PICO Network News - May 2006

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Mon May 8 14:07:19 CDT 2006

From: "PICO National Network" <news at piconetwork.org>

PICO National Network | Unlocking the Power of People
PICO Network News

Rebuilding Louisiana
National media campaign presses Congress to act on Katrina
PICO is launching a media campaign to press Congress to complete
work on emergency Gulf Coast legislation that includes full
funding for housing and levees. To prevent critical Katrina
assistance from being lost in the political shuffle in
Washington, PICO federations are holding meetings and events
with members of Congress, flooding Congress with e-mail and
phone calls and releasing a Video News Release for local TV news
station across the country.

New Orleans Mayoral Forum on Housing and Community
All Congregations Together is hosting a mayoral forum on Sunday,
May 7 in New Orleans to shape city housing and community
development policy under the next city administration. With
hundreds of millions of dollars expected to flow into New
Orleans for rebuilding, ACT leaders want to make sure that
community residents and religious congregations have a voice in
planning decisions, and that funds are spent wisely and reach
those with the greatest needs.

$2.1 billion Tobacco Tax Initiative headed for November Ballot
in California
Today PICO California and the Coalition for a Healthy California
delivered more than the one million signatures needed to place a
historic health care initiative on the November ballot. PICO
leaders coordinated a major volunteer effort that collected
85,681 signatures. If approved by voters, the Initiative will
provide important new health care services, including covering
all uninsured children in the state, and will also prevent
smoking among youth and reduce smoking rates in low-income
communities. For more information visit

Vermont clergy push to break deadlock on health care
Clergy from Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA) led a press
conference at the Vermont Statehouse to press the governor and
legislative leaders to move forward on a compromise health care
bill to extend coverage to uninsured Vermonters.

Churches fight to block FEMA evictions in Florida
Greater Pensacola Community Organization (GPCO) is working to
create permanent affordable housing for the 2,000 families who
lost their homes in Escambia County, Florida in September 2004
as a result of Hurricane Ivan. GPCO is pressing FEMA to stop
evicting poor families from mobile home parks until churches and
local officials are able to develop permanent housing. Read more
at http://ga3.org/ct/47_svVd1zX6V/.

San Francisco wins $20 million for affordable housing
As part of a long-term campaign to expand affordable housing
opportunities in San Francisco and assure that low-income and
working families can continue to live in the city, San Francisco
Organizing Project won $20 million in additional city funding
for affordable housing and family rental assistance. Read more
at http://ga3.org/ct/Bp_svVd1zX6G/.

Congregations weigh in on immigration debate
Many PICO federations and congregations have been working over
the past years to organize immigrant communities, fight
exploitation of immigrant families, and find common ground among
diverse communities on immigration issues. As the immigration
debate in the United States has intensified, PICO federations
have helped lead immigration vigils and marches in Denver, San
Diego, San Jose, Sacramento, Contra Costa County, California and
other cities across the country.

New Aviation High School to open in Oakland
Culminating a multi-year community-led campaign, Oakland
Community Organizations joined with the College of Alameda, the
Port of Oakland, the Western Aerospace Museum (WAM) and other
community partners to inaugurate Oakland Aviation High School
(OAHS) on Sunday, March 26.

$1 million for new schools in San Jose
As part of a campaign by People Acting in Community Together
(PACT) to improve public education in San Jose, Netflix founder
Reed Hastings has made a $1 million gift to ACE Public School
Network to speed up the creation of new small public schools in
Santa Clara County. PACT founded the ACE Public School Network
two years ago to support the development of new high quality
public schools for low and moderate-income children in the
county. Read more at http://ga3.org/ct/X1_svVd1zX6F/.

New School moves ahead in Philadelphia
The Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project (EPOP) won an
agreement from Philadelphia School District CEO Paul Vallas to
approve construction of a new school in a low-income
multi-ethnic neighborhood in Philadelphia. Parents and
neighborhood churches have fought for many years to replace one
of the most overcrowded and obsolete school buildings in the
city. Plans for the new school were halted after it was
discovered that the proposed site was an old graveyard, but
pressure from EPOP and support of City Councilmember Frank
DiCicco moved the new school forward.

Massachusetts passes bill to reduce gang violence
The Massachusetts Communities Action Network, in coalition with
the Black Ministerial Alliance, the Boston Ten Point Coalition,
and the Dorchester Youth Collaborative won passage of state
legislation to reduce gang violence.

Anchorage works to prevent youth violence
Anchorage Faith and Action Congregations Together (AFACT)
gathered youth from diverse religious denominations, ethnic
groups, and socio-economic groups to dialogue with Anchorage
police officers in April as part of an effort to break the cycle
of youth violence in the community.

Youth Leaders Tackle Violence in San Bernardino, California
On February 11, more than 500 people participated in a forum and
candlelight march led by youth from Inland Congregations United
for Change (ICUC) to reduce violence in San Bernardino. The
youth leaders captured the attention of the media and city
officials, making violence prevention a top priority of city
government and won a commitment from the Mayor to include young
people in developing a comprehensive strategy to make the
community safer. Read more at http://ga3.org/ct/r7_svVd1zXOa/.

Community, youth leaders block Wal-Mart in Hercules, CA
Contra Costa Interfaith Sponsoring Committee (CCISCO) and its
youth organizing team blocked an effort by Wal-Mart to open a
new store in Hercules.

Rochester wins $18 million in state aid
As the result of an intensive lobbying campaign, Rochester will
receive an unprecedented 33% increase in state aid this year ?
an additional $18 million. Interfaith Action began the Fair
Share campaign at a July 28, 2006 public forum attended by 500
people. Read more at http://ga3.org/ct/f1_svVd1zXOS/.

Fighting to keep Allentown clean
As part of a campaign to address quality of life issues in
Allentown, Pennsylvania, Congregations United for Neighborhood
Action (CUNA) won new garbage rules designed to prevent
commercial dumping of garbage on city sidewalks.

Southeast Leadership Retreat
Over 100 leaders from PICO organizations in the Southeast United
States met March 31-April 2 in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more at

New organizing effort on the Wind River Indian Reservation, WY
Goshen Faith Community Concerns (GFCC) in Wyoming opened a new
satellite office on the Wind River Indian Reservation. This
Reservation is made up of the Arapaho and the Shoshonee Tribes.
GFCC is working in Wind River and Goshen County to help families
organize to build a powerful voice to bring needed housing
resources and public services to their communities. For more
information contact Melinda Magdaleno at gfccwyo at yahoo.com.sg.

PICO needs your financial support
PICO's success in empowering families and improving communities
depends on financial contributions from our donors. To help
support our work on the issues you've read about in this issue
of e-news and others, visit http://ga3.org/ct/fp_svVd1zXOA/ to
make an on-line donation.

The PICO National Network
171 Santa Rosa Avenue
Oakland, California 94610
510 655 4816


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