Gloucester Times | March 8, 2018

Rockport sanctuary forum draws foes

ROCKPORT — An educational forum on the issue of providing “sanctuary” status to illegal immigrants turned into a heated debate Tuesday evening.

More than 100 people packed the Community House on Broadway for the meeting, put on by the Women’s March Symposium…

Boston Herald | February 8, 2018

ECCO Rabbi in Boston Herald Immigration Article?

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is working with lawyers of a Brazilian national to prevent his deportation after he was detained by immigration agents while seeking a green card with his American wife.

Fabiano de Oliveira, 33, a Beverly resident who is an illegal immigrant…

The Salem News | November 3, 2017

Voting Yes On Sanctuary: ‘A Way To Help Neighbors Living In Fear’

SALEM — The Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell, treasurer of the Vote Yes On 1 movement and minister of First Church in Salem, sat in a dimly lit gathering room in the back of the Unitarian Universalist church on Essex Street.

He had just been asked if he thought the Sanctuary for Peace ordinance, which was designed to make undocumented Salem residents feel safer, would lead to a schism instead throughout the City of Peace.

“I’m surprised at how ugly the rhetoric has become over a very simple, straightforward ordinance that was even criticized for not being strong enough,” replied Barz-Snell. …

CityBeat | October 30, 2017

A Bill In Sheep’s Clothing

Slithering through the Ohio Legislature, not drawing a word of news coverage, is a bill that would plop down a Buckeye State welcome mat to an industry riddled with quick-buck artists.

So-called “debt settlement” companies are among the many would-be saviors to people drowning in credit card debt. In this system, clients are typically told to stop making debt payments, but to build up sums of money in escrow that the companies can dangle to creditors in return for a lower payoff amount. Only after they succeed are they supposed to charge fees…

The Daily Item | October 29, 2017

Ecco Praises Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

LYNN — A Lynn pastor said a criminal justice reform measure supported by the state Senate will help drug addicts get treatment instead of jail and reduce prejudice in sentencing.

“I am grateful that our legislators are listening to the cries of suffering in our communities, said Rev. Andre Bennett of Zion Baptist Church, in a statement. “The war on drugs and mass incarceration is making crime worse, not better. This is an important step in the right direction.”

The Essex County Community Organization (ECCO), a coalition of more than three dozen North Shore congregations, has worked for criminal justice reform since 2014. The nonprofit said it has held more than 50 meetings with legislators and public hearings…

U.S. News and World Report | October 28, 2017

Congregations Form Immigrant Solidarity Network

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Religious congregations and other groups are forming the New Hampshire Immigrant Solidarity Network to support immigrants threatened with deportation.

The group is holding a ceremony on Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Anne-St. Augustin Church in Manchester. The ceremony will include a twilight march to the Norris Cotton Federal Building, where the local office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is housed…

The Enterprise | October 28, 2017

Brockton School Committee Hopefuls Talk Discipline, Diversity, Funding

The candidates for contested races in wards three, five, six and seven met at Restoration Community Church on Crescent Street to answer a series of questions as each vies to claim or hold onto their seat. The forum was hosted by the Brockton Interfaith Community.

BROCKTON – Most of the challengers to the incumbent Brockton School Committee members recently took the stage to discuss their intentions for running, diversity, dress codes, discipline and other school-related topics less than two weeks out from the election…

The Washington Post | October 27, 2017

For Evangelicals And Catholics, Rejecting Elites Means Ignoring The Clergy

It is fitting that Donald Trump was inaugurated as president in the 500th anniversary of the year that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. The religious divide between Catholics and Protestants in the West touches not only their practice but also their politics. In 2016, white evangelical Protestants were nearly united in their support for Trump (81 percent) and the Republican Party, while white Catholics were divided between him (60 percent) and Hillary Clinton (37 percent)…

The Boston Globe | October 27, 2017

Should Nfl Players Be Punished For Kneeling During The National Anthem?


