News and Action Summary for May 22, 2015

Download a pdf version of the May 22, 2015 News and Action Summary!

News Summary 5-22-15

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News Posts, May 22, 2015

Here are news articles posted since the previous News and Action Summary:

What Portion of Our Collective Wealth Are We Willing to Invest So That People Can Succeed?

Reforming TANF – Proposals that Would Help (and Hurt) Recipients

Nearly One in Four Children in the U.S. is Served by the Federal Child Support Program

Shocking Facts About Recent Effects of Climate Change

NRDC Report: Pennsylvania is the Second the Sneeziest and Wheeziest State in the Union

Celebrating Head Start at 50: How Lessons from Head Start Can Inform an Agenda for America’s Poor Children

How the Achievement Gap Has Cost Pennsylvania Dozens of Billions of Dollars

Personal Grit Won’t Do It; We Must Address Structural Inequality

Individualism vs. Community: the Tragedy of Small Thinking and Small Hopes

“Missing” Black Men Due to High Incarceration and Mortality Rates

States Suspend Driver’s Licenses Over Court-Related Debt

Majority of Americans Oppose NSA Spying: Poll

Proposal Would Block Inverted Companies from Receiving Government Contracts

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Advocacy Positions Available—May 22, 2015

Here is the most recent posting of jobs available in research and advocacy:

Regional Organizer –Eastern Region (Organizing)—Bread for the World

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Newly Posted Resources—May 22, 2015

Here are the most recently posted resources available for individuals and congregations:

Check Out New Reports on Stopping Torture in U.S. Prisons, Jails, and Detention Centers

June is Torture Awareness Month—Get Involved

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Memorial Day Recess—Speak Up for Affordable Housing

From the National Low Income Housing Coalition (http://www.nlihc.org):

Congress has left Washington, DC for the Memorial Day recess.  Your Representative likely will be at work in his or her home district for the next week. Many will be participating in public events like parades, picnics, and town hall meetings. Please use this opportunity to talk to your Member of Congress directly and urge him or her to protect the National Housing Trust Fund and fully fund HUD programs.NLIHC

The U.S. House of Representatives could consider their appropriation bill for housing programs as early as the week of June 1. The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations bill that was passed in committee on May 13 includes significant cuts to essential housing programs and redirects all funding that had been dedicated to the National Housing Trust Fund. Read more about the THUD bill in this article from Memo to Members.

THE ASK

When speaking to your Representative, communicate the following key points about the THUD bill:

  • Support amendments to remove the NHTF from the appropriations bill. The NHTF has a dedicated source of revenue that should not be redirected.
  • End the sequester caps and unnecessary austerity cuts.
  • Provide funding to restore all Housing Choice Vouchers lost due to sequestration in 2013.
  • Fund HOME at the $1.06 billion amount from the President’s Budget Request.

Find out when your Representative will be appearing at public events over the next week by contacting his or her district office. To get contact information for district offices, visit https://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5415/getLocal.jsp.

Please let us know what you hear back from your Representative about the THUD appropriations bill. Contact our Field Team at outreach@nlihc.org.

Thank you for your support!

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The Good Earth: Creation and Ministry in an Ecological Age—June 7-10, Pittsburgh

June 7, 7:00 p.m. – June 10, 2015, 1:00 p.m.

SPEAKERS

Fred Bahnson is director of the Food, Faith, & Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. He is the author of Soil & Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith and (with Norman Wirzba) Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation. In 2005 co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church-supported agriculture ministry in Cedar Grove, NC which he then directed until 2009.

Norman Wirzba is professor of theology, ecology, and rural life at Duke Divinity School. His work focuses on understanding and promoting practices that can equip both rural and urban church communities to be more faithful and responsible members of creation. Wirzba has published several books, including Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation, and the forthcoming, “From Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World.”

Full Conference: $150 (Includes all meals except the Farm to Table Banquet)

Each day starts with worship and includes time for reflection, creativity, and conversation.

Monday

  • Three presentation/discussion times with speakers
    • For God So Loved the World: Setting a Theological Context
    • Sons of Noah: Art, Faith, and Activism for the New Diluvian Age
    • From Nature to Creation: What Difference Does it Make?

