Regina is attending the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on the 31 October – 12 November 2021. The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire climate action ahead of COP26.
She should have lots of stories to share when she returns!
Please consider attending Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD)! This is an annual national gathering of Christian advocates and activists. We worship, delve deeply into the pressing issues of the day, and lift our voices by speaking truth to power on Capitol Hill. The 2021 theme is ““Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored.” EAD 2021 is an opportunity to support this global movement centered on and led by the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts due to historic racial and colonial inequities. Together, we will passionately advocate and reimagine a world that lives out the values of justice, equity and the beloved community. EAD 2021 will be a virtual gathering, to be held April 18-21, 2021. Register now!
Great news: LOPP-CA is now a part of First 5 California. We have a seat on their round table
Nicole Newell is back with LOPP-CA! She will be coordinating Lutheran Lobby Day. Lobby Day will be virtual and held on Wednesday, May 19th. The keynote speaker will be announced soon.
This legislative session LOPP-CA along with Bread for the World will be watching the movement and focusing on these three bills:
• SB 107 CalFresh: Simple for Seniors, which makes it easier for seniors to access healthy public food assistance
• SB 364 End Child Hunger, which establishes universal school meals for all kids in public schools and creates a stopgap nutrition program for school breaks and when campuses are closed
• AB 221 Emergency Food for All, which grants food assistance access to immigrants, regardless of status.
Others may be added later.
You can research the progress of any state bill by going to https://legiscan.com/CA/legislation and searching for the bill by bill number or key words.
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, email@example.com, 510-414-0953
Yuba: Luis Angel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-635-4931
Yuba: Jessica Yamane, email@example.com , 415-570-8577
Mesa Verde: Jesus Chavez, firstname.lastname@example.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.
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!
April 15 Action Items:
- Federal advocacy opportunity to meet virtually with Congress members: email email@example.com to get involved. Save the dates of March 24 & 27!
- ELCA Advocacy especially needs California constituents in the following districts: Feinstein, McCarthy, Schiff, Lofgren, Lieu.
- Sign up for Church and State, a discussion on the Government and Civic Engagement draft social message with the chief ethicist of the ELCA, The Rev. Roger A Willer on Tuesday, April 28 from 5 – 6:30pm.
How do we do God’s work in public life? What is good government anyway?
To address these questions, our church has drafted a Social Message on Government and Civic Engagement: Discipleship in a Democracy. From March 20 to May 20, ELCA members are invited to provide feedback on a draft of the message.
We want to hear from YOU, your CHURCH, and your SYNOD about this draft social message. What’s missing, what do you find insightful, where could there be greater depth?
This writing project was requested by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly and authorized in November 2019 by the ELCA Church Council [CC19.11.47w]. It will be considered for adoption at a June meeting of the council.
Social messages are teaching documents of the ELCA focused on particular social topics. They are intended to focus attention and urge action on timely, pressing matters of social concern to church and society.
To learn more about the social message and the process of its creation, please see the “Frequently Asked Questions” document.
Lawmakers are poised to vote on legislation to combat COVID-19. Call today to support the most vulnerable in our communities.
Today, the House may revote on a second emergency aid package H.R.6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act which would provide paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expand food assistance and unemployment benefits, and require employers to provide additional protections for health care workers as our communities prepare and address the spread of COVID-19.
The package comes as many of our houses of worship, ministries, businesses and communities grapple with challenging circumstances in the wake of the virus. Our commitment to love our neighbor requires that in addition to social distancing and handwashing precautions, we advocate with and on behalf of those who will suffer most from this disruption, that their needs be front center in our national response.
The House bill, though it falls short of response to other emergency needs such as providing direct funding for people struggling with homelessness, would help protect those of us in the greatest need and who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. Now, Congress must quickly consider the funding request and send the bill to the president’s desk.
In times of struggle, many without adequate resources look to congregations to respond to their urgent needs. Lutheran advocates can make an important difference in calling for support for people most often forgotten in times of crisis.
Call your lawmakers today at the Capitol Switchboard – (202) 224-3121 – and ask to speak to your members of Congress. Have the names of your representative and senator ready (lookup tool at govtrack.us) to be accurately directed, and tell your lawmaker to pass the emergency aid as soon as possible – and to ensure that the most vulnerable of us are protected.
Note – Lawmakers have started discussion of a third possible supplemental package that would address the economic effects of the corona virus. ELCA Advocacy is monitoring the situation and will share updates as developments progress.
To learn more:
ELCA Resources for COVID-19: https://elca.org/publichealth
California is vulnerable to an undercount:
- 29 million Californians belong to one or more groups that have been historically undercounted
- This number is equivalent to 72% of the state’s nearly 40 million residents
- Hard-to-reach people include renters, young men, children, African-Americans and Latinos
If there’s an undercount of the state population, California may lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as billions of dollars in federal funding for school lunches, Medi-Cal, block grants for affordable housing, and other programs with funding streams based on population.
- Californians and the 2020 Census from the Public Policy Institute of California
- California 2020 Census Explained, by Judy Lin at CalMatters
Our communities are significantly shaped by census data, and Census 2020 will update these numbers for the first time in 10 years. The ELCA is an official partner of the 2020 Census to encourage the most accurate count possible.
“Funding for over 100 federal programs, many of which combat poverty and hunger and support people in need, are distributed based on population,” says the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, Director of ELCA Advocacy. “An accurate count ensures that resources more justly go where they are needed most. It is also critical for representation in the political process as census information determines electoral maps.”
Undercounting is a significant issue among groups which benefit most from anti-poverty programs and from greater representation in decision-making. “Hard to count” individuals in census experience include persons residing in rural areas, young children, LGBTQIA persons, people experiencing homelessness, people who do not speak English, indigenous peoples and racial and ethnic minorities. The Census aims to count everyone regardless of immigration status, and as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, there will not be a question about citizenship status on the 2020 Census.
People underrepresented in previous census counts are not strangers. They are part of our congregations and communities. As we work toward a just world where all are fed, for your neighbor and yourself – encourage your community to be counted!