Justice Updates – January 21, 2020

Check out this resource from the Eco Justice Committee.  We all need a gentle reminder to GO GREEN this winter!

https://www.oppeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/going-green_winter.pdf

Do you know what cosmology is?  In this article from Global Sisters Report, Lorraine Villemaire, a Sister of St. Joseph of Springfield,  writes that in spite of the climate damage we see, “there actually is hope. Great efforts are being made today by governments and organizations to engage in system-based actions to save Earth. Technology and science are collaborating to provide facts on problems, to help play a role in transformation. However, individuals created Earth’s problems and individual conversion is needed to correct it.

Need a dose of beauty?  Listen to this 13-minute concert by amazing harpist Bridget Kibbey.

What’s happening to the working poor? Read Who Killed the Knapp Family where many working-class people are dying of despair.

Food waste is a huge problem in the United States. The good news: Each of us can help solve it. Here’s how.

What does Catholic Social Teaching teach about migrants?  Louisville Bishop Joseph Kurtz writes “We know that the Church at her best has always been a church that welcomes and accompanies others… The capacity of rich and powerful nations like the United States to welcome refugees and immigrants also is a serious responsibility. Read more from his teaching essay.

As the only major denomination with almost equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, the Catholic Church is in a unique position to respond to today’s toxic politics. Thomas Reese explains “Four Catholic Solutions to Toxic Politics.

Just Mercy” is not a film about a man. It is about a movement to heal the wounds of racism and hatred. More than knowing his name, Bryan wants people to know the names of the 4,000 African Americans lynched as victims of racial terror and too often forgotten — people like Mary Turner, who was eight months pregnant when she was hung upside down by a white mob, set on fire and even cut open so her baby could be stomped to death.

Click here to download a study guide to the movie from Catholics Mobilizing.

DACA Recipients are being deported. What will happen to the rest of them?

Douglas Cremer writes in the Church Needs to Listen to Catholic Feminists, “many think we in the church should not bother ourselves with issues of gender, race, and power, that these questions are a modern preoccupation driven by secularism, the sexual revolution and identity politics. Yet the question of who identifies with whom has always been a critical question, as have questions of race/ethnicity, class, and gender, going as far back as Paul’s famous quote in Galatians: “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The claim that these divisions are overcome in Christ Jesus signifies both that they are deeply important distinctions and that as the followers of Jesus Christ we must struggle to make the overcoming of these distinctions real.”

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – January 14, 2020

Will the killing of Soleimani have consequences for Iraq’s Christians? Kevin Clarke of American Magazine writes “Following the news reports last night that eventually confirmed that a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 2 had killed Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, and associates including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, I found myself hoping that someone in the Trump administration was remembering the perilous status of the Christian remnant in northern Iraq.” Read more.

We need a dose of good news.  Read Beyond Racial Strife, a Dose of Optimism for the New Year.

Tom Reese of religion News Service called Greta Thunberg a prophet. Here’s why.

Good news for immigrant farmworkers and their families. On December 11, 2019, the U.S. House passed HR 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill which would improve conditions for immigrant farmworkers and their families, ensure the stability of the U.S. agricultural industry, offer legalization to certain farmworkers and their families, and reform the H2A worker program. After the vote of 260-165 for passage, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, and Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued a statement in support of the legislation. After passage in the House, there is hope that this bill will be taken up in the Senate.

In one Kenyan fishing village, women have found a way to take care of their families without giving up their dignity. Find out how in No Sex for Fish.

The administration is rolling back several major environmental regulations viewing many Obama-era environmental regulations that curb carbon emissions as burdensome to businesses. Read more.

When people eat better, they enjoy better health, reducing not just suffering, but also some expenses. The NY Times explains how Cutting Food Stamps Can Add Costs Elsewhere.

The Federal Death Penalty is on hold for now but for how long?  Read more.

There is an update from the Casa Alita Welcome Center.

Dear friends,

In my last update for the Casa Alita Welcome Center, I wrote about the implementation of the so-called Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), which had begun to bus asylum seekers to El Paso to return them to Ciudad Juarez to await their court proceedings in the US. We were told that we would only be receiving women who were more than six months pregnant, and families with children under one year of age. The Good News is that we are receiving more families and pregnant women traveling alone than usual! Every night, our shelter is full to capacity with guests from Ecuador, Cuba, Southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as we juggle rooms for new incoming families. MPP is in place and people are being returned to Mexico, but apparently there isn’t the infrastructure or will to carry out this policy as publicized.

Families come to us throughout the day, arriving exhausted and greatly distressed by their journeys. In the past three days alone we have welcomed a hundred and seventy guests. Since I returned from my trip to visit seven shelters from central Mexico down to the southern border, I know better what they go through to get here. While we are told stories, to see the realities that our guests live through stays with me, as does their tenacity and courage under the most pressing and dangerous circumstances.

