PICO Network News - February 4, 2008

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Thu Feb 7 09:23:33 CST 2008


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


Monday, February 4, 2008

HEALTHY FAMILIES

PICO affiliates take the fight for affordable health coverage to
states

Building on the foundation laid during the SCHIP campaign this
past year, PICO affiliates in California, Colorado, Florida,
Louisiana, Missouri, Vermont, and New Jersey plan to step up
statewide efforts in 2008 to expand health coverage to children
and adults. With a presidential election in full swing, the hope
is to continue generating pressure on both a local and state
level in order to create an "upward momentum" that will lead to
substantial change at the national level.

Vermont Interfaith Action reaches out to faith communities
across the state on new health plan

In December, Vermonth Interfaith Action (VIA) began a statewide
outreach campaign to engage faith communities to educate and
enroll members in Catamount Health, Vermont Health Access
Program (VHAP), and Medicaid. In 2006, VIA, together with
allies, won passage of the Catamount Health Care bill, Vermont's
state-sponsored health care program for uninsured adults. VIA
will be educating faith communities across the state on the
programs, assisting with enrollment, and building support for
making important reforms to the bill in the 2008 legislative
session.

IMMIGRATION

Hmong Leaders in California help alter provision of the Patriot
Act

Over 1,800 Hmong leaders from throught San Joaquin County came
together on December 15 to call on their elected officials to
exclude them from being listed as "terrorists" in the Patriot
Act. Eleven days later, President Bush signed HR 2764, which
contained specific language stating that Hmong shall not be
considered a terrorist organization. In the 1960s, Hmong were
recruited by the CIA to fight a covert war against the Laos
government. The Patriot Act denies entry to the U.S. to those
who have engaged in unlawful activity against their country. As
a result, many Hmong across the U.S. have been denied driver
licenses and permanent resident status.

PICO Bay Area launches new Citizenship & Civic Engagement
Campaign

On January 20, 2008, over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, 600
people gathered to launch one of the first citizenship drives in
the PICO Bay Area Citizenship and Civic Participation Campaign.
The campaign is designed to urge the 387,604 legal permanent
residents in the Bay Area to become citizens and will teach
people how to participate effectively in civic and political
life. This historic coordinated campaign will include 25
citizenship drives in 12 different cities in five counties
across the Bay Area.

HOUSING

Interfaith Action helps wins $400 million Housing Opportunity
Fund in New York

PICO's Rochester affiliate, Interfaith Action (IA), celebrated
New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's announcement of the creation
of a $400 million Housing Opportunity Fund in his state of the
state address in January. Since 2004, IA has been working with
city officials to create a housing trust fund in Rochester. As
part of this strategy, IA has been working with its allies in
the Empire State Housing Alliance to convince key state
officials to adopt this strategy to fund neighborhood renewal.

GOOD SCHOOLS

Denver school superintendent agrees to student-based budgeting

On January 15, over 250 people from Metro Organizations for
People (MOP) in Denver held a public action meeting with the
Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Michael Bennet, and
three school board members. At the meeting, Superintendent
Bennet agreed to a number of proposals from MOP, most important
of which was a commitment to implement student-based budgeting
(SBB) for low-income students in the district.

SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS

Camden Churches win new police leadership

Less than two months after New Jersey Attorney General Anne
Milgram stood before 800 members of Camden Churches Organized
for People (CCOP) and refused to commit to a clear timeline to
hire a new police chief and civilian director, the tide has
turned. In December, the Camden City Council passed an ordinance
creating the position of a Civilian Police Director, responding
to one of CCOP's primary recommendations. And then in January,
Attorney General Milgram appointed an interim Police Director
until a national search is completed, and also a new Police
Chief. Both have indicated their support for stronger
police-community partnerships and local Problem-Solving
Community Policing demonstration projects are underway.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

PICO Leaders in California Focus on Connections between
Education and Youth Violence

PICO affiliates in California have a long history of engaging in
both youth and education organizing. Currently, 16 of the 19
PICO affiliates in California are organizing in either or both
of these areas. Recently, PICO leaders from throughout the state
have begun exploring the connections between their efforts to
improve educational opportunities for youth and their work to
find innovative solutions (including jobs, mentoring,
recreational activities) to address the rise in gang and youth
violence in their communities.

JOBS

PICO federations in cities across the nation have job openings.
Visit www.piconetwork.org/ab_careers.html to see current jobs
and learn more about working in the PICO network.

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
https://secure.entango.com/donate/HvXGu6SUQ6c .

See past issues of PICO Network News:
http://www.piconetwork.org/enews_info_2.html .



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