Vetting the Vote: Public Education
Public education is a critical issue for Christians, and the midterm elections provide a significant opportunity… Continue Reading
SalonEvery 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 General Assembly has adjourned its 2013 session after a final cascade of disappointing and disturbing bills that now await review by Gov. Pat McCrory. Among the bills approved are ones that will make it less convenient for many citizens to vote and that weaken regulatory oversight of the environment.
There was at least one bright spot, as the House rejected a last-minute push by the Senate to speed up the environmentally risky natural gas extraction process known as fracking. But on the whole, legislators succeeded in putting the crowning touches on a session devoted to a conservative agenda the likes of which modern North Carolina has never before seen.
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.
After a one-day organizational meeting in early January, the 2013 General Assembly convened in earnest last Wednesday. Bills introduced and advanced during these first two days give a taste of things to come. Note especially the bills affecting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, weakening the benefits of unemployment insurance, and extending the presence of guns.
The General Assembly leadership is committed to having this short session truly be short, and there’s talk of adjourning by early July. In fact, an adjournment resolution was introduced yesterday with a target date of June 19. This session, which starts in May of even-numbered years, is primarily to tweak the second year of the budget adopted the year before. In addition, certain bills which were introduced last year (mostly ones which passed in one house) can be considered. For a new bill to be introduced this year, it must fit into one of a few specific categories, with most new bills having to do with budgetary matters or coming from a study commission which met during the interim. Finally, pending veto overrides are also thought by the House and Senate leadership to be eligible for consideration.
Across North Carolina, congregations are participating in this year’s groundbreaking national event called the DREAM Sabbath 2011. Sponsored by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, the DREAM Sabbath is a month-long opportunity to integrate stories of DREAM students into prayers, readings, reflections, or study sessions as a way to help educate and spread awareness of DREAM students and their hopes to attain full recognition of their contributions to our communities. Over 300 congregations nationwide are participating.
From September 16th to October 9th, congregations across the United States will lift up the lives of DREAM students in prayers, readings, reflection and education during at least one Sabbath service as a way to help educate and spread awareness of DREAM students and their hopes to attain full recognition of their contributions to this country. The large showing of support by faith groups will hopefully continue to build momentum for the DREAM Act in Congress.
This is the purpose of education wherever it takes place, moving beyond rote repetition to provide each learner the possibility of a future better than what might otherwise be expected. Psalm 78 invites humility, gratitude, and “the exercise of power in the form of love, not of force.
The General Assembly returned to Raleigh in July for what was, in reality, Round Two of its 2011 Long Session. The primary tasks were to take up overrides on bills Governor Perdue had vetoed and to adopt redistricting plans for U.S. Congressional districts and for the state House and Senate.
The 2011 session of the General Assembly adjourned around midday on Saturday, June 18. Legislative leaders and the media are trumpeting the efficiency of the session and the fact that this is the earliest adjournment since 1973. But that is misleading since they aren’t really finished with their work. The adjournment resolution calls them back into a special session on July 13. At that time, they will take up the thorny issue of redistricting as well as controversial bills from the just-ended session which remain in conference committees and any bills vetoed by the Governor.
The News & ObserverAll the conflict raging about the Wake schools for the past year and a half came spilling out Wednesday night when a panel of federal civil rights investigators heard testimony – often heated – in an East Raleigh church.
The hearing concerned a complaint against Wake Public Schools, filed with the federal education department by the state NAACP. An estimated 200 people nearly filled the fellowship hall at Martin Street Baptist Church, with speakers making emphatic points on both sides of the issues.
Budget Edition: Last week the chairs of the House Appropriations Subcommittees started revealing their plans for the 2011-13 budget. Not surprisingly, their plans differ in significant ways from the budget proposed by Governor Perdue. The most important difference is that the House leaders will not approve the continuation of any of the emergency tax increases enacted in 2009.
Governor Bev Perdue on Saturday vetoed H 2, the misnamed “Protect Health Care Freedom” bill. (It should be called the “Freedom to be Uninsured and Unable to Get Health Care” bill.) The bill was an attack on federal health care reform and purported to remove North Carolinians from the mandated purchase of health insurance, which is the basis of federal reform which will move millions of uninsured Americans into the ranks of the insured.
A Reflection on Public Education in God’s World Today
Rev. Joe Brown, chair of the Council’s Public Education Committee and a Presiding Elder in the AME Zion Church, is encourging congregations across North Carolina to use a Lenten Study Guide which has been created by members of the National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy.
