Citing evidence that the regional return on investment for Project ARRIBA‘s workforce development is $26 for every $1 invested, the City Council of El Paso voted to increase funding to $1.5 Million over five years, rather than the $1.25 Million initially recommended by city staff. This is the single largest investment the city has made into ARRIBA since its inception.
This funding will enable the project to support the training and placement of 600 El Pasoans into living wage careers in the border region. Organization leaders are hopeful that this will help leverage matching funds from the State of Texas through the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) Grant Program.
[In photo: Leaders from EPISO, Border Interfaith and Project ARRIBA explain what happened to reporters.]
“More than 600 people turned out on Sunday to hear more than 30 city and school board candidates speak at a joint forum put on by the El Paso Inter-religious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO) and Border Interfaith.”
City Council candidates were challenged to invest in workforce development program Project ARRIBA, and complete quality of life and neighborhood infrastructure projects within the already established 7-year time frame. Because El Paso public schools mandate standardized testing at least once (and sometimes twice) per week, school board candidates were challenged to reduce the number of standardized tests by 50%. Candidates were also asked to commit to a more equitable way of funding the arts than simply asking parents of participating students to shoulder the cost.
This assembly followed concerns expressed by EPISO, and echoed by the El Paso Times editorial board regarding the current Board's failure to enact reforms supporting representative democracy.
[Photo Credit: Mark Lambie/El Paso Times]Read more
"Elected officials and members of Border Interfaith and the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO) joined the CEOs of University Medical Center and Del Sol Medical Center to push for expanded Medicaid coverage to insure 1.5 million uninsured Texans, including about 135,000 El Pasoans….
Lucy Nashed, a deputy press secretary for the governor, in an email said Perry is against a Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, but is interested in flexibility from the federal government “to address the challenges in the current broken Medicaid system.” [Photo Credit: Mark Lambie, El Paso Times]
Leaders Urge Medicaid Expansion, El Paso Times [pdf]
More than 200 leaders of El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization assembled to challenge Clint Independent School District board candidates to “eliminate all disparities in per student funding throughout the district if elected….Challengers Claudia García, Sonia Herrera, Susana Santillan, Dino Coronado and incumbent Patricia Randleel participated at the nonpartisan accountability session at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Horizon City.”
[Photo Credit: Fernie Castillo, El Paso Times]
Clint ISD Candidates Back Equitable School Funding, El Paso Times
When neighborhood parishioners of San Juan Diego Catholic Church in the Montana Vista colonias grew frustrated at the lack of gas service in their unincorporated district, they organized a petition drive, signing up 300 families to demand that the Texas Gas Service install gas lines. When the petition did not bring about the desired response, these parishioners approached their priest for help. He challenged them to join the social justice ministry of the church and to work with the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO).
These leaders responded, joining the ministry, organizing house meetings with other neighbors and, with EPISO, targeting the TX Gas Service President, Kari French, with an invitation to tour their neighborhood, to see for herself the state of infrastructure in the colonias.
The President accepted the invitation, toured the area, and committed to meeting with the department head to see what can be done. She reflected, “my people can tell me what is going on in the colonias,” but it is different to see it for oneself.
Leaders are following up with her.
When El Paso officials first envisioned a “quality of life” bond they slated $600 Million for stadiums, a zoo and high-art venues. EPISO and Border Interfaith leaders responded with a house meeting campaign in their institutions centered on the question: what would improve the quality of life for El Paso families and individuals?
Upon hearing stories about crumbling roads, decaying parks, darkened neighborhoods and unpaved walkways, leaders returned to council members with reports on what would improve the quality of life for residents. Councilmembers resisted incorporating these day-to-day fixes until leaders organized a second round of house meetings that unearthed renewed energy to fight for these improvements.
Leaders partnered with the City Manager to add $210M in certificates of obligation to pay for roads, streetlights, sidewalks and parks, and then leveraged a 6:1 council vote in support.
EPISO, Border Interfaith Gather Input on Quality-of-Life Bond, El Paso Times
“About 450 people gathered Sunday at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church to listen to candidates vying to represent Precincts 1 and 3 on County Commissioners Court, Districts 75 and 77 in the Texas House of Representatives, and the 16th and 23rd Congressional Districts in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The event was organized by El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization, a non-partisan group…”
[Photo Credit: Mark Lambie, El Paso Times]
Election 2012: 450 Hear Candidates at El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization Session, El Paso Times
Por John Hall, El Paso Times
La Organización Patrocinadora Interreligiosa de El Paso (EPISO) estaba haciendo sus rendicións de cuentas el domingo en La Iglesia Católica de Santo Tomás de Aquino, midiendo que tan cerca las posiciones de los candidatos coinciden con las posiciones del propio grupo de apoyo en una serie de preguntas que trataban sobre la inmigración, los lugares de votación móvil y el acceso a los servicios públicos para las colonias.
Más de 400 residentes asistieron al foro.Read more
Por el Reverendo Wayne Kendrick y el Reverendo Ken Ducre, Columnistas invitados
El Paso Times, OPINION
En las lecturas dominicales de Luteranos y Católicos (Lc. 18:1-8) existe un “juez injusto” que rechaza ayudar a una viuda. Pero ella insiste al juez diciéndole: “hazme justicia”. En la parábola el sigue rechazándola hasta que su injusticia es evidente.
Interfé de la Frontera y EPISO son como la viuda de la parábola. Hay jueces injustos, oficiales electos y candidatos de la vida real. Podemos poner una barrera contra ellos, esconder nuestras cabezas en la arena, (o en nuestras congregaciones), o hacer algo para alcanzar la justicia. Nuestras congregaciones y otros hemos elegido la última opción.