capitol for Lutheran Lobby Day 2021. We are looking forward to gathering in person next year on May 19, 2020. You can mark your calendars!

Categories
State Updates

April 2020 Update

While COVID-19 has turned our world upside down in unprecedented ways, our advocacy work continues to be essential in developing coordinated and inclusive responses that support all Americans.

The California Legislature went on an extended recess beginning in mid-March which has been extended for the next month. Advocacy has therefore focused on urging the Governor to enact a true moratorium on evictions and mortgage protections, include Individual Taxpayer Identification Number filers in any relief at the state level, and more. Even so, we continue to support state bills related to COVID-19 relief, such as CalFresh, Simpler for Seniors and CalFresh, Prison Preenrollment and the Racial Justice Act for when the Legislature reconvenes. We are also assisting our partners in accessing federal CARES and Families First provisions and shifting our advocacy to the federal level when necessary.

The Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California instituted a new program to engage our Policy Council, pastors and members of Lutheran congregations in California. We call it Advocacy in Quarantine.

  • We set a weekly Wednesday Zoom meeting where LOPP-CA staff offer a roughly 25 minute overview of the federal government’s response to Covid-19, the State of California’s response, and pending state legislation we are following and sponsoring. We also highlight the work that our allies and ministry partners are doing in the state.
  • We then direct them to actions that would take them about 5 minutes to complete (I.e.; call or tweet the governor to release prisoners and ICE detainees on #FaithfulFridays)

We are grateful for an incredible response from our members, and we’re getting feedback from our ministry partners that the calls are already being noticed. We are seriously contemplating how this can become a part of our programing when we go back into session.