No new jails protest
Pushing Back feature
IPPImage2
ACA-448x250

What's Happening

Hate Is Not the American Way

2014.07.18_immigrationIf ever there was doubt about the source of America’s vitriol and hate-mongering when it comes to the American humanitarian crisis surrounding immigration, look no further:

These statements come from the House Republicans’ Principles on Immigration reform and a mailer during the primary campaign of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Each perpetuates a frighteningly common trend in American politics: an eagerness to blame victims instead of proposing meaningful solutions to our most pressing problems as a country. Sentiments like these don’t speak to a nation of unlimited possibility and opportunity, and they certainly fail to capture the rich and complex history of American immigration.

Continue reading »

For the Children, We Must Transcend Politics and Do the Right Thing

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 3.13.24 PMOne of the most inhumane things that a group of political players can do in this country – or any other – is to use children as a pawn in a political game.  It is especially repulsive that Republicans in the U.S. have chosen this course rather than figuring out a humane way to reunite the children at the border with their families.

There is no question that our immigration system is broken, nearly everyone agrees on that point.

Last year Congress had a real chance of passing immigration reform. The Senate passed a compromise bill, but weak-knee House leaders were afraid of taking action because of the political repercussions.

The new House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is saying that the first priority is to secure the border. When asked about his previous support on immigration reform, he said: “I’m on record saying nothing about immigration, until we secure the borders. The borders are not secure. Look at the humanitarian crisis that is happening right now along the border states.”

And then we have Congressman Darrell Issa, also from, CA demanding that President Obama deport all DACA recipients. Continue reading »

Welcome to the Alliance’s “Power from the Roots Up” Conference

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 3.30.52 PM** Letter from the Executive Director **

Welcome to the Alliance’s annual conference, “Power from the Roots Up”!

In this moment, we are witnessing intense gridlock in D.C. The once-promising dream of comprehensive immigration reform has turned into a political nightmare. Congress refuses to allow former students to refinance one of the great scourges of family debt out there, student loans. And, despite significant momentum by state and local governments around the country — including the recent passage of a $15 minimum wage here in Seattle — Congress is still unable to increase a federal minimum wage that has remained stagnant since 2009.

However, we have much to celebrate.

Community organizations around the country are running successful campaigns at the local level, making change one policy at a time. They are racking up big wins with innovative campaigns, ensuring that, when national opportunities arise, we have built power and are poised to strike.

A few examples that provide an inspiring contrast to the morass in D.C.: Continue reading »

Civil Rights, Human Rights, Obviously Don’t Extend to Health Care in Georgia

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 2.14.01 PMI got to thinking about the State of Georgia a few weeks ago when the Atlanta City Fathers proudly announced the opening of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. It is right there in Atlanta next to the Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.

Martin Luther King grew up in Atlanta and his life and other achievements of the Civil Rights Movement are celebrated in this new institution.

Georgia takes pride in its attraction to outside visitors – it ranks third in the nation in tourism. Tourism is the 5th largest employer in the state with an annual economic impact of $53.6 billion, including $2.8 billion in direct and indirect tax revenues.

Surely the opening of the new Center will burnish Georgia’s reputation and add an additional attraction for tourists. Folks like me, whose lives have been so influenced by the Civil Rights Movement might just want to pay it a visit.

But I could not stop thinking that these folks, who project to the world the image of a refurbished, modern part of the “New South,” live in the Capitol of a state that refuses to expand Medicaid. Continue reading »

Grads Pay a High Price for Student Loans, Plus the Emotional Toll

sad grad croppedCollege is sold to young Americans as a ticket to a better job and life by giving them knowledge and tools to increase their earning power over their lifetime. But for millions of college graduates, graduation is followed by severe student loan debt and a low paying job.

With an average student loan debt of near $30,000 and 13 million more college graduates in America than there are jobs that require a four-year degree, nearly half of recent U.S. gradsare now accepting low-wage jobs so that they can begin to chip away at their student loan debt.

According to research by the Alliance for a Just Society, because of the $1.2 trillion collective student loan burden, young adults have less ability to purchase homes, cars and other staple purchases that serve as the backbone of the economy. Hand-in-hand with this trillion dollar mountain of debt is the severe emotional stress created by underemployment on graduates – stress and anxiety that may keep them from finding work related to their college degree. Continue reading »

Leaders, Businesses in Washington, Oregon and Idaho Calling for Immigration Reform Now

GrowingOurFuture_Logo logo_Large GOOD

For Immediate Release, July 3, 2014

Leaders and organizations representing businesses and communities throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho are powerfully combining their voices, calling on elected officials in the U.S. Congress to take action now on immigration reform.

While recognizing that passing immigration reform this year is challenging, they also understand the dire economic consequences that failing to do so will have on our communities, our businesses, our families and our country.

