Sunday, April 26, 2015

Earth Day Greetings from the Friends Committee on Legislation of California

banner_inside_legislative_issuesI just received this letter from Friends Committee on Legislation of California (FCLCA) and have decided to post it. FCLCA was founded in the 1950s during the McCarthy period, when California passed a slew of loyalty oaths. Since Quakers have a testimony against swearing oaths (Jesus told his disciples not to swear oaths: "Let you aye be aye and your nay nay"), Quakers founded this lobbying organization which has been a Quaker voice in Sacramento ever since. FCLCA takes up many unpopular causes, like prison reform, and has been a faithful advocate for the marginalized. This Earth Day letter from Kevan Insko links to FCLCA's latest newsletter and offers opportunities to make a difference in our state's laws.

Happy (belated) Earth Day!  I wanted to let you know that our Spring FCLCA Newsletter is now online with a feature article about one of the leading environmental justice organizations in California: the Community Water Center out of Visalia in Tulare County.

I hope you enjoy reading the interview with Laurel Firestone, their co-director.
It's amazing and inspiring to see what CWC and the "clean water" grassroots activists in the San Joaquin Valley have accomplished.

And we have another inspiring story about a workshop on grassroots lobbying that we recently presented to a great group of eighth-graders who were visiting the Capitol from the San Francisco Friends School (thank you, FCL Education Fund donors).

Our Spring FCLCA Newsletter also features a comprehensive article about current bills in the Legislature from your FCLCA lobbyist, Jim Lindburg.  Some highlights:
  • AB 512, a bill we are co-sponsoring to reduce prison recidivism, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee!
  • We're advocating for several bills that address the issue of excessive force by police and racial profiling.
  • We're working hard to win three proven ways of reducing poverty: increased childcare slots, a higher minimum wage and an earned income tax credit.
  • We're supporting the strong environmental legislation that has been introduced this session.
  • We're taking a leading role in organizing opposition to a bill that ties driver's licenses to Selective Service registration.

And we can do it all because of you!  Thank you for your support.

Kevan Insko
Friends Committee on Legislation of California

Friday, April 24, 2015

How is peace and justice work faring among Pacific Yearly Meeting Friends?

Tomorrow I am going to La Jolla to take part in Southern California Quarterly Meeting's spring gathering. I am excited about connecting with Friends from all around Southern California, but I am also feeling stretched thin. It is a joy to serve on both committees but clerking both is too much of a good thing. I am hoping that someone will step forward to help either by co-clerking one or both of these committees or by taking on my duties.  
Having said that, I must confess I love being part of these Peace Committees and am always inspired and encouraged when I hear of the wonderful work being done by Friends around issues of peace and justice, and also Quaker  service. I especially want to lift up Claremont Meeting for reaching out to the homeless and turning their meetinghouse into a shelter for those in need and Lynnette Arnold for her remarkable work on behalf of refugee children crossing the border. She is currently traveling to Karnes, Texas, to take part in an action supporting mothers who are being held in detention and have gone on a hunger strike.  Please hold her in the Light. See her blog:
Each month the Peace Committee has a phone conference call, to which all are invited. Contact me at if you’d like to be included. You can also learn more about peace concerns at my blog:
The PYM Peace and Social Order Committee will sponsor interest groups at our 2015 PYM Annual Session dealing with the following concerns:

·         Mass Incarceration and Restorative Justice: An AFSC interest group convened by Laura Magnani and her colleague, Jerry Elster, a formerly incarcerated man who has become our healing justice coordinator. A national network of Friends involved in these issues has been launched by AFSC and Friends around the country, to help support the work carried on in different states. This interest group will not be just focused on California. We will particularly be addressing Friends who are already active, who want to deepen their involvement.
·         A Quaker response to the increased migration of Latin American children and  families, an interest group led by The Child Refugee and Migration Subcommittee of the Latin American Concerns Committee. We are particularly concerned with the treatment of migrants in the areas of incarceration and detention, legal and immigration  proceedings, and voluntary/involuntary deportations.
·         Stopping Lethal Drone Warfare:  PYM approved a minute calling for Friends to oppose militarized drone warfare.  This workshop will provide an update and action suggestions for implementing that minute based on the Princeton Theological Seminary lethal drone warfare conference held at the end of January with 150 interfaith participants, including around 10 Friends.  Presented by AFSC's Stephen McNeil.  
·         Friends Peace Teams. A Spirit-led organization working around the world to develop long-term relationships with communities in conflict to create programs for peacebuilding, healing and reconciliation. FPT’s programs build on extensive Quaker experience combining practical and spiritual aspects of conflict resolution.

