Justice Updates – September 3, 2019

Catholic organizations are doing phase two of the Catholic Day of Action to end harm against immigrant children. Please keep the activists in your prayers as they protest in Newark, NJ tomorrow. Call your Senators (202-224-3121) and call the White House (202-456-1111). Tell these elected officials to—Stop the inhumanity—NOW.

Here’s a sample script but use your own words:

I am a person of faith and I am calling to demand that [Senator ____ or President Trump] immediately end the unjust and immoral practice of detaining children and families. Family is sacred. It is the cornerstone of our church and our communities and it must be protected. Guided by our Catholic faith and our national values, we affirm the dignity of all people and our call to love our neighbors. We can and must remain a country that provides refuge for children and families fleeing violence and persecution. Thank You!

During this Season of Creation (September 1 – October 4), consider taking a moment each day to reflect on the gift of nature. The EarthConnection, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, has prepared a calendar to help.

Help to protect the oceans. Every year 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans. They break down into micro-particles and get eaten by the fish. This year scientist found disposable plastics at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the deepest depths of the oceans.  Scientists predict that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish!

There are many ways to tackle this problem. One is to cut off pollution at its source – the petrochemical industry.  A Coalition of environmental groups is demanding the EPA ban the discharge of plastic pellets and other pollutants from the petrochemical industry. They need our help.

Tell the EPA to place stricter regulations on the petrochemical industry as it ramps up production. Plastic plants discharged 128 million pounds of pollutants into the U.S. waterways last year.  The petrochemical industry is taking steps to expand recycling efforts and increase consumer awareness around recycling. But this is not enough. We really need to stop manufacturing plastics and curb the release of tiny plastic pellets and pieces that go into the waterways and oceans.

Tell the EPA to ban plastic pellet discharge in our oceans by signing and/or commenting here.

Bryn Greenwood wrote this thoughtful perspective on why some women are forced into prostitution.  It might be a net that catches them before they fall into destitution. Read her article from The Lily titled Sex work encompasses more than what we see on TV. It saved me from poverty.

One year ago Pope Francis made clear the position of the Catholic Church on the death penalty when he ordered the revision to the Catechism of the Church.  The text now affirms, “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

There seems to be a move toward abolishing the death penalty across the U.S. Here are some highlights from the Catholic Mobilizing Network.

  • 2 states (Washington and New Hampshire) abolished the death penalty.
  • The governor of 1 state (California) declared a statewide execution ban.
  • 1,569 copies of Harm, Healing, and Human Dignity, CMN’s restorative justice faith formation guide, were sold within two months of its May release.
  • CMN supporters sent 24,345 letters and emails to lawmakers and Boards of Pardons and Paroles, advocating in support of clemency and death penalty repeal.
  • CMN hosted 2 Restorative Circle Intensives, with plans for two more circle events this fall.

CMH has prepared a 4 ½ minute video on Catholics and the Death Penalty and why they work to abolish the death penalty.

JAMA Pediatric reports that more than eight million children currently enrolled in Medicaid and the CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) or receiving SNAP benefits are at risk of disenrollment under the October 2018 proposed public charge rule because they live with a noncitizen adult. This includes 5.5 million children who have specific medical needs such as asthma, epilepsy, cancer, and disabilities or functional limitations.  You can read more about the implications of the proposed public charge immigration rules in the Food Research & Action Center’s summer issue of ResearchWIRE.

Human Rights Watch has just published this report “You Pray for Death: Trafficking of Women and Girls in Nigeria.” It is a detailed account of how human trafficking operates in Nigeria and reports that the nightmare does not end for survivors who manage to return home.   This is a rather long report but given our connection with the Dominican Sisters in Nigeria, it is an important read.

Here is an excerpt:

When she was 18 in 2013, Adaura C. met a woman who promised her a job earning 150,000 naira (US$414) as a domestic worker in Libya. Adaura agreed and the woman made the arrangements for her to travel from Nigeria to Libya. After a long, dangerous journey through the Sahara Desert, witnessing drivers and other men beat and rape women and girls, she arrived in Libya only to find that she had been deceived. The “madam”(a woman who is part of the trafficking ring and controls women and girls) there told Adaura and her friend Jane V. Adaura and Jane were recruited by the same woman in Nigeria, but traveled separately—to undress and have sex with clients. “We said, ‘We were told we would be house helps,’” Adaura explained. The madam responded, “This is house help.”

Business Roundtable CEOs Release New Statement of Corporate Purpose. The BRT, which represents the largest U.S. companies, released a new statement of corporate purpose on August 19.  The statement is an important acknowledgment that corporations must look beyond short-term shareholder value to account for the full impact of their business on society, and must view the well-being of all of their stakeholders―including their workers, customers, and the communities where they operate — as integral to their long-term success.  We hope that the BRT’s pledge is followed up by concrete action by its signatories to invest in their employees and communities, to reverse the push for deregulation, and to support public policy that has the public interest – and not corporate profits – at heart.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

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