As Ready to Work Graduates Enter Job Market, COPS/Metro Pressures City to Ensure High Quality Jobs Await Them
[Photo Credit: Ronald Cortes, San Antonio Express News]
"...not enough San Antonians are landing jobs through the city sales-tax funded program, say leaders with the interfaith grassroots advocacy group. The city has failed to meet its goal that 80% of Ready to Work participants will find employment paying at least $15 an hour within six months of finishing their training.
“That’s unacceptable,” said Sister Jane Ann Slater, a COPS/Metro leader. “If they would use the process we know works, they can say, ‘We have these jobs on the table,’ and they would be hired immediately.”
[Photo Credit: Reform Austin]
"More than a hundred people marched from St. Michael's Catholic Church to the Alamodome on Saturday to hang around 2000 t-shirts in front of the parking lot.
Each shirt represented a life lost to gun violence in Bexar County. Most shirts had a name, age, and date of death but there were also shirts that simply said "another life stolen." Those represented suicide victims.
[Photo Credit: Today's Catholic Newspaper]
"Along with Texas Impact and Mission Presbytery, COPS/Metro drew almost 500 working-class people from 61 groups all over the city to St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church on the city’s Southeast Side.
In a prelude to events, or what they called an action, at the Alamodome [that] weekend, they invited public officials and business leaders and probed their commitment to solving neighborhood problems, especially those involving public safety."
On November 19th, the city of San Antonio ran a voluntary gun buy back program that allowed residents to safely dispose of firearms in an effort to reduce the number of gun related deaths in the city by reducing the concentration of firearms.
The effort was spearheaded by District 9 Councilman John Courage who spotlighted the Memorial to the Lost that was organized by COPS/Metro the day prior.
Trade in Firearms for HEB Gift Cards with New Buyback Program in San Antonio, Spectrum News 1 [pdf]
[A] new coalition of neighborhoods, churches and others formed Communities Organized for Public Service, or COPS, in 1974....
“That was the perfect storm that planted the seed that allowed COPS to flourish,” said Father Mike DeGerolami, also a leader for COPS/Metro Alliance.
...Garza said needed projects and improvements only proceeded after the community demanded that a piece of the city budget be spent on the West Side.
COPS/Metro Alliance is calling for people to participate in the Memorial to the Lost, which aims to recognize all the lives lost to gun violence in Bexar County over the last five years....
Organizers hope to line the streets surrounding the Alamodome with the T-shirts ahead of and during the gun buyback, Pastor Robert Mueller of Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church told the San Antonio Report last week. They also hope it will spread to other major Texas cities, and they plan to take the shirts to the state capitol to advocate for gun control legislation.
“Almost three-quarters of voters of every persuasion support about three to four common gun safety laws that are not about taking guns away from anybody,” said Mueller, who is a member of COPS/Metro Alliance.
“It’s about elevating the responsibility of gun ownership.”
[Photo Credit: Mark Felix, AFP via Getty Images]
Faith Groups Step Up to Work on San Antonio's Gun Violence Problem, San Antonio Report [pdf]
Guns for Groceries: San Antonio Aims to Take Weapons Off the Street in Exchange for Gift Cards, San Antonio Express News
“Creating a culture of solidarity” is how Pope Francis described our work of organizing when he met with our COPS/Metro delegation together with our sister organizations in the West/Southwest IAF on Thursday, September 14.
Traducción en español abajo
COPS/Metro leaders Sonia Rodriguez, Fr. David Garcia, and Lead Organizer Josephine Lopez Paul met with the pontiff for an hour at his Santa Marta residence in the Vatican and discussed the development of immigrant leaders through our Recognizing the Stranger training and our upcoming 50th year anniversary. It was a moving encounter with substantive conversation, filled with insight and humor.
Our delegation also met with Sr. Nathalie Becquart, the Vatican’s General Secretariat of the Synod and Emilce Cuda, co-secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
When Pope Francis told a group of U.S. community organizers that their work was "atomic," Jorge Montiel said, "I thought, 'Oh, you mean we blow things up?'"
But instead, the pope spoke about how the groups associated with the West/Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation in the United States take issues patiently, "atom by atom," and end up building something that "penetrates" and changes entire communities, said Montiel, an IAF organizer in Colorado and New Mexico.
Pope Francis' hourlong meeting Sept. 14 with 15 delegates from the group was a follow-up to a similar meeting a year ago. Neither meeting was listed on the pope's official schedule and, the delegates said, both were conversations, not "audiences."
"It was relaxed, it was engaging," said Joe Rubio, national co-director of IAF. "Often you don't see that even with parish priests," he told Catholic News Service Sept. 15, garnering the laughter of other delegates.
Pope Meets US Leaders Patiently Building Culture of Solidarity, US Conference of Catholic Bishops / Catholic News Service [pdf]
In August, COPS/Metro leaders Lorraine Gonzales, Mark Wittig, and Sr. Pearl Ceasar, as well as lead organizer Josephine Lopez Paul, were invited by Father Jim Schellenberg to a two part discussion on his talk show "Food for Thought". The conversation centered around COPS/Metro's efforts in the diocese, as well as the recent papal visit from last November.