Faith-based community organizers rallied more than 1,200 people, mostly Latino, at Queen of Peace Catholic Church Tuesday night in Aurora to gain grassroots support for their vision of social justice.

Newly launched Together Colorado, formerly known as Metro Organizations for People, announced its plans to work statewide to register and engage voters in immigration and education reform, preservation of the Affordable Care Act, divestment from big banks and tuition relief for undocumented immigrant college students.

"All these issues are connected," said Rev. Nelson Bock, director of Wartburg College in Denver.

Aurora and Denver officials joined clergy and others representing several dozen congregations — Jewish, Christian, Islamic and other — to "unite and strengthen an alternative moral and democratic voice that speaks to the longings and interests of Colorado low-income, working- and middle-class families."

The bilingual local event was one several forums held tonight across the country under the umbrella of the PICO National Network, a nonpartisan faith-based organizing group claims more than 1,200 congregations.

Together Colorado organizers said they are pushing a bold civic-engagement plan with a goal or registering 8,000 voters and contacting 40,000 voters.

"Voting is faith in action," said Rich McLean, a Together Colorado leader from St. Therese FAMILY.

Organizers asked attendees to contact the state legislature in support of a bill, ASSET, that would lower college tuition for illegal immigrants. They also said faith voters should push for comprehensive reform of immigration laws that kept too many people "living in fear and with no hope for the future."

Parents were encouraged to work with other parents to create policy changes at their schools to narrow the achievement gaps and dropout-rate discrepancies between different ethnic groups.

Organizers urged people to support small local financial institutions and to pull their money out of big banks, including Wells Fargo, Chase and Bank of America, whose deceptive lending practices, they said, contributed to the foreclosure crisis.

Organizers asked event participants to support recent health care reform and prevent its repeal.

Electa Draper: 303-954-1276