"On Thursday evening, King spoke to over 100 adults who are either participating in the Valley Interfaith GED program or waiting to do so. The house meeting was held at St. John the Baptist's in San Juan. Speaking in Spanish, King praised those participating in the GED program and spoke about his vision for scaling up what Valley Interfaith has started....
....asked if the GED en EspaÃ±ol program could be scaled up to match the obvious demand, King had no doubts. 'I have no doubt at all. We will find a way to do it.'"
King Plans to Scale Up Valley Interfaith Efforts, Rio Grande Guardian
In civic academies on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Valley Interfaith leaders learned that there were almost no Spanish GED classes or testing sites in the County of Hidalgo and a lack of classes to prepare. This led some to travel hours to Brownsville â€“ the only available site in the Rio Grande Valley.
Leaders worked with the McAllen Independent School System and St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church to expand Spanish language GED preparation classes, and with South Texas College to begin Spanish GED testing in Hidalgo County. Today, more than 60 students are enrolled.
Valley Interfaith Plans to Expand GED En Espanol Program, Rio Grande Guardian
"Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday on the front steps of the Capitol to rally in support of Medicaid expansion....Willie Bennett, along with 45 other members of the Dallas Area Interfaith, turned up for the march that snaked down Congress Avenue and up to the Capitol. Bennett said more than 3,000 individuals and 38 institutions had signed up in favor of Medicaid expansion."
"Anderson and her 66-year-old mother, Martha Anderson, were among about 60 Tarrant County residents who gathered at the St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Fort Worth ... for the 200-mile bus trip to Austin. The trip was organized by the Allied Communities of Tarrant (ACT)" in coordination with the Network of Texas Organizations, including Austin Interfaith, The Border Organization, EPISO, Border Interfaith, TMO, WIN, WTOS, Valley Interfaith and COPS / Metro Alliance.
Protesters March on Texas Capitol for Expanded Medicaid, Star Telegram
Hundreds March to Capitol to Show Support for Medicaid Expansion, Dallas Morning News
"...Valley Interfaith members were at Hidalgo County Commissioners Court to urge commissioners to pass a resolution in support of Adult Medicaid. In a news release, Valley Interfaith said it urges other counties in the Valley to stand also in support. The Rev. Javier Leyva, a Valley Interfaith leader, pointed out that expanding Medicaid would bring over $400 million in Medicaid funds to Hidalgo County and nearly $670 million to the Valley overall."
Hidalgo County Passes Resolution in Support of Medicaid Expansion, Rio Grande Guardian
"Valley Interfaith leader Rosalie Tristan gave two personal healthcare stories to highlight the need for expanding Medicaid. Tristan...spoke of her 55-year-old brother, David Contreras, a husband and father of two. He has a tumor on the back of his head the size of a melon. He has been told he has to come up with $10,000 in order to see a doctor. He does not have $10,000.
He has also been told he cannot go to the emergency room of his local hospital until the body tissue bursts. He earns too much to qualify for Medicaid...."
Tristan Offers Personal Story to Highlight Need for Medicaid Expansion, Rio Grande Guardian
"Valley Interfaith held its first ever accountability session in Pueblo del Palmas, north of Penitas, on Thursday evening. Over 50 colonia residents attended to ask questions of the two candidates running for Texas House District 35, Oscar Longoria and Gus Ruiz. Valley Interfaith leaders said they intend to build civic engagement in the community."
"About 60 clergy leaders from the Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran and Methodist churches took part in Valley Interfaith's second annual conference to promote immigration reform and educate religious leaders about its issues. The convocation follows Valley Interfaith's October 2010 event where church leaders unveiled what they believed should be principles of immigration reform, such as upholding family unity, providing legal avenues for migrant workers and creating a path toward citizenship.
But Thursday's convocation was highlighted by the personal stories of immigrants cornered by the nation's laws..."
Photo features Bishop Daniel Flores of the Brownsville Catholic Diocese seated with Rev. Linda Whitworth-Reed of the First Presbyterian Church of McAllen.
Valley Religious Leaders Call for Humane Immigration Laws, Rio Grande Valley Monitor
Bishop Flores: Laws Exist for Good of Human Community, Rio Grande Guardian
MIT economist Paul Osterman names various Texas IAF strategies 'models' for the nation while discussing his new book, Good Jobs America: Making Work Better for Everyone.
In the New York Times he notes that despite low wages in the Rio Grande Valley, "the Valley is not hopeless....community organization Valley Interfaith has pushed for training opportunities and living wage jobs."
On NPR, he asserts "there is a network of training programs (Project Quest... VIDA... Capital IDEA...) that are very effective in upgrading low-wage workers into high-quality jobs."
How to Create 'Good Jobs', Governing (09/21)
Good Jobs and Bad Jobs in a Down Economy, NPR (09/12/11)
Yes, We Need Jobs, But What Kind?, New York Times (09/06/11)
Raising Job Quality and Wages to Help Fix Jobs Crises, Washington Post(09/02/11)
More on W/SWIAF Workforce Development Strategies
Mayoral Press Conference, New Orleans Mayor
Homebuyer Subsidy Program to Launch 6 Years After Katrina, The Times Picayune
Revive New Orleans Subsidized Mortgage Program, The Times Picayune
"I applaud the work in helping bring water to over 160 thousand people across the Valley, increasing wages for public sector workers to alleviate poverty, working with thousands of residents in acquiring their citizenship, improving learning environments in and around our public schools and the list continues with 28 years of victories..."
Complete statement here
Leaders of Valley Interfaith succeeded in expanding sewage infrastructure into the colonias of Donna, for the first time bringing first-world drainage to its residents. Before this expansion, people relied on septic tanks which would overflow during the rainy season, causing numerous health problems for families.
Donna Expands Sewer Lines to Colonias, Eyes Annexation, The Monitor