From Trevor Loudon:
December 2, 2011
From the Communist Party of Cuba’s Granma International
Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, received Reverend Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States, who is leading a delegation of religious leaders from different denominations on a visit to Cuba.
During the meeting, they discussed working relations between the Cuban Council of Churches and that of the United States, which have joined forces to achieve the elimination of the blockade, the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, and the return of the five Cubans unjustly imprisoned in that country.
Also present at the meeting were Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla; Caridad Diego, director of the Religious Affairs Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party; as well as Reverends Marcial Miguel Hernández Salazar and Pablo Odén Marichal Rodríguez, president and executive secretary of the Cuban Council of Churches, respectively.
Incidentally Rev. Michael Kinnamon serves on the Council on Foreign Relations – Religion Initiative Advisory Committee with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright of the George Soros funded Center for American Progress, former New York City Council member and Democratic Socialists of America veteran Ruth Messinger, another DSAer, Peter Steinfels of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture in New York, and two members of President Obama’s White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Eboo Patel of Chicago and the notorious DSA aligned socialist, Reverend Jim Wallis.
These socialists claim to love “democracy”, but they love Cuban communism more.
Another Faith-based community organizing group:
The Gamaliel Foundation
Gamaliel’s organizing work draws on struggles for justice by people of faith stretching back thousands of years and spanning many nations, faiths, and cultures. Our work draws on Biblical scripture, Christ’s life and teaching, the Torah, the Qur’an, Catholic social teaching, the founding principles of American democracy, the U.S. civil rights movement, and many other sources.
Gamaliel’s mission is to assist local community leaders to create, maintain and expand independent, grassroots, and powerful faith-based community organizations so that ordinary people can impact the political, social, economic, and environmental decisions that affect their lives; to provide these organizations with leadership training programs, consultation, research and analysis on social justice issues; and to be a network for mutual learning environments and working coalitions.
GAMALIEL DIRECTOR READY TO BE ARRESTED AT WHITE HOUSE
On July 26, 2011, Gamaliel Executive Director Ana Garcia-Ashley will engage in civil disobedience at the White House to demand executive action to end harsh and cruel immigration policies.
Below is a statement by Garcia-Ashley.
I am ready to be arrested today at the gates of the White House because my faith demands it. I am a fourth-generation Catholic whose family fled to the United States to escape violence in the Dominican Republic. I believe in the sanctity of family. I believe in a God who is always on the side of justice, never of cruelty. I see how our broken immigration system is destroying countless lives and families. My faith will not let me stay silent.
Gamaliel clergy, faith, and community leaders have been fighting for years for comprehensive immigration reform that reflects our faith values. The Obama administration can begin that reform today through executive action. I am joining hundreds at the White House gates and tens of thousands more across the United States to demand an immediate moratorium on the deportation of DREAMers—young people who were brought to the United States without documentation through no fault of their own—an end to the failed ICE-access programs 287(g) and S-COMM, and a repudiation of the mandatory E-Verify bills currently moving through Congress.
Twenty-five years ago, Gamaliel trained and mentored a young community organizer named Barack Obama. Today, President Obama needs to listen to the community voices he helped lift up decades ago. Executive action is the first step toward solving the national immigration crisis that is tearing apart families and lives.
Barack H. Obama, former GAMALIEL ORGANIZER is the 44th President of the United States!Mr. President, THANK YOU for ORGANIZING HOPE for America and the World!
by Gregory A. Galluzzo
President elect Barack Obama has throughout his political career made repeated references to his time as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago. It is important that we all understand the connection between Barack and Gamaliel. In l980 Mary Gonzales and I created the United Neighborhood Organization of Chicago.
In l982 we decided that we needed some expertise from someone who had done faith based community organizing. A person who had worked as such an organizer in Illinois and in Pennsylvania approached me about joining our organizing team. His name was Jerry Kellman. Jerry helped Mary and myself become better organizers. While he was working for us, he connected with a group called the Calumet Community Religious Conference (CCRC) operating on the South Side in the South Suburbs of Chicago, and in Indiana. CCRC had been formed in response to the massive shut down of major industry and the resulting job loss and all of the concomitant social tragedies.
Jerry and I reached an understanding that we would support his work in the South Suburbs so that he could become director of his own project. It was Jerry Kellman who put an ad in the New York Times about an organizing position in the Chicago area. Barack responded; Jerry interviewed him and offered him a position. Barack accepted. Almost at this very time, Jerry propositioned an old friend of his to return to Chicago from Texas and work with him in this new organizing venture. His friend was Mike Kruglik. Mike and Jerry were the first mentors of Barack in organizing.
CCRC, which spanned communities in Northwest Indiana, the South Suburbs and parts of the City of Chicago proved to be unwieldy. Jerry and I decided to split it into three parts. Barack would work to found a new independent project in the South side of Chicago, Mike Kruglik would be the director of the South Suburban Action Conference and Jerry Kellman would develop organizing in Northwest Indiana. At that point Jerry asked me to become Barack’s consultant.
