Bishop Robert McElroy Calls for Leaders to Act as Disrupters in the Face of ICE Raids, Anti-Muslim Bigotry, and Economic Exclusion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2017
CONTACT: Jennifer Farmer,, 202-306-0136

Bishop Robert McElroy Calls for Leaders to Act as Disrupters in the Face of ICE Raids, Anti-Muslim Bigotry, and Economic Exclusion

McElroy told the crowdWe’ve come to a time when alternate facts compete with real facts”


MODESTO, Calif. –This morning at the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements, Bishop Robert McElroy, of the Diocese of San Diego joined a panel of experts, organizers, and grassroots leaders to discuss how to down the barriers surrounding access to jobs with living wages and affordable housing. Panelists included; Dr. Steven Pitts, Center for Labor Research and Education, UC-Berkeley, Diane Yentel, National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Bishop Robert McElroy, Diocese of San Diego, Bleu Rainer, Fight for $15/SEIU, Tampa, FL, Lucas Benitez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, FL, Jennifer Martinez, Faith in Action Bay Area, CA and Cathy Levine, BREAD, Columbus, OH.

Offering very pointed remarks, Bishop Robert McElroy addressed the crowd of nearly 700 faith leaders, grassroots organizers, and community leaders, closing with the following message:

“President Trump said he was the candidate of disruption. Now we must all become disrupters. We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our communities to deport the undocumented, to destroy our families. We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies. We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men & women as a source of threat rather than children of God. We must disrupt those who would take away healthcare, who would take food from our children. But we can’t just be disrupters, we have to be rebuilders. We have to rebuild a nation in which all of us are children of one God…We must rebuild a nation that pays $15 and provide decent housing and work to all. If work is co-creation with God don’t we think it deserves at least $15 an hour?”

Bleu Rainer added, “Hundreds of economist and scholars decided $15 is what is required to be considered a living wage, that was five years ago. Economic Justice IS racial justice. The Fight for $15 and Black Lives Matter got together to call out the administration’s poor and racist choice for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Pudzer (CEO of Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s).” With pressure mounting from protests, Pudzer withdrew his nomination last week. “We organized, we protested, and we won. Because of our work, he’s gone!”

The second panel today will focus on land and the environment, with leaders from Flint to Hawaii to Standing Rock. Panelists include:

  • Nayyirah Shariff, Flint Democracy Defense League
  • Juan Flores, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
  • Bishop Oscar Cantú, Diocese of Las cruces
  • Thomas Joseph II, True North Organizing Network
  • Maria Perez, ARISE, Alamo, TX
  • Micaela Lewis, Chuukese Community of the Big Island, Honolulu, HI
  • Bob Agres, Hawai’i Alliance for Community Based Economic Development

The U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements is organized by the Vatican’s department for Integral Human Development (IHD), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Catholic Campaign for Human Development and PICO National Network, the largest network of faith-based organizing groups in the nation.

**Today’s photo roundup can be found here**

**Plenary sessions can be watched on Livestream via**


PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 45 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at