Take Action Now - Here are suggested things you can do now to help further the causes on TIAR’s action agenda. For those items asking you to contact a federal, state, or local official, contact information is found at the following site:

Who Represents You: A Guide to Your Elected Officials for Monroe County, by the League of Women Voters Rochester Metropolitan Area

Call Your State Representatives and Ask Them to Prioritize Children’s Programs in the State Budget

All kids in New York deserve a strong start. Please write your State representatives to urge them to prioritize funding in the New York State budget for proven programs that help level the playing field for all children and youth. Join The Children's Agenda, of which TIAR is a participant, and many others around New York State in the Believe in Children Campaign: A Call for Universal Child Care, Pre-Kindergarten, and After-school. Ask your State legislators to build on Governor Cuomo's budget proposals:

  • Invest $182 million in child care subsidies in 2014-15 to reach an additional 25,000 children, and commit to providing universal access within 5 years to the estimated 305,000 children of working parents who are currently in need of high-quality early care and learning;
  • Invest $225 million in new, high-quality full-day Pre-K opportunities in 2014-15, and embrace the Governor's commitment to make Pre-K available to all New York children within 5 years;
  • Invest $9 million in quality after-school program infrastructure in 2014-15 and $160 million in 2015-16, and commit to kicking off a 5-year plan to reach at least half of the school-age children in need of after-school and summer learning opportunities.

The time is now, and the need is urgent. Families are struggling to find safe, reliable and affordable opportunities for their children - including early learning and child care, after-school, and summer enriched learning opportunities. Many area children are falling further behind their middle- and upper-income peers each year. Kindergartners enter school lacking the basic skills and knowledge they need to learn to read by 3rd grade, and then to read to learn.

Urge your State Assemblymembers and Senators to make wise choices in the 2014-15 State budget. New York's children will only be young for a short time - they cannot wait, and we can't afford to miss this opportunity to give them a strong, smart start by making sure they have access to high-quality services and programs early in their lives that will make a big difference in their future, and in ours.

Donate for Philippine Typhoon Relief

Fueled by warming ocean waters, Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest storms ever recorded. More than 10,000 people are feared dead, with countless others having been displaced from their homes. With more severe weather on its way, now is a crucial time to stand with the people of the Philippines. Below is a link which provides you a simple way you can do so right now to help support relief efforts on the ground: Donate to help Doctors Without Borders bring live-saving medical relief to the Philippines. 

Participate in the Various Fast Action Items of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition

For action in immigration please go to the website for fast action of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition. Here's the link: http://fastaction.us/take-action/

Write Your Congressional Representative to Show Your Support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

There is rare bipartisan consensus on one thing: America’s immigration system is broken. TIAR supports this reform and is asking you to use the link below to let your representative know. It has been prepared by the AAUW.

No one believes the current system is a good thing for our country, economy, or human rights. At the same time, companies say they cannot find the skills they need in our domestic labor pool and thus need access to a global pool of STEM workers.

AAUW supports efforts to supplement our own home-grown STEM workforce through a STEM education initiative implemented as part of immigration reform legislation. The initiative would be funded through fees collected from U.S. employers who recruit foreign STEM workers and be used to educate the next generation of American STEM workers. Write your representative today and ask him or her to include this fund in any immigration reform proposal.

Write State and Federal Officials to Deal with the Risks of Hydrofracking

In our faith traditions, we share a common belief that we have a responsibility to care for our environment.  If you have been following the controversy regarding natural gas drilling in New York State and the use of the hydraulic fracturing process, you are aware of the risks that hydraulic fracturing poses to our environment.  If you are as concerned about those risks as we are, we ask that you take one or more of the following actions:

1) Contact your State legislators

To find out who your Assembly Rep is: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/
To find out who your Senator is: http://www.nysenate.gov/


The current legislative session ends about June 20th, so the time window is small to encourage them to take action against fracking.  The following Bills are “in committee” in both the Assembly and the House, and your representatives may not have even heard of them, unless they are on the particular committee where they are being considered.  Here’s your chance to do some education of your representatives.  These Bills, while not sufficient to prevent fracking, are essential as steps towards protecting our communities’ air, water, and thus resident’s health.  Summaries of the Bills are provided here, as are the links to the full text:

2) Comment on the Department of Conservation’s revised draft Supplemental Generic Impact Statement (draft SGEIS). We are now in a public comment period, and that’s where you come in.  Use the letters prepared and sent by TIAR as a model and send your own.  Copies of the letters are at:

3)  Have a little fun to keep your spirits up! Watch this, then forward it to others:
http://www.propublica.org/article/fracking-music-video <http://www.propublica.org/article/fracking-music-video>

Petition the President on the Seriously Increasing Gap Between the Have’s and Have-not’s

Many of us may know that there is a large and growing wealth gap between a tiny fringe of super-rich Americans and most of the rest of us. But how many realize that this gap robs all of  us? And that doesn’t mean just financially. It helps keep people in poverty, erodes the middle class, and results in a decline in  numerous measures of our nation's wellbeing, as is shown in recent  research.  In addition, such enormous wealth  concentrated in the hands of the elite few is cracking the democratic  foundation of our nation.

Why? Because an extreme concentration of wealth translates into political power, which is helping to shape our  government’s actions and laws. The elite few can afford armies oflobbyists  and legal expertise, and they can funnel enormous amounts of money into  elections.   This helps a small minority keep and grow their power and wealth – even though millions of people  struggle and suffer at the economic margins. 

Wealth is, in itself, not bad. But when  the disparities grow as huge as they are now, we have a problem – a  problem that affects society at all levels.  In response, we are called by our faith  to be justice-seekers – to help ensure that the basic human needs of all  people are met and that our government truly serves the common good.  

