‘Sound Basic’ Truths About Our Schools
When it comes to the challenge of boosting North Carolina’s investment in its public schools so… 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.
Join us and @SAFistas for our Annual Farmworker Institute! We are excited to focus this year's Institute around Art & Social Change. Register now or propose a workshop to present. We hope to see YOU there with us supporting NC farmworkers! ncchurches.ourpowerb… pic.twitter.com/1re5…
A trend of "Second Amendment Sanctuaries" have made it to #NC in an effort to undermine critical pieces of #gunviolence prevention legislation. Check out this list to see if your county has an upcoming vote so you can speak up & speak out! @bradybuzz bit.ly/2TwOSOq pic.twitter.com/rOTB…
Exciting News - We turn 85 this year! Celebrate 85 years of advocating for social justice with us! We want to see you at one of our 6 events this year! Check it out and look for registration links soon! bit.ly/2uLrbaZ pic.twitter.com/cmdF…
RT @healthandfaith Rev. Dr. King's vision for the #BelovedCommunity centers compassion & support in building a healthy society. We thank you, brother King, for laying the foundation of work that we are so privileged to build on. #MLK91 twitter.com/MLKDay/s…
We won't be at the @womensmarch today, but we still stand in solidarity with everyone as we work to build a society that prioritizes proper care, compassion, and justice for ALL -- just as our God envisioned it to be. #WomensMarch #WomensMarch2020 pic.twitter.com/6tz5…
Check out the podcast "Instructions for Living a Life" that lifts up stories of people who live at the intersections of faith, belief, ministry, and mental health. This week our friend @revsarahhowler talked about #stigma, #love, & #community. bit.ly/3anGBlQ pic.twitter.com/gfBi…
RT @rykelongest Thank you all for making this happen. Great work by @NCDEQ @selc_org @CRFRiverkeeper @AppVoices @yadkinrivkeeper @CapeFearRiver @NCEJN @CleanWaterforNC @NCWARN @SierraClubNC @NCConservation @nclcv @NCIPL @HawRiverkeeper and so many more. twitter.com/NC_Gover…
RT @CreationCareWNC Still looking for little Epiphanies? This SALT Video about Eric Masterson, birdwatcher, immigrant, and deep listener may help. "Nightsongs" is a meditation on treasuring what cannot be seen. @saltproject @audubonsociety @AudubonNC vimeo.com/374902765 pic.twitter.com/QoGy…
RT @KHayhoe #AustralianWildFires climate denial claims, "it's arson! it's been warmer before! fire's natural!" The truth? Human-induced climate change is a threat multiplier. It takes existing risks + amplifies them beyond imagining, affecting every living thing on this planet: including us.