The main concern to surface this year in both SCQM and College Park Quarterly Meeting has been immigration, and the plight of refugee children crossing the border. The Latin American Concerns Committee of PYM has appointed a special subcommittee devoted to this concern; and the Casa de los Amigos in Mexico City is deeply involved in immigration and migrant issues. Five Meetings—Santa Barbara, Inland Valley, Humboldt and  Redwood Forest, and Sacramento-- have approved minutes of concern regarding the plight of refugee children crossing the border; and Orange Grove Meeting is currently considering one.  There will be an interest group on this topic at Yearly Meeting session this summer. 
I encourage you to support the efforts of the AFSC and FCNL to promote humane and fair immigration reform. See AFSC: and also
         Finally, here is action recommended by AFSC - click on the link to send a letter to your Congressperson asking them to vote in favor of a budget amendment that would get rid of the "bed mandate" that requires 34,000 immigrant detention beds to be filled every day:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Affordable housing course for those who want to help insure that every American is decently housed

Good news: my wife will be teaching a course on affordable housing at Denver Seminary this summer! Now is the time to sign up if you want to make a difference and help end homelessness. As the US Conference of Mayors and the National Coalition for the Homeless have noted, "Poverty and the lack of affordable housing are the principal causes of family homelessness." 

I feel very committed to this course because I helped edit Jill's  book: Making Housing Happen: Faith Based Affordable Housing Models, which describes what churches are doing to make a difference. (Including Quakers, who started Self-Help Enterprises in the Central Valley of California and inspired Millard Fuller to start Habitat for Humanity). This book was favorably reviewed in Friends Journal by Diane Randall, the general secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation, a former housing advocate. I have also witnessed, and taken part in, the amazing work that Jill is doing in the local community. Here's a description of the course and how to enroll:
In this ground-breaking intensive course,  you will learn how the housing crisis is being addressed by courageous people of faith and experts in the field. What role do faith communities play in helping to create affordable housing and changing policies so that there is sufficient affordable housing for all–from the homeless and very low-income to those who cannot afford to live in the communities where they work? 

Dr. Jill Shook, nationally known as an advocate for housing justice, has helped to create hundreds of affordable units in her city and has written a book on affordable housing used as a text in college course and also by advocates across the nation. She has taught doctoral level courses at Azusa Pacific, Bakke Graduate School and given workshops for the past 15 years at the Christian Community Development Association and elsewhere. She has also given presentations at numerous Quaker meetings, as well as at Pacific Yearly Meeting annual session and the FGC Gathering. Her work has been translated into Spanish and is being shared with pastors not only in the United States but also in Latin America via FWCC, Section of the Americas, where she led an interest group near Mexico City in March.
This course will not simply be academic. It will take students into areas of Denver where Christian housing developers and visionaries are transforming their community through housing. Come and see how God is at work in this beautiful city!
Denver Seminary offers a unique Master of Arts degree in Justice and Mission, with courses on social issues like immigration, health justice—and now, housing justice. Housing Justice is a new course that will be offered June 22-July 2, 2015.  Dr. Jill Shook will be teaching this two-week intensive.
This course is open to anyone, not just Denver Seminary students. Note the registration dates however, the registrar needs a count on the number of students by May 10. International students will need to be register by March 15. So if you or someone you know is interested, please enroll soon.Please review the course description below. This information is also found here: (you made want to share this link).
Course Description

