PACT Parent Leaders call on School District and City to Support Undocumented Families.

SAN JOSÉ, CA                              

WHO:             San Jose Unified School District Board Members Teresa Castellanos and Susan Ellenberg, City Councilmember Dev Davis and representative from the office of City Council Member Raul Peralez. Parents and students of San Jose Unified School District.

WHAT:           PACT is bringing together immigrant students and families together with SJUSD school district board members and city Council (or their representative) to hear the concerns on the eve of the inauguration of a federal administration that has threatened increases in deportation.

The event includes a presentation by students from Downtown College Prep and how they experience and respond to various forms of oppression.  Attendees will participate in small group dialogue about the fears of immigrant parents and questions of commitment for public officials about a proposed resolution in the District.

WHEN:           Thursday, January 19, 2017
                       6:30pm – 7:30pm     

WHERE:         Sacred Heart of Jesus Church
                       325 Willow St. San Jose 95125

WHY:              Undocumented families feel threatened by the Trump Adminstration’s statements to increase deportation. Undocumented students, including those now protected by DACA, face the anxiety of their own deportation and children with undocumented family members fear separation. As members of the school district, students need to feel safe and to focus on their learning.

Various school districts throughout California have passed resolutions that state their support of undocumented families. 

PACT parent leaders are asking for commitment to a proposed resolution that will create a sense of belonging for undocumented families and offer assurances that children and families are protected.

Oakland Unified School District Resolution 

San Francisco Unified School District Statement



Faith Groups Win Key Initiatives in Four States, Intend to hold Electeds Accountable

No Time for a Victory Lap; People of Faith Intend to Hold Elected Leaders Accountable

WASHINGTON – Following the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States, PICO National Network, the nation’s largest network of faith-based groups, released the following statement:

“Following a presidential election cycle marred by vitriolic and harmful rhetoric, this election surfaced deep divides” said PICO National Network Executive Director Scott Reed. “As people of deep faith, we are uniquely poised to not only help our nation heal, but to serve as a moral compass for the country. To that end, we are committed to dialoguing with those who think differently and will attempt to engage President-Elect Trump. But President-Elect Trump should be forewarned that our faith will not allow us to permit him to fulfill his promise to criminalize immigrants by conducting mass deportations, or sit idly in the face of racial profiling of African Americans, Latinos and religious minorities.

“We know there is much work to be done, especially around creating a society that is inclusive for all people. Regardless of the challenges ahead, I am confident that we will prevail. If there’s anything I know about myself, it is this; I am a fighter. If there’s anything I know about the American people, it is this; Americans are fighters as well. Put us in front of an obstacle and rest assured, we will overcome.”

“While it may be tempting to focus on the presidency alone, we should look down ballot,” said Denise Collazo, PICO National Network Chief of Staff. “People of faith voted for ballot initiatives -- such as pre-K expansion in Cincinnati and Dayton, public transit in Indianapolis, living wages in Colorado, and juvenile justice reforms and revenue for education and health in California. These measures show that Americans, even in states that voted for Donald Trump, will vote for measures that give all families a chance to thrive. Regardless of what happened at the top of the ticket, we are more committed than ever to pushing an agenda that leads to a more inclusive America.”

“We’ve shown through our ballot measure work that voters support policies that raise wages, create jobs and provide all families with opportunity,” Collazo said. “Moreover, we made strides this election cycle and are organized to hold President-Elect Trump and other elected officials accountable.”

“A national network of 45 state and local organizations in 22 states and over 150 cities and towns, PICO federations made impressive strides at the local level,” Collazo continued. “The network had 815,620 live, person-to-person conversations with voters whom others typically ignore -- communities of color and persons living in poverty. PICO affiliates Faith in Florida Action Fund and Stand Up for Ohio also ran spirited accountability campaigns to force prosecutors to end mass incarceration and hold police officers accountable for lethal shootings.”

“While there may be temptation for newly elected leaders to perform a victory lap of sorts, there is much to be done to ensure this nation works for everyone, and not just for the very wealthy,” said Bishop Dwayne Royster, PICO National Network Political Director. “Our faith will not allow us to rest until America lives up to its promise to become a nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

“We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and we take this sacred admonishment to heart as we move into the months ahead,” said Pastor Michael McBride, PICO National Network LIVE FREE Campaign Director. “We are committed to guard against scapegoating the poor, people of color or marginalized communities for the challenges our country faces.” 