Tuesday

  • A final presentation/discussion time with speakers
    • Reconciliation through Food and Farming
  • Workshops with PTS faculty & community leaders
  • Documentary film on Rachel Carson

Wednesday

  • More Workshops!
  • Lord’s Supper and Lunch with Guest Chef Trevett Hooper

Individual Sessions:

If you cannot attend the full conference, consider joining us for one or more of these individual sessions.

  • Opening Reception, Sunday, 7-8:30 pm: $10
  • Free Public Lecture: From Nature to Creation: What Difference Does it Make?, Monday, 4:30 pm
  • Farm to Table Banquet with Guest Chef Kevin Sousa, Monday, 6 pm: $30
  • Day Rates, 9 am-5 pm: Monday, Tuesday, OR Wednesday: $75 / day (includes lunch)
  • Movie Night, Tuesday, 7 pm: Film and Q&A with director Mark Dixon, The Power of One Voice: A 50-Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson, Suggested donation: $10

More information: ConEd@pts.edu ~ 412•924•1345 OR http://www.pts.edu/slc_2015

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Celebrating Head Start at 50: How Lessons from Head Start Can Inform an Agenda for America’s Poor Children

Posted at http://www.clasp.org/whats-next/celebrating-head-start-at-50

By Olivia GoldenHead Start 50

Signed into law by President Johnson on May 18, 1965, Head Start celebrated its 50th anniversary early this week.  When I had the chance to speak about the anniversary at April’s National Head Start Association conference, I learned that since its inception, Head Start has reached over 32 million low-income children and their families, touching them powerfully with its comprehensive learning experiences and services.

After all these years of accomplishment and debate, what is there new to say about Head Start?  Perhaps surprisingly, researchers do have new information, as they reanalyze decades of studies to mark the 50th anniversary and conduct new analyses that take advantage of up-to-the-minute data.  A careful re-analysis of a recent and large-scale random assignment study of Head Start finds that cognitive effects lasting into the early elementary years are greatest for English language learners.  And an essay by the distinguished social scientist Christopher Jencks reviewing the evidence of Head Start’s long-term effects in a short-term political culture concludes that, “Had parents not embraced Head Start, we might well have abolished it before we discovered that, in important ways, it worked.” 

But just as important as the direct effect of Head Start on more than 30 million babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families are the lessons it teaches us.  From its inception, Head Start built on the insight that the early years of a child’s life, before talking or reading or formal schooling, matter greatly to success in education and in life–an insight that once was counter-intuitive but has been powerfully confirmed by brain research in the decades since.  And the program also constitutes a two-generational policy framework because at the heart of the Head Start model are strategies that tackle issues facing poor parents—through dedicated family support workers and home visitors in addition to opportunities for parents to participate in decision making and advance their own careers—as well as providing an education for their children. The voice of Head Start has particularly mattered in countering the myths about poor parents that too often hamper U.S. policy, as well as modeling two-generational support services for children and families. Despite the myth that poor parents don’t care about their children’s education, for example, I remember visiting a Head Start program for migrant workers where parents who had spent all day in the fields still devoted volunteer time to their children’s Head Start program.

Another Head Start lesson comes from its grounding not only in the War on Poverty but also in the civil rights movement.  Anchoring Head Start is the belief that all children, including children of color, deserve the opportunity to succeed and that as a country we must work harder to reach those children and families who are marginalized and who face social and economic barriers.  As a result, Head Start throughout its history has reached black children, Native American children, and other children of color.  Today, about 36 percent of Head Start children are Latino, and Head Start is a leader in research and practice innovations to help young children who are dual language learners succeed in school and beyond.

Over its 50 years, Head Start programs nationwide have dedicated themselves to continuous improvement, applying lessons from both research and practice—consistent with the program’s earliest designation as a “national laboratory.”  One of the proudest moments in my own career came from just such an innovation—the creation of Early Head Start in the Head Start reauthorization that was signed into law 21 years ago, on May 18, 1994, when I served as Commissioner for the Administration of Children, Youth, and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Early Head Start was created in response to growing evidence about the crucial role that the earliest months and years of life play in young children’s development, and it represents the nation’s first large-scale venture into top-quality early learning and comprehensive services for babies and toddlers and their families.  It was designed through an expert committee of researchers and practitioners and—while still reaching far too few young children—has recently been expanded by the Obama administration through the Early Head Start–Child Care partnership initiative.