Housing Justice: Theological and Practical Foundations (JM 645): Develops a theological and practical understanding of how housing justice is part of God’s mission. It provides a comprehensive look at ways to house communities in light of biblical land use laws and the just and fair distribution of land and housing. Case studies are examined, which includes how churches and Gospel-driven visionaries are addressing the housing crisis, creating affordable housing, and transforming people and communities. Interactive assignments and site visits provide first-hand experience to engage with affordable housing developers and best practice models. Two hours.
To further pique your interest, please see the attach syllabus and here’s a link the reading list for the class available through the Denver Seminarybookstore website under Summer 2015– some really powerful and inspiring works!
Course Registration
1) If you’d like to take the course for earned credit, you’ll need to apply for admission. You can apply as a non-degree applicant or visiting student, which is a much quicker process than for degree applicants. For more information, contact: The cost is $540 per credit hour and please register as soon as possible.
2) For auditing, there are two options:
a. Audit with record: You’ll receive a transcript of your course audit. This requires a brief application process – The cost is $175 per credit hour.
b. Audit without record: No transcript will be provided. This option is just $35 but applicants need to meet one of the following criteria:
◦ Denver Seminary graduate
◦ Mentor of a current student or of the student’s spouse
◦ Spouse of a currently enrolled student
◦ Full-time employees of Denver Seminary and their spouses/children
◦ Denver Seminary board members
◦ Individuals ages 65+ years
◦ Full-time Christian employees of non-profit Christian organizations
To audit without record, contact the registrar’s office ( and apply at least a month before the course begins. Seating is limited to 10% of the class enrollment and is first come, first served, so apply early.

Representative Judy Chu: a voice of reason and compassion in Congress

What a blessing it is to have a Representative like Judy Chu! She has stood up for the workers at Walmart, she has spoken out on behalf of refugee children and families crossing our borders, and she has issued a statement calling for a diplomatic solution to resolve our dispute with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program. She also spoke up about restoring the Voting RIghts Act when she was invited to speak (along with my wife Jill) at the Martin Luther King event sponsored by the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance here in Pasadena. She is a woman after my own heart!

At a time when Congress refuses to show either compassion or common sense when it comes to immigration (or virtually any other issue), Judy introduced a bill calling for "government-appointed counsel in immigration proceedings for unaccompanied children and individuals with mental disabilities." She has shown genuine interest and concern for immigrants by visiting the Adelanto Detention Center, where hundreds of undocumented people are being warehoused and threatened with deportation.

Secondly, she opposed war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is calling for a diplomatic solution to resolve our dispute with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program. (See her letter below).

Given the insanity of the Republican Congress, it is refreshing to have a Representative who has compassion for immigrants, concern for workers, and good sense when it comes to resolving conflicts in the Middle East. She deserves our thanks and praise!

Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Karen Bass (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) announced the introduction of the Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act of 2014 (VIVA). This legislation would mandate government-appointed counsel in immigration proceedings for unaccompanied children and individuals with mental disabilities. Currently, these individuals have no right to government-appointed counsel in such proceedings.
Without legal representation, children must present a legal defense on their own to prevent their removal from the United States. The bill would allow vulnerable immigrants to have a fair opportunity to seek protections for which they may qualify.
“Our current immigration removal system fails to live up to American values. Each year, thousands of children face removal proceedings alone,” said Rep. Chu. “A child should not have to face such proceedings -- that determines whether they can stay or must go -- without legal counsel. This bill is a critical step forward in ensuring due process and that the most vulnerable immigrants have a meaningful opportunity to seek the protections for which they qualify.”
Dear Dr. Manousos,
Thank you for contacting me to express support for a diplomatic approach with Iran.  I share your strong commitment to using peaceful means to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear program.
Although the United States and the international community cannot tolerate an Iranian government that does not act in good faith or abide by international agreements, I fully agree that we must do all that we can to resolve our dispute with Iran diplomatically. I opposed the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, and I believe we must be very careful and deliberate whenever we decide to send our brave troops into harm's way.  
While the negotiations are ongoing, I believe we must continue to rely on the existing sanctions and diplomatic efforts to resolve this very troubling situation.  As this critical matter receives further consideration in Congress, please rest assured that I will keep your views in mind.
Again, thank you for contacting me on this important issue.  Democracy works best when we stay in touch, so I invite you to visit and sign-up for e-mail updates at  And get late-breaking news at and

In Friendship, 

Judy Chu, PhD 
Member of Congress

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tanna Moontaro: Yasou to A Free Spirit!

