2017-2018 President's Report

In keeping with its mission and organizational values The Interfaith Alliance of Rochester continues its advocacy work for social justice. We are outspoken publicly by producing OP/Ed articles that address the injustices in the treatment of the poor, reducing funding for children and families and immigration. In some instances, we speak out at public meetings and in others participating in marches as well as cosponsoring events and activities. Active collaboration with other groups and organizations with similar interests and concerns is evident through our participation with for example, The Rochester Voter Alliance, Fair Campaign Practice and Gun Violence initiatives and programs as well as others.

We invite you to visit our website @ www.tiar.org or contact H.Robert Herman @ 585-385-1155.

We encourage you to join and participate on one of the following committees:

ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE  - Year End Report for 2017

This year’s focus was on Clean Energy and Climate Change. We have a new board member for the environment and he spent much of his time learning and investigating. We did take action by sending letters to our representatives in Albany, asking them to consider the Carbon tax initiative and join the climate coalition group in Albany. This action was sponsored by the Citizens Climate Lobby of Rochester (CCL). This is a very active group in Rochester meeting every month and taking action locally and nationally.

Sue Staropoli spoke at one of our board meetings on Pachamama and the Drawdown initiative here. There were introduction and training meetings in the fall of 2017. This spring, Mr.Codding will attend the Drawdown Training starting April 23rd, 2018.

Investigating, reporting and distributing action opportunities will continue this year. Environmental Organizations include Sierra Club, Climate Reality(National),The Mayors Environmental Plan, CCL, the Rochester Climate

Coalition of Rochester (RPCC) and Catholic Climate Covenant. A seminar on Solar Energy was attended by Mr. Codding presented by Dr. Susan Spencer. Information on solar energy in Rochester and our possible cooperation with RPCC will be investigated this year.

Contact Person: Richard Codding


Sister Gratia hosted the committee of Voter Alliance under the leadership of Judy Schwartz and assisted by Heide Parreno.

We identified sites for voter registration:
Plans for 2018:
1. Register August 1st – October 7th
2. Training Date- June 14, New Hope Methodist Church, Union St. 3. Online signup for volunteers

Contact Persons: Judy Schwartz, Heide Parreno


The Rochester Green Light NY Allies is a coalition of individuals from diverse social justice groups, faith communities, and community agencies that seeks to support immigrant farm workers in NYS. Its mission is to assist farm workers in their goal of getting legislation passed that will establish a “Standard Driver’s License” that will be accessible to all state residents, regardless of immigrant status.

The coalition is under the direction of the Alianza Agricola (Agricultural Alliance), a group that is led by and comprised of immigrant farm workers. This group was formed to improve the lives of immigrant farm workers in New York. Alianza Agricola decides on the projects that will be undertaken by allies of immigrant

farm workers. Currently, it is focused on obtaining driving only licenses for undocumented immigrants in New York. This project is named “Green Light NY: Driving Together”. This is the project on which the Rochester Green Light NY Allies is working.

On April 18, the legislation was introduced as Bill A1027 in the NY State Assembly. It will need to be approved by both chambers and signed by Governor Cuomo to become law.

The primary strategy (and the current focus of attention) is the Postcard Signature Drive. This strategy allows workers and their allies to collect signatures from constituents and then present these cards to the individual House Representatives and Senators. The Rochester Coalition introduced this strategy to the rest of the New York Coalitions and it was accepted by all of the Coalitions as a major strategy they will use to obtain drivers licenses for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.

In addition to monthly meetings, training was provided. Topics included strategies for activists, the use of technology software, and the history of undocumented immigrants and licenses in New York.

Contact Person: Roberta Davis

REACH- Rochester Engaging in Action for the Chronically Homeless

REACH Advocacy opened its third emergency winter shelter last November. This year we rented a house from Dimitri, Inc on North Union Street in the city. During the course of the winter we gave shelter to about 150 persons at just about 30 persons per night. Each evening members of various faith communities and other organizations brought in an evening meal. Many of them spent time getting to know our guests and in this way our house was really transformed into a home.

We are blessed with a large number of volunteers on our team who assisted in the purchase and storage of supplies, sorting and hanging clothing, etc. We had a good staff of people who made sure that at least two people were at the Home 24/7. The staff were led by our House Manager, Shannon Coleman, assisted by Lulu Christ, and Oscar Brewer as Assistant House Managers. Our Social Work Team helped to connect our guests to social services and assisted approximately 40% of our guests to find permanent housing. At this stage of reporting we have raised over $30,000 in donations, almost $20,000 in grants, and $18,000 in re-reimbursements from the county. As there are still bills outstanding we have not closed our books on this year’s shelter, but are confident that there will be a small balance to further the work of REACH. Now that we have had the experiences of these past three winters, we are hoping that we can now find ways to advocate for this population and bring about substantial changes in the treatment of the homeless in our region.

We have been blessed by the presence of two TIAR Board members, Heide Parreno and Becky Elwell, and recently Ed Lemon. We are also very thankful for the generous support of the board these past three years.

Contact: Peter W. Peters, Co-chair


As a member of the Rochester Coalition to Reduce Gun Violence, TIAR members helped with the planning and attendance at the commemoration of the Sandy Hook shootings on December 14, 2017 and at the March for our Lives in response to the Parkland, Florida shootings on March 24, 2018. Approximately 5000 persons participated in the March. Members are continuing to support the passage of a Safe Firearms Storage Act for Monroe County.

Contact: Neil Jaschik