Monday, May 31, 2010

An Iron Chef, a Dancer in White and an Amateur Artist

What do a chef (in competition), a dancer (all in white), and an artist have in common?  They all take part in activities that will support Albuquerque's The Storehouse this summer.   Now let's look at each of these characters and what they will be doing.

First, the Dancer in White.  Not a ballet dancer.  He or she are perhaps closer to a ballroom dancer. 

And they will be wearing white at an event called Blanco, sponsored by an organization for young professionals called Rhythm for a ReasonBlanco will take place on Saturday, June 12, 7:30-11:00 p.m. at The Place Lofts (Central and Wellesley) in the Nob Hill neighborhood in Albuquerque. 
Put on your finest all white attire and join Rhythm For A Reason for their next event, Blanco.  Join us as Felonious Groove Foundation performs for this night of fun.  Plus, enjoy a sunset champagne toast and light hors d'oeuvres from Desert Fish, all at The Place Lofts in Nob Hill. Admission is a $15 minimum donation at the door with all the proceeds benefiting The Storehouse.  

Now to The Chef in Competition.  Have you ever watched the show on The Food Network called The Iron ChefAlbuquerque The Magazine is sponsoring a similar competition on Sunday, June 13, noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Albuquerque Convention Center.  (Yes, the day after you've gone out dancing in white).

Eight restaurants will compete in five head-to-head cooking challenges: 


  • McGrath's Chef vs. Chef Saul Panigua of Cristobal's
  • Chef Bruce Jones of Corn Maiden vs. Chef Richard Pfaff of Nob Hill Bar & Grill
  • Chef Josh Gerwin of Casa Vieja vs. Chef Bob Peterson of Savoy Bar & Grill
  • Chef Jason Greene of The Grove Cafe vs. Chef Michael Giese of Flying Star Cafe
  •  
    General Admission tickets are just $20 ($10 for kids 12-&-under, FREE for kids 5-&under), with proceeds going to The Storehouse. Tickets include free tasting of food samples from more than 40 area restaurants and cafes, and ballots to vote in Guacamedia, Top Caterers and Absolut Cocktail Challenge.
Call 842-6491 for more information or to purchase your tickets. 
     
And now to The Artist. It could be a painter or a photographer or a sculptor.  That particular creative individual (or one who may not be so creative) will be donating photographs, paintings, sculptures, frames, art supplies.

The donated items will be sold during The Storehouse's Recycled Art Show at the Downtown Growers Market on Saturday, July 24.  All proceeds will be used to purchase food for The Storehouse.

If you have art to donate, please bring it to The Storehouse during regular drop off hours, or email  info@thestorehouseabq.org.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Run With Kenyans for Global Health



Gotab Berur Foundation, also based here in the Duke City, are sponsoring "Run With Kenyans for Global Health" at Highpoint Sports and Wellness, 4300 Landau NE (click here for driving directions).  

Participants will have the opportunity to run 5K race along with several Kenyan runners who live and train in Albuquerque. There will also be a 1K run for children.  Click here for registration brochure

The money raised from the run will be used to purchase an ambulance for the Kisesini clinic in an impoverished area of eastern Kenya. The ambulance costs about $51,000. "One of our major thrusts right now is our van that we have used is completely worn out,"Katie Gnauck, a member of the GHP board of directors, said in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal. "The Kisesini Clinic is remote; it's about an hour and a half (drive) in optimal conditions to an organized hospital."  


"Without emergency transportation, people who are critically ill or women who need to go to the hospital for a C-section don't get there, so oftentimes they die. People there live a minimal existence," Donna Tully, a physician assistant at UNM Hospital and GHP board member,told The Journal, " They have to walk four hours a day to get dirty water. So buying an ambulance is something that will be a great benefit to all of these surrounding villages."
 
GHP and the UNM medical school send six to 10 students to Kenya each year to spend a month working at the Kisesini Clinic. "The month we were there it was the rainy season, and it was almost impossible to get in and out (of the clinic)," Leslie Palmerlee, a third-year medical student told The Journal. "Sometimes we saw patients that had to go on a motorcycle, and these are incredibly ill patients."  Palmerlee is planning to run in this event.