Amanda Orlando Kesterson

Gloucester resident, Republican State Committee member
The practice of playing our country’s national anthem before sporting events is a time-honored tradition. The highly-paid NFL athletes who sparked national controversy by kneeling during the anthem to protest what they term a “racist America” spit in the eye of the same country that tunes in each week to pay their exorbitant salaries…

Religion News Service | October 27, 2017

How We Can Disrupt The Logic Of The Dominant Narrative

(RNS) — After the 2014 death of Michael Brown, I had an awakening and began to reimagine what it means to resist, especially as a person of faith.

When you stare down into the belly of a police system that will use pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, flash grenades, profanity and death threats against clergy and peaceful protesters, you begin to see things you could not – or would not – see before.

Most notably, you see that silence, respectability and dutiful adherence to religion will not protect you from an unjust criminal justice system…

DCW 50 | October 24, 2017

Immigration Activists Call On Fairfax Co. To Stop Working With Ice

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Fairfax for All, a local coalition of immigrant rights activists and organizations, is calling for Fairfax County to stop helping ICE in deporting undocumented immigrants, while demanding ‘equal justice for all people’.

The group gathered Tuesday in effort to put an end to collaborations between Fairfax county and ICE, saying it sows fear and weakens trust between the community and law enforcement.

“We need to go beyond the words and beautiful language celebrating diversity. We need to be protecting diversity.”, said Sookyung Oh of NAKASEC during the demonstration…

MassLive | Oct 18, 2017

State Awards Workforce Training Grants For Advanced Manufacturing Jobs To 8 Massachusetts Organizations

MONTAGUE — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito appeared at Franklin County Technical School on Tuesday, where she awarded $1.33 million to eight workforce training organizations through the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program.

The program focuses on reaching veterans, groups with chronically high unemployment, and other adults historically underrepresented in the manufacturing sector, and helps people gain marketable skills…

Greenfield Recorder | Oct. 17, 2017

Lt. Gov. Visits Franklin County To Talk Broadband, Manufacturing Awards

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito heard all about Franklin County’s recent broadband progress and roadblocks on Tuesday, visiting Charlemont, Colrain and Leyden for roundtable discussions.

Monroe and Turners Falls were also stops on her list, allowing her to tour Kingsley Hill Road, which received a $1 million grant for roadway safety improvements, and announce the 2017 Advanced Manufacturing Training Program awards…

The Salem News | October 10, 2017

Column: Confronting The Sins Of Empire

How should we celebrate Columbus Day? 525 years ago Columbus set sail from the land of my birth, España. Columbus, and the
conquistadores who followed him, pillaged our continent for its natural resources and perpetrated genocide on indigenous
nations. The subjugation of the indigenous people of the Americas under the Spanish flag is an atrocity that I am
ashamed of. These are the sins of empire…

The Boston Globe | September 29, 2017

Is The Trump Administration Right To Order An End To The Daca Program?

YES Dianna E. Ploss Gloucester resident, activist, entrepreneur President Trump was 100 percent correct to order an end the
DACA program. My opinion does not make me a racist. It makes me someone who loves, values, and respects her country.
Many people opposed to DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] cite unfairness to legal immigrants who pay
fees and wait years …

The Salem News | September 18, 2017

Sanctuary Story Was Misleading

“The most shameful lapse in objectivity is citing a single outside policy “expert,” Jessica Vaughn of the Center for Immigration
Studies, an anti-immigration organization affiliated with the Federation for American Immigration Reform, deemed
a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Studies show crime is significantly lower in sanctuary jurisdictions
compared to non-sanctuary locales. It is no accident that Chief Butler and Rep. Paul Tucker, Salem’s former police
chief, both endorse the ordinance. Salem’s voters hold wide-ranging views on this topic…