As the families leave their ICE vans, they pass the clothing room where they can get two changes of clothes. They enter the reception area and sit in church pews, where we share a breath prayer before orientation. I tell them that Paul says that sighs are prayer too deep for words. I invite them to take a deep breath in through their noses, and sigh out loud through their mouths as they exhale. Breathe in the peace of God. Breathe out the stress, fear, bad treatment, inadequate food from Ice detention. We repeat this several times and I invite them to close their eyes, and that is when the tears start to slow. In the privacy behind their eyes, the suffering they have endured touches them and then recedes and the sense of safety and gratitude for making it sink in. We can see them visibly relax as they hear that they are in their home, that we are all Americans, and that they are very welcome  at the Casa Alitas Welcome Center.

Children are quickest to leap to life in these new surroundings, attacking coloring books and toys with vigor. By their second day, after choosing two sets of clothing, bathing, and resting, they are almost unrecognizable. Imagine working your way on a six month journey through central America and Mexico. One dad asks me when is the soonest he can shower. “It’s been weeks,” he tells me, as I assure him that within the hour he will have his wish.

During this holy-day season, the song “Shout for Joy” sung by Odetta comes to mind, which is one of my favorite songs for this season, but most recently, here at the Casa Alitas Welcome Center for families seeking asylum every day has been Christmas. People are getting through to us when both we and our guests had imagined the worst. There is room at the inn! And for the several pregnant women, Christ is born, even into the most difficult circumstances.

These are some of the lyrics. Imagine Odetta singing them!

“Mary had a baby. (Shout for Joy!) Born in a stable. (Shout for Joy!) They laid him in a manger. (Shout for Joy!)  They named him Jesus. (Shout for Joy!) He was the Prince of peace. Mighty counselor. (Shout for Joy!) King Herod tried to find him. (Shout for Joy!) They went away to Egypt. (Shout for Joy!) Mary rode a donkey.(Shout for Joy!)Joseph walked beside her. (Shout for Joy!) Angels watchin” over. (Shout for Joy!) Angels watchin” over. (Shout for Joy!)

This brief respite that volunteers at the Casa Alitas Welcome Center provide is one small step along our journey to be the church/synagogue/mosque with all of God’s people. Grief and anger must be punctuated by joy or we run out of steam, fall into despair, and lose faith in ourselves and others. Our guests, who arrive wearing such trauma, years of trauma, teach us the simple joy of sitting outside, eating a good meal, reencountering a friend lost along the way, speaking to a family member by phone after months or years of separation, listening to music. Joy incarnate is surely what Jesus was all about – Good News here on earth.

Sometimes I see our guests and volunteers with such a look of contentment, I wonder at how that is possible in these difficult times. I don’t believe that we are doing together “saves” anyone in the traditional Christian doctrinal way. But I know for certain that we are saving lives and souls, both our guests and our own. For this little window in time we can be the person of faith that our faith practices call us to be. We are family that stretches far beyond our walls and wildest imagination.

Please feel free to share this letter with others who might be interested in learning more about our important work, and/or who might also like to offer financial support. Your support makes our work possible. Together, we provide help, create hope, and serve all. Your gift strengthens children, families, adults, and communities. Donations can be made directly to CCS at  Support Migrant Aid – Tucson and through our GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/casa-alitas-for-migrant-families. For more information about Casa Alitas shelter programs, please see ccs-soaz.org.

Thank you for reading this and for your support to continue this important ministry.

“Mary had a baby. Shout for joy! Herod tried to find him. Shout for joy! They went away to Egypt. Shout for joy! Mary rode a donkey. Shout for joy! Joseph walked beside her. Shout for joy! Angels watchin’ over. Shout for joy! Angels watchin’ over. Shout for joy!”

In joy and gratitude for the birthing of Christ in each new day and dark night.   Rev. Dr. Delle McCormick

At the recent Lunch & Learn: Examining the Refugee Crisis with Art at the Martin de Porres Center, I read the following poem by Warsen Shire.  It is a powerful explanation of why refugees flee their homes. The author recites her poem here.

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – January 7, 2020

Please call your Senators and Representative and urge them to use the power that is rightfully theirs to stop the president’s march to war with Iran. Ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2354 or S. 1039, that would ensure that President Trump cannot take military action against Iran without congressional authorization – except in response to an attack on America or its armed forces. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your members of Congress. Tell them that now is the time to exercise real courage and choose diplomacy over violence and peace over war.

What’s happening in Iraq? “Ominous developments, attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq, U.S. retaliation and turmoil at the U.S. embassy, could drag Iraq deeper into the U.S.-Iranian confrontation. Urgent steps are needed to break this predictable but perilous cycle.”  Read Rescuing Iraq from the Iran-U.S. Crossfire.

Call your senator!  The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has stalled in the Senate because the house version “closed the infamous “boyfriend loophole,” which excludes people convicted of stalking or abusing a non-spouse partner from the scope of laws that limit an abuser’s ability to obtain firearms. (Existing law covers a narrower set of relationships, such as those in which the abuser lived with or had a child with the victim.) Addressing this gap in the law has long been a priority for activists. Why?  Nearly half of women homicide victims in the United States are killed by current or former male partners, according to a 2017 study, and the Giffords Law Center says domestic-violence victims are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if their abuser can obtain a gun.” Here’s more.