And at this time we were just creating the Gamaliel Foundation. I met with Barack on a regular basis as he incorporated the Developing Communities Project, as he moved the organization into action and as he developed the leadership structure for the organization. He would write beautiful and brilliant weekly reports about his work and the people he was engaging.
When Barack decided to go to Harvard Law School, he approached John McKnight, a professor at Northwestern and a Gamaliel Board member for a letter of recommendation. When Barack was leaving he made sure that Gamaliel was the formal consultant to the organization that he had created and to the staff that he had hired.
Barack has acknowledged publicly that he had been the director of a Gamaliel affiliate. He has supported Gamaliel throughout the years by conducting training both at the National Leadership Training events and at the African American Leadership Commission. He has also attended our public meetings.
We are honored and blessed by the connection between Barack and Gamaliel.
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Gamaliel: 25 Years of Building Community Power
During Barack Obama’s three years directing a Gamaliel affiliate called the Developing Communities Project, he was asked why he became a community organizer. “It needs to be done,” he said, “and not enough folks are doing it.” After 25 years, Gamaliel is still doing it—building more livable, prosperous, sustainable, and just communities all across the United States.
The Gamaliel Foundation began as an organizing institute in 1986 when Greg Galluzzo, an organizer steeped in the Chicago community organizing tradition, created Gamaliel out of the legendary Contract Buyers League (CBL), which gained national recognition in its successful campaign to renegotiate predatory housing “contracts.” After witnessing the success of CBL, Gamaliel would generate and sustain community organizations throughout Chicago and the Midwest.
Chicago’s rich history of community organizing began with the work of Saul Alinsky in the 1930s. By the mid-1980s, however, many organizers had departed for the coasts. Low-income communities in the Heartland were left struggling with alienation and political powerlessness at a time when the American economy had also left them behind.
Gamaliel filled that gap. It trained community and faith leaders to build political power, and created organizations that united people of diverse creeds and races. The goal, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, was to achieve the American Dream: to give ordinary people control over the political, social, and economic decisions that shape their lives.
After building a base of community organizations in Chicago, Gary, Milwaukee, Youngstown, Cleveland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Davenport, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, Gamaliel expanded to cities on the east and west coasts and in the south. These organizations won local victories for low-income people on issues such as education, job access, and affordable housing, including a $700 million investment in affordable housing by Milwaukee banks. As the affiliates grew, so did the need for more coordinated work. The decisions that kept communities poor and powerless were being made outside of those communities, on a state, regional, or federal level. In order to affect them, low-income people needed to be able to organize on a broader scale.
This began Gamaliel’s transition to a national network of affiliates that are addressing local issues, while also participating in coordinated national campaigns. Gamaliel’s national Civil Rights of Immigrants campaign has organized dozens of prayer vigils and actions targeting members of Congress, and winning unprecedented access to key legislative decision-makers. Gamaliel’s national transportation campaign, the Transportation Equity Network, has shifted federal transportation policy to increase transit access for low-income people, won tens of millions of dollars of transit funding, and expanded job access for people of color, women, and low-income people. Gamaliel’s national health care campaign helped drive the long-awaited passage of national health care reform in 2010.
Today, Gamaliel has grown into a network of 60 affiliate organizations in 18 states, with international affiliates in Great Britain and South Africa. More than half of Gamaliel’s organizers are people of color. In January 2011, Ana Garcia-Ashley became its new executive director—the first woman of color ever to head a national, faith-based organizing network.
Looking to the next 25 years, Gamaliel is working to build strong statewide organizations in all 18 states where it works, to strengthen alliances with strategic partners, and to adapt yesterday’s organizing strategies to a new era.
“After 25 years, Gamaliel’s mission and vision of building community power are more important today than ever before,” says Gamaliel Executive Director Ana Garcia-Ashley. “The skills, courage, talent, and commitment that have sustained us for the past 25 years are going to enable us to transform America over the next 25—to fulfill the promise of democracy for all.”
Gamaliel prayer from You Tube that was “misinterpreted”:
A Litany for the Healing of the Nation
With the prophet Jeremiah, we cry out, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?”
Hear our cry, oh God!
With the prophet Martin Luther King, Jr., we cry out, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Hear our cry, oh God!
From health care systems and industries that place profit over people,
Deliver us, oh God!
From lobbying efforts that block access to quality health care for all,
Deliver us, oh God!
From greed and fear that replace the reality of God’s abundance and the power of community with the myths of scarcity and isolation,
Deliver us, oh God!
From scapegoatism of immigrants, from blaming the poor, from all sinful attitudes, which deem health care as a right of the privileged rather than as a basic human right,
Deliver us, oh God!
Protect all those who face illness without good health care insurance...
Gamaliel leaders, from many denominations, are devout followers of their faith. As a faith- based organization, it is customary for Gamaliel Foundation affiliates to include prayer in our gatherings. Our prayers to God are sincere expressions of our personal faith.