Category Archives: Build Anew

Pray for Reparations during Black History Month 2023

Pray for Reparations during Black History Month 2023

Pledge to pray for reparations NOW!

Pray for Reparations

During Black History Month, we invite you to pray that President Biden establishes a Commission to Study Reparations. The H.R. 40 commission is a research study that will be the development of a report and a set of data that will quantify and assess the damage systemic racism has inflicted on the descendants of enslaved Africans in the United States. The study will also make recommendations on the path to repair this damage.

For the past year, you have attended Vigils for Reparation and educated yourselves about H.R. 40 (Commission to Study Reparations).

NETWORK partners in faith, let’s join together and pray that the path to reparations begins this month.

See the prayer here!

Pledge to Pray for Reparations

Joining our prayers, we can urge President Biden to sign the executive order for a reparations commission.

Watch Faith in Reparations Again...and Share it with Friends and Family

Faith leaders led a Spirit-filled call for reparations in November 2022. Watch, re-watch, and share!

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Webinar Recording: Unpacking NETWORK’s 2022 Voting Record

Unpacking the 2022 Voting Record Webinar

Meg Olson
January 19, 2023

Watch the recording of our recent webinar “Unpacking NETWORK’s 2022 Voting Record: The Deep Need for Repair” — then take action!

Next, take action!

Visit our 2022 Voting Record web page where you can

2022 Voting Record

2022 Congressional Voting Record

At the start of each new year, NETWORK staff compiles an assessment of Congress’s voting record. The 2022 Voting Record is our evaluation of Members of Congress based on the votes they cast to advance, or thwart, social justice policy and our Build Anew agenda. Take action for justice and deliver your Members of Congress’s 2022 Voting Record results in January or February 2023.

Webinar Recording & PDF
Let Congress know what you think about the 2022 Voting Record

Email Congress

We’ve got great news: 270 current Members of Congress scored 100% on the 2022 Voting Record! Can you act now to reach out to Members?

Legislators who scored 100% deserve praise, and it is vital that we hold those who received a less-than-perfect score accountable. And, as new Members begin their work on Capitol Hill, advocates must let them know about NETWORK’s Voting Record!

Will you send a quick email to let your Members of Congress know how you feel about their Voting Record? Don’t worry about what to say, we’ve prepared a message that you can edit. Click below!

Deliver the Record

NETWORK advocates (like you!) will deliver Voting Records to Members of Congress in January and February in-person, on Zoom, and by email. Thank you for helping to create the multi-faith, multiracial democracy we must build anew so that we can all thrive.

Note: NETWORK creates special Voting Record certificates of excellence for Members of Congress with a 100% Voting Record score. 

There are three ways to deliver the NETWORK 2022 Voting Record. Be sure to sign up for one of them. Click below!

Download the 2022 Voting Record

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Biden Administration Restored Pre-Trump Era Public Charge Regulations

Did Congress Strive for Economic and Social Transformation with the 2022 Omnibus Law?

As we begin a new year, NETWORK looks back to see whether Congress made inroads in economic and social transformation with the 2022 Omnibus Law. Every person in our country, whether they live on a sprawling estate, in a farmhouse along a country road, or in a public housing development, should have the resources they need to care for themselves and their families. Sadly, we know that lobbyists and dark money special interests work with some elected officials to block policies that would create just laws and equitable access to economic prosperity.

But NETWORK’s community of justice-seekers know that we can have just and equitable communities where all of us–not just the rich and powerful–can have thriving lives. When we work together and join our efforts with others who share our vision for a multi-racial democracy, we can bring about the economic and social transformation for which we strive.

One of the most important pieces of legislation for the Build Anew agenda last year was the $1.7 trillion FY2022 Omnibus. This bipartisan end-of-year spending package made significant investments in healthcare, housing, criminal legal systems reform as well as critical democracy reforms and investments in voting infrastructure to ensure free and fair elections.

For months, NETWORK advocates across the country (like you!) lobbied Congress to include policy priorities in the Omnibus package like the expanded Child Tax Credit, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented community members. Justice-seekers called, emailed, and tweeted to Congress, wrote Letters to the Editor, and attended rallies, to advocate for a federal budget that supports just and equitable communities where everyone can thrive. Thank you for your advocacy!

An Overview: Where did Congress Invest in Economic and Social Transformation with the 2022 Omnibus Law?

A Check List: Where did Congress Invest in Economic and Social Transformation with the 2022 Omnibus Law?Congress made significant progress toward eonomic and social transformational changes with the 2022 Omnibus in healthcare and housing. Medicaid recipients in Puerto Rico and U.S. territories, and Black mothers who are unable to pay for maternal healthcare receive more aid. For example, Medicaid coverage for new moms is guaranteed for 12 months and infants cannot be removed from Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, for a continuous 12 months, even if their family’s income changes.

