Meetings of The Interfaith Alliance of Rochester (TIAR) Board of Directors are held on the third Thursday of the month, September through May, at the Covenant United Methodist Church on Culver Road near Parsells at 4:00 in the afternoon.
Meetings of the Executive Committee are held on the first Tuesday of the month in the back room of the Golden Fox Restaurant on Culver Road near Parsells at 8:30 in the morning.
All members are welcome at any of these meetings. For news of meetings and other events, go to our web site: www.tia-roch.org.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAST YEAR
- In response to the controversy regarding the Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Care Act, a subcommittee was formed to study the issue. A report was written and a discussion facilitated by Joyce Herman occurred at the September 20 Board Meeting.
- TIAR cosponsored “Leaves of Compassion” Workshop presented by the Episcopal diocese.
- TIAR cosponsored an event organized by the Interfaith Forum and the Sisters of St. Joseph featuring David Cay Johnston whose topic was “Economic Justice and the Faith Community”.
- TIAR supports the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act proposed in the state legislature and a letter was written to Senator Ted O’Brien to cosponsor this legislation in the New York State Senate. This legislation would provide one day off per week, overtime pay, disability pay when injured on the job, collective bargaining protections, unemployment insurance, child labor protections and occupational safety and health standards.
- TIAR continues to participate in the Greater Rochester Coalition for Immigration Justice and supports comprehensive immigration. A petition was circulated and signed at the February Board of Directors meeting supporting a path to citizenship, preservation of family unity, legal avenues to enter the United States to work safely with protection of their rights, restoration of due process to our immigration enforcement policies, border policies that are consistent with American Humanitarian Values and effective against illegal migration, and the addressing of root causes of migration.
- TIAR signed an on-line petition to the “gang of eight Senators” supporting comprehensive immigration reform. The petition was initiated by New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform and included many of the above points.
- TIAR signed an on-line letter to Senator Schumer initiated by the Hebrew Aid Society requesting that refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people be protected in Senate Bill 744, the Comprehensive Immigration Bill.
- During the public comment period, TIAR submitted comments to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the proposed regulations dealing with natural gas drilling. Two areas of concern were addressed: allowance of gas operators to request, as trade secrets, exemptions to disclose specific elements of hydraulic fracturing fluid and the stated setback distance of gas well pads from private water wells and dwellings which did not appear to be adequate.
- TIAR signed a letter to Governor Cuomo in conjunction with Fracaction and New Yorkers Against Fracking applauding him for committing to confront climate change following Hurricane Sandy and encouraging him to pursue clean energy policies in New York State.
- TIAR submitted comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation on the proposed Unit Management Plan for Hemlock and Canadice watershed requesting that a statement prohibiting oil and gas drilling activities in the Hemlock-Candice Lakes watershed be written into the Unit Management Plan and that it be designated a Unique Area and a State Nature and Historic Preserve to protect its undeveloped nature.
- TIAR cosponsored the forum “Hydrofracking As Seen Through the Lens of Public Health” held in May and presented by R-Cause. TIAR participates in the R-Cause coalition, a local organization whose goal is to educate about the risks associated with slick-water high volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
- In December 2012, TIAR cosponsored Human Rights Day organized by the Rochester Human Rights Committee. The topic was “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”
- TIAR cosponsored an event featuring Tim Wise, a prominent anti-racist author, educator and CNN correspondent. His topic was “Color-Blind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity.”
PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE
- In an expression of sympathy to the SIKH community regarding the shootings that occurred in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, several Directors attended the Memorial Service held by the SIKH community of Rochester. Sr. Gratia L’Esperance and Robert Herman both spoke at the service. Condolence letters were sent to both Gurdwaras in the Rochester area.
- The subcommittee formed to study the United States’ use of drones presented their report to the Board of Directors at the October 18 Board Meeting. It was adopted with the recommendations to authorize the subcommittee to continue to monitor the production and use of drones abroad and home and propose action for the Board to take when and if such action might be called for and to encourage individual members of TIAR to contact their local officials to ask the Obama Administration questions about the lethal use of drones abroad.
- TIAR cosponsored “Resist Global Wars Drones Empire Event” conference in Syracuse which took place April 26-28.
- A letter was sent to President Obama, Representative Chris Collins, Representative Louise Slaughter, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Kristen Gillibrand advocating gun safety regulation following the shootings of children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut.
ROCHESTER VOTER ALLIANCE
- Rochester Voter Alliance (RVA) is a coalition of TIAR, the League of Women Voters, and other groups whose mission is to register, educate, and turn out voters. During the 2012 campaign season, volunteers registered 3, 259 individuals; of those who were registered 2,299 actually voted—almost 71%.
MONROE COUNTY RE-ENTRY PROGRAM
- The Board of Directors continued to donate personal care items to people re-entering society from prison.
FAIR ELECTION PRACTICES COMMITTEE
- During the 2012 campaign season, TIAR again cosponsored and participated in the Fair Election Practices Campaign (FEPC) with the League of Women Voters. The purpose of the FEPC is to encourage honest and civil debate among candidates. In addition to the usual review of complaints from candidates in local campaigns, the FEPC for the first time included the Congressional campaign of Maggie Brooks and Louise Slaughter which resulted in a greatly increased number of hearings and findings. Media coverage was very supportive of the work of the FEPC.
- The Board heard a presentation from a representative from Foodlink about their various programs and how they serve the hungry in the area.
- A subcommittee was formed to determine a focus for dealing with poverty in Rochester. One outcome was a presentation to the Board of Directors from the Eastern Service Workers Association about the impact of the cost of utility rates on poor people. A petition to the Public Service Commission requesting adjustments and waivers was circulated to the Directors for signing.
- The Board of Directors heard a presentation from the Director of the Public Defender’s Office. He stated that there were about two hundred people per year who cannot afford bail and so remain incarcerated at a high cost to themselves, their families and the county. The Public Defender’s Office hopes to establish a not-for-profit bail fund that would provide bail for needy individuals who have to post $100 or $200 bond.
- Several Directors attended the local “Nuns on the Bus” Poverty tour. A caravan of vehicles, which included a vehicle with a TIAR sign, traveled to various agencies that work with the poor in Rochester.
- TIAR continued to cosponsor the Children’s Sabbath, which occurred in October. The Children’s Sabbath is sponsored by the Children’s Agenda. It is a time to pray, learn about and act on poverty and other problems facing children in Rochester.
- TIAR continued to cosponsor and contribute to the Global Citizenship Program presented by the Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue at Nazareth College. The conference is for high schools students and it is designed to teach tolerance and religious literacy. Several Directors again participated as volunteers.
June 9, 2013