Tom Steyer with Faith Based, Latino & Community Leaders stand up against the divisiveness of the election


Clergy “Bless the Ballots” to proclaim Voting is a Sacred Act & call for unity in the face of intolerable levels of economic and racial inequalities.

WHO:              Tom Steyer, President of NextGen Climate, friend and supporter of voter empowerment confirmed to speak. Dozens of Latino, immigrant, low income, voters of color and clergy who have engaged marginalized communities through sacred conversations, voter registration, and voter education.

WHAT:            Faith and community leaders proclaim that voting is a sacred act and that a moral agenda brings about policies for strong families, economic dignity and racial justice.

Diverse faith and community leaders pledge their commitment to building an inclusive community - transforming the electorate to reflect the diversity of our community, standing up for those who are forgotten and scapegoated.  We reject politics of hate and fear.  No matter what happens on Election Day, we will work as multi-faith, multiracial partners to build a community that respects, includes and values all our people

WHEN:           Monday, November 7th, 5:15pm

WHERE:         St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 405 S. 10th St San Jose 95112

VISUAL:         Clergy leaders and community members of racial and religious diversity “Bless the Ballots,” a basket of ballots and voter materials that represent our hopes for our struggling families, on this eve of the election.

WHY:              Our Latino, immigrant, low income and faith communities have mobilized in response to the vast economic and racial inequalities in our valley that shows up as an affordable housing crisis, exploitation of workers, inequity in public education and need for justice system reform.

We are transforming the electorate to reflect our diversity by holding sacred conversations, registering marginalized communities and offering voter education in immigrant, low income, and communities of color.

“As a faith community we believe that every person is valued. Their story is valued, their concerns are valued and their vote is valued,” said Pastor Jennifer Goto of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

“In 2014, only 35% of eligible voters in Santa Clara County vote, and those most marginalized are Latino voters, people of color and low income voters. We are making sure everyone is part of the democratic process. Especially when such critical issues like affordable housing, worker exploitation, education funding and mass incarceration are all on the ballot and decided by narrow margins.”

People Acting in Community Together chosen to be honored at first-ever Awards where state leaders honor “Nonprofits of the Year”

On Wednesday, June 22, PACT: People Acting in Community Together will be honored as a Nonprofit of the Year at a celebration of California Nonprofits Day at the State Capitol.

PACT has been selected by Assemblymember Evan Low as an exceptional nonprofit organization in his district community. PACT will join other nonprofit leaders from across the state being honored at this inaugural California Nonprofits Day.

Empowering everyday people for over 30 years in Santa Clara County, PACT teaches people how to speak up and take action in the public arena through grass roots organizing in order to solve our most pervasive social issues of our day.

PACT Board Members Barbara Hansen, Bonita Krasnopoler and Greg Smith will travel to Sacramento on Wednesday. “We’re honored that Assemblyman Low has chosen PACT to receive this award. We share with him the desire for shared prosperity and a just society,” said Hansen.

The award recipients will visit the Assembly Floor and then will be honored at a luncheon at Sacramento’s Sheraton Grand Hotel, with presentations from former Senate President ProTempore Darrell Steinberg, Assemblymember Rich Gordon, and Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits).

 “Nonprofit organizations are vitally important to the economy and well-being of California. But too often nonprofits are ‘hidden in plain sight.’ We are thrilled that the State Assembly has passed a resolution putting the spotlight on nonprofits as an economic power that uses that power for the common good. We congratulate all of the award recipients on being honored for the great work they do every day to make California a better place,” said Jan Masaoka, CEO of California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), a statewide alliance of over 10,000 organizations, representing and promoting California’s growing nonprofit sector and working to bring the full power of nonprofits to strengthening communities.

PACT Parent Leaders call on elected school officials to address the chronic opportunity gap and prioritize high needs schools

SAN JOSÉ, CA                                           

San Jose Unified School Board Members and Santa Clara County Board of Education Members are asked to respond to English Learners and low-income parent concerns

WHO:      Hundreds of parents, community members, students and PACT Leaders. SJUSD School Board Member Susan Ellenberg and SJUSD President Teresa Castellanos, SCC Board of Education Members Joe Di Salvo and Rosemary Kamei.

WHAT:    Latino, immigrant and low income parents ask for commitments from school elected leaders to prioritize the highest needs schools with students who are English Language Learners, low income and students of color.