The Kenyan Runners
The Kenyan run committee features both active and retired Kenyan athletes who live in New Mexico. Several are distinguished. For instance, Peter Koech, a running coach and chairman of the Gotab Berur Foundation, holds a world record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. A dozen or more Kenyan men and women from across the state will be competing in the June 6 event. Some of the names will be familiar to Albuquerque running community. Among the competitors are: Mbarak Hussein, Daniel Cheruiyot, Abraham Kosgei, Richard Rono, Solomon Kandie, Simon Sawe, Zacharia Nyambaso, Robert Onchaga, Elias Kogo, Jonathan Ndambuki, Araya Haregot, Robert Letting, Everlyn Lagat and Atelelech Ketema
The sponsors of the event plan an African celebration following the runs, including food, music and crafts from the region.

Two Agencies Join to Feed 7,500 Students in New Mexico this Summer

By Amber Williams

One in every four children in New Mexico worries about having enough food. For many, the most vulnerable time is summer when students are without regular school food assistance programs.

This is why the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger started the Intergenerational Summer Food Program (ISFP)

The ISFP provides weekend food bags to children enrolled in various summer programs, such as at schools, community centers, Boys and Girls Clubs and churches. The bags are provided at no charge to the summer programs and contain six nutritious food items for children to take home with them.

The ISFP will be at 58 sites this summer, providing 58,000 weekend food bags to children across the state.  The sites extend from Raton to Carlsbad and Silver City to Bloomfield. There will be 17 sites in Albuquerque. The program will feed 7,500 children during June and July. 

This is the first year that The Collaboration is partnering with The Storehouse on the program.  The Storehouse has worked with The Collaboration to reduce the cost of this year's food for the program, saving over $2.00 per bag.  Plus, starting in the end of May, The Storehouse will help transport the food to the distribution sites across the state while Adelante helps store and deliver the food in Albuquerque. 

The Collaboration also works with Ben E. Keith, Albertson’s, Sunland Peanutbutter, and Gossner Foods to procure the food for the program.  Each weekend food bag contains 7oz shelf stable milk, 7oz of shelf stable juice, 4 oz of peanut butter, 1 sleeve of saltine style crackers, 1 granola/cereal bar, and two 2oz containers of dry cereal.

(The author is media & public relations consultant at The Storehouse.  Article reprinted from organization's newsletter).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Invitation: Solving International Conflicts (Local and Global Perspectives)



The United Nations Association-USA, 
Albuquerquue 
and
Catholic Charities-Center for Refugee Settlement & Support

Present

How Albuquerque Responds to International Conflicts--
How our International District Provides an Example for the World




Saturday, June 12, 
4:30PM to 6:30PM
 Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
202 Harvard Dr. SE, Albuquerque
1 block south of UNM

Featured speakers:
  • New Mexico State Sen. Tim Keller, who represents the International District
  • City Councilor Rey Garduño, who represents the SE Heights; 
  • Eyob Abdullah, former Iraqi refugee and current case worker with Catholic Charities; and other members of the refugee community and their supporters.
Our speakers will tell of their experiences in crisis areas of the world, their involvement in our International district and they will suggest ways that the world can learn from local policies.

RSVP to Bill Pratt, 869-4212 or prattsalwm@comcast.net

Free Admission
Refreshments will be served

The Crisis of Malnutrition (Multimedia Exhibit from Doctors Without Borders)



On Wednesday, June 2, Medicins Sans Fronters or MSF (Doctors Without Borders) will launch a powerful multimedia exhibit at the New York Times Center in Manhattan that will shed light on the underlying causes of the malnutrition crisis around the world and innovative approaches to address the problem.

The exhibit, consisting of video and still photographic documentaries, is part of the Starved for Attention campaign, which will run through World Food Day on October 16.

If you can't travel to New York, you can view the exhibit online. Additional exhibits are already planned in Toronto (to coincide with the G-8 and G-20 summits), Abidjan (to coincide with a major West African health meeting), London, Milan (at the FORMA museum), and Washington DC.

MSF wants to emphasize that Starved for Attention is not only about creating awareness among the public, but also about encouraging action from citizens and decision-makers.
With the campaign, and an accompanying petition (available after June 2), we aim to highlight several key points:
* The period between conception and age 2 is a critical window of opportunity for malnutrition interventions.
* Quality matters: countries need to commit to providing resources to ensure adequate nutrition for infants and young children at risk of malnutrition.
* Governments supplying food aid to developing countries must stop providing nutritionally inadequate foods for infants and young children. The food aid double standard must end.
* Donors should only support programs that respect the minimal nutritional needs of infants and young children, and work with countries most affected by the crisis to put access to nutrient-rich foods at the center of their efforts to tackle childhood malnutrition.
MSF worked with photojournalists from the agency VII who traveled to malnutrition “hotspots” around the world—from war zones to emerging economies—to produce a series of multimedia documentaries that shed light on the underlying causes of the malnutrition crisis around the world and innovative approaches to address the problem.

