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Banks: Prayer and Pressure

"We told Secretary Geithner, 'Know that we're going to apply direct pressure to banks,' " says Pastor Ryan Bell, co-chair of the Clergy Caucus at L.A. Voice Pico (a Liberty Hill grantee) about the conversation at last's week's meeting between a coalition of social justice organizations and the Secretary of the Treasury.

Student Organizing At UCLA—Lessons Outside The Classroom

I remember vividly the very first protest I participated in at UCLA. It was fall 2006. I was a freshman, and it was the first day of class. “What’s all the commotion about?” I wondered. I walked by the protest and saw members of the Afrikan Student Union (ASU) yelling something on bullhorns. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but I felt their passion and conviction and was impressed by the hundreds of students they had organized.
This was my first glimpse at successful organizing, which would eventually serve me well—both as a UCLA Afrikan Student Union leader and later as a program assistant/intern at Liberty Hill.

Janitors Fast To Protest Layoffs

The six janitors, members of SEIU-USWW’s Justice for Janitors movement, haven’t eaten since Monday, in protest against JP Morgan Chase, which laid off 19 SEIU-USWW janitors at its Century Plaza Towers.
As if janitors didn’t have it hard enough already,19 had been laid off and the remaining 57 janitors told to handle the full cleaning services that all 76 had originally performed, despite the 20% staff reduction.
Nowadays businesses requiring fewer employees to handle the same amount of work has become all too familiar, hasn’t it. And that's part of the point. The union says that these 19 janitors represent many more, and that SEIU is sending a message "industry-wide." )

With Great Pride--Reflecting on Liberty Hill and Marriage Equality

Tuesday evening, Liberty Hill hosted a small gathering to reflect upon Judge Vaughn Walker's decision striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses.
The house of Liberty Hill was well represented. Everyone who attended passionately stands for justice and equality for all, and the group is not one you would see at most events. We were men and women, gay and straight, African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Latino and white, Democrats and Republicans. We welcome all who share our values for equality and justice.

Black Infants' Health Tied to Mothers’ Health

It shouldn’t be any surprise that mortality among African American babies is significantly higher than among other babies.
In fact, nationwide, African American infants have 2.4 times the mortality rate as non-Hispanic white babies. This troubling statistic and many others are readily available on the website of the Office of Minority Health, an office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Given poverty in this state and county, our tattered safety net, the lack of access to decent medical care with which many African American residents contend, inadequate awareness around health, the troubled school system, the toxic substances and tainted water found in some neighborhood environments—not to mention the stresses of life that cause hardships on the body—of course Black babies often start life with compromised health, and others die at or shortly after birth.

Maywood’s “Disaster”—an Insider’s Perspective

If you relied exclusively on the Los Angeles Times and local radio newscasts for information about the dramatic turn of events in the city of Maywood, CA, you would conclude that Maywood has a disaster on its hands. You might also conclude that its dire circumstances could portend similar outcomes in other financially distressed cities within California.
But I spoke today with Leonardo Vilchis, director of Liberty Hill grantee Union de Vecinos (Union of Neighbors), who gave me an insider’s perspective on the newest troubles of the trouble-plagued town of Maywood. And the image he portrays stands in sharp contrast to what we’d otherwise infer.

Bus Riders Fasting in Protest

Fasting has weakened their bodies but not their spirits. These low-income bus riders, organized by the Bus Riders Union, have entered the sixth day of their fast to draw attention to their plight.
The Labor Community Strategy Center (LCSC), which Liberty Hill has supported for many years, gave birth to The Bus Riders Union.

Hold Banks Accountable

ACCE (Californians for Community Empowerment), led by Amy Schur, one of Liberty Hill’s 2010 Grassroots Leaders To Watch, is celebrating passage of Los Angeles’s “Foreclosure Registry” ordinance. Liberty Hill grantee LAANE, SEIU Local 721 and allied organizations are cheering as well.