This Saturday I went to the Santa Monica Friends Meeting for a memorial service celebrating the life of a dear Friend Tanna Moontaro, whom I have known ever since coming to Southern California twenty five years ago. She was a Quaker ever since her college days--a free spirit who loved art, beauty, peace and justice, and cats. She was proud of the fact that during her college days she sang peace songs so loudly in front of the White House that a staff person came out and admonished her that she was keeping the Nixons awake. Good job, Tanna! She described herself as an activist, musician, singer, writer, and psychological consultant, as well as a mentor and teacher to many. Her friends wrote of "her creative childlike spirit, and sense of adventure, spontaneous wit, joy enormous heart, wisdom and intelligence, beautiful smile, honest and direct communication, compassion, active listening and generosity."

Tanna worked as a costume designer and prop person in New York City for shows like Saturday Night Live and received an Emmy nomination for her work. A confirmed pacifist, she was active in the anti-war movement and passionate about the Alternatives to Violence Project, a program that helped prison inmates learn how to resolve conflicts nonviolently.
Tanna's world: party animals

One connection Tanna and I had was her love of Greece. Whenever we met, I would embrace her and we'd both say, "Yasou," the Greek greeting meaning "Health" or "Hello."

When she was a young woman, having adventures in Europe, Tanna spent time in Greece working on fishing boats and fending off the Greek men. Although we never spoke about these days, I have no doubt she had adventures worthy of Zorba.

She did speak about a time she was in Florence, Italy, painting portraits on the street, and suddenly felt the impulse to sing out "I feel like a natural born woman." The Italians were amazed and applauded. This was a pure Tanna moment.

Last year I had a similar experience in Mykonos, the island where "Mama Mia" was filmed. While waiting for Jill to finish shopping, I was lollygagging in the town square and heard the Zorba song (the sirtaki) playing from a cafe where customers were sitting outdoors. I started to dance and the people started to clap. I made up the moves (Anthony Quinn did the same thing), flowed with the music and pretty soon Jill arrived and joined me. I called this my "Zorba moment."

I could easily have called it a Tanna moment. It certainly  was a moment that Tanna would have relished. Tanna's spirit lives on whenever we let ourselves be free and fully embrace the wonder and joy of being alive. Yasou! Oopa!

Tanna's world: Santa Monica pier

Launch of N. Fair Oaks Empowerment Project a Big Success!

The launch of the Fair Oaks Community Empowerment Project took place at the home of Maria Teresa Kowal, an architect from Nicaragua who lives on Summit Ave. Twenty people came to this gathering and it was a big success. Among those attending were five pastors and two members of the Northwest Pasadena Commission. The pastors were Henry Sideropoulis, John Stewart, John Bledsoe, Henry Johnson and Sterling Brown. The Northwest Commissioners were Hilda Delgado and Michelle Bailey. It was appropriate and encouraging that these Commissioners attended since the Northwest Pasadena Commission serves as a monitoring body for this area and makes recommendations to the City Manager about development activities (see ;

After a delicious brunch, and a prayer by Pastor John Stewart of the New Guiding Light Missionary Baptist (whose church is located on N. Fair Oaks), Jill gave aPowerPoint presentation explaining the goals and methodology of the project. 