Housing measures support people experiencing homelessness, public housing voucher recipients, people in rural communities, and homeowners.

Movement toward justice in the omnibus legislation is also noted in criminal legal system reforms where new laws bridge significant racial equity gaps in health care, access to housing, and equity in the judiciary and police forces. We hope the funding leads to improved health outcomes and treatment by the criminal legal system for Black, brown and indigenous communities.

The omnibus also includes critical democracy reforms that shore up Presidential elections (Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022) and a $75M investment in election security grants to ensure all votes are counted by continuing provisions from the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Sometimes, Policy Not Included in a Bill is a Positive Result

NETWORK celebrates the harm avoided in the omnibus. For example, the continued misuse of Title 42 cannot be part of a fair, humane asylum process. It was not codified into law thanks to Democratic Members of Congress who rebuked attempts to incorporate outdated public health policy into permanent immigration law.

Movement Toward Justice in a Polarized Congress

We are disappointed that significant NETWORK priorities were left out of the package but appreciate that Congress took steps toward social and economic reform with some of the omnibus investments. Ultimately, the bipartisan passage of the FY2022 omnibus package was a significant accomplishment in a polarized Congress.

The leadership of Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT), now retired, and House Appropriations Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) allowed Congress to reach an agreement and fund the government before the end of the year. However, it is unacceptable that more Members of Congress did not support including needed policies like a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, the expanded Child Tax Credit, and the EQUAL Act.

NETWORK will continue making these issues top legislative priorities into the future and – with your help – continue building support for these common-good policies in the 118th Congress.

Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Care for New Moms

NETWORK Lobby offers Advent reflections

Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Care for New Moms

Laura Peralta-Schulte
December 19, 2022

Reflection:

When we reflect on the coming of Jesus at Christmas, one detail is very striking as a person who have given birth: God decided to incorporate the birthing of a healthy baby – under far from ideal circumstances – into the salvation plan of the world.

Everything touched by God is forever transformed. And with Christmas now so near – the birth of Jesus so imminent – we should remember that welcoming Jesus into the world means supporting something sacred: maternal health.

The U.S. faces a devastating maternal health crisis. Over 800 women died due to pregnancy or childbirth in 2020, a record high. There are two concrete ways that justice-seekers can confront this crisis right now.

Call to Action:

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would guarantee pregnant workers a right to reasonable, medically-necessary accommodations, closing gaps in current law that have left too many pregnant workers unprotected for too long. Pregnant workers are routinely denied basic, temporary accommodations to ensure a healthy pregnancy. These are often as simple as a stool to sit on, a break from lifting heavy boxes, schedule changes, and protection from dangerous conditions. Many pregnant workers face undue pressures to take an often-unpaid leave of absence, which leads them to poverty. Despite current protections included in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (the last time we passed any sort of legislation to protect pregnant workers), over 37,000 pregnancy discrimination charges have been filed between 2010 and 2020 with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The establishment of nationwide 12-month postpartum Medicaid coverage would reduce disparities in coverage across states, eliminate racial inequities in maternal health outcomes, and end preventable maternal deaths. Extending Medicaid coverage from the current requirement of 60-days postpartum to 12-months nationwide is critical to lowering the nation’s maternal mortality rate. Medicaid covers at least 40 percent of all births in the U.S., a disproportionate number of which are to Black, Latinx, and Native American people.

Read more about NETWORK’s support for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The legislative priorities not passed before the end of the 117th Congress will continue to be priorities of NETWORK in 2023 and beyond!

Take Action to End Child Poverty with the Child Tax Credit

Watch the #CTCNow press conference and share it with friends. Scroll for call-in and Tweet details to take action to end child poverty with the Child Tax Credit.

Child Poverty is a Policy Choice

2021’s expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) lifted a historic number of kids out of poverty. It is poor policy, and morally repugnant, to extend tax breaks for corporations without also enacting robust expansion of the CTC. Congress must pass a fully refundable, monthly Child Tax Credit before the New Year.

Call the Senate: 1-888-738-3058!

Submit the Tweet below.

Call Your Senators NOW: 888-738-3058! *Dial twice to reach both of your Senators* 
Tell them no tax breaks for corporations without including the Child Tax Credit.
When you call, here’s what you might say:

“Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] from [YOUR TOWN]. As your constituent and a member of NETWORK, I ask you to support the expansion of the Child Tax Credit in any end of the year tax package. This is urgent. Millions of children who were lifted out of poverty by the expanded credit are now living in poverty again. This is a moral outrage. Will the Senator support passing the expanded Child Tax Credit before the end of the year?

After you call, send a tweet, too! Use the form below to direct a tweet to Congress.

Resources to support you when you take action to end child poverty.

