Categories
UN/National Updates Updates

Responding to Our Sorrow With Action

Our communities are bracing for nationwide raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to begin on Sunday. Planned raids are reported to focus on 10 major cities where the Department of Justice has sped up immigration cases for thousands of recent arrivals.

Lutherans have a deep-rooted history in refugee and immigrant issues. One of every six Lutherans in the world was a refugee or displaced person after WWII. The God-given dignity in all people and value of family unity have been cornerstones of ELCA faith-based advocacy, and we understand that many immigrants, as well as their families, are both afraid and confused by recent developments. Daily experience of ministries, Lutheran organizations and members “keep before us – so that we do not forget – the grim realities many immigrants face and the strength of character and resourcefulness newcomers demonstrate,” notes the ELCA social message, “Immigration.”

A compilation of resources, updated today from an original posting on June 28, can be found in “Responding to our sorrow with action” on the ELCA Advocacy blog. At the meeting place of our knowledge and values, Lutherans have acted and can continue to respond.

Categories
State Updates

July 2019 Update

BUDGET GAINS AND LOSSES:
During our Lobby Day last month we advocated for a Medi-Cal (California’s low-income health care program) expansion that would cover all income-eligible people independent of immigration status. We, and our allies, were partially successful in spurring an expansion that will cover those up to age 26.  We also talked to legislators about the establishment of a clean, safe and affordable drinking water fund. The Legislature agreed and chose to finance the measure with cap-and-trade funds as opposed to the governor’s proposed new fee on polluters. Finally, the Legislature approved a significant expansion to the California Earned Income Tax Credit. This is a tent post for the End Child Poverty coalition to which we belong and was a huge win. Unfortunately, the expansion will not include those who file taxes with an ITIN, whose filers are primarily undocumented workers. Thank you to everyone who came to Lobby Day, made calls, wrote e-mails and prayed. We got both some significant wins and a clearer roadmap of the work ahead!

WORLD REFUGEE DAY ACKNOWLEDGMENT:
June 20thmarked U.N. World Refugee Day. LOPP-CA acknowledged the day with partners such as St. Paul Lutheran Church of Lodi, Calif; Organizacion de Trabajadores, Fuerzas Unidas and others in a march and prayer circle for the reunification of families being callously held in US detentions. We prayed together and then marched to the U.S. General Services Administration building in Sacramento where we prayed for the employees and our policy makers.

SECOND-MILE GIVING:
Thank you so much to everyone, congregations and individuals alike, who participated in the Sierra Pacific Synod’s second-mile giving support of LOPP-CA in June. We are humbled by your generosity.

Categories
State Updates

June 2019 Update

LUTHERAN LOBBY DAY 2019 WAS A HUGE SUCCESS:
About 105 Lutherans from throughout our diverse state gathered in Sacramento on May 29 to talk to policy makers about childhood poverty, a MediCal expansion to cover undocumented adults and water justice. We assembled at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sacramento to hear the gospel preached by the Rev. Amy Reumann, director of ELCA Advocacy, commune together and learn advocacy tips and strategies before heading to the Capitol for scheduled meetings. We met with 52 (of 120) state legislator offices in four hours! Some were short, uplifting meetings of like-minded people; others were more contentious. But all participants had a meaningful day putting faith into action.

LOPP-CA would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who helped make the event a success. We’d especially like to highlight Bishops Guy Erwin of Southwest California, Mark Holmerud of Sierra Pacific and Andy Taylor of Pacifica Synod who attended and committed themselves and their staffs to highlighting the role of advocacy in the life of the church. St. John’s and its pastor, the Rev. Frank Espegren, who were a study in hospitality for the day; and our ministry partners throughout the capitol community that made the vision for the day come to life. It was truly a blessed time in the Lord, and it’s not too soon to plan to join us next year!

Categories
State Updates

Lutheran Lobby Day 2019 Was an Outstanding Success!

Here is a slideshow from Lutheran Lobby Day.  It is nothing short of amazing that we had over 100 people advocating to end childhood poverty, to bring clean water to marginalized communities, and for compassionate and sustainable immigration systems at our first Lobby Day!   Our new Director, Regina Banks, is doing a fabulous job!

