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ALBANY — An unusual and well-heeled coalition, trying to tap public anger over the flood of money into politics, is pushing to enact a public financing system for elections in New York State.
The backers include media moguls — Barry Diller and Chris Hughes, a founder of Facebook — as well as investment bankers, unions, MoveOn.org, the restaurateur Danny Meyer and the philanthropist David Rockefeller Sr.
They say New York, which they call a symbol of institutionalized corruption, could become a national model for the effort to free elections from the grip of big money. The campaign will start next week with mailings to the constituents of four state senators.
For years, government watchdog groups have pressed unsuccessfully for public financing of elections. Leaders of the coalition say the Citizens United ruling and the role of “super PACs” in the presidential race have made campaign finance a more broadly understood and urgent issue.
Read more at NYTimes.com
– NAZIMA ALI –
FOREWORD BY SUSAN C. GREENFIELD
In the spring of 2011, the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing sponsored “Living Well,” its first Life Skills Program to assist women who had become homeless as a result of domestic abuse. As with all of the Assembly’s Life Skills Programs, participants were expected to write a version of their life stories to share with their peers, mentors, and members of the Assembly. To assist them in this goal, I ran a series of story-telling workshops. It was initially overwhelming. On my first day, for instance, I asked the participants to write about a happy childhood memory. Most of the women said they had none, and one started to shake and cry uncontrollably. One of the facilitators—herself a domestic violence survivor—later explained that my question had “re-traumatized” her. Nevertheless, by the end of the program, all of the women were not only able write about their childhood, but also about some of the most painful experiences of domestic violence. We talked about the role of “authority” in “authorship”—about how writing about their past selves could help them change positions, to detach from the victimized character who is acted upon and become a narrator controlling the action. We talked about the power of “owning” your story.
"Too many of us are afraid of our light. I have heard countless times in my ministry that some people -- no matter their race -- feel unworthy of God, think they can't be used by God. Let us not be afraid of the liberating love-power at work within us. We are afraid to speak up, to stand in, to voice our disgust and disappointment at the ways systemic racism continues to grip our nation in its ferocious teeth. We are waiting on someone else to do it, waiting for some hero to arise and lead us to freedom. And while we wait, the myth of "post racial" plays in our country because we elected an African-American president. While we wait, we build higher fences on our borders to the south, where the darker brothers and sisters live, our xenophobia and racism seething under the guise of immigration control.
"It's important that we address the ways race matters in our communities, and why not start in our churches? We need faithful, courageous leaders who are unafraid of their light, unafraid to turn God's liberating love loose in a world that desperately needs it."
The Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis looks at faith and fearlessness in the life and ministry of Martin Luther King, Jr. and its continuing relevence today. You can read the full text of her reflection at Huffington Post.
"Then all of a sudden the view in my eyes expanded and I took a look around me. That was the point for me when I realized I had recovered. I was no longer homeless. I had regained my strength back to being physically independent and I saw an overflow. Recovery is simply getting better, and that day in my living room I saw things had gotten better for me physically, spiritually and mentally."
Interfaith Assembly Speaker Bureau member, Darryl Jerome Seals, reflects on his life and experience of homelessness. Read the full text of Darryl's reflection at Cura: A literary magazine of art and action.