For 50 years, Head Start has stood for a vision of the United States as a nation that sees promise in all young children, including those in the poorest families; that reaches out across barriers of race, ethnicity, and income to make that promise real; and that invests in the high-quality educational and comprehensive services that research and experience tell us are needed to improve children’s lives.  Unfortunately, however, our country hasn’t lived up to that vision. Today, 22 percent of children under the age of five are still poor, 41 percent live in low-income families, and a disproportionate number are children of color. Yet even though all of these children are our future,  investment in their well-being has stalled—with Head Start reaching just 4 percent of all poor babies and toddlers and 45 percent of poor preschoolers, while struggling families just above the poverty line have even less access to high-quality early learning programs.

In fact, we now risk an actual disinvestment in these children, as reflected in the House and Senate budget proposals. Despite the bipartisan consensus that early childhood education and support matter, there is no consensus that we must make an investment to deliver that education and support. For example, the White House calculates that the Congressional spending targets for the key domestic spending bill that funds Head Start would leave Head Start serving 35,000 fewer children in 2016, and the budget resolution also would fund domestic programs in future years at levels that would serve 157,000 fewer children in Head Start the following year, due to the resolution’s proposed additional cuts on top of the already-reduced 2017 budget levels that are mandated by sequestration. Other early care and education programs have already seen cutbacks, with spending on child care subsidies through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) at an 11-year low.

So, what can we do from here? We must seek a different future, drawing from the lessons of research and experience over the past 50 years and also telling stories about the power of Head Start.  First, those who know families well, including Head Start caregivers as well as parents, early childhood policy and practice experts, and advocates, need to tell the story about the potential of these children and families—how much they have to offer and how terribly misguided it would be for our country not to invest in them.  Failing to ensure success for all young children in struggling families would be a great loss and great disservice not only to the children and families themselves, but also to our nation and economy as a whole–given our reality that more than 4 in 10 young children live in low-income families and almost half are children of color.  Second, we need to tell the story about success, as seen both by researchers and parents–and about the hard work, persistence, and commitment to continuous improvement that underlies that success. Even when Congress shuts down the government—failing to do its job—deeply committed Head Start teachers, directors, and other staff stay focused on doing their job and doing it well.  Finally, we need to tell the story of what it takes to achieve high quality for both generations, and in particular, the resources required to support and train teachers, link families to services, take on other challenges that impede learning, and at the same time, reach out to far more children than we touch today.

Two-generational programs like Head Start deserve celebration on this day, and continued investment in the years to come.

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Urge Your Representative to Sign On to End Family Detention

Maria Rosa fled Honduras with her 9-year-old son, Yoandri, to escape brutal domestic violence.  Yet, when they arrived at the U.S. border seeking protection, they were subjected to a different kind of cruelty.  Maria and Yoandri were locked up in the family detention center in Karnes, Texas with hundreds of other women and children.  They thought they would never make it out—her son was miserable, Maria got very sick, even the tap water was undrinkable.  Her son threatened to jump off the roof if they had to stay incarcerated any longer.  Finally, after six long months in these traumatic conditions, Maria and her son were granted asylum and released.  However, thousands of mothers and children that remain locked away in Karnes and other detention sites are fighting for dignity and protection.

Mothers and children fleeing violence deserve protection not detention.  A letter demanding an end to family detention is circulating in the House of Representatives today—tell your Representative to sign on now at http://org.salsalabs.com/o/625/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17883!

Maria is one of the thousands of migrants who in the past year have fled spiraling poverty, direct threats, and systemic violence in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico to seek protection for themselves and their families.  Data from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services shows that about 75% of families being detained have a “credible fear” of persecution in their home countries.  These families do not deserve to be treated as criminals and revictimized in detention centers while they await asylum decisions.

Can you take 5 minutes for families?  Click here to tell your member of Congress to support an end to family detention today!

On behalf of the mothers she left behind in detention, Maria joined members of Congress and advocates in a press conference this morning to demand that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) end family detention in the United States immediately.  As Maria said, “we are not criminals, nor are our children,” and vulnerable migrants should not be treated as such.  There is no humane way to detain families and children.  DHS should use humane and affordable alternatives for families as they await the outcome of their asylum claims, and end its family detention program immediately.

