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The spread of the mosquito-borne virus known as Zika, the first new virus in 50 years to have known links to serious birth defects, has national and state officials working quickly to address the disease in Texas. To help combat Zika, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt met on Monday, August 22, in Austin with various faith community leaders and Texas Impact staff to discuss Texas’ Zika plan. Several more congregational and denominational leaders called in by phone to hear the Commissioner's report.

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From August 16-18, faith and community leaders representing Texas Interfaith Power & Light from Dallas, Laredo, and the Rio Grande Valley accompanied our staff and Texas Impact board members to the 2016 Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Houston.

Formed in 2006 by former Vice President Al Gore, the Climate Reality Project provides workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities for leaders from around the globe who are taking on the moral challenge of global warming.

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On Monday, August 15, 2016, the Women’s Association of Religious Professionals held their first brown bag lunch at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The topic was domestic violence.

The group of clergywomen and other religious professionals learned about the state of affairs of domestic violence policy in Texas from Shannon Edmonds of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, and Valinda Bolton and Debbie Tucker of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

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In July and August of 1966, hundreds of people—including whole families—marched 400 miles from Rio Grande City to Austin to call attention to the plight of farm workers in Texas. On Labor Day, more than 10,000 supporters, including Cesar Chavez, walked with marchers the last four miles from St. Edward's University to the South Steps of the Capitol. Texas religious leaders were among key supporters of the march, "La Marcha"—and of the movement for better pay and working conditions for farm workers.

On Wednesday, August 3rd, nonprofit and city representatives announced that Houston is on the path to becoming an official Welcoming City for immigrants. Neighborhood Centers, the City of Houston, and the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC) will partner with stakeholders in the coming months to develop a set of recommendations to address ways that Houston can more meaningfully and proactively integrate new Houstonians into its social and economic fabric.

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Welcoming Communities
Event Date: 
Wednesday, September 7, 2016 -
7:00pm to 8:30pm

A new financing option enables nonprofits—including houses of worship!—to obtain affordable, long-term loans covering up to 100 percent of the cost for energy efficiency, water saving, and onsite generation technologies. The PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy)  program is now available in the cities of Dallas and Houston, Travis County, Williamson County, and two counties in the Rio Grande Valley: Cameron and Willacy.

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There are some things that are above politics—like caring for the sick. Our faith traditions call for us to care for the sick, yet many in our communities do not have access to quality, affordable health care. 

Each year, leaders of the United Methodist Women (UMW) organize Mission u learning sessions all around the country to deepen participants’ understanding of and engagement on current social issues. Rev. Sam Brannon attended a three-day leader training seminar in Tempe, Arizona in order to teach the 2016 Climate Justice mission study.

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