As we look forward to Independence Day on July 4, celebrating our identity as a nation built through immigration, they are joining to send this clear message to our congressional delegations: “Do it now. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”

“Comprehensive immigration reform is key to continued prosperity in Washington and the Puget Sound region,” said Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “We want to encourage the best and brightest workers from around the world to come help grow our economy and make sure our companies have the workforce they need to compete globally.” Continue reading »

LeeAnn Hall: Three Reasons Why Harris v. Quinn Matters to All of Us

This article was originally published in Huffington Post.

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 5.50.01 PMThe Harris v. Quinn ruling on Monday was a huge step backward in the national effort to develop rights and protections for home care workers. It’s also a clear call to action for all of us not to become complacent or take for granted the rights and protections that were hard fought and hard earned by the labor movement.

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that home care workers who do not wish to support the union that bargains on their behalf, can no longer be required to pay their “fair share” of the costs of collective bargaining with the state — even though they benefit from that bargaining process.

The attack on these public sector workers dramatically undermines decades of state-level progress in professionalizing the home care industry and ensuring that the people taking care of our nation’s grandparents and disabled people are paid decent wages, work in humane conditions, and can afford to take care of their own families.

This ruling is troubling for the home care workers it will affect — most of whom are women and people of color. Many make less than minimum wage. It is also troubling for all of us who understand that workers are more able to provide quality care when they are treated with dignity, paid fair wages, and have a voice on the job. Continue reading »

Starbucks’ Free College Gimmick Clouds the Real Problem

student drinking coffee

As we’ve reported here and here, the state of higher education in this country has reached a crisis. The cost of tuition has risen substantially faster than any other good or service over the past 40 years.  There are many that are calling the student debt crisis the next financial bubble.

Under the Starbucks plan, employees would receive a discounted tuition rate for the first two years from Arizona State University’s online program. The discount amounts to roughly $6,500 over two years on $30,000 retail price. The remainder of their tuition is expected to be paid by the employee, through personal savings or federal Pell Grants or scholarships.

While this promotion may be somewhat helpful for struggling low-wage Starbucks employees, it does little to fix structural deficiencies in the higher education system. They are deficiencies that Starbucks directly causes and benefits from. As a key member of the Fix the Debt organization Starbucks funded groups that were lobbying for lower corporate tax rates.  These tax cuts are a direct cause of the disinvestment we’ve seen over the past 40 years in higher education. Continue reading »

Daley Weekly: D.C. Summer Nastiness is in Full Bloom

billD.C.  Summer

The political season is in full flower in D.C. Lots of things are being proposed and voted on in both Houses of Congress that will not become law any time soon. There is no looming debt default or government shutdown, so everyone simply is taking a stick to everyone else. They will be doing this for a solid three weeks in July.

Immigration Confrontation

A huge confrontation is coming on immigration. Two months ago Speaker John Boehner seemed to be prepping his caucus to take a vote on some version of reform. The Administration seemed to be doing things to accommodate this possibility. Events: Eric Cantor’s loss, Obama’s falling approval ratings, international crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, economic stagnation, the children’s march into the arms of ICE.

Instead of pushing reform, some House Republicans are calling for a cessation of deferred prosecutions – deporting record numbers of people apparently is not enough. All of this comes on the backdrop of a wildly unpredictable election season. What happens if inaction in the House continues? Obama cannot but react, he is being invited into a confrontation.

Things got started in earnest last week when Speaker Boehner began readying a lawsuit over executive power. At week’s end, Obama bluntly told Boehner that if the Speaker did not like him using his legal authority, then the Congress could very well do something about immigration.  More will come soon as the debate widens over what to do with the refugee crisis on the Southern Border. Continue reading »

New ‘Beyond Cellblocks’ Webinar: Ending Police-ICE Collaboration

US_Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_SWATThroughout the country, local police have been partnering with immigration services, resulting in unfair targeting and treatment of people of color. On Tuesday July 1, join us for an important video discussion about ending collaboration between local law enforcement agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In addition to educating participants on the police-ICE collaboration and its effects on our communities, we will be discussing strategies to end the collaboration, focusing on how we can build policies at a local level in order to help assemble what we hope to see happen at a national level.

We are excited to showcase three very accomplished and passionate speakers at this webinar: Nicole Brown, field director for the Center for Intercultural Organizing; Alisa Wellek, co-executive director for the Immigrant Defense Project; and Stephen Manning, a partner at Immigrant Law Group PC.

Date:  Tuesday July 1st  2014

Start Time:  11:00 AM PST/2:00 PM EST

To view the video presentation live and participate in the Q&A, register here. This webinar is part of the Beyond Cell Blocks & Border Stops series.

