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Issues & Victories

Voter Engagement



PATH GOTV Mobilizes More than 2,500 Voters, Wins Commitments on Immigration, Transportation and Education from County Executive and School Superintendent


PATH leaders pack First Baptist Church of Guilford in Howard County Maryland for a non-partisan GOTV assembly
 
A lively October non-partisan GOTV Assembly brought out over 500 PATH leaders to First Baptist Church of Guilford, Maryland.  PATH Co-Chairs got commitments from the next County Executive and the HCPSS School Superintendent to continue joint work on immigration inclusion, transportation improvement, and public education equity.  
 
PATH GOTV was a major part of large voter turnout in Howard County, the highest of any jurisdiction in Maryland. Leaders organized more than 2,500 voters in member institutions, for the June Primary and November General Election. The effort mobilized many to choose early voting, a factor in the upset victory of the Democratic candidate for County Executive, over the Republican incumbent predicted to win a second term.
 



WIN Organizes for Immigrant Legal Services, Affordable Housing


WIN Leaders demand action on affordable housing, living wage jobs, transit and legal defense for immigrants.
 
Over 353 Washington Interfaith Network leaders packed Holy Comforter Saint Cyprian Catholic Church in SouthWest DC with both candidates for DC Council Chair, the most contested race in this year’s primary. Leaders demanded action on affordable housing, living wage jobs, transit, and legal defense for immigrants. 
 
WIN secured public commitments from both candidates to make a significant investment in key affordable housing programs, meaning at least $300 million per year over the next four years; and to invest $2.5 million per year (or whatever it takes) towards legal defense for immigrants. This action helped to move the dial on key politics in DC. 
 
WIN leaders also launched a full-throated objection to DC DOT’s proposed contract for the continued privatization of the DC Circulator bus. The current chairperson, Phil Mendelson committed to vote no on any contract that does not have WIN’ protections for workers in it, protections won in a hard fought 2016 campaign. 



VOICE Wins Commitments from Alexandria Mayoral Candidates to Act on Affordable Housing


VOICE leaders present 1,400+ voter pledge cards and present issue agenda to Alexandria mayoral candidates.
 
VOICE and ARHA Resident Association Leaders presented the VOICE Issue Agenda in the context of the racial history of Old Town Alexandria. Following the presentation of 1,400+ voter pledge cards, VOICE received commitments from both mayoral candidates to work with VOICE on the following:
  • Working to enforce the affordable housing parameters set in the Housing Master Plan
  • Strengthening Resolution 830 to ensure preservation of public housing in the city
  • Ensuring a culture in public housing that encourages resident participation in the decision making of public housing
  • Increasing equity in public schools around suspension rates
  • Researching city contractors and sub-contractors to ensure that all people who work in the city can live in the city.
Both candidates also committed, if elected, to attend a VOICE action within a month of being inaugurated to share their 100-day plan to work on the VOICE Issue Agenda.
 
 



1,200 Leaders Turn Out for AIM’s GOTV and Candidate Assembly


AIM leaders in action, winning commitments to improve housing, education and immigration in Montgomery County, MD.
 
It was standing room only when AIM leaders gathered to clarify the commitments of the County Executive Candidates to AIM's bold proposals for the future of Montgomery County. The AIM demands were developed over a year of listening sessions with 3000 people throughout the county and the focus was on specific community solutions.
 
The evening started with spirit as Pastor Haywood Robinson led those congregated in the song "It Will Get Better," and put forth AIM's analysis of the county. "Montgomery County is at a cross roads, with enormous changes in politics, population and economics. . . AIM has been part of governing this county for nearly 20 years and we are committed to a vision of a county where all people can thrive, regardless of race, income, age or economic status."
 
Cheers went up during roll call of the 25 congregations and schools represented, with over 300 leaders from Bethel World Outreach Church, and more than 250 from The People's Community Baptist Church.
 
The evening turned more somber as AIM members shared their personal stories and stated AIM's specific Issue Agenda. Meghan Jones shared about her 6-year wait to get transit-accessible affordable housing that lets her to get to her two part time jobs so she can make ends meet. Ms. Patricia Vasquez shared the unacceptable conditions of South Lake Elementary, the 3rd highest poverty school in the county, where the heat and air conditioning don't work, 300 students share two bathrooms with non-working urinals and lunch is anywhere from 10:30am to 2pm for students. An anonymous 10-year old student disclosed how afraid she is of her mother being deported and how devastating that would be for her and her family.
 
Speakers challenged the candidates to make Montgomery County the leader in the country on protecting immigrant families from separation via deportation and affordable housing.
 
Bishop Darlingston Johnson of Bethel World Outreach and Rev. Abhi Janamanchi of Cedar Lane UU got to the central work of the evening. First, the 1,200 people assembled each texted 5 Montgomery County voters, telling them to vote on June 26, and committing to share with the voters a personal report-back on where the candidates stand on the AIM Issues.
 
