• COPS/Metro Action and Memorial to the Lost Combine to Send City Powerful Message

    [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."

  • City Gun Buyback Program Follows Day After COPS/Metro Memorial to the Lost

    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]

  • KSAT Marks COPS/Metro History in Westwood Square


    [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.

    Struggle, Determination Mark History of Westwood SquareKSAT [pdf]

  • COPS/Metro Calls for Participation in 'Memorial to the Lost'


    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 ProblemSan Antonio Report [pdf]

    Guns for Groceries: San Antonio Aims to Take Weapons Off the Street in Exchange for Gift CardsSan Antonio Express News

  • Great News: COPS/Metro and the WSW IAF Reunite with Pope Francis

    “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.

  • USCCB: Pope Meets US Leaders Patiently Building 'Culture of Solidarity'


    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 SolidarityUS Conference of Catholic Bishops / Catholic News Service [pdf]

  • COPS/Metro Featured on San Antonio Talk Show Food for Thought

    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.

  • As Ready to Work is Set to Graduate Hundreds, COPS/Metro Presses for Hiring


    COPS/Metro Alliance, the longtime coalition that advocates for working families and is in many ways responsible for the program’s existence, continues to raise concerns.

  • In Wake of Legislature's Failure on Gun Safety, COPS/Metro Organizes for Local Reform


    "Our state legislators cannot muster the courage to act on the will of the people. Why? They fear the vocal minorities who have made gun possession an idol worthy of greater reverence than the lives of our fellow citizens. This is an abomination before God.

    Frustrated by the cowardice and inaction of the state legislators, San Antonio congregations are now working to reduce gun violence. Under the banner of COPS/Metro Alliance, 175 church leaders united to ask city of San Antonio and Bexar County leadership to create a public education campaign emphasizing gun owners’ responsibility to store their firearms safely and to provide safe handgun storage boxes for vehicles.

    It’s past time for lawmakers to come to their senses and listen to the residents they represent."

    [Photo Credit: Pictures Left: Rev. Rob Mueller. Sam Owens, San Antonio Express News]

    Texas Lawmakers Fail the Courage Test on GunsSan Antonio Express News


  • Texas IAF: Allow Gun 'Raise the Age' Bill to Be Heard on House Floor

    Less than a day after a bill that would raise the age to legally purchase semi-automatic rifles unexpectedly passed through Committee, Texas IAF leaders learned that Representative Guillen (from Rio Grande City) appeared to be actively suppressing House Bill 2744 from being heard on the floor.  Delayed submission of the Committee report resulted in the bill missing a crucial deadline for it to put on the Calendars schedule for Thursday -- the last day to hear new bills. 

    Leaders from across the state held an emergency press conference calling on Guillen and the Texas House Speaker to allow the bill to be heard, and for Calendars.    

    “Guillen and Burrows should...let the representatives vote their conscience on the House floor. Overwhelmingly, Texans support increasing the age limit of when people can buy assault weapons,” Rev. Minerva Camarena-Skeith from Central Texas Interfaith asserted. 

    “We’re very, very angry at what’s going on, with them holding this bill hostage,” Valley Interfaith leader Rosalie Tristan of Raymondville told the Rio Grande Guardian

    "How many more children have to die before we act?" demanded TMO leader Bishop John Ogletree. 

    [Photo Credit: Blaine Young, Texas Tribune]

    'Raise-the-Age' Gun Bill Misses Crucial Deadline, Texas Tribune [pdf]

    Valley Interfaith: Guillen is 'Actively Suppressing' Assault Rifle Age Bill from Reaching House FloorRio Grande Guardian [pdf]

    Raise the Age Gun Bill in Peril as Texas House Deadline LoomsKXAN [pdf]

    Lubbock and Valley Legislators Block Assault Rifle Age Limit Bill, HB 2744, from Reaching the Floor of Texas HouseTexas IAF [pdf]