Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett
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Laura Barrett is the executive director Interfaith Worker Justice.
View of a worker's hard hat as they climb on a ladder in a tunnel.

Administration’s Assault on Workers Continues in Congress

A proposed 20 percent reduction to the Department of Labor's overall budget would make working people less safe, and will discourage them from speaking up when abuses happen.

Organizing Will Win

For anyone who organizes and advocates for worker justice, the last months of...

Our Denial and Inaction On the Issue of Lead

How far does the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) denial about leaded drinking water go? This week, I was having...

Fracking Waste and Drinking Water, A Toxic Combo

Environmentalists have succeeded in making fracking, renewable energy, safe water, and climate change part of the presidential campaign. Hillary...

Flint: Tainted Choices, Tainted Water

Like the water itself, the situation in Flint, Mich., should be crystal clear: elected and appointed officials, at the state and federal levels, have done...

A Community is Organized, But Where’s Superfund?

It’s probably the worst Superfund site in the U.S.: a smoldering fire in a mismanaged landfill is less than...

EPA Should Make Environmental Justice Job One

The EPA is making news lately.  Unfortunately, it’s not for protecting the environment or victims of pollution. Activist groups,...

Breaking Up the Pipeline to Prison

 President Obama is doing more than speaking out for criminal justice reform, he is taking action.Earlier this week, President...

Local Hire: Popular and Controversial

In March, USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx began moving toward fully implementing “Local Hire,” a new, year long model program...

A Bigger, Better Vision for the Left

What would full employment look like? Minority contractors, pastors, and faith leaders flew to the Capitol last week to...

Cut the Red Tape – Local Hire Needed

Last month, USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a new, year long model program to test innovative local hire policies....

Needed: A Fair Way to Fund Infrastructure

As most people's opinion of Congress as a do-nothing body continues to grow, some members, like Senators Orrin Hatch...

Keeping an Optimistic, Yet Watchful Eye on the Ball

It looks like President Obama and his administration kept most of the great ideas explored with the Grow America Act, last year's transportation initiative. The total investment is increased to $478 billion and expanded to six years in the latest iteration of the budget released yesterday. A few of the best pieces for low-income communities […]

Homegrown Solutions To Inequity in Ferguson and Beyond

The debate about Ferguson continues: The grand jury decision is unfair to many; policing practices seem discriminatory and dangerous; and local court systems have been shown to prey upon low-income people. The sheer scope of the problems can be overwhelming. But let’s take a step back. Richard Rothstein’s “The Making of Ferguson“ links some modern […]

Jobs and More Jobs: Organizing’s Economic Impact

In the report, “Jobs and More Jobs: The Economic Impact of Community Organizing,” Gamaliel community organizers add up $13 billion worth of public and private programs that faith, community, and labor leaders worked to create or save through their advocacy efforts in 2012-13, employing nearly 460,000 people. Using commonly accepted economic formulas to measure the […]

Moving Toward Solutions in Ferguson

Over the past few weeks, many news accounts have laid bare questionable—and perhaps criminal—police behavior and the subsequent and continuing protests by concerned citizens in and around Ferguson, Mo. On a single day, September 10th, at least three protests happened—one at the state capitol, one outside St. Louis City Hall, and one near Ferguson (a thwarted highway sit-in […]

The Roots of #Ferguson

The situation in Ferguson, MO continues to be volatile, news cycle after news cycle. A second young person, a Howard...

Answers from Red States for Our Broken Criminal Justice System

Left, right or center, few dispute that our criminal justice system is broken. But two new and thrilling victories this month...

Jobs/Transit, Hope on the Horizon?

With all the gridlock in DC, it seems impossible that anything fruitful or significant can really happen.  But a few...

President Obama Could Be Doing More for Unemployment

In January, U.S. Rep. John Conyers and seven other Congress members created the Full Employment Caucus, with the goal...

Sec. Foxx’s New Transportation Proposal Is Great

Looks like the Obama administration hasn't given up yet on tackling the big issues that plague our country.Secretary Anthony...

Nonprofit Funding in San Diego Under Threat

San Diego’s sunny beaches and beautiful college campuses can be deceptive. The city's soaring housing costs force university students...

To Close the Gender Wage Gap, Start Here

It's exciting that President Obama wants to narrow the gender wage gap, as was widely reported. Here's a good...

The Government Should Use Private Funds to Invest in Organizing

Many applauded when President Obama announced his new initiative, My Brother's Keeper, to support opportunities for young men of color....

Fighting Injustice With Love

On Valentine’s Day, job seekers and organizers will deliver candy and flowers to local and state officials, contractors associations,...

4 Organizing Trends You’ll See in 2014

Community organizing is changing. It's more social media driven and younger.Immigration advocacy alone has brought a new sector of...

The Push for Public School

Confusion, ambivalence and anger all seem to accompany many discussions of public education. High stakes testing, positive behavior intervention and...

Nelson Mandela was a Community Organizer

Off the top of your head, what was Nelson Mandela's job title?“Icon?”Nope.“Inspiring speaker?”Nope.“National leader?”Nope.“World figure?”Nope.He was, of course, all of these...

U.S. Catholic Funders: Resist Calls to Abandon Social Justice

In the last few years community organizers have learned it's in their self-interest to become astute Vatican watchers. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD)...

Immigration Leaders Take a Stand…In Handcuffs

Immigrants are increasingly putting their bodies on the line, hoping to move immigration reform. On Oct. 8, a Chicago activist...

What’s Wrong With Milwaukee’s Hiring Practices? Almost Everything

When the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee announced back in 2011 that they would be conducting an $82...

Bus Tour Fueled by Immigration Reform

One bus, four days, seven states, 11 cities, nine Congressional offices visited and 40 people riding a bus to...

Section 3: It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

Section 3 was a truly creative idea when it was inaugerated in 1968: Let's give low-income residents the first crack...

A Hero on the Bench: WI Judge Takes on Real Impacts of Highway Expansion

When we go looking for the heroes and heroines who defend our freedoms, we tend to look backward: George Washington,...

Transit Initiatives Boosted by Employers

It’s been clear for several years that more people than ever support public transit. In vote after vote, people...

3 Initiatives to Drive the New Secretary of Transportation

President Obama on April 29 nominated Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx for Secretary of Transportation. Transit advocates are hoping that Foxx's...

6 Reasons to Be Wary of Public-Private Partnerships

During his recent visit to Miami, President Obama praised Public Private Partnerships (“P3s”) and lifted up the idea of a...

What Immigration Reform Should Look Like

“Show me what democracy looks like!” is a favorite chant at grassroots rallies and progressive gatherings; and now Congress has...

Sick of the Sequester? Learn from Michigan Organizers

The answer for Congress and the stalled action on the sequester? Michigan has some winning ideas.Detroit,...

Time to Seize the Moment on Immigration?

Immigration is finally Topic A.  For many of us who have been working with low income people and disadvantaged communities,...

Hawaii’s Train to the Future

The path to a walkable, livable urban future is filled with hurdles.  Take, for instance, the public transit battle being...

Solutions After Sandy: Rebuilding the Right Way

All around America, we've watched the devastation of Hurricane Sandy with a sense of shock and heartbreak. For millions of...

The Hawaii Model Succeeds

Before Hawaii's new foreclosure prevention law passed, Hawaii had the 11th highest foreclosure rate in the nation. One in every...

Community Organizing Creates Jobs

The value of community organizing was perhaps never questioned as much as when Barack Obama became a candidate for president...