Help NC Farmworkers Participate in Democracy
Every four years the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) holds its National Convention, and this year… Continue Reading
Across the street, a small, unassuming, idyllic Catholic church faces the Duke Power Riverbend Coal Plant at the center of litigation and outrage in response to consistent pollution and lack of effective coal ash pond treatment. For a new intern at NCIPL, the physicalized contrast contained powerful irony that drove home the nature of our relationship as faithful North Carolinians with utility companies; we will always be living side by side. While utilities provide us the basic comforts of modern life, we see the destructive nature of their work and feel called to act and react against it. Such was […]
Since the end of slavery in America, no workers have been more exploited than the men and women who bend to the earth in backbreaking labor, picking fruits, vegetables, and tobacco. Despite miracles of agricultural progress and innovation over the decades, the harsh lives and working conditions of migrant laborers have changed very little. Their cause has been championed in the past by Edward Murrow, Cesar Chavez, and the United Farmworkers. But that list is incomplete without Baldemar Velásquez . Velásquez was among hundreds of thousands of children who joined their migrant parents working long hours in the fields. Inspired by that early experience, Velásquez founded the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in 1967.
Only in today’s Washington would legislation that grows the economy, reduces the debt, curtails illegal immigration, helps the GOP politically and enjoys public approval in the 80% range be seen as a problem for the House Republican caucus. With every flimsy excuse crumbling, it comes down to John Boehner. Actually his choice is pretty simple: a bipartisan majority for reform with a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America exists right now; he should find a way to have that majority express its will.
It could be said that the elephant – symbol of the Republicans who control North Carolina’s General Assembly and governor’s office — has labored and brought forth a mouse. But this is a mouse with sharp teeth.
After weeks of effort, the legislature’s Republican majorities and Gov. Pat McCrory have agreed on a spate of changes to the state’s tax laws centered on cuts in personal and corporate income taxes. The cuts aren’t as deep as some conservatives wanted. Still, they will sap revenues that finance the entire portfolio of state programs and services.
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.
As rabbis at this week’s event told reporters, the civil disobedience was not an option of first resort – Republican legislators repeatedly blew off meeting requests from clergy who are eager to discuss the impact the North Carolina GOP’s policies have on the common good. As the movement has gained steam, some politicians have resorted to insulting Moral Mondays participants. The governor dismissed it all as an effort led by “outsiders,” and one state legislator dubbed it “Moron Mondays.” It brings to mind Gandhi’s saying, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic WorshipDate: Proper 8 – June 30, 2013
Volunteer Ed Ablard and I discussed the work and mission of NCIPL, as well as the wonderful evening Ed organized at his church, St. Paul’s Episcopal. Thank you so much to Ed for arranging this interview; it was a pleasure to be with you and all of our coastal allies this week!
This past week, the Nuns on the Bus national tour made stops in Durham and Charlotte to raise awareness about the need for just and humane immigration reform. In Durham, the Nuns visited the office of Church World Service, an amazing nonprofit that resettles refugees here in America.
I had the wonderful privilege of sitting down with Bishop Michael Curry to discuss this critical moment in the struggle for humane immigration reform. Millions of immigrant families are living in the shadows, afraid to drive to work or drop their children off at school. Here in North Carolina, thousands of children live with the constant fear that today could be the day that their parents don’t make it home. Immigrants are our brothers and sisters, and when one part of the Body of Christ suffers, we all suffer with it. That’s why it’s so crucial for faith communities to publicly support the US Senate’s immigration bill.
Nuns on the Bus – a 6,500 mile odyssey exploring the need for humane immigration reform – is coming to North Carolina during May 31-June 1.
Nuns on the Bus were welcomed last year by thousands of well wishers as they traveled from state to state in support of of federal budget priorities that address the needs of struggling families. This year, they are traveling across the Unite States–6,500 miles over 15 states–53 events in 40 cities–standing with immigrants, faith-filled activists, community organizations, and Catholic sisters who serve immigrant communities.
Their message is clear: Congress must act now to implement commonsense immigration policies that reflect our values, not our fears.
Now is the time to demand that North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan stand on the right side of history and publicly support the Senate’s immigration reform bill.
