April 14th, 2013
Louisiana clergy have drafted an Open Letter in support of payday lending reform
Sign on to the open letter in support of payday lending reform by clicking here.
April 6th, 2013
OFI report on payday lending is a bombshell
A report on payday lending released by the Office of Financial Institutions shows that payday lending cost Louisiana residents almost $150 million in fees and interest and resulted in 154,227 bounced checks in 2013 alone!
An economic impact analysis based on the OFI data shows that payday lending caused a net loss of $42 million in economic activity and a loss of 614 jobs in Louisiana in 2013.
You can read the Economic Impact Analysis, including the OFI data, by clicking here or on the image to the left.
2014 Statewide Issues Conference
Saturday, February 15th, 10am to 4pm, Shiloh Baptist Church, Baton Rouge
Register to attend at louisiana.eventbrite.com
Download a flier about the event by clicking here.
2013 was an extraordinary year for our work together, with major accomplishments on improving food access, public transportation, public education, payday lending and other issues.
Please click on the image to view a report on our accomplishments in 2013.
November 25th 2013
The Together Baton Rouge Health Access Team and the Baton Rouge Primary Care Collaborative have teamed up to produce a terrific, one-page brochure, which has everything people need to know to sign up for health insurance on the marketplace exchanges.
The effort is also sponsored by Ochsner Medical Center, the Louisiana Primary Care Association and Navigators for a Healthy Louisiana.
To order copies for distribution, fill out a request form by clicking here.
November 19th 2013
Citizens lead to stop abusive lending
Louisiana allows a payday lending business model which charges over 700% in annual interest rates and fees and traps lenders in a long-term debt cycle. This practice extracts about $200 million PER YEAR in interest and fees from Louisiana residents and costs the state hundreds of jobs annually.
Read more about Together Baton Rouge’s efforts to end abusive lending:
November 5th, 2013
TBR Alliance School Strategy: “Going deep” to support public education
TBR has set a goal of recruiting at least 100 community reading and math friends to work with children at Progress Elementary in Scotlandville.
Click here to sign up and help us reach that goal.
TBR’s “Alliance School” Strategy has three parts:
#1) Identify a VIPS Reading and Math Friend for every child who needs one at TBR’s Alliance Schools.
2) Conduct intensive training and guidance with the school on effective parent engagement, to build a culture of parent and family participation.
3) Create a model for how congregations and community institutions can become a base for a more “bottom-up” approach to school reform.
Read about the strategy in The Advocate here.
See NBC Channel 33′s coverage here.
October 23rd, 2013
The Food Access Policy Commission, founded by TBR and Mayor-President Kip Holden, is halfway through its work. It just issued its Interim Report, looking at food deserts in Baton Rouge and what we can do about them. The final report, with recommendations for policy change, will be issued in a few months.
Kickoff Assembly for Citywide Scripture Study
The Citywide Pentecost Assembly on Sunday, May 19th was an extraordinary event, with 400 people representing more than 55 congregations. The event launched a 6-month community-wide scripture study across denominational, racial and geographic lines, which will take place between July and December, 2013.
Read an article about the event and the scripture study by clicking here.
To sign up to participate in the scripture study and indicate what days you can attend, please click here.
March 23th, 2013
Broad-based faith and community organizations from across the state launched “Together Louisiana” on Saturday, one of the largest citizen coalitions in the history of Louisiana.
“New statewide coalition”, The Times Picayune, March 23rd, 2013
“Together Louisiana kicks off”, The Advocate, March 24th, 2013
February 14th, 2013
At a press conference with Mayor Kip Holden and dozens of community leaders, Together Baton Rouge launched the EBR Food Access Policy Commission, to bring grocery stores and other high-quality food options to “food desert” communities.
TBR 2012 Annual Report
Together Baton Rouge is releasing its 2012 Annual Report, sharing the highlights of its year of work, with major accomplishments in the area of public transit, food access, healthcare and community building.
Our work together in 2012 is a testament to the power of congregations and organizations working together across the lines that too often divide us.
Download the report by clicking here.
October 17th, 2012
“TogetherBR’s new act aims at City Hall,” The Advocate
The idea of a nonideological pragmatism defies the current stereotype of left-vs.-right, but is fundamentally consistent with a conservative tradition of community.
Resurrecting a spirit of pragmatism and community ideals might be the most idealistic goal Together Baton Rouge has set for itself.
The Scotlandville Fresh Food Pantry, a joint project of Together Baton Rouge and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, has delivered 150,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to 4556 households with more than 14,000 people over only four months!
