CCG urges Attorney General Weiser to investigate JBS

This morning, Coloradans for the Common Good issued a joint letter with Towards Justice and UFCW Local 7 urging Colorado's Attorney General Phil Weiser to investigate the workplace safety and public health crisis that has plagued JBS USA, Inc. (“JBS”) workers and their communities in and around Greeley, Colorado during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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From Protest to Politics: Where we've been. Where we stand. And where we're going

In 1965, Bayard Rustin reflected on what the Civil Rights movement achieved in the previous ten years, including the 1954 Supreme Court decision on school desegregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Writing for Commentary magazine, he said:

“The very decade which has witnessed the decline of legal Jim Crow has also seen the rise of de facto segregation in our most fundamental socio-economic institutions.  The median income of Negroes has dropped from 57% to 54% of that of whites. [...] More Negroes attend de facto segregated schools today than when the Supreme Court handed down its famous decision.”

“...the task of the [Civil Rights] movement is vastly complicated by the failure of many whites of good will to understand the nature of our problem.  There is a widespread assumption that the removal of artificial racial barriers should result in the automatic integration of the Negro into all aspects of American life.”


Rustin, a civil rights organizer, activist, and close adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., understood the limitations of the movement and encouraged its leaders to move “from a protest movement to a full fledged social movement, [...] concerned not merely with removing the barriers to full opportunity but with achieving the fact of equality.”  He could have written this today, 66 years from the Brown v. Board of Education decision.  Consider some of harrowing facts of what it means to be Black in the United States of 2020:

  • Black households still hold only one-tenth of the wealth held by whites. 
  • African-African men are two and a half times more likely than white men to be killed by police. 
  • The Black arrest rate is at least twice as high as that for whites for disorderly conduct, drug possession, simple assault, theft, vagrancy and vandalism.

It is evident that, as a country, we have collectively failed to understand--and act on--Bayard Rustin’s challenge.  As part of the American social fabric, our congregations, unions and civic organizations are complicit in this failure.  We resolve to continue taking steps to meet that challenge.

Our organization brings people together from different backgrounds, including socio-economic, religious, ethnic, racial, and geographic, which tend to divide us.  And yet, we publicly claim that Black Lives Matter. This affirmation is rooted in the Jewish tradition of naming the oppressed: 

“You shall not abuse any widow or orphan.
If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I
will surely heed their cry.” - Exodus 22:22-23  

We condemn police brutality, the indiscriminate violence towards our Black brothers and sisters, white supremacy in all its forms and all institutional racism, discrimination and oppression.

We believe that the liberation of all Americans--including whites--is bound up in the liberation of all oppressed minorities and people of color, and African Americans in particular given our tragic history. None of us is free until all of us are free.

To that end, our work is aimed at building sustainable, relational power by engaging institutional leaders in public life, which means taking responsibility for the common good.  Thus, we recommit ourselves to the following:
  • Supporting, engaging and organizing with a larger and more diverse set of institutions, with a focus on predominantly Black congregations and civic organizations.
  • Holding elected officials and business leaders accountable to follow through on the promises made during this crisis to dismantle systemic racism.
  • Joining with leaders in the Black, Latinx and other underrepresented communities to craft an action agenda that not only removes the barriers to economic, education, housing, health care, and other essential opportunities, but advances the “fact of equality” in all these aspects of daily life.
  • Evaluating and being responsible for our own biases, implicit or explicit, with our sights towards creating a Colorado for all.

On behalf of all the leaders of Coloradans for the Common Good, we affirm these core values, and we invite you to join us, as we move towards future action to make democracy work.

Marilyn Winokur, B'nai Havurah                                     Joyce Brooks, NAACP
CCG Co-chair                                                               CCG Co-chair

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State of the Colorado Rental Market During COVID-19 Health Crisis

Coloradans for the Common Good recently partnered with Avail in a joint effort to research the impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis on landlords and renters across Colorado. Avail is a technology company providing a seamless rental experience for DIY landlords and their renters.

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Wi-Fi holdup: Social Security question still a barrier, Colorado teachers say

Two weeks after Colorado teachers unions and faith leaders called on Comcast to reduce internet barriers to online schooling, the service provider has extended the deadline by which low-income families must sign up for a free internet program.

But union leaders said Comcast has not addressed another issue that is discouraging some families from signing up: asking for a Social Security number. If an applicant doesn’t have one, they can check a box that says, “I don’t have a Social Security number.”

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Low-Income Families Have More Time To Apply For Free Internet, But Some Who Are Undocumented Still Fear Doing So

Comcast is extending its deadline for eligible families to apply for two months of free internet service, the company announced this week.