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.
News 14 CarolinaOutside a closed door meeting with fellow clergy and attorneys at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber, a representative from the North Carolina Council of Churches and fellow Wake school board protest arrestees talked future tactics on how they plan to take on the changing policies of the board.
Independent WeeklyLeaders in the pro-diversity movement who are battling the Wake school board majority to stop resegregation of the county’s school system, have called a prayer meeting for Monday, August 30 at 7 p.m. in Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.
In light of concerns about public school resegregation in counties across the state, the North Carolina Council of Churches has begun work to counter this backward step toward increased racial and economic separation. Issues of resegregation have surfaced in the state’s largest school districts, Wake and Charlotte-Mecklenburg counties, as well Wayne and New Hanover counties and elsewhere.
Raleigh News & ObserverThe Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, has organized a wide range of church groups that have historically been involved in civil rights and social justice issues to oppose the move to neighborhood schools in Wake County. Using language heavy with religious overtones and accompanied by a comparison between ending the diversity policy and the old Jim Crow segregation laws, speakers at a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol argued that they had the moral high ground in the fight.
Unfortunately, the childhood obesity epidemic is drastically affecting North Carolina. In 2009, North Carolina ranked 14th worst in the nation in childhood overweight and obesity for children ages 10-17, with more than one-third (33.5%) of our children being overweight or obese.
Also in this Raleigh Report: Domestic Violence, Environment, Gambling, Health, Housing, People with Disabilities, Public Education, and more.
The summer’s “short session” of the North Carolina General Assembly convened on May 12, a continuation of the 2009 session. Its primary task will be to adjust the 2010-11 budget adopted last year, though it can also take up bills that made it through one house last year, bills coming from study commissions, and bills amending the state Constitution.
Wilmington Star-NewsLast week, the council sent an email to all the churches on its New Han over County database titled “Opposing re-segregation in the schools,” that encouraged church leaders to sign petitions being circulated against middle school redistricting. The organization isn’t formally planning an event in the area, said executive director George Reed. The Council is a Raleigh-based group that organizes churches in the state around social justice issues.
But the intended result has been clear all along: Republican legislators wanted to diminish the role of the state’s chief executive in elections oversight as part of their wide-ranging campaign to curtail his authority in a range of areas. #ncpol #ncga ncchurches.org/2018/…
While food waste contributes significantly to global climate change, composting food waste is among the most significant climate solutions that there is! Using compost returns much needed carbon to our depleted soils. @NCIPL ncchurches.org/2018/…
The lectionary readings for this advent season bring us Luke's account of the birth of the long-awaited Messiah. We hope that you will find this guide helpful in your church, small group, family, or personal reflection. ncchurches.org/wp-co…
Health insurance is essential to maintaining proper health and reducing fiscal burden from unexpected high medical costs. #GetCovered at HealthCare.Gov today. Need help? Go to GetCoveredAmerica.or… to meet with a local insurance navigator. @HealthCareGov twitter.com/GetUSCov…
RT @ncchurches While food waste contributes significantly to global climate change, composting food waste is among the most significant climate solutions that there is! Using compost returns much needed carbon to our depleted soils. @NCIPL ncchurches.org/2018/…
RT @CreationCareWNC Offset your congregation’s carbon emissions through the @BlessedTomorrow Carbon Offset program. Click here to find out how and learn more about the program: bit.ly/BlessedTomorr… #creationcare #carbonneutral #loveyourneighbor @CreationJustice @NCIPL @YECAction
Today women faith leaders mobilize to hold @Chevron accountable for methane commitments. @UMWomen CEO to @Chevron CEO: “Your silence would be an endorsement of EPA’s dismantling of critical health protections.” unitedmethodistwomen…
RT @collinrees Hundreds of protestors from @ItTakesRoots & @SustainUS just shut down Trump Admin’s fossil fuels panel at #COP24, shouting, “#KeepItInTheGround! Keep it in the ground!” A beautiful moment of people power amidst a terrifying amount of inaction & dangerous backtracking at #COP24. pic.twitter.com/BYDy…
Let's @SupportFLOC in the upcoming #BoycottVUSE against Reynolds American Inc. and defend our tobacco farmworkers so that they may have a voice to negotiate better working conditions without fear of retaliation! floc.com/wordpress/b…