Seamlessly blending photography and video produced by some of the most prolific and award-winning photojournalists, “Starved for Attention” captures a new visual identity for malnutrition through frontline stories from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, India, Mexico, and the United States. Two US components highlight US food aid as well as the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

Here is a list of photojournalists who contributed to the exhibit.
Marcus Bleasdale in Djibouti
Jessica Dimmock in Burkina Faso & the U.S.
Ron Haviv in Bangladesh
Antonin Kratochvil in the U.S.
Franco Pagetti in Democratic Republic of Congo
Stephanie Sinclair in India
John Stanmeyer in Mexico

Whether you can view the exhibit in person or through your computer, I encourage you to sign the petition.  And please tell your friends and colleagues.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dave Miner and the Dalai Lama

On a recent Friday in May, David Miner (the chair of Bread for the World's board of directors), found himself face-to-face with his His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  He was one of the lucky ones who had an opportunity to greet the revered Buddhist leader in person.

On that day, 9,500 people packed Conseco Field House in Indianapolis to hear Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, deliver a message of peace, love and the importance of interfaith connections.

As volunteer executive director of the Interfaith Hunger Initiative in Indianapolis, Dave was part of the committee that planned the events surrounding the visit of the Nobel Peace Laureate to Indiana.  The IHI cosponsored the event with the the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center (TMBCC) and the Indiana Buddhist CenterIHI members include faith leaders and laity from two dozen congregations including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh congregations

The Dalai Lama also spoke at Indiana University the previous day.

Here are a couple of other reports that include video:
Dalai Lama's Final Teaching and Lasting Message

Anti-Hunger Efforts in Kenya, Indianapolis
The sponsors used the talk as an opportunity to raise money for feeding efforts in Indianapolis and Kenya. "There is such widespread interest in his message that we were able to attract attendance of 9,500 people," said Dave. "The $25 ticket price generated significant revenue for the co-hosts, including IHI."

The IHI said the money collected from the admission fee will be used to cover the cost of school lunches for 1,500 children in Kenya for a year.  Locally,the funds will procure a quarter million pounds of food, "helping us to strengthen the pantry system in Indianapolis and doing a school lunch for 1,500 children in Kenya," said Dave.

Thanks to Bread activists in Indianapolis, the IHI is also promoting legislative advocacy efforts among its members, including Offerings of Letters.  "Many of the congregations have begun doing OL's for the first time," said Dave.

Many of those in attendance at Conseco Field House also learned about the anti-hunger advocacy efforts in Indianapolis.  "We ran a video on the big TV screens for an hour before the program began which overviewed IHI and included Bread," said Dave.  View a YouTube video

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An Opportunity to Become Involved in Oxfam in Albuquerque

Did you know that Oxfam America has a chapter in Albuquerque?  

Oxfam America is the U.S. affiliate of the global organization Oxfam International, which is one the world's strongest voices on issues related to global poverty and fair trade.

Now that you know that Oxfam has a presence here in the Duke City, perhaps you would like to become involved in local projects. 

You are invited to meet Oxfam America volunteers on the ground in Albuquerque known as the Oxfam Action Corps.
Albuquerque Summer of Action Kickoff Meeting
Tuesday, May 25th
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Flying Star Cafe, The Grande Room
723 Silver Avenue NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Here are details about the meeting from the blog set up by the organizers at the New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps
This meeting will be a gathering of new volunteers and some familiar faces from the Albuquerque area interested in turning this summer and beyond into a powerful movement to tackle hunger, poverty, and social injustice. Our aim is to pass legislation to help poor communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change. It’s time the US steps up as a leader in the fight against climate change and takes a stand for the world’s most vulnerable communities. And we need YOUR help to accomplish this.

Items to be covered at this meeting will include:

· General overview of Oxfam America and the New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps

· Overview of climate change, how to build resilience among poor communities, and current legislative implications

· Primary action calendar for the summer

· Key areas of action and sign-up sheet for interested volunteers

· Chance to exchange ideas and get to know each other

Please RSVP by replying to newmexico@oxfamactioncorps.org by May 22nd.

We look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you on May 25th!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Catholic Charities in the Blogosphere


Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, recently launched a blog called  About -Think and Act Anew  

The purpose of the blog is to encourage an open conversation about the moral crisis of poverty in America.  

