For Immediate Release: August 20, 2020
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.
For Immediate Release:
gust 20, 2020
Juan Prieto, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-414-0953
Yuba: Luis Angel, email@example.com, 415-635-4931
Yuba: Jessica Yamane, firstname.lastname@example.org , 415-570-8577
Mesa Verde: Jesus Chavez, email@example.com, 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.
1. Call the Senate Appropriations Committee before Thursday’s suspense file hearing.
Call Committee Staff at (916) 651-4101 in support of the following bills which will be heard on 8/20:
- AB 3121: Reparations Task Force
- AB 2542: Racial Justice Act
- AB 2043: Farmworker Safety and CalOSHA requirements
- AB 826: Emergency Food Assistance for Immigrants
Give your name and city of residence. Go on the record in support of each bill. Tell the staffer why you care.
2. Email your Senator in support of CalFresh Prison Preenrollment today.
3. Sign up for Friday’s immigrant justice vigil and ballot measure events
1. Immigrant Food Assistance
Support AB 826 with a letter to Senator Anthony Portantino, Chair of the Appropriations Committee
2. Reparations Bill
Call the Senate Appropriations Committee and voice your support for AB 3121 (Weber): Reparations Task Force.
This bill will be heard in Appropriations tomorrow, Thursday August 13.
Call Senate Appropriations Staff at (916) 651-4101
- Name and city that you live in
- Go on the record that you support the passage of this bill to the Senate floor
3. Federal Relief Package
Share this fact sheet (use share icons on left corner of page) and tag Congressmembers and White House officials in your post.
The only way to adequately meet the needs of a reeling economy, struggling families, and cash-strapped states and localities is for President Trump and Congress to come to agreement on a robust, bipartisan economic relief package.
- Tens of millions of people have lost their jobs, and millions report that their households did not get enough to eat, are behind on their rent or mortgage, or both.
- Nearly 30 million adults reported that their household didn’t get enough to eat for the week ending July 21, according to Census estimates.
- Nearly 15 million renters (more than 1 in 5) reported that they were behind on rent for the same week.
- Some 19 million children (more than 1 in 4) live in a household that is behind on rent or mortgage payments, isn’t getting enough to eat, or both, based on Census estimates from late June and July.
It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on this earth.Cesar Chavez, in his statement at the end of his 24-day fast for justice
- #Farmworker Day of Action
- Call Senate Committee to Support Food Access for People Leaving Incarceration
- Sign On to Ensure School Meals Access
- #SafteyNet4All Day of Action
Other bills discussed include AB 3070 – Anti-discrimination in Jury Selection, AB 2542 – Racial Justice Act, and AB 3121 – Reparations Task Force (Similar to HR 40). To support, please visit the committee websites and make a phone call to staff or committees members
Farmworker COVID-19 Study
California employs an estimated 800,000 farmworkers. Most work at seasonal jobs—rarely holding full-time, year-round work—and earn an average annual income of less than $18,000. A recent study found:
- Nearly 1/2 of farmworkers lost work time & income during #COVID19.
- 60% of workers are undocumented & ineligible for most social safety net programs.
- 54% of respondents reported that costs, lack of insurance, and/or lack of sick leave prevented them from accessing healthcare, even if ill.
Read full data summary here.
Food Justice for People Leaving Prison
Support AB 3073: CalFresh Prison Preenrollment with a phone call to one of the following Senators if they represent you or to the committee staff:
CA Senate Human Services Committee
- Senator Melissa Hurtado (Chair) – Bakersfield, Hanford, Fresno (916) 651-4014
- Senator Brian Jones (Vice Chair) – El Cajon, Escondido (916) 651-4038
- Senator Jim Beall – Campbell, San Jose (916) 651-4015
- Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson – Santa Barbara, Oxnard (916) 651-4019
- Senator Melissa A. Melendez – Murietta, Indio (916) 651-4028
- Senator Richard Pan – Sacramento (916) 651-4006
- Senator Scott D. Wiener – San Francisco (916) 651-4011
Senate Human Services Committee staff:
- Phone: (916) 651-1524
Ensure Access to Meals this School Year: Sign-On to Urge USDA to Extend Waivers by 8/10
If you are leader of an organization, please use this form to sign onto FRAC’s letter for your organization. The deadline is Monday the 10th.