Call 1-888-891-3271 and ask Senator Burr and Senator Hagan to publicly support immigration reform.
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic WorshipDate: Proper 6 – June 16, 2013
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.
A leader against economic injustice and two longtime advocates on the Council’s board have received the North Carolina Council of Churches’ highest honors.
Gene Nichol received the Faith Active in Public Life Award. Barbara Volk and Sydnor Thompson II were recognized with Distinguished Service awards. All three were presented at the Council’s 2013 Legislative Seminar which took place April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh.
Last week about 150 women gathered from across the Triangle to hear the stories of “Ruth’s Journey: Building Communi-TEA.” This one of a kind interfaith tea and dialogue focused on conversation about the impact of immigration on women and their families.
With the introduction of the landmark immigration legislation by the Senate, the immigration debate continues to heat up. And North Carolina is paying attention. From faith leaders to business leaders to the state’s leading newspapers, we are seeing very strong support for the bill. Now is the time for our elected officials to step up and help make humane immigration reform a reality. Below is a summary of recent perspectives on the bill.
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic WorshipDate: Pentecost – May 19, 2013
Join fellow women of faith at “Ruth’s Journey” as we discuss how relationships transcend barriers and the need for immigration reform.
When: 3:00pm on April, 26 2013
Where: Duke Memorial United Methodist Church 504 W. Chapel Hill Street, Durham NC
RSVP & for more information: email@example.com
Growing up working on the family farm is an important tradition that should be preserved, but employing young children in hazardous work should not be a tradition any longer. Child labor laws should be the same for every industry. All children in North Carolina deserve a safe, healthy and bright future.
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.”
The NC Council of Churches, American Red Cross and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC are partnering together to provide more Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR training to places of worship in select counties. To date, 183 congregations have received an award.
To learn more or to complete an application, please click here. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 24.
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic WorshipDate: 4th Sunday after Easter – April 21, 2013
Facing mounting criticism both statewide and nationally, the NC Department of Transportation has backed off from the now-infamous “pink stripe” design for driver’s licenses that will be issued to young immigrants. The original pink design, which was an administrative decision made behind closed doors, ended up receiving national media coverage, including major outlets like USA Today, Reuters and the NY Times. The redesigned licenses will retain the problematic wording: “Legal Presence / No Lawful Status.”
Dozens of faith communities and religious leaders from across theological traditions weighed in against the controversial license.
Holy Week this year is also National Farmworker Awareness Week (March 24-31). It seems like no accident that the week in which we celebrate Jesus’ service and sacrifice for humanity is the same week that we celebrate the extraordinary gifts that farmworkers offer to our communities. As we prepare to celebrate Holy Week, we invite you to celebrate the many vital contributions that farmworkers make to our state. Join with faith communities, student groups, community organizations and many others who are taking this opportunity to lift up those who do some of the hardest work for the lowest pay.
Earth Day weekend is the perfect time to direct attention, prayer, and action to Caring for Creation. This year, Earth Day is Monday, April 22. Visit NCIPL’s Earth Day webpage for resources your congregation can use to honor Earth Day, events occurring across the state, and details on how you can share your plans.
NCIPL hosted a webinar on how your congregation can obtain a free energy savings analysis (also known as an energy audit) on March 12. The recording of the webinar is now online. This service is offered to all North Carolina congregations at no charge. Share the webinar with others at your congregation and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your congregation’s audit today.
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic WorshipDate: 4th Sunday in Lent – March 10, 2013
On the eve of the National Preach-In on Climate Change, I just watched an amazing movie called White Water, Black Gold. It’s a beautifully crafted and accurate exploration of one of the hidden costs of continued development of tar sands oil in Canada’s North Country. That cost is clean water. This Canadian production is available for free viewing until February 18th and is well worth the 57 minutes it takes to watch it. Elegantly juxtaposing video of pristine examples of God’s glorious creation with shocking shots of lands and waters defiled by human industry, this movie calls us to action and to change.
