Gamaliel has been watching with concern the impact of the spread of the coronavirus in this country and around the globe. The effects thus far have been monumental—schools have been closed, community events have been cancelled or postponed, many workers have been asked to work from home, cities and states have declared states of emergency with some enforcing a complete lockdown of specific geographies—and experts tell us there are more restrictions and impacts to come. For the most vulnerable people in our communities, effects like food insecurity, lost wages, and inadequate healthcare could be devastating.
This is the time to remember that WE ARE GAMALIEL . . . that while we PRAY, we also ACT POWERFULLY so that those who seek to benefit from this pandemic CANNOT PREY upon the marginalized and the vulnerable in this country!
Last night our state directors and the national staff came together via Zoom to describe what we were experiencing on the ground; how we, as organizers, were adapting to a changed reality; and how we might act collectively to continue to live into our mission. The conversation was powerful. I listened with hope as Gamaliel organizers shared the creative ways in which they were continuing to train leaders and to move critical issue campaigns. I was encouraged to hear the innovative strategies they were planning to ensure that hard-to-count populations are included in the 2020 census. And they are doing all of this while practicing social distancing . . . .
This pandemic, while frightening and destructive, can also be an opportunity to move the long-term social, economic, and political transformations that are necessary to secure the “beloved community.” Over the next few weeks, you will hear more from me and the Gamaliel team about the steps we are taking to protect vulnerable populations from “bad actors,” to move critical issue campaigns, and to keep our communities safe and healthy.
WE ARE GAMALIEL and while we PRAY, we also ACT POWERFULLY so that those who seek to benefit from this pandemic CANNOT PREY upon the marginalized and the vulnerable in this country!
Chicago, IL – January 22, 2019 – Five decades ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., warned, “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable on being conquered.”
On Wednesday, January 23, 2019, Gamaliel affiliates across the country will be declaring their commitment to ending Mass Supervision. From Pittsburgh, PA, to Springfield and Chicago, IL, from Oakland, CA, to St. Louis, MO, and Kansas City, KS, affiliates will also be taking action to address the individual criminal justice issues that impact their communities. Press conferences at state capitols and DA’s offices, meeting with editorial boards, prayer vigils, restorative justice roundtables, and advocacy trainings are only a few of the actions planned.
Electronic monitoring, once believed to be an alternative to mass incarceration, has emerged as (and been labeled by Michelle Alexander as) the “newest Jim Crow.” Mass Supervision refers to the huge increase in the number of people around the country who are on probation, parole, or “extended supervision.” These are the people who are not in a jail or prison, but who are under the control of the corrections system. People on supervision are deprived of some basic rights, such as the right to vote and the right to due process before being punished. In 1980, the number of people on supervision in the U.S. was about 1.25 million. By 2016, that number was about 5 million—and it has grown at exactly the same rate as mass incarceration.
“Mass supervision is a violation of our values,” said Rev. David Bigsby, chair, Gamaliel Council of Presidents. “It is a form of incarceration that puts profits before people—particularly people of color—and pushes the carceral state into our streets and homes, harming family and community. The Gamaliel Network is committed to eliminating the use of Mass Supervision.”
Rev. Cynthia Jarrold
Gamaliel National Policy Director
Gamaliel is a grassroots network of non-partisan, faith-based organizations in 16 states and 45 regions that has, for more than 35 years, trained ordinary people to effectively participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives.
Statement from Rev. Dr. John Welch, Chair, Gamaliel Board of Directors, and Pablo Tapia, Chair, Gamaliel Civil Rights for Immigrants Campaign, on Executive Order to End the Separation of Immigrant Families
For Immediate Release
Contact: Rev. Cynthia Owen Jarrold, (913) 219-3198
Chicago, IL (June 20, 2018) – This afternoon President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order that would end the separation of families seeking asylum at the southern border of the United States. This is an important first step. Unfortunately, it does not go far enough.
Current immigration law prohibits the federal government from keeping immigrant children in detention centers for more than 20 days; and that provision in the law must be changed by a congressional action that prioritizes keeping families together. Furthermore, the “zero tolerance policy” put into effect by this Administration, which has forced family separation, needs to be reversed. We are a nation that previously welcomed people fleeing war, violence, and persecution through critical refugee and asylum provisions in the law; and we are a nation that previously prioritized families as foundational to healthy communities and economic growth and security.
As people of faith and members of the Gamaliel Network, we call on Congress and the President to act courageously and take the moral high road by taking the next critical steps to keep families together and to reunite immediately those who have been separated.
The Gamaliel Network is a community organizing network with affiliates in 17 states and 44 regions. Gamaliel’s organizing work draws on struggles for justice by people of faith spanning many nations, creeds, and cultures. Our work draws on the sacred writings of our multiple faith traditions—the Torah, Christian teachings from the Bible, Catholic social teaching—as well as the founding principles of American democracy, the U.S. civil rights movement, and many other sources. Above all, our work begins and ends in an expression of the personal faith and values of our members.
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