"Today we are launching a new effort to transform a neglected corner of Pasadena via a resource fair in partnership with the African American churches," said Jill. "We will work with and not simply for the community. We have already begun listening to the hopes and dreams of some of the eight churches and eighteen businesses and nonprofits on this part of N. Fair Oaks. We are inviting them to join our team and into the process of discovering the assets they have in transforming their community. The community itself will plan this fair and be featured in the fair, as well as outside resources like groups providing jobs and job training. In the process, the community will form a collective voice." She explained how other members of her team, Josh Lopez and Maria Teresa Kowal, have begun canvassing members of this community. So far, all have said they want to participate in this effort.

Pastor John Bledsoe, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA,an organization of African American pastors), announced that that IMA has fully approved and supports the North Fair Oaks Empowerment Project as part of their outreach in the community.  Both Northwest Commissioners felt this project was something that the City should support and fund. Sharon Hannahone of Jill's long-tiem supporters, explained why she is a regular donor and expressed her enthusiasm for this new project.

Over $1200 has been raised so far, with promises of over $1000 more from various individuals and churches. 

I am personally very excited that this launch was so successful and have already pledged $500, in addition to my time. I feel that this project will not only benefit the community, it is consistent with my Quaker values. Several members of my Quaker meeting have expressed support for this project and have offered to donate funds.  I will keep you informed about how this project develops. 

 Please consider a tax-deductible contribution so that we can engage indigenous leaders to transform their community through the power and love of Christ.  You can give online at:   Be sure to select “North Fair Oaks Community Empowerment” from the “Designation (please Choose One)” dropdown menu.  Write your check to “Missions Door” and be sure to put on the memo line: #74616O (the last digit is the letter “o”, not “zero”) or the project name.

                North Fair Oaks Community Empowerment

As Jesus said, “What you do to the least of these you do for me” (Matthew 25).

At first glance, North Fair Oaks Ave looks like a blighted area, especially compared to other areas of our affluent community. Most of the nearby residents are low income Latinos and African Americans. The crime rate in this area is the highest in the city. But we are convinced that God has not abandoned this area, nor should we.
If you were to pass by on a Saturday afternoon, you might notice a communion meal taking place at one of the eight churches located north of Howard and south of Woodbury, or fresh paint outside of the local meat market, or perhaps a family picking up a quincea├▒era dress from a family-run business.  Take a closer look at this part of town and you’ll see the many nursing homes (known as “bed-pan alley”), a community health clinic, a Boys and Girls Club, eighteen businesses and eight churches. These glimpses of God’s resurrection power give evidence of hope in a place known mainly for its rampant violence and drug abuse—the result of policies that have neglected this area for many years.
We feel that God is calling us to help resurrect hope in this part of our city. In conversations with some of the business owners, we asked, “If the city were to invest in this neighborhood what would you like to see?” With much prodding, they suggested, “A crosswalk” “A median with trees and flowers” “Parking” “My friends would never be caught in this corner of town, we need a safe place with decent food to go for lunch.”  Yet, all responded with doubtfulness, “The city would never do this.” We believe in a big God, able to resurrect places as well as people, who can raise up local leaders to nurture their collective voice and realize their common dreams. We believe God will provide the resources needed to realize these dreams, and in the process, transform lives for the glory of Christ.
We see Christ already at work.  He has put this dream in the hearts of our team and we hope that you will join us. We are inviting you to partner with us over the next seven months to support our Christian mission team that we have named the “North Fair Oaks Community Empowerment.”
Our strategy: Under the coaching of the Communities First Association ( ) and the direction of Dr. Jill Shook, who is a nationally known expert on Christian Community Development, we will use the best practices in asset-based community development. We will engage in a process to discover and develop indigenous leaders and collaborate with them and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (an association of African American pastors that has been active in Pasadena for nearly 80 years) to create a resource fair. Through this fair, we will help forge a collective voice to renew the community’s faith and to build their capacity to realize their dreams. 
The total cost for this 7-month project is $37,600.  To reach this goal, we need 20 people to give $270 per month, 40 people to give $123 per month, or 80 people to give $67 per month. Please consider a tax-deductible contribution so that we can engage indigenous leaders to transform their community through the power and love of Christ.  You can give online at:   Be sure to select “North Fair Oaks Community Empowerment” from the “Designation (please Choose One)” dropdown menu.  Write your check to “Missions Door” and be sure to put on the memo line: #74616O (the last digit is the letter “o”, not “zero”) or the project name.

