Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action (COPA)
COPA IS COMMUNITIES ORGANIZED FOR RELATIONAL POWER IN ACTION. With 25 other churches, synagogues and community-based centers, Peace United has created a broad-based organization dedicated to organizing institiutions and growing leaders. Together, we're working for affordable housing, health care for all, immigration reform, safe communities, economic opportunity and restorative justice.
COPA is a part of a nationwide network of broad-based organizations, building capacity for social change through relationship, curiosity and disciplined organizing.
Restorative Justice Team
The Restorative Justice Team--working closely with our own Prophets of Hope--is working to insure that Prop 47 record re-designation is successfully implemented; to reduce the excessively punitive treatment of youth in the California criminal justice system; and to expand restorative justice practices in area schools and courts. This includes supporting local Prop 47 events, advocating for funding to support Prop 47 outreach, addresing the use of "direct file" to try youth as adults without an appeal, supporting schools in restorative justice efforts, and working with partners statewide on sentencing reform.
Time and again we hear stories of friends and family leaving the Central Coast because they can't pay the rent or buy a home. Fees on development to build affordable housing aren't enough. Why isn't the private sector building to meet the tremendous need for sustainable, affordable housing for our workforce? The COPA Housing Team believes that by entering into relationships with developers, large local employers, environmentalists and government decision-makers, and by organizing a constituency through our institutions, we can break the logjam that has stopped the building of the housing we need.
COPA is a coalition of 23 institutions--churches and synagogues, community groups and schools--from Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties. Together, we build capacity for action around deepening relationships and concern for the common good. Peace United was and is a founding member of COPA--there at its joyous founding ceremony in 2003.
Predatory Leading Team
After hearing many stories of the pressures that predatory lending has put on families in Salinas, a team of new COPA leaders has begun to organize. They put together a house meeting training for leaders from several Salinas congregations and a women's leadership group, and they've held research actions with community and statewide allies to better understand the issue and possibilities for action. They are building a strategy that both limits the ability of predatory business to operate and creates alternative lending mechanisms for low-income families in need of loans.
Health Care Team
After a major victory with the creation of a health care pilot program for undocumented residents of Monterey County, COPA institutions are now conducting outreach to inform potential recipients. The team is working to turn the pilot into a long-term sustainable program for undocumented health care, and is currently learning about models in other counties, meeting regularly with the Health Department, and developing a political strategy aimed at the spring budget process.