Categories
State Updates

May 2019 Update

ADVOCACY CONVENING:
California was well-represented at this year’s Advocacy Convening held April 29 through May 1 in Washington, D.C. The theme of this year’s event was “Prepared to Care: Our Advocacy in Light of Disasters Intensified by Climate Change”. The California delegation consisted of Bishop Guy Erwin of the Southwest California Synod, Debi Groon of Lutheran Social Services of Southern California, Wylie Cook a seminarian and board member of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California, and Regina Q. Banks, director of LOPP-CA.

The delegation discussed the ELCA’s commitment to disaster response and preparedness with congressional representative Gilbert Cisneros (CA-39), Doris Matsui (CA-06) and Brad Sherman (CA-30),  as well as senators Kamala Harris and Diane Feinstein. All of the meetings went very well and it was decided all of the offices were receptive to the ELCA Advocacy Ask.

LUTHERAN LOBBY DAY IN SACRAMENTO:
Washington was good practice for California’s first statewide advocacy event scheduled for Wednesday May 29th in Sacramento. You can still register for Lutheran Lobby Day at the State Capitol. Participants from D.C. will give an in-depth debrief. Information and a link to register can be found at www.loppca.org

Categories
State Updates

April 2019 Update

LUTHERAN LOBBY DAY:
LOPP-CA is pleased to announce our first Lutheran Lobby Day at the State Capitol on Wednesday, May 29. Plan to join our bishops, clergy, members, and Rev. Amy E. Reumann, ELCA Advocacy Director, as we build relationships with legislators and policy-makers and fellowship with one another. We will gather at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sacramento at 8 a.m. and will progress to the Capitol together around 10 a.m. Our goal is to have every single Assembly district represented, so we need you there.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown at Capitol Park (a block from St. John’s and two blocks from the Capitol building). Mention LOPP-CA when making your reservations to get our discount. We look forward to seeing you there.

Lobby Day Registration Link: https://community.elca.org/lutheran-lobby-day-at-the-capitol

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS:
Our social media relaunches are underway! Please visit us on Facebook at Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California. We are sharing updates, articles and time-sensitive action items. Like, share and repost our content. The policy council has a goal of getting 5000 by the end of the year. You can help us meet our goal and stay up-to-date with the activities. Plans are underway for Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Watch this space!

Categories
Updates

March 2019 Update

BILL INTRODUCTION DEADLINE:
February 22, 2019 marked the final day for the California Legislature to introduce bills for the 2019 Legislative Session. The Senate and Assembly Desks remained open through the weekend to process the bill introductions. Nearly 2,600 bills were introduced this year, covering an extensive range of topics and subject-areas. Among the several bills introduced were no fewer than 17 that represent the End Child Poverty Plan recommendations. Many other bills were introduced with respect to LOPP-CA’s other legislative priorities of Water Justice and Immigration and Migration issues. The policy council will begin to narrow down bill priorities in the coming weeks. 

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS:
The Communications Committee has heard your cry: Invest in LOPP-CA’s Social Media presence! We know that you are looking for LOPP-CA on social media platforms and we are preparing to meet you there. Please visit us on Facebook at Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California. We are sharing updates, article and time-sensitive action items. Like, share and repost our content. The policy council has a goal of getting 5000 followers by the end of the year. You can help us meet our goal and stay up-to-date with the activities. Plans are underway for Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Watch this space!

Categories
Updates

February 2019 Update

LOPP-CA HAS A NEW DIRECTOR:
The Policy Council of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy – CA is pleased to announce that Regina Q. Banks, JD has begun as LOPP-CA Director! She succeeds Mark Carlson whose successful tenure as Director sunsets January 31st.

ADVOCATING FOR IMPOVERISHED CHILDREN:
LOPP-CA acted with its partners in the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force in participating in the End Child Poverty in California Advocacy Day at the state capitol January 22nd. The event was very well received with over 90 legislator visits and a standing-room-only press conference with democratic state lawmakers.  Over 40 organizations came together for the event to support the final report and recommendations of the task force. Among the recommendations are a welfare grant increase beyond the governor’s budget proposal and targeted child tax credit that would also function as a rental subsidy.

LUTHERAN LOBBY DAY PLANNED:
LOPP-CA held its first policy council meeting of 2019 on February 2 at the Southwest California Synod offices in Glendale. Many new and exciting initiatives were planned and will be announced soon. But please mark your calendars now for Lutheran Lobby Day: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 in Sacramento. Issues discussed will include policy council issue priorities for 2019: Deep Childhood Poverty, Immigration and Water Justice.