Justice Updates – Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Voting for the Corporate Stance to Abolish the Death Penalty.  Starting today until June 26, you can cast your vote for the stance either by paper or on line.  Here is the link for online voting.  The ballot is attached here.  If you use the paper ballot, please send it to Ms. Crystal Henderson, 2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43219. It must be postmarked by June 26.

Underwear Update.  We sent 210 pounds of underwear and socks to Annunciation House from Columbus, and 36 pounds from Great Bend. There were also shipments from Watertown, MA and directly from Walmart.  Thank you, sisters, associates and friends, for your generosity and for supporting our efforts on the border.

Ten things in your home linked to climate change.  We all know what it’s like to receive junk mail and how quick we are to just throw it away. But did you know that 100 million trees were destroyed to produce 100 billion pieces of junk mail annually? About 848 pieces of junk mail get delivered to every household. When they get trashed, 51 million metric tons of greenhouse gases are created. That’s more air pollution than every car registered in New York City and Los Angeles combined. (Source: TakePart.com)  Please read this article from Catholic Relief Service about ten things in your home linked to climate change. 

More about the Budget as a moral document. The Institute of Policy Studies recently released a report on how the federal government spent our 2018 tax dollars and here are some of the key findings:

  • The average U.S. taxpayer paid more to private military contractors than funds that directly support the troops
  • The U.S. spent more on proliferating weapons of mass destruction than on foreign aid and diplomacy, the Environmental Protection Agency, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • The government spent as much taxpayer money separating families as it did on Kindergarten-12th grade education
  • Health care is the taxpayer’s biggest tab, with Medicare and Medicaid providing health care for 33% of the people in the U.S.
  • More dollars went to disaster relief than to investments like renewable energy that could have helped prevent the worst disasters
  • The average taxpayer contributed more to private Department of Defense contractors than to labor and unemployment programs

To see the full report, click here.  For more on the U.S. Budget, click here.

Check out “Reach to End Sex Trafficking in Native American Communities”.   Sr. Carol Davis (cdavis@oppeace.org) has purchased a DVD from Teresa Ann Wolf, OSB in South Dakota.   Carol and Teresa serve on the Board of US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.  The DVD:  Reach to End Sex Trafficking in Native American Communities was produced by the Watertown Initiative to Prevent Sex Trafficking. Native women and children comprise 40% of sex trafficking victims.  The 17-minute film addresses avenues into sex trafficking, obstacles in leaving and it raises hope in healing.  To borrow it, contact Crystal Henderson, CHenderson@oppeace.org.

Are migrant children welcomed in Jesus’ Name? Please take a look at this beautiful story about Jose written by Sr. Jeanne Christensen, RSM and sent by Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.

World Refugee Day is June 20. On that day, people all around the world will remember those refugees and immigrants who have been lost as well as those who have survived. According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is one who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his [/her] nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself [/herself] of the protection of that country.” Today, refugees and migrants are fleeing violence, persecution, poverty, natural disasters, and political upheaval.

The U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking have an excellent educational resource, “Intersectionality of Human Trafficking with Migrants, Refugees, and Internally Displaced People.” It is available in both English and Spanish. (Links included at the end of the reflection.)

Mark 10:13-16: People were bringing little children to Jesus, for him to touch them. The disciples scolded them, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them “Let the little children come to me, do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” Additionally, Jesus said, “Anyone who welcomes such a little child such as this in my name welcomes me…” (Mark 9:37)

Migrant children arriving at the U.S. southern border are not welcome. How would Jesus respond to how these children and their families are treated? What is your response? What does Jose’s story call you, challenge you to do?

This is a typical story of a young migrant boy, a child. “My name is Jose and I am 12 years old. I left Honduras with my mother, two sisters, and Miguel, my uncle. We do not know where my father is. Our goal was to travel in a larger group, eventually arriving at the United States border. We hoped to cross over to a new and better life. We hoped to feel safe, find shelter and have food to eat. We were escaping from violence and poverty, at home we had nothing—barely enough to eat and we never felt safe.

We traveled for many days—too many to count—and struggled to find food, water and a place to stay. My little sisters cried a lot because they were tired, hungry and scared. I tried to be strong and to help my uncle. My mother cried when we weren’t watching. She didn’t know I saw her.

Finally, we arrived at the border but it wasn’t at all like we expected. There were hundreds of people jammed in small spaces, on bridges, under bridges. A few lucky ones got across—but we weren’t lucky. The armed men (like ones we left behind in Honduras) separated us. My little sisters stayed with my mother and the men took my uncle and me to a detention center. At first, it felt safe and we had food and water, but they took our shoelaces away from us. Pretty soon, they made my uncle go with the men and they took me to another part where there were hundreds of boys like me. I was cold and scared. It was fenced in, so we could not go anywhere but where they told us. After a few weeks, they took about 25 of us away in a van. They didn’t tell us anything; I was very frightened and worried about the rest of my family.

They drove to someplace far away. And when we got there it was hot and sunny—like at home in Honduras. We were forced to work long hours in fields without shade picking strawberries. They didn’t even give us hats to shade our heads! Where we slept and what they gave us to eat was awful. We also didn’t get much water while we worked. Nothing was like what they promised us.

When there weren’t any more strawberries to pick, the men loaded us into a van but didn’t tell where we were going. The police stopped the van and began to search it. When they found all of us inside, they arrested the driver and the other man with him. We waited a long time until another van came and got us. This one took us to a better shelter and that is where I am right now. I don’t know what comes next, but I hope I get to be back with my family—wherever they are now.”

Another child left “in limbo.” Unfortunately, this is not an unusual story. Much is written about the plight of the thousands of migrants and refugees seeking asylum in the United States at our southern border. It is imperative that we use our voices to urge our elected legislators and our president to provide compassionate, safe and prompt asylum as well as to work collaboratively to reform our immigration laws and procedures. By doing so, we are working to save migrant children from falling into the hands of opportunistic human traffickers.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

One response to “Justice Updates – Tuesday, June 11, 2019

  1. Thank you for the updates as some were hopeful, others gave me an awareness of the many social evils in our government. I hope to do whatever action I can to make our world a more compassionate and merciful place to live.

    Blessings on all our sisters using their gifts to eliminate
    Poverty and trafficking.
    Sr. Brigid

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