Safety Net for All Day of Action
Immigrant leaders and coalition partners with Safety Net for All are mobilizing across the state – holding actions in San Diego, LA, and Sacramento – calling on our Governor and state leaders to #ChooseImmigrantsNotCEOs by investing in a #SafetyNet4AllofUs now.
Last week’s economic stimulus proposal from the CA Legislature was a powerful sign that our leaders are hearing us. But California’s immigrant families can’t wait to put food on the table and support their families. We’re calling on our leaders to follow-through on ensuring a #SafetyNet4AllofUs by approving a wage replacement program before the end of August!
Here are 3 ways you can support today:
- Follow @SafetyNet4All on Twitter and Facebook to amplify the actions today
- If you are posting from any of the actions, please tag @SafetyNet4All and use the hashtags below
- Share the below posts & tweets!
Join us today @SafetyNet4All in San Diego, LA, & Sacramento. We call on state leaders to #ChooseImmigrantsNotCEOs by investing in a #SafetyNet4AllofUs & wage replacement for undocumented families! #ChooseUsNotBillionaires @CAgovernor @GavinNewsom @SenToniAtkins @Rendon63rd
Únete hoy a @SafetyNet4All en San Diego, LA, Sacramento. Hacemos un llamado a los líderes estatales a #Elegir a los inmigrantes invirtiendo en un #SafetyNet4AllofUs & reemplazo de salario para las familias indocumentadas! @CAgovernor @GavinNewsom @SenToniAtkins @Rendon63rd
Today Aug 5th at 10AM: San Diego immigrant leaders call for a #SafetyNet4AllofUs now! Follow the digital press conference at https://ctt.ec/_39be+ #OurFamiliesAreEssential #ChooseUsNotBillionaires @SafetyNet4All @afsc_org @CPIsd @CHIRLA @SDIRC @seiuusww @unitehere
Undocumented workers lost most jobs of all groups & need of wage replacement now! Join @SafetyNet4All TODAY at 10am @ SPKR Rendon’s, 4909 Lakewood Blvd #ChooseUsNotBillionaires @CHIRLA @DrJoseFMoreno @ELAWC @wwunited @CaliforniaLabor @GarmentWorkerLA @UnitedWaysCA @domesticworkers
Immigrant families are essential to our state – CA cannot recover unless all families are healthy & safe. We demand #SafetyNet4AllofUs! #ChooseImmigrantsNotCEOs @CHIRLA @DrJoseFMoreno @ELAWC @wwunited @CaliforniaLabo @GarmentWorkerLA @UnitedWaysCA @domesticworkers
Undocumented families shouldn’t go hungry during the pandemic. We’re asking our leaders to #ChooseImmigrantsNotCEOs & invest in #SafetyNet4AllofUs. #ChooseUsNotBillionaires @CHIRLA @DrJoseFMoreno @ELAWC @wwunited @CaliforniaLabo @GarmentWorkerLA @UnitedWaysCA @domesticworkers
Join us TODAY at 11:30am, west steps of the Capitol in Sacramento as we lift up stories of immigrants via the InsideOut portrait project. #SafetyNet4AllofUs #ChooseUsNotBillionaires @SafetyNet4All @CHIRLA @JRart @CAgovernor @GavinNewsom @Ash_Kalra @SenToniAtkins @Rendon63rd
Today, we are mobilizing across the state – Los Angeles, San Diego, & Sacramento – calling on our Governor and state leaders to #ChooseImmigrantsNotCEOs by investing in a #SafetyNet4AllofUs and wage replacement for undocumented Californians now! Follow us at @SafetyNet4All throughout the day!
