Faith In Action Kern County Newsletter

November 30, 2015

FIA KC Hosts Interfaith Clergy Gatherings in  2015

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Lorena Lara, Emir Emad Meerza, Pastor (ret.) David Campbell, Joey Williams, Sr. Marie Francis Schroepfer, Rabbi Cheryl Rosenstein, Pastor David Stabenfeldt, Yesica Jimenez, Msgr Perry Kavookjian, Pastor Donella Silveira, Pastor Nancy Bacon and Pastor Martha Johnson.  (Not pictured but were present: Monsignor Ray Dreiling, Pastor Sean Battle and Pastor (ret.) John Corson.)

FAITH BASED ORGANIZING IS THE SOLUTION! - Msgr. Ray Dreiling, Diocese of Fresno

In October and November 2015, FIA Kern County convened  first interfaith and multiracial clergy lunch caucus with the Islamic, Jewish, Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths. The purpose was to explore how to be united in addressing the pain, suffering and pressures our families are under  mass incarceration, immigration and access to quality education. Faith based organizing is a tool that will be used to build collective power, end suffering and bring justice!

Our next FIA Clergy Lunch is Thursday, January 14th, 2016 from 12 pm to 1:30 pm at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (12300 Reina St. Bakersfield, 93312). Please call 661.631.9200 or  for information.


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Our lawsuit against the Kern High School District concerning disproportionate suspensions and expulsions is pending. Our work with Kern Educational Justice Collaborative organized to get 2 million dollars diverted from hiring more campus police officers to hiring more counselors and intervention specialists. Our education organizing continues as we engage parents, change school climate, and advocate for funds for schools to dismantle school to prison pipeline. FIA KC has held LCAP (Funds for School) trainings with parents, visited California Schools implementing PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports), and building teams of parents. FIA KC parent training on “Knowing Your Rights” is Jan 30th, 2016. More information  or


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(September 2015 Press Conference for Kern County Board of Supervisors to support immigrant health care access)

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FIA Kern County leaders and coalition members led efforts moving the Kern  County District Attorney's Office to agree to sign off that undocumented immigrant were victims of domestic violence or witnesses crimes. This policy change allows for a U-Visa to potentially be obtained, and keeps families together. We continue our work highlighting the plight of immigrants at Mesa Verde Detention Center, and seek county wide health care services for undocumented immigrants in Kern County. Efforts this year with SB 4 (Health4All) gave undocumented children health coverage at state level. For more info contact 



On September 19th, Faith in Action Kern County (PICO) and the Diocese of Fresno hosted the Year of Encounter with Pope Francis KICK OFF  at Garces High School in Bakersfield. 100 parishioners joined Msgr Rey Dreiling, Msgr Perry Kavookjian, Fresno Diocese’s Joy and Hope Committee and FIA Kern County (Faith in the Valley) for a time of theological grounding and reflection around Pope Francis’ teaching on immigration, race, mass incarceration and environment. Several parishes are implementing Year of Encounter curriculum in 2016, and exploring ways of  implementing change and training parish leaders. For more information contact your parish office or FIA Organizer, Yesica Jimenez at 661.912.9589 or

LIVE FREE: FIA Meeting with BPD Asst Chief Martin at Compassion Christian Center, June 2015

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FIA Kern County’s clergy and leaders continue organizing for transparency, accountability and improved relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. FIA KC held first public action meeting with Bakersfield Police Department Assistant Chief, Lyle Martin on June 8th. FIA Kern County Leaders organized 8 clergy and 200 faith leaders from 10 congregations to call for transparency changes to BPD website, implementation of pillars of 21st Century Task Force on Policing findings, and continued meetings between BPD and Faith in Action.


FIA and Emmanuel Lutheran Church leaders organized first Prop 47 forum with Kern County Public Defender’s office in March 2015 to help community members get information on reclassifying their low level, non-violent and non-sexual felony to a misdemeanor.

AB 953 - Ending Racial Profiling in CA

FIA KC worked with our state network PICO California to end racial profiling in September 2015. FIA Restorative Justice Leaders headed to the State Capitol in Sacramento joining 1000 faith leaders to ask Governor Brown to End Racial Profiling in CA. The Governor signed AB 953 in October, which will require data collection by CA Police Department's, yearly submission to CA Department of Justice and a commission to analyze the data to recommend changes in police departments.


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