As the immediate threats to safety due to the bombings over the past several weeks in Central Texas have been brought to an end, the victims, their families, and our whole community will move into a phase of healing from these tragedies. Our support and prayers are with all of those affected. Several of the victims lived, worked, and worshiped in the very neighborhoods that our organization works in most closely. Fundraising sites (see below) for the victims and their families have been set up, and we urge you to consider donating to help support them in their time of need. We are humbled by the families of these victims, who even in their inconceivable loss, have found it in their hearts to pray for the perpetrator and his family.
We also thank the over 500 law enforcement officers for their tireless work in ending this horrific period, making our communities safe, and in beginning to evaluate these events to make our community even safer in the future. Our community will always be safest when residents, community leaders, and law enforcement work together leveraging relationships that have been built before a crisis hits.
As we move into Holy Days in the Christian and Jewish faiths, we are reminded of the importance of neighborliness in its truest sense: getting to know those who share your neighborhood, community, and city in genuine, face to face relationships. This is the best investment we can make in our shared welfare, health, and well-being in Central Texas.
To make a donation to the victims and their families, please visit the following fundraising sites:
Bastrop Interfaith Secures Candidate Commitments in Fight for Drainage, Immigration and Bridge Repair
Leaders from Bastrop Interfaith, an initiative of Austin Interfaith, met with candidates for Bastrop County Judge this week to discuss drainage, immigration, bridge repair, and drug treatment.
Bastrop Interfaith leader Alma Lopez lived in Stony Point in western Bastrop County for thirty years. She grew angry about people doing and selling drugs, abetted by darkness, at a long-neglected Stony Point park. "That is my neighborhood and my friends and family don’t want those things happening here,” she said.
Two months after Bastrop Interfaith organized its first assembly, leaders secured lights for the park, with the Commissioners Court unanimously approving a contract with Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. The Cooperative will pay for the lights while the County will pay for the monthly electricity bill. Leaders additionally secured $1,500 for park cleanup.
The community wide cleanup will be the first step of many, according to Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape. ”Anything we do is a giant step from doing nothing.”
“It’s a small cost to pay,” asserted leader Maria Vargas.
Bastrop Interfaith is an expansion project of Austin Interfaith.
Bastrop County Supports Community-Wide Cleanup at Stony Point, Austin American Statesman [pdf]
After making over 2,300 phone calls and knocking on over 900 doors in four targeted precincts, Austin Interfaith leaders helped ensure that voters made their voice heard in District 10 during this most recent runoff election.
TODAY -- Tuesday December 13 IS ELECTION DAY for AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE & COUNCIL DISTRICT 10
If you did not vote early, be sure to vote today. Polls will be open from 7am - 7pm. In Travis County you can vote at any polling location.
Only Voters in District 10 can vote in District 10 runoff
Austin City Council District 10 Candidates
Alison Alter vs. Sheri Gallo
Austin Community College Board of Trustees
Place 4 candidates:
Sean Hassan vs. Michael J. Lewis
Place 9 candidates:
Julie Ann Kitsch vs. Guadalupe Sosa
Austin Interfaith Holds City Council Candidate Forum, Time Warner Cable
[Excerpt from CBS reporting below]
“Richard Halpin with Austin Interfaith chimed in, ‘Everybody gets a decrease. And in this day and time for our utility to give everyone a decrease is a major step forward.’ Affordability advocates applaud the action as a step in the right direction. Halpin says, ‘We at Austin Interfaith are pleased that everyone worked so hard to create a decrease for all Austin ratepayers and particularly for those neighbors who are most at risk.’”
Leaders of Austin Interfaith joined a press conference hosted by Councilmember Delia Garza to demand more priorities like Capital IDEA job training, parks and after-school programming like Victory Tutorial and Primetime for children.
Said Tom Mendez, "We do not want to hear that the budget is tight -- if it's so tight you should not have given a tax break to the few."
[Photo Credit: Deborah Cannon / Austin American Statesman]
Typical Austin Homeowner Could Pay $150 More in Taxes, Fees Next Year, Austin American Statesman [pdf]
At last month's assembly, resident leaders of the Heights On Congress apartments told stories about their concerns with relocation now that the property owner is seeking permission to rezone. The children of those residents belong to Travis Heights Elementary School, whose PTA reached out to Austin Interfaith for help in developing a plan with the owner and developer that will serve the interests of the residents and their children. At the assembly, they secured the support of the Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and AISD trustees. In photo are local leaders Angie Gonzalez of the Oak Creek Village Tenants' Association and Rev. Brian Ferguson of Wildflower Church.
[Photo Credit: Jana Birchum, Austin Chronicle]
Austin Affordable Housing Crisis, Fox News
When Torchy's Tacos re-submitted a two-year old bid to sell alcohol within 300 feet of Fulmore Middle School, they forgot to take into account the lasting power of Austin Interfaith. Leaders from neighboring Travis Heights Elementary PTA, St. Ignatius Catholic, Oak Creek Village Tenants Association and St. David's Episcopal Church were already organizing around funding for after-school programming and maintaining affordable housing in communities near the school when apartment complexes are redeveloped.
The night before Torchy's petition for a permit waiver, 200 parents, school staff and community leaders assembled with school board members and city councilmembers to leverage their support for affordable housing, after-school programming and, now, reaffirmation of City law against alcohol sales near schools. On stage, Mayor Pro-Tem Kathie Tovo and AISD Trustees Paul Saldaña and Jayme Mathias all pledged to oppose the variance.
Within hours, Torchy's Tacos released a press statement promising to "withdraw and refile" their waiver request. Said Rev. Brian Ferguson of Wildflower Church in response: "We are glad, for the moment, that alcohol is not going to be sold close to the school," but "the law says you can't sell alcohol within 300 feet. This has gone on for two years..." Leaders are prepared to continue the fight if they refile.
[In photo: Rev. Bill Wack of St. Ignatius Catholic speaks to audience.]
Torchy's Withdraws Request to Sell Alcohol on Congress, Austin American Statesman [pdf]
Facing Pressure, Flagship Torchy's Drops Alcohol Waiver Request, Austin Monitor
Torchy's Bid for Alcohol Permit Takes a Hit from Officials, Faith Group, Austin American Statesman
Council: Burning Daylight, Austin Chronicle