SAN DIEGO @10am: Tune into a digital press conference led by immigrant rights leaders at facebook.com/CPISanDiego
LOS ANGELES @10am: Support immigrant workers gathering to share testimony at Speaker Rendon’s office, 4909 Lakewood Blvd, 90712.
SACRAMENTO @11:30am: Lift up immigrant stories on the west capitol steps as part of the Portraits of Urgency art installation!
#SafetyNet4AllofUs #ChooseImmigrantsNotCEOs #ChooseUsNotBillionaires
AB 3073 is waiting to be scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Human Services Committee. With 5 weeks left in the session and many bills to consider, Senators need to hear from you to know that this bill is important and must be heard!
LOPPCA is a sponsor of this bill alongside Bread for the World. This bill allows people exiting the criminal justice system to enroll in CalFresh benefits prior to leaving prison, supporting successful reintegration into civic life.
Tell Congress: Make food access a priority. As negotiations continue through the week, we urge California’s lawmakers to lift up responsible and real solutions to the hardship millions are facing. The next recovery package must include:
- a 15% boost to SNAP benefits,
- an extension of Pandemic EBT,
- an extension of WIC waivers,
- and more significant fiscal relief for states and people with low and moderate-incomes–including ALL immigrant households.
Call & Email Your Members of Congress.
Your voice is critical. Urge your members not to leave D.C. without boosting SNAP benefits and enacting other key anti-hunger provisions in the next recovery package.
Sample Script & Contact Info
The Administration proposed a rule in the middle of June that would effectively end asylum, a form of protection meant to give refuge to people fleeing for their lives. The proposed rule makes many drastic changes to the way people are able to access this form of protection including:
- Taking away due process rights for asylum seekers,
- Increasing the bar people have to meet to move past an initial interview to impossibly high standards,
- Eliminating access to asylum for people fleeing violence from non-state actors, including people fleeing due to gang or gender-based violence.
If this rule is implemented, it would mean that thousands of our siblings in Christ, many of whom are already suffering due to changes made to our asylum system, would be unable to seek protection in the United States. As Lutherans and as citizens, we are called to speak up to ensure that people fleeing for their lives can find refuge in this country.
Please join us in standing up for asylum by submitting a comment against this proposed regulation by July 15th. Take action by:
1. Submitting a comment. It is necessary when submitting comments for a proposed rule to customize your message, whether your message is brief or lengthy, to ensure it is counted as a unique comment. Use the following points to guide you in writing:
- As a Lutheran, God calls me to walk alongside asylum seekers in need of protection in the United States. This proposed rule stands against my faith values and our nation’s ideals.
- The United States has welcomed people fleeing persecution, including Lutherans, for centuries. It is immoral and unnecessary to close our doors at a time when so many people are fleeing for their safety.
- Tell a story of how asylum seekers have made your community better.
- If you and/or your congregation has an asylum experience, share how it impacts your opinion.
2. Let others know you submitted a comment and asked them to submit theirs. Use social media to ask others to submit a comment. The more comments that are submitted, the more likely implementation of this proposed rule will be delayed!
You can check out resources and a toolkit from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, in which the ELCA participates, to find out more about asylum, what this rule means, and other ways to engage. Make your public comment now before the July 15 deadline. Thank you!
SAVE THE DATE! July 23 2020 10:30am-12:00pm
Child Care & End Child Poverty in CA Virtual Advocacy Day Follow-up:2020 Legislative Wrap-Up
On June 4,
2020, we came together as a group of over 250 advocates–child care, food programs, safety net, and anti-poverty champions–for our first all digital “Child Care and End Child Poverty CA Advocacy Day.” We learned, we advocated, and we briefed over 50 legislative offices on our policy and budget overviews that will keep families fed, housed, and cared for. On July 23rd, we’ll come back for a follow-up to highlight anti-hunger, anti-poverty and child care legislation in California, with input from legislators, advocates, and policy groups. Don’t miss this impactful day- invitation coming this week!
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.