Beverly Citizen – Wicked Local | September 13, 2017

Beverly Congregations To Hold Immigration Forum, Training

Thursday’s gathering, the third in a series of public forums, will serve as a training event for those who want to be more
hands on with efforts to ensure those at risk of deportation have support during any possible trying times that might
come their way. “We will also see if there are any congregations that are prepared to declare sanctuary,” Harrop
said. “There are none that I’m aware of right now … Every congregation has its own decision-making process.” Harrop
said the idea for the public forums grew out of conversations that took place among members of the Beverly Multifaith
Coalition, which has representatives from 10 different congregations in the city…

North of Boston Wicked-Local | August 28, 2017

Election 2017: Friends Of Salem Sanctuary Campaign Kicks Off

Local political efforts to ensure Salem’s Sanctuary for Peace: A Human Rights Declaration ordinance remains in place after
the upcoming municipal election are now in full swing. On Nov. 7, voters will vote either to nullify or affirm the
Sanctuary for Peace ordinance Salem City Council passed in a seven-to-five vote in the spring. The yet-to-be-written
referendum question landed on the November ballot after an opposition group filed a citizen-petition with nearly
3,600 signatures. Friends of Salem Sanctuary, the pro-sanctuary campaign, staged a kick off and fundraising party
in the garden of the First Church on Aug. 16. About 100 attended the evening affair that galvanized its supporters
before get-out-the-vote efforts got underway…

The Daily Item | August 19, 2017

Dozens Protest Against Hate In Lynn

LYNN — Peabody’s Karyn King Fargo stood outside of Lynn City Hall, carrying a sign bearing words shared on Heather Heyer’s
last Facebook Post. “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” The message was meant to honor Heyer,
who was killed during protests last week in Charlottesville, Va. King Fargo was one of more than six dozen people
peacefully expressing their outrage on Saturday. Protesters, who hailed from Lynn and statewide, said they gathered
to say no to racism and fascism. “There’s just so many issues going on right now,” King Fargo said. “Unfortunately
there are many things going on that we should feel outraged about.”…

The Boston Globe | June 06, 2017

Ipswich votes to become a sanctuary town

Thanks to the Essex County Community Organization, Ipswich has joined the growing list of Massachusetts “sanctuary” cities
and towns. With an overwhelming two-thirds majority vote. Vard Johnson, a retired immigration attorney, is a strong
supporter of the sanctuary act in his town. Johnson said the
Ipswich Trust Act was necessary because “this is a time of some fear,” referring to President Trump’s emphasis
on rounding up and deporting undocumented immigrants.

The Salem News | May 12, 2017

Immigration Forum Set For Monday Night

BEVERLY — The Beverly Multifaith Coalition and ECCO are co-sponsoring a forum Monday evening about the country’s immigration
policy and deportation. “An Overview of Immigration Policy and Deportation in the USA: How did we get here?” will
feature Rob McAndrews, an immigration attorney and social work professor at Salem State University, and Alexandra
Pineros-Shields, executive director of the Essex County Community Organization. It’s set for 7 p.m. Monday, May 15,
at the First Baptist Church on Cabot Street. “We want to be part of a debate that’s taking place nationwide related
to immigration, related to refugees and related to deportation,” said the Rev. Kent Harrop of the Baptist Church….

Gloucester Times | May 2, 2017

Midweek Musings: A lifetime of ‘welcoming the stranger’

As I wind down from roughly 40 years or so of ministry in several different contexts, I’ve been pondering some of my most
profound and transformative experiences. One such experience began in the South Bronx in 1980, when we mourned the
murder of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero and, later that year, the brutal murders of U.S. churchwomen Maura Clarke,
Ita Ford, Jean Donavan and Dorthy Kazel… Tragically and shamefully, as has too often been the case in my lifetime…


Salem News | April 21, 2017

Suspect Named In Lynn Easter Shooting

LYNN (AP) — Police have released the name of a man suspected of killing one man and injuring another as they walked home
from Easter church services. Authorities say 44-year-old William Cash has a lengthy rap sheet and should be considered
armed and dangerous. Cash, who is known to use multiple names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, is suspected
of fatally shooting 46-year-old Leonardo Clement and injuring 41-year-old Prince Belin on Sunday in Lynn…