Tell Congress to stand with families and children and end family detention!

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Regional Organizer –Eastern Region (Organizing)—Bread for the World

Full Time:

LOCATION: Philadelphia metro area

REPORTS TO: Deputy Director of Organizing

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: To build, organize and strengthen a regional grassroots network to help Bread for the World accomplish its legislative goals toward ending hunger and poverty in the United States and internationally.

CORE RESPONSIBILITIES/ACTIVITIES:

  • Build relationships and create a new network of Bread leaders and members from among clergy, lay leaders and community leaders from diverse backgrounds.
  • Train leaders in basic organizing skills and?engages them in setting realistic yet challenging goals.
  • Engage leaders in the research of how Federal policy on hunger and poverty impacts local issues.
  • Work with leaders to organize actions and to mobilize around Bread’s Federal legislative platform.
  • Builds, strengthens and maintains Bread’s network in a multi-state portfolio of 3-5 states.

ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES/ACTIVITIES:

  • Implements mobilization efforts including resourcing existing activists and Bread teams and churches, delivering results for legislative campaigns and developing financial support for Bread and the Institute.
  • Engages, educates and motivates a diverse network on hunger-related issues and advocacy
  • Builds grassroots capacity identifying new leaders, building grassroots infrastructure and ensuring that diversity (racial, ethnic, generational, and providing denominational) is an active part of activist recruitment.
  • Recruits participants for Bread for the World-sponsored events.
  • Works with deputy director in setting grassroots strategies. Works cross-departmentally to implement engagement with local activists.
  • Communicates regularly with Bread for the World activists and members.
  • Stays abreast of legislative and organizational developments, building and maintaining knowledge of key Congressional targets as well as congressmen in assigned regions.
  • Uses organization’s resources in a manner that demonstrates responsibility and good stewardship, including submitting corporate credit card receipts on time, completing timesheets on time, submitting personnel documents on time, and making choices regarding travel arrangements, meals and lodging that are consistent with Bread’s values.

SKILLS/KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience
  • Minimum of five years’ organizing experience; professional training preferred
  • Understanding of public policy advocacy, legislative process, international and domestic hunger, and congregational/denominational governance
  • Experience working with diverse groups, including ability to reach across racial, ethnic, generational, socioeconomic and denominational lines
  • Ability to write and speak English and Spanish fluently is preferred
  • Strong communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Computer literacy in Microsoft Office, use of the Internet for research and experience with data collection and the importance of databases

WORK ENVIRONMENT ISSUES:

  • Overnight travel up to 13 weeks a year, including 3-4 weeks per year in Washington, DC
  • Must live within one hour of a major airport.
  • Valid Driver’s License and driving history that is consistent with the ability to be insured at an affordable, “safe driver” rate (Determined at Bread’s discretion)
  • The individual chosen for this position must be able to work from home.
  • Self-motivated and ability to work independently.

DISCLAIMER:

The information in this job description indicates the general nature and level of work expected of employees in this classification. It is not designed to contain, or to be interpreted as, a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, qualifications and objectives required of employees assigned to this job.

HOW TO APPLY:

Please submit a cover letter and resume to Careers.Eastern@bread.org or fax these materials to the attention of Sarah Rohrer at 202-688-1155. Preference will be given to applications received by May 29, 2015.

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Please visit www.bread.org for a full listing of available positions.

Bread for the World is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Call for an End to Immigrant Detention

The whole terrain of the immigration debate is shifting right now.

We’re in a moment when institutions we couldn’t imagine being moveable are suddenly called into question.

Add your name to those calling for immigrant detention to be put in the past at http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/petition-end-immigrant-detention-now/.

Last week the New York Times editorialized against detaining immigrants, highlighting that they’re caged just because they have a pending court date. It was soon followed by politicians echoing that same position.

Our communities know too well the inhumane treatment inside those walls and the indignity of detention centers existing at all.

That’s why we’re seizing this moment with Detention Watch Network to call for an end to immigrant detention altogether.  The organizing of women and children in family detention and of transgender women detainees and of the hunger strikers in Tacoma have shined a light on the abuses in detention and have shown a courage to call for their freedom. It’s time to release them. It’s time to end the incarceration of immigrants that only lines pocket books and causes pain.

Will you add your name and spread the word?

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