Blogs
Talking Points
  • Last December, Congress allowed the expanded credit to expire, pushing nearly 4 million children back into poverty.
  • Census Bureau surveys found that 91 percent of low-income families—those with incomes below $35,000—used their monthly CTC payments to cover the cost of basic necessities such as food, housing, utilities, clothing, and education
  • Critics charge that the extended CTC is too generous. Some claim it reduces the incentive to work. They are wrong! Data conclusively shows that the CTC did not precipitate workforce reductions. Ironically, many parents who thrived in the workforce when the CTC was in place have left jobs since it expired.
  • The expanded CTC was an anti-poverty program AND a middle-class stabilization tool. Payments were a crucial financial lifeline to millions of families across the country; a wide range of families across income levels, racial and ethnic groups, and education levels received and benefited from these payments in 2021. Middle-income families, white families, and those without a college degree made up larger shares of recipients than low-income families, families of color, and those with a college degree.
Advocate’s CTC Testimonials

Many families with young children that I know, including my own, live paycheck-to-paycheck, and the significant inflation that we are facing has caused many of us to deplete our savings and increasingly rely on credit cards to get us through the month. With interest rates as high as they currently are, this is digging us into a deeper financial hole. An expansion of the Child Tax Credit could help us avoid using credit at a time when financial experts advise us to do so.Natalie M., Shaker Heights, OH

“[The CTC] will allow my children the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and expose them to new experiences and friends, promoting the growth of their whole self.” Ivelisse C., Cleveland OH

“I have nieces in Ohio who are struggling to make ends meet to feed and clothe their children and also to afford daycare so they can get a job. The Child Tax Credit helped them before and it can help them again!” Sr. Joyce K., CPPS, Dayton, OH

“Several of my church families along with others in the community are struggling to make ends meet and to provide for their children. Some are looking at the loss of homes and eviction. The expanded Child Tax Credit will help to minimize theses effects of inflation and low paying work situations.” Rev. Karen B., Jeffersonville, IN

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Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Welcome Their Neighbor

NETWORK Lobby offers Advent reflections

Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Welcome Their Neighbor

Sr. Eilis McCulloh, HM
December 12, 2022

Reflection:

The story is familiar. Mary and Joseph. No room at the inn. Giving birth in a barn. As Christians, spend this season commemorating their flight to Egypt where Mary gives birth to the Messiah.

Today, a “flight into the desert” evokes something different. We see and hear about families who must make the decision to leave everything they have and know in order to escape violence, crushing poverty, and other threats to their very existence. They courageously decide to make the perilous journey north. Their journey takes them north to the United States Southern Border where, instead of being welcomed with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they are questioned by border police, detained in freezing detention centers, and bussed (against their will) to northern cities as punishment.

But, aren’t migrants today’s version of the Holy Family? Both flee with the hope of safety and an opportunity for their children to flourish. Instead, the United States, the richest country in their world, punishes migrants at every turn by invoking punitive immigrantion polices and refusing to act on legislation that could transform the lives of our immigrant neighbors living in the United States.

Yes, Advent is a time of waiting, but it is also a time of welcoming and a time of change. In 2013, Pope Francis said, “Migrants and refugees are. Or pawns on the chessboard of humanity.” Our immigrant neighbors have waited far too long and have been used as scapegoats in political play. Now is the time to create a pathway to citizenship to the more than 689,000 individuals who have DACA.

¡Que Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, ruega por nosotros.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, pray for us.

Call to Action:

It is beyond time for just and humane immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship through federal legislation. Join NETWORK Lobby in calling for Congress to act NOW!

Denying undocumented communities a pathway to citizenship holds us back from having a thriving society where everyone is valued. There is no doubt the contributions of immigrant youth, farmworkers, DACA and TPS holders are essential for our communities and our country.

Tell Congress to act now to pass a pathway to citizenship!

Take Action for Justice in Drug Sentencing (The EQUAL Act)

It's time for cocaine sentencing policy justice

The 117th Congressional session ends this month. Legislation that we have lobbied for, the EQUAL Act (which would bring equity in crack and powder cocaine sentencing), has a chance to pass — if the Senate can be persuaded to take bold action before the end of the year. LEARN MORE.

Call the Senate NOW: 1-888-436-6478

Tell them to support the EQUAL Act by the end of the year.
When you call, here’s what you might say: 

“Hello, I am [YOUR NAME], a constituent of Senator [SENATOR’S NAME] from [YOUR TOWN]. As your constituent and a NETWORK Lobby advocate, I am calling to ask that you support including the EQUAL Act by the end of the year. The disparity in the lengths of sentences for crack and powder cocaine crimes has led to an immorally high mass incarceration rate in our country. And, the people that are most severely impacted are Black and Brown people. Families and communities have suffered long enough–now is the time for fair, equitable sentencing reform. Will the Senator support passing the EQUAL Act before the end of the year and affirm that every person is entitled to equal justice under law?”