Salem News | April 20, 2017

‘Inclusion’ Panel Gets Life As Anti-Sanctuary Status Petitions Grow

SALEM — As petitions against the City Council’s sanctuary ordinance continue to go around, an “inclusion” committee created
by it is almost ready for prime time. The City Council’s ad-hoc sanctuary committee settled on terms for an inclusion-focused
commission in a 6-to-1 vote Thursday night, opposed by Councilor-at-large Arthur Sargent. Though it’s borne of the
“Sanctuary For Peace” ordinance awaiting final affirmation from the City Council next week, the commission itself
targets any and all types of people in the city who can be disenfranchised, according to Ward 5 City Councilor Josh

The Daily Item | April 20, 2017

‘This Is Not Something We Get Used To’

LYNN — More than 100 people gathered at Zion Baptist Church to remember Leonardo Clement, 46, who was killed in an Easter
shooting in Central Square, and pray for Prince Belin, who was also shot in the attack. “We pray that in this time
of pain, God will fulfill Easter’s promise that out of death and hopelessness new life will emerge,” said the Rev.
Brian Flynn of St. Mary’s Parish. Both men were active leaders for Essex County Community Organization (ECCO) and
Zion Baptist Church…

The Boston Globe | April 19, 2017

Lynn mourns Easter Sunday shooting victims

Religious leaders in Lynn plan to hold an interfaith prayer service on Thursday. For the Easter Sunday shooting that left
ECCO leader Prince Belin hospitalized, and Lenny Clement deceased…


Daily Item | April 7, 2017

Ecco Advocates For Justice Reform

A crowd applauds at the at the Essex County Community Organization meeting.


LYNN — Criminal justice reform was the topic for several hundred residents of North Shore communities who gathered at St. Stephen’s Church Thursday evening with several of their legislative representatives.

In an event sponsored by the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO), legislators and guest speakers were invited to address the crowd, specifically about support for the Justice Reinvestment Act and bail reform.

State Reps. Brendan Crighton, Daniel Cahill, Paul Tucker, a representative of Tom Walsh’s office and state Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) attended…

Gloucester Times | March 23, 2017

Sanctuary Foe Presents Case In Rockport

ROCKPORT — For the first time sanctuary has become a issue in town, a forum was held to present the opposition argument,
and protesters outside ended moving indoors and listening to the featured speaker. Detractors of FAIR US, represented
by speaker Jonathan Hanen, its eastern field representative, were holding a vigil outside the police station where
Wednesday’s forum was held, but reported winds gusts of 40 mph and temperatures in the teens drove them inside. They
were among the 50 people at the forum. The Federation of American Immigration Reform U.S. says it is a non-profit…

The Rainbow Times | March 9, 2017

Working To Protect, Support Immigrants & Refugees, Sanctuary Cities In Mass.

“Trump is going to take care of you.” Javier, a Mexican immigrant, alleges that a customer at his job made this remark to
him several times since President Donald Trump won the November 8 election. The comment, meant as a threat in Javier’s
opinion, was just one of several directed at him in the weeks and months after Trump’s victory. According to Javier,
accusatory questions about his immigration status and insults telling him to “go home” have become a part of his
daily work routine. “Once the campaign rhetoric of Trump got going, [the customers] would start asking the questions,”
he said…

Gloucester Times | March 8, 2017

Rockport Sanctuary Forum Draws Foes

ROCKPORT — An educational forum on the issue of providing “sanctuary” status to illegal immigrants turned into a heated debate
Tuesday evening. More than 100 people packed the Community House on Broadway for the meeting, put on by the Women’s
March Symposium, and parking was scarce on the streets. While the symposium has hosted other sessions on the issue,
more sanctuary opponents attended this forum. The event featured Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim and Alexandra Pineros
Shields, executive director of Essex County Community Organization, both sanctuary advocates. Rockport police Chief
John Horvath, who was also on the panel, remained neutral on the issue…