In one post, Father Snyder discusses greed and Wall  Street and the impact it has had on America.  He cites a need for restoring the link between economics and social concerns.  He ends by proposing that we consider a tax similar to one that is being proposed in Britain.  This tax, known as the Robin Hood Tax, would impose a small levy on bankers that "would give billions to tackle poverty.”
"It is my hope that together we can find 21st century solutions to this 21st century problem and advocate for real, sustainable change. This is our call to truly think and act anew.

It is a tragedy that poverty continues to increase in the United States, one of the wealthiest nations in the world. We must no longer ignore the injustice of poverty and the extreme inequality in America. We must seize this opportunity to promote changes that promote human dignity and the common good."
Catholic Charities has been at the forefront of the fight against poverty in America, not only through direct actions but through reflection and conversation.  The organization is one of the original partners of the JustFaith Ministries program, along with Bread for the World, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Relief Services.

In addition to the blog, Catholic Charities has another forum for conversation called 21st Century Solutions to Poverty Forum. The title speaks for itself.  The online forum is intended to "stimulate discussion and collaboration on 21st Century ideas for reducing poverty in 21st Century America. It will capture both real experiences and new ideas, and by using this technology, will allow us to continue these discussions over the next few weeks."
I encourage you to visit both Catholic Charities sites and to participate in the discussions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

If Only All Our Leaders Showed this Type of Commitment...

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva used his influence to improve the lives of those who had no bread and now 93 percent of children and 82 percent of adults in Brazil eat three times a day.  
-Jossette Sheeran, director of the World Food Program

Photo from the Latin American Herald Tribune.

Brazil's President Lula has been a champion of the Millennium Development Goals.  I've written about this before.  But his commitment to addressing hunger and poverty in his country (and elsewhere) is unwavering. It's great when such a leader keeps getting recognition.  This is because he's a great example for the rest of the world's leaders (Hear that G-8?).

The great thing about Lula's approach was that his close attention to the needs of the poor came hand-in-hand with strong economic growth.  

Here's a quote from Jossette Sheeren, who recognized Lula as a“Global Champion in Combating Hunger and Poverty.”
“Contrary to what many people think, subsidizing the poor can stimulate the economy,” as has happened in Brazil, even with all the problems sparked by the international financial crisis that exploded in 2008, the WFP official said.
This was one of two awards at the the Brazil-Africa Dialogue Forum on Food Security, Fighting Hunger and Rural Development, being held in Brasilia.

The other prize, the World Food Day medal from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, was awarded to Lula at the same ceremony by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

Read more about Lula's recognition in the Latin American Herald Tribune

Check Out USAID's new blog

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) recently unveiled a brand new blog, called IMPACTblog. 

The blog is part of an effort by the agency to become more transparent and communicate to the public about the kinds of projects they support.


Here is a note from blog administrator telling you what the blog is all about and what is covered.  
Every day, I’m told of the fantastic projects USAID is working on throughout the world, and I wanted to create a space where we could share those stories with you in an interactive way...

We want to let people know about the work we do…our successes, our failures, and how we learn always to do better. I hope this will be a place where you can get to know the thousands of development entrepreneurs who make up USAID’s talented staff, the work of our partners, and the beneficiaries of America’s support around the world. 
I hope this will be a place where you can get to know the thousands of development entrepreneurs who make up USAID’s talented staff, the work of our partners, and the beneficiaries of America’s support around the world. 
Check Out the IMPACTblog

What Does Buying Local Mean?

On Earth Day, but also throughout the year, we hear how buying food from local growers would help reduce transportation costs and therefore cut down on greenhouse emissions.







Does this mean foregoing those grapes from Chile or those oranges from South Africa, or eliminating bananas from our diet altogether?  (Quick question: Which state in the mainland U.S. grows bananas?)  Or it could mean buying lettuce from your regional cooperative instead of the California varieties offered by your big box stores.

[The fair trade folks give us another alternative.  If you're going to purchase food that is transported a long distance, at least practice economic justice and buy "fair trade" products.  The other day I discovered that one local store offers fair trade bananas.  But that's another discussion].

For now, I would like to focus on the buying local aspect. There is a great article about this topic in Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farm and Resource Issues The piece, written by Michael S. Hand and Stephen Martinez, examines the different definitions and descriptions for buying local.  (Thanks to JustFaith for recommending the piece).

