VIP and Arizona Interfaith Network leaders celebrated the passage and signing of groundbreaking legislation which will increase minimum penalties for sex-trafficking of minors. Both organizations were early supporters of HB 2454, which will more than double the penalty for a child-prostitution conviction from 10 years to 24 years in prison, and make pimping a racketeering offense.
The Valley Interfaith Project action team took on the issue of child trafficking earlier this year, holding research meetings to educate parishioners on the issue and lobbying legislators for support. In photo, Rabbi John Linder, Rev. Jayne Baker, Rev. Martha Seaman, Carolyn Jean Jones, Canon Ray Dugan and VIP Vice-President Dave Ryan stand with Governor Jan Brewer and Cindy McCain at the bill signing.
Valley Interfaith Project launched its 2014 organizing year at a Spring Issues Conference Jan 18, attended by 135 leaders at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church. VIP announced its Human Development Action Agenda and met with key allies to develop broad support for its work on Workforce Development, Public Education Funding, Health Care Enrollment, Behavioral Health, and halting the Sex Trafficking of Minors. VIP both celebrated its 2013 victories, including the state’s approval of Medicaid Restoration, and made plans for its 2014 organizing. Among the many conference highlights was a briefing by Governor Brewer’s Policy Director Michael Hunter and Budget Director John Arnold on the Governor’s proposed budget, which was released just the day before.
Special thanks to key allies who participated in the Issues Conference:
Michael Hunter, Policy Director, Office of Governor Brewer
John Arnold, Budget Director, Office of Governor Brewer
Richard Condit, Chief Administrative Officer, Sundt Construction
Dr. Jeff Smith, Superintendent, Balsz School District
Kathleen Winn, Director Community Outreach and Education, State Attorney General’s Office
Senator John McComish, Senate Majority Leader
Representative Kate Brophy-McGee, Dist. 28
Representative Eric Meyer, Dist. 28
Representative Bob Robson, Dist. 18
Representative Ruben Gallego, House Assistant Minority Leader, Dist. 27
With almost 400 signatories, faith, business and civic leaders posted a full-page newspaper ad calling on the Arizona Congressional Delegation to act on immigration reform. The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, with the Arizona Interfaith Network, sponsored its publication in the Arizona Republic. This letter is the same one signed by Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmsted with Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares, Rabbi John Linder, and ELCA Bishop Steve Talmage three weeks prior.
These words of the Constitution remain an abiding vision of a people united in a participatory democracy. The Valley Interfaith Project in Metro Phoenix is a force for making that vision a reality.
The Valley Interfaith Project trains and empowers local citizen groups to be active participants in all levels of our democracy. VIP engages ordinary people in concerted grass-roots action.
This “institution of institutions” is comprised of diverse religious, cultural, ethic, and economic elements from the Valley’s parishes, congregations, synagogues, and social, civic and employee groups, all of which share a common democratic and Judeo-Christian ethic and concern for quality of life.
VIP’s mission is to develop and organize people for leadership and power to make change for social justice. VIP is an Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) affiliate, following the iron rule of community organizing:
Never do for others what they can do for themselves.