WHEN:    Tuesday, June 7th 7:00-8:00pm

WHERE:  Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, 325 Willow St. San Jose 95110

WHY:      Students continue to experience an opportunity gap in San Jose Unified Schools that is made worse by a lack of credentialed, permanent teachers in every classroom in the highest needs schools. Since teacher quality is the single most important school factor in student success, credentialed permanent placements are critical for students who are English Language Learners, low income and students of color in order to close the achievement gap. Parents ask SJUSD to prioritize high quality teachers in the highest needs schools in the District.

Further, parents call on the San Jose Unified School District and the County Board of Education to work together and with parents to fulfill the intent and promise of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF): to improve educational outcomes for our highest need students.

Importance of High Quality Teachers in Student Achievement:

  • A highly effective teacher generates an estimated 50 percent more learning than an average teacher.                                                         
  • Students of effective teachers are more likely to attend college and earn higher salaries.
  • Research has shown that low-income students and students of color are more likely than their higher income and white counterparts to be taught by an ineffective teacher.
  • Nationally, there is “abundant evidence that teachers with stronger credentials tend to teach in schools with more advantaged and higher performing students

Local Control Funding Formula: The Local Control Funding Formula ensures that funding is directed to students with the greatest needs; Low income, English Language Learners, Special needs students and Foster youth. 

PACT Faith Leaders Respond to Supreme Court’s Split Decision in United States v. Texas Case


WHO:         Immigrants affected by today’s Supreme Court split decision that affirms the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals order to block the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) programs in 26 states.

WHAT:        PACT faith leaders gather to understand the implications of this decision and to plan steps to maintain our dignity and protect our families. We plan to activate thousands of eligible voters and demonstrate the same power that led us to secure President Obama’s executive orders by making our voices heard at the polls and by voting in record numbers. We will not stop until every member of our community can live in dignity and without fear of being separated from their families.

WHEN:        Thursday, June 23 6:30pm

WHERE:      Most Holy Trinity Church, 2040 Nassau Dr, San Jose, CA 95122

WHY:           The Supreme Court had an opportunity to provide clarity and guidance for the nation. Instead, they have failed to provide this service to the American people. We will never forget the lengths these politicians went to tear our families apart and demean our communities. As voters and as people of faith, we have a responsibility and duty to continue shaping the rules that affect our families and make things better for the next generation.

In California, 1.5 million people would have been protected by the programs. Santa Clara County has the third highest number of undocumented immigrants in the state working in all sectors of our economy and who are the lifeline of our agricultural economy in South County.

We have fought too hard to ensure that millions of aspiring Americans could have the opportunity to contribute more fully to their communities. We need real immigration reform at the federal level and we will not stop fighting until it is realized.  Read about the national PICO campaign for immigration reform here.

South Bay leaders urge their community to vote and volunteer to get out the vote in Gilroy

SAN JOSÉ, CA                                           

WHO:         More than a hundred community members from St Mary Parish and Gilroy concerned for their community who want a high voter turnout during these important Mayoral and Presidential Elections.

WHAT:        Faith leaders in Gilroy will hold a Community Forum to teach people that their voice matters. Even if they've never voted, can't vote, or haven't voted in a long time, to come and learn how to exercise their voice during these elections.

WHEN:        Monday, April 25 7:00pm

WHERE:      St. Mary Church, 11 1st St, Gilroy, CA 95020

WHY:          Faith leaders in Gilroy united for a better future for everyone facing injustices like eviction, low wages, and the impact of discriminatory immigration policies urge their community to stand up and vote because their voice matters. People who’ve never voted, can't vote, or haven't voted in a long time, will come and learn how to exercise their voice during these elections.

After the pope’s visit to the United States and of his message to a young undocumented immigrant that, "The world has to be more aware that the exploitation of each other is not a path… All of us have responsibility for everyone. No one can say: 'my responsibility reaches here.' We are all responsible for everyone, and to help ourselves in the way that each one can…"

Faith leaders will bring their community together united for a better future for everyone to give powerful testimony, provide information about voter registration and important laws, and how to become a Citizen.

Local Faith Leaders Convene Law Enforcement, Elected Officials and Community for Dialogue on Body Worn Cameras

SAN JOSÉ, CA       

WHO:       Faith and community leaders from PACT: People Acting in Community Together with SJ/SV NAACP will meet with San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia, City Councilmembers, County Supervisors, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and other public officials concerned about improving trust between community members and law enforcement to promote and protect safety and justice.