The candidates stood, one by one, to answer AIM's questions on:
  • Doubling the production and preservation of affordable housing over the next four years by increasing funding to $100M/year, building on county and Metro land, and increasing density at transit hubs. 
  • Supporting congregation-issued IDs and funding 20 immigration lawyers and paralegals to reduce fear of going to the hospital or being in the community, and ensuring immigrant families who qualify for legal status can obtain it.
  • Expanding the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary Program to 20 schools and renovating high poverty school particularly Burnt Mills and South Lake.

The Candidates responded to the energy and spirit in the room, almost universally committing to the items on the AIM Agenda. This positions AIM well no matter who is in the County Executive seat next year to reach our goals on affordable housing, education, and immigration.

 
After a spirit-filled song from the Bethel World Outreach Choir, AIM Clergy Chair, Rev. Dr. Michael Armstrong gave a rousing Call To Action. He preached from Psalm 137, where the people of Israel were taken into captivity and asked by their captors to sing a song of Zion. Rev Armstrong agitated leaders to go forth and proclaim the song of justice AIM has created for Montgomery County, and to build our power to make it real.



Illinois IAF Wins Commitment from All 10 Attorney General Candidates to Meet with IL Affiliates Within 30 Days of November Election

Girls Scout troop from Islamic Foundation of Naperville leading the Pledge of Allegiance
 

The four Illinois IAF affiliates - DuPage United, Fox River Valley Initiative, Lake County United and United Power for Action and Justice - assembled 1,257 leaders from across the four counties in Northern Illinois to meet with all 10 candidates for Illinois Attorney General, which included 8 Democrats and 2 Republicans, in advance of the March 20th Primary election. This is the first time in 15 years that the office for Attorney General is truly up for grabs in Illinois. The four IL IAF affiliates were seeking to establish a mature, reciprocal and productive relationship with the next Attorney General. To that end, IL IAF won a commitment from each candidate to meet with the four organizations within 30 days of the November election, if elected.  IL IAF also heard each candidates' response to how they would work to address four key issue areas of the organizations: reducing incarceration of people with mental illness and/or addiction, affordable housing, engaging gun manufacturers to make us safer and stopping the flow of illegal guns and 24 hour response to any crisis or hate crime.

 
 

March 11th assembly:  Shot of the crowd
 

Attorney General candidates with co-chairs of the assembly seated to the right, Rev. Jay Risk, St. Mary's Episcopal Church (United Power) & Ms. Aliya Husain, Islamic Foundation Villa Park (DuPage United)

 



VOICE Holds One of the Largest GOTV Campaigns in Virginia, Increases Voter Turnout in Low-Voting Precincts


VOICE leaders getting out the vote in Virginia

375 VOICE volunteer leaders went door-to-door to speak with residents 4 weeks before Election Day and on Election Day. The GOTV effort followed VOICE’s assembly with both gubernatorial candidates in October. The assembly was the largest assembly of the election season that had both candidates in attendance. VOICE increased the voter turnout percentage between 24% and 39% in six precincts and between 9.5% and 11% in two others. VOICE worked in a total of 8 low-voting precincts in Prince William and Fairfax Counties. Prince William is a bellwether county in state and national politics and Fairfax has the most voters of any county in Virginia. VOICE also secured a commitment from Governor-Elect Northam to meet with leaders before he is sworn into office on January 13th.



PATH Leaders Commit to 900 Hours of GOTV in 2018, Wins Commitments on After-School Access


PATH leaders launch 2018 GOTV effort committing to mobilize 5 precincts

On Tuesday, September 26 at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, PATH held an action with more than 170 leaders to launch our 2018 Get Out The Vote effort. Leaders committed to over 900 hours of GOTV in 2018 in five precincts connected to PATH institutions! PATH also secured commitments from the Superintendent and Vice Chair of the Board of Education to champion after school access for low income families in Howard County and to create healthier breakfast options for students.



Ohio IAF Runs Ohio's biggest volunteer-based GOTV drive in 2008.

In the 2008 Presidential Election, Ohio IAF projects in ColumbusDayton, and Lorain ran the largest volunteer-based non-partisan get-out-the-vote campaign in Ohio.  Independent analysis found that unlikely voters contacted by our over 1400 local volunteers were 80% more likely to vote than those not contacted -- a tremendous result that has made our face-to-face civic participation work a national model.


In the News


Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE): Trains 100 Muslim Leaders

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
VOICE

In the last 3 weeks, VOICE trained 325+ leaders including 125 from eight Northern VA mosques and schools. (As of 2017, one-third of the people who attend VOICE member & discerning member institutions are Muslim, 60,000 Muslims.)  VOICE leaders took commitments to “twin” with an institution near them that has a community different than them (politically, racially, ethnically, religiously, etc.). VOICE leaders will do listening sessions with their “twinning” partner throughout 2017 to build closer bonds and figure out how we may want to act together locally and at the state level when VA will be one of only two states that will hold a state-wide election.


Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) - Calls for Leaders to Act on Criminal Justice, Housing and Healthcare

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
The Boston Globe

Over 900 people filled the main sanctuary pews and two overflow rooms at Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plains to call on elected officials to work with Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and the community to address equality and justice during these times of uncertainty. Testimonies of how the Affordable Care Act has saved lives of those in attendance were among the many stories told to pressure the city council, state leaders and those on the national scene to create more affordable housing, protect healthcare and to act on criminal justice reform.Over 900 Gather to Call Leaders to Act

 


Reclaiming Politics: Solving Problems Washington Won't (by Michael Gecan)

Thursday, October 4, 2012
The Boston Review

Isn’t the whole national political scene just so depressing?  Our politicians have lost the capacity to govern. Congress resembles a UN meeting—more showplace than workplace, where assemblies and debates are ritualized reenactments and individual showmen and sound bites are more important than the larger political process. Members of Congress are unable to devote the focused attention and consistent effort that long-term social and economic challenges require.


Barack and Mitt, as I knew them (By Arnie Graf)

Sunday, September 30, 2012
New York Daily News

In one of the more famous put-downs in modern political history, during a 1988 debate, vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen told Dan Quayle, who had just compared himself to JFK, “Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.”  That is how I feel about the two candidates for President. I don’t mean that they aren’t the equals of JFK — only that they are not the equals of their own former selves. Both have had their optimism, basic decency and willingness to compromise dulled by the grind of the political machine.


In debate, mayoral candidates vow to double youth jobs

Friday, August 26, 2011
The Baltimore Sun

Candidates vying to be Baltimore's next mayor promised Thursday evening to double funding for after school programs, create 1,000 summer jobs for youth and renovate or rebuild all of the city's schools.  Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, former city planning director Otis Rolley and State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh vowed to support an agenda drafted by the interfaith coalition BUILD that centers on the needs of children and the city's outlying neighborhoods.


Candidates pledge to bring jobs to Lorain County

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Morning Journal

ELYRIA — Area politicians are continuing their campaign pushes before Tuesday’s election as they came out for the Reclaim Lorain County event at St. Marys Church, in Elyria, last night.

Democrats Lee Fisher, running for U.S. senate; Betty Sutton, running for 13th Congressional district; Sue Morano, candidate for 13th state senate district; Matt Lundy, Ohio house candidate; Dan Ramos, candidate for the 56th Ohio House District and sole Republican, Rae Lynn Brady, facing off with Lundy for the 57th District, attended the forum.

Comprised of religious congregations and community organizations throughout Lorain County, the Reclaim Lorain County coalition asked candidates how they planned to create jobs, improve public safety and fix deteriorating neighborhoods...


An Ailing Factory Town Votes for Change

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Village Voice

Lorain, Ohio—The kind of hope Barack Obama promised to deliver was nowhere craved more deeply on Election Day than in this battered old manufacturing city on the shores of Lake Erie.

Hope got scores of local residents up before dawn to bounce over rutted streets that haven't been repaved in decades. Hope had them standing all day outside of polling sites at schools forced to lay off 300 staff members last month for lack of funds. Hope sent them scurrying back and forth across town, picking up voters in need of a lift. It sent them past the mammoth, mile-long steel mills by the Black River, mills that once offered their own brand of hope, employing more than 13,000 workers at gritty but solid jobs with benefits and pensions. Barely a tenth that many jobs remain...


In battleground Ohio, Community Building trumps cynicism

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Huffington Post

I left my inside-the-Beltway home in suburban Washington on Friday and spent the penultimate weekend before the 2008 election in Columbus, Ohio to get a first-hand look at one of the most intriguing, hopeful and yet, in some circles, controversial voter participation experiments of 2008.

More than two years in the making, the nonpartisan Faith Vote Columbus and two related interfaith organizations in Dayton and Lorain launched by the Saul Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), are challenging the conventional wisdom among many progressive strategists and funders. That conventional wisdom holds that the only realistic way to register and mobilize apathetic voters in low-income communities on a large scale is to import an army of mercenaries--the polite term is "paid canvassers"--who scour supermarket parking lots and other territory where poor people are likely to be found...


Interfaith coalition to rally for human services levy

Dayton Daily News

DAYTON — Lift Greater Dayton, a new regional advocacy coalition of 30 community organizations, will be launched in the Miami Valley on Sunday, Oct. 10.

Participants are primarily faith-based groups including churches, synagogues, and mosques; schools, unions and business associations are also involved. At Sunday’s kickoff event, slated for 3 p.m. at Temple Israel on Riverside Drive, hundreds are expected to rally for Issue 9, the Human Services Levy...