ACT NOW for Other Policy Areas

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Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Set the Oppressed Free

NETWORK Lobby offers Advent reflections

Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Set The Oppressed Free

Min. Christian Watkins
December 5, 2022

Reflection:

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims the words of the prophet Isaiah and in doing so, makes very clear why he’s been sent among us:

“…to proclaim liberty to captives and to set the oppressed free…”

During Advent, as we prepare to welcome him with the observance of Christmas, these words should challenge us still. If Jesus is sent to proclaim liberty to people in captivity and freedom for those oppressed, how can we claim that he is with us in the U.S. today?

In a culture that seeks to denigrate and ignore entire groups of people, including the elderly and the sick, the U.S. holds some especially dubious distinctions when it comes to incarcerated people. With over 2 million of our people in prisons, the U.S. is the most incarcerated country in the world – not only in raw numbers of people behind bars but also our incarceration rate (639 per 100,000 people, according to the World Prison Brief).

Is this really the land of the free?

It’s even worse when race is taken into account. Despite being only 12 percent of the adult population, Black people account for over a third of those incarcerated in the U.S. That number climbs to over half when Black and Latinx people are counted together. The horrible combination of overly punitive drug policy, excessive sentencing, and the use of for-profit prisons makes for, in many ways, a form of legal slavery. It’s so bad that reform of the U.S. criminal legal system actually enjoys some bipartisan support.

Emmanuel means “God with us,” so for us to gather near to Jesus this Christmas season, we should remember the “with us” that Jesus himself said he came to proclaim his Good News to. Jesus is our melaninated Savior from the southern part of Jerusalem who was unjustly imprisoned shortly before having his life snuffed out in a shameful, public, state-sponsored execution. However, as his followers comprise the Body of Christ still in the world today, we can cooperate in his saving work by helping bring “liberty to captives and freedom from oppression.

Call to Action:

The EQUAL Act is bipartisan legislation that seeks to eliminate the disparity in sentencing for cocaine offenses, a major contributor to mass incarceration. It would apply retroactively to those already convicted or sentenced. As people of faith, we cannot continue to tolerate racial profiling, brutality and hyper-militarization in policing, the loss of future generations to mass incarceration, or the perpetuation of poverty. We affirm the truth that every person is entitled to dignity and equitable justice under law.

Help us ensure that the EQUAL Act is included in the Senate’s must-pass legislation by the end of this year.

Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Show Mercy to Families

NETWORK Lobby offers Advent reflections

Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Show Mercy to Families

Colin Martinez Longmore
November 28, 2022

Reflection:

The iconic image that so many people associate with Advent is the Holy Family – the baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, usually huddled in a stable and surrounded by livestock.

It’s not an auspicious start for the Son of the living God. A family that has no place to stay and barely any resources to get by is something we still associate with the margins of society. It’s clear that God wants to associate with humility and poverty.

But what happens next matters. In the Gospel infancy narratives – and our Christmas holiday traditions – we see people respond to this vulnerable family with effusive displays of mercy. The shepherds come to praise him. The magi arrive with their gifts. This is how they respond to a child born into poverty.

The Corporal Works of Mercy, understood by Catholics, are: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned, give alms to the poor, and bury the dead. The visit of the magi brought with it not only material assistance (gold), but resources used in the care of the sick (frankincense) and the dead (myrrh). The mercy of strangers helped the Holy Family to survive on their perilous journey during the infancy of Jesus.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus invokes a similar set of criteria for those who will join him in paradise. “For you saw me hungry and you fed me.” “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” It is by participation in these concrete acts of mercy that we believe we too shall be shown mercy. And as Jesus points out, it in doing these acts of mercy that we directly encounter and come to know him, our Savior.

As Christians gather around manger displays in anticipation of another Christmas, it’s still good to reflect on how struggling families are getting by today. As with the Holy Family, it may still require the extraordinary intervention of personal strangers. Except instead of songs of praise and expensive gifts, we can offer acts of mercy through political action.

The Child Tax Credit, which was expanded in both size and scope for only one year as part of the American Rescue Plan, lifted 2.1 million children out of poverty in 2021. It stabilized the finances of more than 36 million families, including 62 million children, and resulted in 716,000 fewer Black children and 1.2 million fewer Latino children in poverty. Now NETWORK is pushing to get the Child Tax Credit once again included in the end-of-year tax package, but we need your help.

Call to Action:

You can take action to help support the Child Tax Credit by calling your Senators. Tell them that Congress has an incredible chance to drastically reduce child poverty by ensuring the Child Tax Credit makes it into the end-of-year tax package, and you expect them to act on behalf of the children in your state.