Reports for 2014

2014-06_Addressing-Health-Disparities-Through-the-Marketplace-Print-1Addressing Health Disparities Through the Marketplace

http://allianceforajustsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/2014-06_Addressing-Health-Disparities-Through-the-Marketplace-Print.pdf

June 25, 2014

New Video: Case Study of Colorado’s Consent-To-Search Policing Policy

In October 2013, the Alliance for a Just Society partnered with the Union Theological Seminary for a symposium called Cell Blocks and Border Stops: Transformational Activism in the Age of Dehumanization. Since then, the Alliance has been working closely with our affiliate organizations to advance policies that deconstruct systemic structures of criminalization in their local jurisdictions — and we’ve launched this webinar series, as platform for organizers and policymakers to learn from one another and to generate new ideas for local campaigns that can be replicated across the country.

Our last webinar covered Seattle’s LEAD program, a cutting-edge diversion program that uses Medicaid expansion dollars to pay for the chemical dependency or mental health treatment of potential arrestees. This month, we’ve brought together a distinguished panel of speakers to discuss how Colorado passed a law in 2010 requiring police officers to inform people of their constitutional right to consent or refuse a search. Four years later, what’s been the real outcome of the program, and what can other states learn?

This webinar originally aired live on May 28, 2014. Our panelists:

Tania Soto Valenzuela is a community organizer with Colorado Progressive Coalition, a statewide, member-driven organization that engages communities to advance economic and social justice. She has fought alongside survivors of police brutality and misconduct, and with the Racial Justice & Police Accountability Hotline, she’s working to highlight members’ stories to change the culture of silence and violence currently dominating our law enforcement agencies.

Alex Landau is a civil rights activist and a member of Colorado Progressive Coalition. As a survivor of a high-profile case of extreme police violence in Denver, Colorado, he has been instrumental in the re-launching of CPC’s police profiling hotline, and he assists with internal affairs and independent monitoring processes.

Hillary Jorgenson is the Interim Executive Director of Colorado Progressive Coalition. She led the coalition’s work to pass the Affordable Care Act, to expand Medicaid and to protect Medicare. She recently took the position of CPC’s political director.

Art Way is Senior Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance, based in Denver. Way brings substantial public policy and criminal justice reform experience to DPA. And was formally the lead organizer for responsible for the Consent-To-Search campaign.

Our next webinar will be examining the local policies that are being passed to end police and ICE collaboration, on July 1st at 11:00 PT/ 2:00 ET. We hope you will join us again.

Tools to Rescue Underwater Homeowners When Outreach Isn’t Enough

Photo by: Alan Pollock, Workers World

Photo by: Alan Pollock, Workers World

As previously discussed in Alliance reports, the housing crisis is over for some, but there are still millions of homeowners across the country struggling to pay off mortgages that are valued at more than the current worth of their homes. When combined with a sluggish labor market forcing many families to make due on less than before the recession, paying more than something is worth is not only dissatisfying, but often impossible.

In communities of color that still have high numbers of underwater mortgages, the effect on individuals overflows into the community, preventing entire neighborhoods from fully recovering from the recession.

During the height of the recession, there was sometimes a temptation to put the blame on borrowers who took out loans that they could not afford or with fine print they ignored, despite the fact that many homeowners were steered into these loans by banks looking to make a quick sale. Struggling homeowners were viewed as not smart with their finances and not reading or understanding the fine print, suggesting that it was the borrowers who needed to change.

As the crisis moved beyond subprime mortgages and property values dropped across the country, more and more “smart” people fell into foreclosure. Finally, the blame shifted appropriately to the banks, but solutions continued to focus on homeowners. Continue reading »

Rural and Small Towns Calling for Immigration Reform Now

GrowingOurFuture_Logo logo_Large GOODOver the course of our nation’s history, immigrants have traditionally moved to some of the U.S.’s largest cities consolidating the perception that immigration is an urban concern. But the truth is in the latter part of the twentieth century, immigrants have been moving to rural towns. And like waves of immigrants before them they are shaping and revitalizing communities they join.

“I’m probably the last guy you’d expect to see pushing for immigration reform. But the fact is, rural towns across America need immigration reform the most. Past generations of immigrants built rural America; new generations are revitalizing it,” said John Bechtel, mayor of Wilder, Idaho – population 1,533. Continue reading »

Poor, in Prison – and Pregnant

pregnant-inmateAs poverty levels in the U.S. increase, safety nets are  slashed, and families are left with few options for survival. As a result, more people are forced into difficult economic decisions, including alternative street-based economies and crime from sheer economic desperation. Many of these people are women and mothers.

Among women who are fortunate enough to have employment – women of color, are still making 64 cents on the dollar compared to men. (For white women, it is  77 cents on the dollar.) These women are also most likely to be the primary caregivers for children. Add in the high cost of childcare and the amount of money that women have left to live on is abysmal. Continue reading »

  • Donate

    graphical text that says donate
  • Stay Connected

  • Social

  • Southside Commons

    Southside Commons logo