That’s welcome news to a Colorado coalition of faith, education, and labor groups that want to reduce barriers to access for students while remote learning continues due to COVID-19. The coalition, Coloradans for the Common Good, met with Comcast regional officials recently to discuss how to do so.

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Opinion: Coloradans facing threat of eviction, foreclosure cry out for relief

Despite Gov. Polis’ forceful encouragement to local governments, county courts and landlords to halt evictions, tenants still are getting threats to pay now or get out! 

It’s no wonder people are clamoring for rent strikes, mortgage forbearance and other measures.

Coloradans for the Common Good (CCG), a broad-based, nonpartisan organizing strategy with member congregations, unions and civic organizations, is demanding an immediate statewide moratorium on evictions and a long-term plan to help the housing industry get back on its feet. 

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An additional 30,000 Colorado workers get emergency paid leave!

An additional 30,000 Colorado workers get emergency paid leave!

Friends – after another intense week of organizing we have gained emergency paid leave for over 30,000 food and beverage manufacturing workers in the state. This is the second expansion of the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (CO HELP) rule, following our successful effort last week to protect 20,000 grocery store workers.

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Letter to Mr. Nogueira, JBS USA, Greeley

April 3, 2020

Andre Nogueira
Chief Executive Officer
JBS USA Holdings, Inc.
Greeley, Colorado, USA

Mr. Nogueira,

We write with deep concern about the health and well-being of the workers at your meat-processing plant in Greeley, CO. The Denver Post reported this week that hundreds of workers called in sick. UFCW Local 7 claims that over 1,000 workers have called in sick this week, presumably due to the spread of Coronavirus in your plant.

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Colorado emergency child care expands to include grocery, construction workers

Tens of thousands of Colorado workers, including those holding grocery, food processing, and construction jobs, will now qualify for free emergency child care through a statewide effort to provide child care for workers essential to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Originally, only health workers, first responders, and staff at residential care facilities were eligible for emergency child care, which launched March 24. State officials made a raft of new job categories eligible for the care in an announcement Monday morning. They also announced that tuition will be fully covered for the next seven weeks — through May 17.

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Response to COVID-19

Coloradans for the Common Good (CCG), a broad-based organization of congregations, unions, and civic organizations, took action in support of additional protections to grocery store workers in Colorado. Clergy, union presidents and nonprofit directors met with Governor Polis Tuesday afternoon, and were pleased to gain his support to further protect essential workers who may have been overlooked in recent Executive Orders.

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Denver black educators call for hiring more teachers of color, protecting union contract rights

A new black educators caucus within the Denver teachers union called on the district Thursday to address systemic racism, including by creating a team to focus on hiring more teachers of color. Despite previous district efforts, Denver’s teaching force remains overwhelmingly white.

“I can vividly remember the four black teachers I’ve had in the 13 years I’ve been a [Denver Public Schools] student,” said Jhoni Palmer, a senior at East High School.

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Workers and advocates call for more protections and quicker implementation of overtime proposal

At the only public hearing the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment held on its proposal to expand overtime protections, many were supportive, but wanted the proposal to go further.

Workers and advocates packed a downtown Denver meeting room to urge the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to more quickly implement its proposed expansion of overtime protections and to include agricultural workers among those eligible.

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Opinion: Colorado has a new political megaphone – for the rest of us

In the post-Citizens United universe of dark money, secret donors, and billionaire influencers, it’s easy to think that working stiffs have no access to political power. In fact, that is a common refrain in the presidential campaigns.

Here in Colorado, a groundswell of activity is building to give voice to the rest of us who can’t buy our way into the board rooms, the private aircraft, and the exclusive gatherings of the elite.

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Coloradans for the Common Good

More than 500 leaders from congregations, educator groups, and civic organizations around the Denver metro area gathered last Thursday night to publicly launch Coloradans for the Common Good, a local organizing strategy affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). The Founding Assembly drew leaders from over twenty member institutions, plus a dozen guest institutions, from Denver, Aurora, Commerce City, and Jefferson and Boulder counties.

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Colorado IAF Digs Into Workplace Rules, Wages

The Division of Labor Standards and Statistics, part of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, is looking at whether to update the Colorado Minimum Wage Order, which hasn’t had a major overhaul in two decades.

 

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Colorado IAF Leverages Public Support for Denver Teachers as Educators Go On Strike

Colorado IAF is standing with teachers as they negotiate with the Denver Public School District to improve teacher compensation and classroom conditions.  After a winter assembly, in which hundreds of Colorado IAF leaders challenged school board members to stand with teachers, many elected officials publicly declared their support, including a Colorado State Senator, Denver Public Schools Boardmember and local City Councilmember.

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