TBR is committed to addressing the immediate need and the systemic causes behind Food Deserts in Baton Rouge. In Scotlandville, the largest Food Desert in Baton Rouge, 89% of the population has unacceptably low access to a grocery store (USDA 2011).
Bringing relief to food deserts in Baton Rouge, The Advocate
100 Reflections on TBR
Download a PDF of all the reflections here. Just read a few at random. We think they are a powerful testimony to what we are working to create in our community.
Click on the image to view a larger version of the “word cloud”.
150 leaders in attendance at Citywide Meeting on Public Education
Here’s a comment from a young woman who was there:
“I was there at Shiloh for the meeting. I was encouraged to go back to school when I heard how passionate others are about education. The meeting went WELL. I enjoyed myself and now I want to be apart of TOGETHER BATON ROUGE!”"
April 28th, 2012
Transit election a historic victory for Together BR, The Advocate
“The biggest success to me, is that we have established and created a culture change in this city,” said another group leader, Edgar Cage. “It’s not just in the hands of the politicians anymore, it’s the people who have actually grabbed hold of the process, and see that they can make a difference.”
To download a Frequently Asked Questions sheet on the transit system, CLICK HERE.
To download a one page version of “the plan” for transit reform, with a route map, CLICK HERE.
Action Plan for Gilbert Memorial Park Cemetery
Conditions at Gilbert Memorial Park Cemetery have been unacceptable for too long. The LA Attorney General has filed suit to remove the current operators.
Together Baton Rouge has committed to identify a receiver to take over the cemetery long term.
“Coalition voices concerns,” The Advocate
“Violent crime, lack of public transportation, low-performing public schools, dilapidated cemeteries and a lack of resources in poor areas of the parish led their list.
These were the stories told by residents Thursday night at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in front of more than 1,000 people.
“Concerned citizens hear from community leaders about issues crippling city,” CBS WAFB Channel 9 News
The head count at Shiloh Baptist Church was around 1100. The crowd of concerned citizens spilled into the foyer of the church. These faces represent different races, religious denominations, and walks of life. But they’re here because they have a lot in common.
Together Baton Rouge takes action on public transportation
“Group developing options to improve bus system,” The Advocate
The presentation identified transit incentives that would affect both riders who rely on the service because they don’t have a car and those who may be indirectly affected because of benefits like economic development, reduced traffic congestion and being able to help their employees to work.
Together Baton Rouge forms Blue Ribbon Commission to overhaul City-Parish public transit system
“Mayor introduces mass transit panel,” The Advocate
The commission was formed by Together Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “The charge to this commission will be to come up with a plan that the city can support; that the parish can support,” said the Rev. Melvin Rushing, a member of Together Baton Rouge and pastor with Progressive Baptist Church and Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church.
“Commission forms to implement FuturEBR transit Goals,” Baton Rouge Business Report
A 17-member commission charged with implementing transit goals outlined in the 30-year FuturEBR master plan was announced this morning by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Together Baton Rouge and Mayor Kip Holden.
Together Baton Rouge gets first victory; Wins reconstruction of Blue Grass Bridge in Glen Oaks
“Glen Oaks residents: Fix bridge,” The Advocate
Leaders of a coalition of religious leaders and civic groups known as Together Baton Rouge said they were pleased with commitments the city-parish has made to replace the deteriorated Blue Grass Drive bridge in Glen Oaks, which the state ordered closed in February 2010.
“Bridge Building,” NBC Channel 33 News
TBR Institutions partner across racial lines for 2011 House Meeting Campaign
“Gathering brings black, white residents together”, The Advocate
“We’re making the human connection. It makes it personal,” Holland said. “Look at the folks that are here, they have the same dreams — a safe place to live and work. It’s not a black thing, or a white thing, or a north or south thing.”
“Together Baton Rouge reaches across racial lines,” ABC WBRZ Channel 2 News
The group’s goals include taking on neighborhood blight, failing schools, and crime. But organizers say before they can find answers, they had to reach across racial lines and explain the problems.
Community leaders launch Together Baton Rouge
“Group plans to fix city-parish ills”, The Advocate
“This is the largest group of its kind I have ever seen in the city-parish,” Mayor-President Kip Holden said after the news briefing. “This will make my job easier with all these people working together to make our community a better place.”
“New organization hopes to solve Baton Rouge problems”, WBRZ Channel 2 News
After two years of planning and organizing, community leaders today announced the formation of a multi-issue initiative called “Together Baton Rouge.”