The Salem News | March 5, 2017

Letter: Showing Support For All

To the editor: First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Beverly has decided to hang a banner proclaiming “Black Lives
Matter” on the front of our church on Cabot Street. I am writing to share with your readers how and why we decided
to display this message. Over the past two years, our members have been upset to see the broadcast video recordings
of lethal force used on young men of color. These concerns prompted our Social Action Committee to make racial justice
a focus of their work over the past year and our minister to begin a weekly public seminar on racial justice last
September. In November, we held a congregational…

Gloucester Times | March 2, 2017

Chief, Councilor To Discuss Sanctuary Status

ROCKPORT — Town residents will have the opportunity to discuss “sanctuary” status and immigration issues in a community forum
next week. What is being billed as a “community conversation” on the issues will be held Tuesday, March 7, from 6
to 8 p.m. at the Community House on Broadway. The event is being organized by the Women’s March Symposium activist

WGBH News | February 21, 2017

5 Things To Know About Beacon Hill’s Proposed Criminal Justice Overhaul

Former Gov. Deval Patrick cracked open the issue of criminal justice reform in 2010 when he signed a law given to him by
lawmakers reforming criminal background checks. At the time, a “part two” focusing on recidivism and mandatory minimum
sentencing was promised, but never came to be…

The Boston Globe | February 10, 2017

Should Salem Become A Sanctuary City?

YES Alexandra Piñeros-Shields Salem resident, executive director, Essex County Community Organization Alexandra Piñeros-Shields
The Bible is clear. “You shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus
19:33-34). Jewish and Christian members of the Essex County Community Organization, an interfaith network of 37 congregations
working for social justice, are outraged at the targeting of Muslims and immigrants…

Swampscott Patch | Feb 8, 2017

Sanctuary City Strategy Meeting Set For Marblehead, Swampscott

SWAMPSCOTT, MA – Swampscott and Marblehead join a handful of other towns where the Essex County Community Organization, or ECCO, is meeting to try and establish a sanctuary congregation or sanctuary city.

“Join us to stand strong in the belief that ‘No Human Being is Illegal,'” reads the ECCO flier. Sanctuary cities are communities that don’t actively help federal authorities deport illegal immigrants…

The Boston Globe | February 08, 2017

Talk About Sanctuary Status Postponed By Storm

Residents of Marblehead and Swampscott who are interested in seeing their towns establish themselves as sanctuary towns will have to wait to discuss it.

An open meeting hosted by the Essex County Community Organization scheduled for Monday, Feb. 13, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn has been canceled because of the recent storms.

Sanctuary cities have opted not to actively assist federal authorities in deporting illegal immigrants. Recent meetings have been held in Gloucester, Lynn, Salem, and Beverly…

Wicked Local: North of Boston | Jan 21, 2017

Boston Women’s March Invigorates Locals

inda Weltner quoted Gloria Steinem Saturday when she described the Boston Women’s March as “the upside of the downside.”

Estimates put the crowd on Boston Common, which spilled into surrounding streets, between 150,000 and 175,000 people and it was very much a celebration of women and loud, raucous message to President Donald Trump.

Marbleheader Jane Casler said the original prediction was for 25,000 participants. She said she was glad she didn’t know beforehand that the number might swell to more than 150,000.

“It might have scared me away from participating in a truly historic event,” she said…
Read More >> | Jan 19, 2017

Swampscott Talks About A Safe Place

SWAMPSCOTT — Being an undocumented immigrant is not a criminal offense, but rather an administrative violation and should be treated as such.

Dr. Alexandra Pineros Shields, the guest speaker at Thursday night’s Sanctuary Movement event at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn in Swampscott, delivered those words to an audience of about 125 at the event sponsored by the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO).