We are very excited to be part of what God is doing and hope you will join us!


Maria Teresa, Jill & Josh

Our Team

Maria Teresa, from Nicaragua, is an architect who has designed and planted churches, done housing development and job creation.  She currently lives on Summit, a few blocks from N. Fair Oaks. She has engaged thousands of her neighbors through creating block parties, Christmas posadas and starting a home church. These efforts have contributed to diminishing the rampant shootings and murders on her street.
Jill Shook has been involved in community transformation efforts for decades. She is author of Making Housing Happen: Faith Based Affordable Housing Models and through this book has researched how God is transforming communities across our nation.  Jill is committed to creating mixed-income housed communities that thrive and demonstrate “Thy Kingdom come on earth as in heaven.” Her mission is the restoration of the soul of the city, the redemption of people, communities, and the land itself.

Josh Lopez recently completed his Master’s in Transformational Urban Leadership from Azusa Pacific University while living and working in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is passionate about engaging the body of Christ to be front and center in the social and spiritual transformation of their local communities.

Immigration and Refugee Children Crossing the Border: A Growing Quaker Concern

Immigration, and the plight of refugee children crossing the border, have become a growing concern among Friends of Pacific Yearly Meeting. The Latin American Concerns Committee of PYM has appointed a special subcommittee devoted to this concern; and the Casa de los Amigos in Mexico City is deeply involved in immigration and migrant issues. Five Meetings—Santa Barbara, Inland Valley, Humboldt and  Redwood Forest, and Sacramento-- have approved minutes of concern regarding the plight of refugee children crossing the border; and Orange Grove Meeting is currently considering one.  There will be an interest group on this topic at Yearly Meeting session this summer. 

You are invited to a conference call sponsored by the SCQM and PYM Peace and Social Order. Anyone  interested in peace and justice concerns is welcome to take part.
Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 pm.
Call (805) 360-1000 and then enter the number 355219#
Please let me know if you have concerns or agenda items.

One of the concerns on our call will be how to address immigration issues, particularly the plight of refugee children and family who are fleeing the violence in Central America and Mexico. If you have other concerns, you will have a chance to raise them as well.

As Friends, we believe there is “that of God” in every individual—whether born in the United States or elsewhere—and therefore support the efforts of the AFSC and FCNL to promote humane and fair immigration reform. In order to be effective advocates for immigrants among us, we encourage Friends to study the material provided by the AFSC: and also
We are especially moved by the plight of mothers and children crossing our borders to escape from violence in their home countries and encourage Friends to support local, state and national efforts to insure they are treated humanely.

"The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. " –Leviticus 19:34

Here are the minutes approved by SCQM Friends and also the Sacramento Meeting minute, which has not yet been posted.

Santa Barbara Friends Meeting
Minute on Child Refugees and Migration
January 11, 2015

In gratitude to Friends at Inland Valley, Redwood Forest, and Humboldt Meetings for their faithful inspiration in similar minutes

As you are well aware, the humanitarian crisis on our southern border has burgeoned with tens of thousands of young people, children, and mothers arriving due to the violence and extreme poverty in their home countries. Imagine your children or grandchildren being subject to such violence that you would take the chance to send them traveling a treacherous route alone with only a 50-50 chance of making it to safety.  Imagine not only the desperation but also the perseverance, judgment, and strength of each of these young people.

We call on our government, with this minute, to declare these young people and families refugees, allowing for their access to resources and protection under the law. As a nation, we can provide shelter, care and education as well as legal assistance to help them navigate the immigration system. We can also encourage the Mexican government to provide similar compassionate treatment for these young people, and we can support nonprofit organizations in Mexico who are trying to help these children and families. We can encourage and support non-violent efforts in their countries of origin to alleviate the conditions that cause so many to flee. We must consider how our governmental policies influence violence and poverty in other countries.