WHEN:     Thursday, April 21, 2015, 7:00-9:00pm

WHERE:    Emmanuel Baptist Church, 467 N. White Road, San Jose 95127

WHY:        All SJPD officers will soon have body worn cameras, and more law enforcement agencies, locally and nationally, are moving in this direction, too.

Hundreds of diverse community members concerned about police-community relations and police accountability will gather to address the questions:  

  • What community concerns and fears do law enforcement officials need to understand?
  • What law enforcement issues should community members be aware of?
  • What should be included in the camera policy to improve safety, justice, and trust?

Since last year, in response to the urgent need for improved police-community relations and accountability, PACT's Beloved Community multiracial, multi-faith team has been leading both relationship-building and systemic change through:  

  • Dialogue: Testimonies and small group discussion; diverse community members, law enforcement and others public officials build understanding across different backgrounds and experiences in order to create the change urgently needed in interactions between law enforcement and community members. 
  • Policy Change:  PACT's Beloved Community team is working with the San Jose City Council, Police Department, Police Officers Association to implement police accountability more quickly and with greater transparency and community involvement.

At the event, PACT Leaders will ask San Jose City Councilmember Chappie Jones, Police Chief Eddie Garcia, a San Jose Police Officers Association Board Member to commit to including community input in the review of the body-worn camera policy in 6 months, after testing through initial implementation.  Typically, this kind of police policy is determined through closed door negotiations between the City and the union, but the process is being opened up, based on organizing from PACT and the police recognition of the value of building community trust.

Hundreds of Renters to Turn Out for San Jose City Council Vote

SAN JOSÉ, CA                                           

Struggling renters urge City Council to protect the diversity of San Jose

WHO:        Renters who are suffering because of high rents and instability, community and faith-based organizations representing the tens of thousands of renters in San Jose, community leaders, San Jose City Council and Mayor.

WHAT:       San Jose City Council will vote on changes to the San Jose Apartment Rent Ordinance after making the housing crisis a top priority last June. Vote will include rent control, protection against evictions and better oversight over landlords.

VISUAL:     100’s of renters and supporters with signs expressing their plight overflowing Council Chambers will appear to share stories on the struggle to survive in the face of sky-high rents and evictions.

WHEN:       Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
                   3:00 PM (Council Agenda states this issue will be heard not earlier than 3:00pm, the meeting is expected to go late into the evening)

WHERE:     San Jose City Council Chambers, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose 95113

WHY:           San Jose is consistently ranked as one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country with rents rising on average 10% every year for the past five years, while median income has increased by ONLY 1%. Unless a renter makes $54/hour, they cannot afford to keep their family in a two-bedroom apartment. Further, 53% of San Jose rental households are rent-burdened, paying 30% or more of their income on housing. While San Jose’s housing prices are topping national lists, San Jose renters’ protections have not been updated in 40 years. Heavy lobbying is expected from landlords intent on maximizing profits regardless of the costs to renters and the San Jose’s diversity.

City Council Agenda for April 19
San Jose ARO Study

Members of Silicon Valley Renters’ Rights Coalition with links:

Affordable Housing Network
Law Foundation of Silicon Valley
PACT: People Acting in Community Together
Sacred Heart Community Service
Silicon Valley Debug
Silicon Valley Rising
Working Partnerships USA

PACT Leaders Call on San José Mayor and City Leaders to Protect Renters' Rights at Community Meeting


The threat of displacement prompts community to proclaim “San Jose, we belong!”

WHAT:     PACT Leaders and community members will voice their concerns surrounding renters’ rights to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, as well as council members Raul Peralez and Magdalena Carrasco with a call for action on rent control. PACT believes San Jose is losing its sense of community because of high rents leading to evictions and the lack of availability of low income housing in the city. Testimonies of personal stories about struggling to live in San Jose are included in the program.

WHEN:     Monday, March 7th, 2016 at 7:00 PM

WHERE:   Overfelt High school, Multipurpose Room. 1835 Cunningham Avenue, San Jose, CA 95122

WHO:       More than four hundred community members, faith leaders, advocates and residents of San Jose who are concerned with the following: The 8% rent increase per year, the fear of being forced from their home at any moment because eviction for no cause, and discrimination against Section 8 holders.

WHY:        San Jose is consistently ranked as one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country with rents rising 10% every year for the past five years.  Families are suffering under skyrocketing costs and threats of eviction.

San Jose City Council recognized the city’s renters’ crisis in September, directing the Housing Department to study the issue and receive community input. San Jose ARO Study Preliminary Report

San Jose Housing Department Housing Statistics Report