The Sanctuary Movement, which began in the 1980s, is a religious and political campaign that addresses the concerns of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Members of the movement promise to protect immigrant families who face discrimination and deportation issues. Many faith-based organizations are part of the movement…
Read More >> | Jan 10, 2017

Obituaries: Matias Gonzalez Regalado, 67

LYNN — Rev. Dr. Matias Gonzalez Regalado, age 67, of Lynn, passed away peacefully on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, at Beverly Hospital, with his family by his bedside.

He was born on Feb. 28, 1949, in San Francisco de Macoris, DR, the son of the late Manuel and Marcela (Regalado) Gonzalez.

Dr. Matis Gonzalez Regalado was the senior pastor at Congregacion Candelero de Dios in Lynn for more than 40 years. As a minister of the Gospel, Dr. Matias exemplified…

The Boston Globe | November 13, 2016

Protesters Show Support For Immigrants Near Detention Center

With President-elect Donald Trump promising to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, two separate groups held protest
vigils on Sunday outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detention Center located inside the Suffolk County
House of Corrections….

The Boston Globe | July 22, 2016

Should State Police, After Arresting An Immigrant On State Criminal Charges, Detain The Suspect At The Request Of
Federal Immigration Officials?

Should State Police, after arresting an immigrant on state criminal charges, detain the suspect at the request of federal
immigration officials? YES Paul Girouard Burlington Town Meeting member, Republican candidate for state representative
Paul Girouard Governor Charlie Baker made the correct decision in reversing former governor Patrick’s executive order
to prohibit State Police from inquiring about legal residency status from Immigration and…

The Daily Item | July 14, 2016

Lending Perspective To Bias In Lynn

LYNN — Rachel Godsil says everyone has a bias, whether they’re aware of it or not. “If you have a brain, you have a bias,”
she said. The director of research at Perception Institute, a coalition of scientists that uses research to reduce
discrimination, spoke at Wednesday’s meeting between Lynn Police and the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO),
a network of North Shore faith-based groups. The gathering centered around the concept of implicit bias, or the unconscious
brain’s prejudices…

The Daily Item | July 13, 2016

Lynn Gathers To Heal And Unify

LYNN — The city is trying to bridge the divide between the community and the police through conversation. The Essex County
Community Organization (ECCO) held a community vigil and training at Bethel AME Church Tuesday night. Religious leaders,
residents, police officers and children came together to discuss what needs to be done to end bias-related violence.
ECCO is an interfaith network of congregations throughout the county with a mission to work for racial justice. The
group has been working for about a year…

The Boston Blobe | June 6, 2016

Group Protests Baker’s Immigration Policy

SWAMPSCOTT — About 40 people gathered Sunday afternoon on the green between Governor Charlie Baker’s home and the First Congregational
Church to protest the recent passing of a policy that will allow state troopers to check with federal immigration
authorities on the status of immigrants. The policy change was announced by the Baker administration Thursday and
is in line with the federal Priority Enforcement Program, the governor…

The Boston Globe | February 18, 2016

Immigrant Advocates Rally Against Raids, Deportation

BURLINGTON — As Pope Francis prepared to pray at the US-Mexico border in a show of faith with migrants, Angela Arce picked
up a bullhorn 2,400 miles away in Burlington on Wednesday afternoon and told her story. Arce fled the violence of
Paraguay at 30, a law student with an infant daughter, and began a new life as a cleaner in Massachusetts. Now 47,
she runs a North Shore business…

The Boston Globe | October 20, 2015

Group Calls For More Blacks, Latinos On Lynn Police Force

LYNN — More than 150 members of area churches met with Police Chief Kevin Coppinger Monday night and called for an increase
in the number of blacks and Latinos on the Lynn force and anti-bias training for officers…

For media inquiries about ECCO, please contact:


Alexandra Pineros Shields

Executive Director

(978) 376-1718

Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin

Director of Clergy & Leadership Development

(646) 408-6160