Do you want to learn  more? Join <http://www.networklobby.org/join-mind-the-gap>  our Mind the  Gap! campaign to educate our entire  nation about our huge and widening wealth gap, where it came from, and its  impact on all of us. 

Other organizations are endorsing <http://www.networklobby.org/mind-the-gap-endorse> the Mind the  Gap! campaign.   And feel free to share your comments and  questions with us by emailing us at mindthegap@networklobby.org <mailto:mindthegap@networklobby.org> “The dignity of the individual and the demands of  justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause  disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable  manner (32)… Economic activity . . . needs to be directed towards the pursuit  of the common good, for which the political community in particular must also take responsibility. (36)”  -  Caritas in Veritate (2009),  Pope Benedict XVI

Sign on to Petition to Enact the DREAM Act

We, the undersigned, ask Congress and the President to enact the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act is a bipartisan proposal, which would create a pathway to citizenship for thousands of young students who were brought to the United States years ago as children.

If Congress fails to act, another entire class of outstanding, law-abiding high school students will graduate without being able to plan for the future, and some will be removed from their homes to countries they barely know. This tragedy will cause America to lose a vital asset: an educated class of promising immigrant students who have demonstrated a commitment to hard work and a strong desire to be contributing members of our society.

Please sign the petition by copying the link below; tell your friends, family and neighbors:

http://action.dreamactivist.org/dreamact/

Call Your Congressperson to Support Real Health Care Reform

At its September 17, 2009 Board Meeting, TIAR adopted the following resolution supporting a single-payer insurance system for health care, but if such is not yet possible, at least providing a strong public option.  The resolution appears below and please note the third “Resolved”, namely to ask all of you to call upon your Congressional representatives and the White House to enact and sign into law such legislation.

A Resolution on Health Care Reform 
Adopted at TIAR Board Meeting on September 17, 2009 

The Interfaith Alliance of Rochester (TIAR)—an organization composed of members of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and other faith communities—recognizes the injustice of nearly 50 million Americans without access to health care.  We believe that this is a moral issue.  We share the belief that each human being is sacred and possesses God-given inalienable worth.  Health care is an essential component in promoting and protecting the inherent dignity and life of all individuals across their life spans.  Moreover, should all people in the United States be provided with access to adequate and affordable health care, the well being of the entire society would vastly improve. Costs for universal coverage must of course be managed in such a way to further the common good.  Providing health care should be a nonprofit endeavor.   Therefore, be it 

Resolved, that TIAR endorse “single payer,” currently detailed in H.R. 676, as the best possible plan in which the sole insurer would be the government much like the current successfully-run Medicare program and paid for through a modest progressive taxation system; and be it further 

Resolved, that, until a single-payer universal health care program is established, TIAR support legislation that would provide a strong “public option” for people who cannot afford to buy insurance without some assistance from the government and that would guarantee a high level of quality care; and be it further

Resolved, that TIAR urge residents in the Greater Rochester Area to call upon their Congressional legislators to enact, and the President to sign, legislation by the end of 2009 providing adequate health care and insurance coverage for everyone in the United States.

Support Clean Elections by Asking Your Congresspeople to Make It A Priority

TIAR supports the Citizens for a Better New York in their efforts to reform state government, including the public financing of election campaigns which is also an issue at the federal level.  Go to the following web site for more information on this important issue and guidance on urging your Congressperson and Senators to add their support. http://www.campaignmoney.org/campaigns/main/make-fair-elections-a-priority

Donate a “Welcome” Kit for People Leaving Prison

People leaving prison are without even basic necessities, and about half have no family to assist them.  (See “Monroe County Re-entry Task Force” below)  Please consider donating “welcome” kits for men (and some women).   This can be a great project for a church group, scout troop or school community service project.  Kits can contain items like toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, disposable razor, lotion, socks, washcloth, underwear, pocket calendar book, pen, a personal note to encourage—or whatever your imagination inspires.  To receive information on how to prepare a Welcome Kit, contact Paul Brayer at brayerpm@frontiernet.net

Educate your Faith Community on Prisoner Re-entry

Resource materials for use in educating groups on the reentry of prisoners back into our communities are available from the Diocese of Rochester. They are useful for panel discussions, prayer, bulletin inserts, book clubs, adult education, preaching, etc. and may be found at the following web site:http://www.dor.org/charities/dioprograms/Prodigal.htm

Make a Donation to the Rochester Supplemental Burial Fund

The Greater Rochester Community of Churches (GRCC) is collaborating with Monroe County to inaugurate a Rochester Community Supplemental Burial Fund to meet the burial needs of the poor in our community.  Their current task is to raise money for this fund and they seek your help by asking for donations to establish this important initiative.

In 2006, Monroe County reduced the it’s average contribution for a funeral under its Burial Assistance Program from $1,850 to $1,250, enough only for cremation. For some people, cremation violates their religious beliefs and their cultural and ethnic traditions.  The cost for a traditional burial ranges from $2,600 to over $6,000.

Concerned citizens, including TIAR, have been working with the county since 2006 to seek ways of providing for the poorest among us.  As a not-for-profit agency, GRCC will serve as the holder of the funds raised for the Supplemental Burial Fund.  A Burial Advisory Council will provide oversight.  Monroe County will continue to determine eligibility for assistance and provide a respectful burial for those who qualify. 

Please consider a contribution to the Rochester Community Supplemental Burial Fund, in any amount you feel appropriate.  You can send your check to the GRCC office at the address above, or use the Paypal link at the bottom of the GRCC website.

If your church, temple, organization or company and would like to donate on behalf of the group, GRCC would be willing to help you think about creative ways to fundraise for this necessary initiative.  Call or email, (585) 254-2570 , grcc1@frontiernet.net,  if you have any questions.

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