Santa Barbara Friends Meeting encourages all acts of compassion and kindness directed toward these refugees who have left their home countries under conditions of fear and intimidation and have entered the United States in the hopes that by crossing our borders they may find peace and safety. We oppose their prolonged incarceration in detention facilities or deportation back to their countries of origin where their lives are in danger. We call for an end to the practice of for-profit detention of these families. We join hands with all those who are working to provide these refugees with food, shelter, medical care, due process in their immigration proceedings, and hope for a better life.
Inland Valley Friends Meeting -
Minute on Central American Humanitarian Crisis

    Message from: Sue Scott, Inland Valley Friends Meeting, Clerk  

    Subject:  Minute on Central American Humanitarian Crisis.
Dear Friends,
Inland Valley Friends passed this minute.  We would like to share it with you.  Please consider if this speaks to you and/or your Meeting and move forward as led.  Here in the Inland Empire, you may have heard of the confrontation in Murietta a week or so ago.  The nonprofits as well as the Catholic church are working towards helping.

In the Light, Sue Scott, Clerk IVMM

Minute on Central American Humanitarian Crisis - July 13, 2014 - #1/7/14
Inland Valley Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) believes that the current crisis facing our southern borders, is a humanitarian issue, not an immigration issue. Central American children, arriving with their mothers or alone, are fleeing from violence and poverty so extreme that they are desperate to escape. They request asylum upon entering the United States. The numbers have reached more than 65,000 overwhelming the Border Patrol (BP) and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as immigration workers. ICE has asked religious and nonprofit immigration groups for help.

Here in the Inland Empire, support for the Catholic diocese and immigration groups, such as Justice for Immigration Coalition, will go toward providing safe places for the mothers and children to stay, once they are released from ICE, until they can join their families already in the United State. Funds are also need to provide food, clothing, and transportation. Other needs include translation and local transportation services.  We invite Friends in the wider Quaker fellowship to join in local groups helping in this crisis, educating others, and participating in letter writing campaigns for immigration reform.

We call on our government, with this minute, to declare these mothers and children refugees allowing for their access to resources and protection under the law. We pray that the executive and legislative branches of our government will finally work together towards a comprehensive immigration reform program that will adequately address the unique issues associated with these refugees response to the violence they experience at home, including, but not limited to, increasing the number of judges to handle the current crisis and to evaluate how our governmental policies affect the issues of violence and poverty in other countries.    

We send this Minute to the wider Quaker Fellowship, and our government leaders.

Approved at Meeting for Worship on the Occasion of Business - July 13, 2014
The minute I mention from Sacramento was actually passed by the Peace committee, and is, as I mentioned, a minute for action as follows: 
The Child Refugees and Migration Subcommittee of the Latin American Concerns Committee of Pacific Yearly Meeting wrote and distributed a formal Leading of the Spirit in Support of Unaccompanied Alien Children at the gathering in July 2014. The final paragraph of the leading includes the following statement: “We encourage make economic or in- kind donations to organizations that provide support to these children and the families that provide care for them.” Our Peace and Social Concerns Committee has labored for the past several months to find a way to implement the Leading and believes that a way forward has been identified. It is to pay for the legal fees of one or more children who are seeking asylum in the greater Bay Area. We have found an organization that we trust, the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, an established refugee organization in Berkeley that is supported by Friends Meetings in the Bay Area, which provides these specific legal services for Unaccompanied Child Refugees to seek to remain in the United States. 
The Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Sacramento Meeting approved the following minute in support of this work.
March 2, 2015

Peace and Social Concerns proposes that contributions be made to East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) to cover the legal fees ($1,420 each) for one or more Unaccompanied Undocumented Child or Children (UAC) served by EBSC. This idea flows from the document “Leading of the Spirit in Support of Child Refugees from the Child Refugees and Migration Subcommittee of the Latin American Concerns Committee of PYM.“ We are asking Sacramento Friends Meeting for financial support to East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. This request will also be sent to Finance Committee for seasoning of this minute.