Here is an excerpt from the article
Many definitions use political boundaries or geographical distance to identify local products, while others focus on how food is produced and distributed. Underlying these definitions is the assumption that local foods can satisfy a set of demands—be they related to quality and freshness, social or environmental sustainability, or economic well being. Examining the different local definitions can help uncover why the term has come to enjoy such broad use, and what individuals, communities, and policymakers hope to achieve by supporting local foods.
Read full article

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Ethics of Eating

The National Catholic Rural Life Conference posted a great reflection piece on its website called Table Talk: The Ethics of Eating. 

This is a wonderful read and great food for thought (pardon the pun).  The article is accompanied by this great image, which I borrowed from NCRLC website.

Here is an excerpt.
When we gather around the kitchen table, we usually eat and often talk and sometimes learn. At this table we learn good manners and how to connect as family members. We may even occasionally talk about the Christian life and how to act in civic life.

Think about your community’s table, or the place where people come together to talk about the work that needs to be done. Think about the social, economic and political life of your community -- the table wider and perhaps less mannered than your family table.

What is the greatest injustice in the local community? What rules ought to be enacted to enforce or counter this injustice? What can be done to enact or enforce these rules? The aim of politics is the realization of justice and peace. Politics is the art of seeking and fostering the common good. Politics establishes the rules whereby people work, compete, raise families, and share the benefits and burdens of society. These rules are either just or unjust. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Standing at the Surface

On Friday, I had the privilege of sitting a big ball room full of generous people.  These are people who really care about raising money and directing resources to organizations that really care about improving our community and lending a helping hand to those in need.  So often, charity can translate to tokenism. There was no tokenism here. There was a certain genuineness about these efforts.

And yet there was this sense of discomfort.  Somehow, there was still a huge disconnect here.  This was entirely about raising money.  (And don't get me wrong--without generous grants, many good organizations would not be able to function).  But when it came to discussions that deal with hunger and poverty, there was no talk of looking at the root causes.  And there was a disdain for the role of government in helping address some of the problems.  (Not that government is the entire answer either).

Unfortunately, this sentiment also applies to the way many churches look at our roles in addressing hunger and poverty.  Father Richard Rohr said it well in his book Simplicity.
We can no longer be satisfied by simply being the Church for the poor from our position of establishment. We must realize that sometimes that very generosity, that very attempt to be good to other people, has kept us in a position of power and superiority. 
Somehow we must be of and with the poor, and then be ready for some mistrust and even criticism.
Dom Helder Camara (1909-1999), the holy Archbishop of Recife, Brazil, said it so truthfully, “As long as I fed the poor, they called me a saint.  When I asked, ‘Why are there so many poor people?’ they called me a communist.”

Friday, May 07, 2010

CARE: Honor your Mother and Empower Another


CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, invites you to celebrate Mother's Day by posting a photo and a message on its Wall of Mothers.
Every minute, a mother dies from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. In fact, in many countries where CARE works, a girl is more likely to die in pregnancy than to finish secondary school.

Together, we can change this tragic situation. CARE's programs are designed to reduce maternal mortality by improving access to quality health care during pregnancy, safe delivery services and post-partum care for millions of women in the developing world.

Join us this Mother's Day in honoring women around the world — and important women in your life — by posting a picture on our Wall of Mothers.

After you post your picture, you can send an e-card featuring the photo you upload to your mom, friends and other powerful women you know. It's a fun way to stand in solidarity with mothers and families and spread the word about CARE's work to save the lives of mothers.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

New Mexico Congressional Delegation Comes Through on Child Nutrition

Last week, Bread for the World asked us to call our members of the House to urge them to sign a Dear Colleague letter in support of increased funding for an additional $1 billion in funding for the Child Nutrition Act.  This is a vehicle to support school lunches, school breakfasts, summer feeding programs, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

All three members of our House members, Reps. Martin Heinrich, Harry Teague and Ben Ray Lujan, signed the letter circulated by Reps. Joanne Emerson of Missouri and James McGovern of Massachusetts.  We Thank You!

And thanks to everyone in New Mexico who took time to make the call.

Bread reached the target of 218 signatures, plus one.  Click here to see list and to read more background on this issue.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Education and the World Cup (Two Videos)

My favorite event occurs every four years: The World Cup.  I grew up watching fútbol (you really use your foot primarily as opposed to what we call "football" in the U.S. where the foot only plays a minor role.  But that's another discussion).  And as of this posting, there are 39 days to go!