As I watched the Super Bowl with my family on Sunday night, one ad stood out. It was the beautiful slideshow of farmers, accompanied by the eloquent words of the late Paul’s Harvey’s speech entitled “God Made a Farmer.” The ad was a moving tribute, evoking powerful emotions while praising the often unrewarding daily labor of farming.But why were all the farmers white? Why didn’t the ad depict the reality of farmworkers, the millions of men and women whose hard labor makes possible the abundance on our plates?
Click here for a free download of our new 2013 social justice study for Lent: Preparing the Way. This simple 10-page document combines traditional Lenten themes and Bible passages with contemporary issues including hunger, care of creation, and immigration. We invite you to join us in this season of reflection and preparation.
It’s been an exciting week as President Obama and a bipartisan group of key senators have started the real work of getting comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) passed this year. On Monday, the “Gang of Eight” released a framework for the new legislation. On Tuesday, the President gave a speech outlining his vision for CIR. You can watch his speech here.
The Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute has prepared material for the celebration of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which runs from January 18-25, 2013. You will find prayer services, prayers of the faithful and musical suggestions at their website. The theme for 2013 is “What Does God Require of Us?” (cf. Micah 6:6-8). In North Carolina, there will be several observances of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
We are grateful to our fellow community in #NC who stands in solidarity with us as we put our faith into action. Please consider donating so we can continue shining a light on the most pressing & important issues affecting our state. #SocialJustice bit.ly/2YSFkNE pic.twitter.com/7w6P…
Are you familiar with the key focus areas of the Council? Navigate over to our homepage and check out our "Programs" and our "Priorities" to understand more about what we do & how you can get involved. #NC #SocialJustice bit.ly/32vufnZ pic.twitter.com/EtGh…
Are you an artist or engaged with the #NC artist community? Consider submitting a proposal for our 85th anniversary mural and/or pass it on to a friend who might be interested! #art #artist bit.ly/2ZAixWM pic.twitter.com/ArQp…
With budget negotiations happening at #NCGA, your representatives need to hear about what's important to you, their constituent. Use our advocacy toolkit for a detailed guide on how to take action & make your voice heard. #NC bit.ly/2Slfxvh pic.twitter.com/FzRm…
The PHW Collaborative Application is open until Nov. 30, but in order to be considered for small grant funding you must be a member. Apply today! bit.ly/2Gj6V3l #NC #HealthyEating #HealthyLiving pic.twitter.com/Jz3Q…
Join @NCMedAssist for a free mobile pharmacy on Friday, Aug. 30. You can get vitamins, allergy, cough & cold, children's medicine & more. No ID or proof of residency required. Come out if you can! #NC pic.twitter.com/xWV7…
Did you know that blueberries are proven to protect against aging by reducing DNA damage? Make sure to grab basket from your local farmer's market while it's in season! #NC #HealthyLiving #HealthyEating twitter.com/American…
RT @BlessedTomorrow We’re proud to be a part of the beautiful work in compassion happening in Des Moines with @greenchalicedoc this weekend. #creationcare #ClimateChange #compassion pic.twitter.com/RsqI…
RT @LauraSeydel Although they are proven to work, beverage companies don't support #bottlebills because it costs them money! nytimes.com/2019/07/… @CocaCola @PlasticPollutes @LCVoters @SierraClub @RecycleAcrossAm @foe_us #recycle #recycling #sustainability
RT @GretaThunberg School strike week 48. The climate crisis doesn’t go on summer holiday, and neither will we. Many thousands out in Berlin today. Thank you all!! #fridaysforfuture #schoolstrike4climate #climatestrike pic.twitter.com/BZR5…
RT @Michael_S_Regan We will remain vigilant in our opposition to activities related to oil and gas exploration off the #NC coast ... seismic testing poses too many risks to commercial & recreational #fishing #marinelife & our coastal #economy #NotOffOurCoast #ProtectNC 👍🏾🌎 coastalreview.org/20…
RT @Michael_S_Regan Enjoyed discussing #resilience & #adaptation along the #NC coast today w/ UNC- TV’s “Exploring North Carolina” @publicmediaNC host Tom Earnhardt. #NC is taking important steps to mitigate the impacts of #climatechange & rebuild our state stronger & smarter! #ProtectNC 👍🏾🌎 pic.twitter.com/cbLI…