The Ag Act: Congress Considers Turning Back the Clock to the Bracero Program

Photo by APT

Somewhat lost this summer amidst all the conversation about comprehensive immigration reform is a little-known bill called the “Agricultural Guestworker Act” (or “Ag Act,” HB 1773) that has already passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. This harmful bill is a thinly veiled attempt to strip farmworkers of the few rights they have on the job while propping up agribusinesses’ bottom line.

The Liberal Protest that Would Shock the Right: Moral Monday

Photo by Michael Burns

Salon

Every week prayers and gospel songs infuse the air and participants offer blessings to the latest batch of 100 or so activists entering the Raleigh General Assembly building to commit civil disobedience. If you’re not from here, it may all seem a little counter-intuitive: A movement for inclusive and just secular governance that is deeply inflected with Christian ethics and arguments.

The Nation is Watching NC and Moral Mondays

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The impact of Moral Mondays continues to extend beyond North Carolina. Two recent articles and an editorial in “The New York Times” are reaching a national audience. One of the articles is by Peter Carman, pastor of Binkley Baptist Church, a Council member congregation. Alliance of Baptists: ‘Not One Step Back’: Moral Mondays in Raleigh, N.C. Sojourners: Moral Mondays The New York Times: The Decline of North Carolina Moral Mondays are scheduled to continue on July 15. –Aleta Payne, Development and Communicaitons

Moral Mondays Reverberate Across the Country

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I finally had the chance to go my first Moral Monday earlier this week. Walking around Halifax Mall with our Executive Director, George Reed, I was struck by how many people we both knew. I’m deeply proud of the involvement by clergy and faith communities in particular. So many of our members are represented not only in the crowd but also in the faces of those participating in civil disobedience and getting arrested. As we celebrate Independence Day this week, we give thanks not only for the many freedoms our country offers, but in particular for the countless faithful voices speaking up and speaking out for those who are being pushed to the margins by this General Assembly.

Farmworkers Address Reynolds American: Do More to Protect Workers

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Last week, members of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) joined allies and activists from across the state in protesting Reynolds American Inc.’s treatment of farmworkers. Last year, Reynolds earned $1.3 billion in profits, but the company has hesitated to take proactive steps in guaranteeing good housing and fair pay to the workers at the very heart of its supply chain. Here at the NC Council of Churches, we have long supported farmworkers’ rights to living wages and dignity on the job. No one should have to work in slave-like conditions to provide for their family. Corporations should take responsibility for their supply chains, and the people whose labor makes possible their profits.

Gene Nichol: It’s Better Not to Be Poor in North Carolina

Gene Nichol (L) receives the Faith Active in Public Life Award from Rev. George Reed

Speaking to 200 social justice advocates, Gene Nichol delivered a powerful luncheon address at the Council’s 2013 Legislative Seminar held April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh. He received the Council’s Faith Active in Public Life Award at the Seminar for his “courageous, dedicated, humane and compassionate witness in the political arena.” Rev. George Reed, the Council’s Executive Director, introduced Nichol by saying in part, “To know Gene is to see the embodiment of Catholic social teaching about social justice and the common good.”

Program and Registration for 2013 Legislative Seminar

NC General Assembly building in Raleigh

If you are interested in attending, but have not pre-registered, you may call our office at 919-828-6501 on Tuesday, April 9 until 5:00 p.m. Gene Nichol, Director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the UNC-CH School of Law will be the lunch speaker at this year’s Legislative Seminar.The day’s topic for Nichol, who is also the school’s Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor, is “It’s Better Not to Be Poor in NC.” The seminar takes place Thursday, April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 4801 Six Forks Road, Raleigh….

Confronting Poverty – Epiphany 6

Overview – Confronting Poverty Focus Text: Luke 6:17-26 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Pastoral Reflection by Jocleen McCall, Religion Instructor, Johnston Community College, Smithfield Luke, however, presents us with a problem. “Blessed are you who are poor.” “Blessed are you who hunger now.” “Blessed are you who weep now.” “Blessed are…

Worker Justice Leader in the Triangle This Week

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Kim Bobo, a religious and workers’ rights activist and executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, will meet with other faith and worker rights activists in the Triangle this week to highlight worker-justice issues.  She is a highly regarded expert in her area of work and is the author of “Wage Theft in America.”  In his review of the book, “New York Times” reporter Steven Greenhouse said, “Kim Bobo shines a bright light on this often invisible, alarming phenomenon: the way thousands of employers across the nation systematically cheat their workers out of…

Harvest of Dignity Film and Study Guide Now Available

Download the Harvest of Dignity Study Guide

It’s been 50 years since Edward R. Murrow’s landmark documentary Harvest of Shame that examined the lives of farmworkers. How much has changed since then? And how much remains the same? Here is a look at the lives of farmworkers in North Carolina today. We worked with the Farmworker Advocacy Network to create an original study guide that accompanies Harvest of Dignity. Click here to download the study guide for free. Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction: Farmworkers feed the world. Farm and poultry work is some of the most difficult,…

Supporting Workers – Proper 17

Organized Labor

Overview – Supporting Workers Focus Text: James 1:17-27 “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.” Scripture Commentary by…

NC Farmworker Institute

2010 Farmworker Institute

Join us at the 2011 Farmworker Institute and Networking Event. Purpose: Farmworker advocates across the state will have the opportunity to network, learn, and update each other on the latest issues that affect North Carolina farmworkers.

A Great Day at HKonJ

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There was a great turnout for Saturday’s HKonJ5. Thanks to all of you who attended and marched.

Watch video of HKonJ here.

HK on J March

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The Historic Thousands on Jones St. (HK on J) rally and march will take place on February 12 in Raleigh. A coalition of nearly a hundred social justice and community development organizations, including the North Carolina Council of Churches, have banded together to promote this event for the last several years.

Facts About North Carolina Farmworkers

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Farmworkers play a vital role in cultivating the food we eat everyday, and North Carolina has one of the largest farmworker populations in the nation. Even though 85% of our fruits and vegetables are harvested by hand, farmworkers remain largely invisible. This colorful and easy-to-read fact sheet was designed for congregations and community groups. Download a copy today.

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2014 Critical Issues Seminar on Public Education Register Here