Anyway, there is something very special about the World Cup this year.  For the first time ever, the game will be played on African soil.  And it looks like South Africa has prepared very well.   

The second reason why this year is special is because the event is because there is a big effort to link the global publicity surrounding the World Cup to bring attention to education and the second of the Millennium Development Goals--achieving universal primary education.  Check out the 1Goal campaign and sign the 1Goal pledge. Below is a great video featuring a song from the rock band Coldplay.


And back to the World Cup.  Check out the official song for the 2010 World Cup: Waka Waka   The song is performed by the popular Colombian singer Shakira and produced by South Africa's Freshlyground.  (It is interesting to have a Latin American sing a song that has a distinctly African feel about it).

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church hosts Panel on Hunger

It was a privilege to be part of a panel at an adult education class at Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque.  Two of the panelists are involved in direct service: Andrea Bromberg, capital campaign director at Roadrunner Food Bank and Joell Ackerman, executive director at Project Share. Two of us are involved in advocacy and education, Patricia Anders of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and me (Carlos Navarro) with Bread for the World.

The panel discussion was the last of a four-part series for participants in the adult education class, which used among other things materials from Bread for the World's Hunger No More study guide. 

What was most striking about the panel was the convergence of the missions and activities of our organizations.  For example, Project Share relies extensively on food from Roadrunner Food Bank. And Project Share and Roadrunner have noticed a great increase in the number of working poor requiring their services.  This gave Patricia and I an opportunity to bring up our efforts regarding the Earned Income Tax Credit (the subject of Bread for the World's 2010 Offering of Letters) and increased participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program.  

And Patricia and I also spoke about the efforts to boost funding for child nutrition during the reauthorization process.  I mentioned that we were aware that Rep. Martin Heinrich had signed a Dear Colleague letter circulated by Reps. Joanne Emerson (R-MO) and James McGovern (D-MA) to add $1 billion per year to the program.  Patricia gave me the happy news that Rep. Harry Teague had also signed the letter.  We had not heard about Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.

Finally, we managed to get some interest from members of the Mission Committee in having Shepherd of the Valley become the sixth Presbyterian church in New Mexico to participate in our annual offerings of letters (hopefully beginning with the 2010 OL).

My guesstimate is that there were at least 30 people in attendance, including Pastor Tom Hart.

Our thanks to panel organizer (and MC) Andy Ambrose for having offered us this opportunity.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Solidarity with Immigrants

There are many rallies planned across the country today (International Labor Day or May Day) in support of a just immigration reform law and in opposition to Arizona's recently approved punitive law.  In Albuquerque, the rally will be held this evening at Plaza de Encuentro, 714 4th Street, SW, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Much has been written about this controversy, including the Sojourners blog, God's Politics.  I want to share this great piece that was published in the Bread for the World Institute's blog, Institute Notes.  The piece was written by Andrew Wainer.  (Click on the title to read full post)

Arizona Legislation Ignores Causes of Immigration
This enforcement-only approach to immigration is particularly popular during times of economic malaise, but it ignores the root causes of migration in sending communities: poverty and a lack of jobs. It also inadvertently helps sustain a poor underclass of immigrants in the U.S. while failing to make the country safer.

Plant Your Garden and Help a Wonderful Community Organization

It’s that time of year again – Spring planting!

Support East Central Ministries' many wonderful community and youth programs for the La Mesa and Trumball neighborhoods by buying ollas and greenhouse plants from them. For sale are ollas for watering and 23 varieties of tomatoes, grapes, blackberry, elderberry, etc.

An olla is a handmade terracotta pot used as an ancient drip irrigation for gardening.  It dramatically decreases the number of waterings and amount of water needed, as it provides water directly to the roots.  We have used two in our herb, tomato & chile garden every year. This year we added a third.  To read up on ollas, go to their website click on “Urban Farm” on the left side of the website, then “ollas.”

You can order plants and/or ollas on-line or else drop by ECM, located at 123 Vermont NE (general hours are 9am – 5pm) – you may want to call 266-3590 first to confirm they’re open.  You can also order online.  Here is their catalogue

Some businesses also carry ECM’s plants and/or ollas, including “Plants of the Southwest,” Osuna Nursery, Jericho Nursery, Rehm's Nursery, and two Whole Foods stores: (1) Academy and 2) Carlisle/Indian School.  Every penny goes into ECM’s community development work.  (Pictured at left is the East Central Ministries booth at the Earth Day Celebration on April 25)