What climate changes are happening around the world? Washington Post journalists and photographers traveled around the world to see. Their series  2°C: BEYOND THE LIMIT describes a growing crisis. “Aaliyah Kasaiuli slept in on the last morning in her home, almost everything packed for the move. It was time to finally abandon this house, and later, this Yup’ik village clinging to the edge of North America, near the Bering Sea. It was one of 14 places that a team of Washington Post journalists traveled to in the past year to see the accelerating reality of climate change. What moved them were the people they met, their homes and lives transformed. Their work has led to a continuing series — 2C: Beyond the Limit. Four Post photographers share their stories in this visual atlas of a growing crisis.”

This administration has been climate deniers from the beginning and worked actively to roll back laws that would reduce pollution and improve climate damage. How do we justify destroying our beautiful world?

Some hopeful news about the Death Penalty in Ohio.  Governor Mike DeWine has stopped executions in Ohio stating that he does not believe the death penalty is an effective tool to keep communities safe.  In a recent news conference is said “What keeps us safer is locking up repeat violence offenders and throwing away the key…there are a lot of things we do, and a lot of things that we can do, that are more important as far as safety than the capital punishment debate.”  Take a minute to write to Governor DeWine to thank him and also encourage him to work with the Ohio Legislature to propose legislation to abolish the death penalty.  Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder has made statements expressing his decline in support for the practice. Write to him urging legislation to abolish the death penalty.

What would happen if women were running the country?  In an interview on Singapore’s Today, President Barack Obama suggests that if women were put in charge of every country for the next two years, the result would be gains “on just about everything.”

Listening can make a huge difference in building peace. What do your listening skills look like? “Good listening is not a matter of technique but of having the willingness to enter into another person’s life. Many bad listeners can’t be there for someone else because they are too locked into themselves. For them, everything has to be filtered through their own experience and concerns.” Read more.

If you want to use the Blessed are the Peacemakers resources for an associate group or study group, here are the materials and the video.

What’s happening to our family in Iraq?  This article No Christmas Tinsel in Iraq in Solidarity with Protesters features Cardinal Louis Sako and notes that leaders of Iraq’s Christians unanimously cancelled Christmas-related celebrations in solidarity with the protest movement.

In a letter dated December 13, our sisters wrote:

The situation in Baghdad is not good. It is entering the 54th day today of demonstration. The intent was to have a very peaceful demonstration but sadly many of these demonstrators have been killed. The government is not doing anything or changing their polices. Young men and women are determined that they will not end the demonstration until they get what they want— “a county”.  Our school in Baghdad had been closed for a month; now it reopened, but still students are not attending. They prefer to go to demonstrations. The north part of the country (Nineveh plain and Kurdistan) has not been affected by all this. What you read about Cardinal Sako plan is true, the church’s Christmas celebrations will be very limited in all the country this year in solidarity with our young people in the middle and southern part of the country and in solidarity with families who lost their beloved ones in the past months. Please keep this country in your prayers. If you can share the news you see on the web about Iraq with other people will be very helpful. The world is not reacting to what our young people are doing. They left their homes and have been demonstrating because they want a free Iraq— they want a country.

In a recent visit to Thailand, Pope Francis “appealed for greater international commitment to protect women and children “who are violated and exposed to every form of exploitation, enslavement, violence, and abuse.” To read the full story by Nicole Winfield on The Independent: Click Here

Many families in poverty experience food deserts, the lack of affordable grocery stores within reach. Online grocery delivery services might be the answer. See how here.

And now some good news… sort of. An analysis from the Gifford Law Center shows that states have enacted 137 measures to restrict gun access and reduce gun violence since the Parkland, Florida shooting.   There is still a long way to go.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – December 17, 2019

Staying engaged in justice work can be challenging and discouraging. Sometimes we need to treat ourselves to self-care. Buddhist teacher, Haemin Sunim, offers five simple steps for this goal.

A new report found that oxygen levels in the world’s oceans declined by 2 percent over 50 years, threatening marine life around the planet. You can read more here.

Methane was originally positioned as a safer, cleaner fuel obtained by fracking.  However, methane escaping into the atmosphere is causing serious climate issues.  A New York Times visual journalist and climate reporter went to West Texas oilfields and filmed methane escaping from oil and gas sites.  To the naked eye, everything seems normal but when filmed with special cameras, the escaping gas is obvious.  You can watch it here.

Call your governor.  We need refugees.  President Trump signed Executive Order 13888 that requires governors and city councils to approve any refugee resettlement. If you live in one of these states – California – Connecticut – Delaware – Hawaii – Illinois – Louisiana – Maine – Minnesota – Nevada – New York – Rhode Island – Wisconsin – please call your governor and ask him/her to provide written consent to allow resettle refugees and share publicly why they are providing consent.  Here’s more information from Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

Catholic Mobilizing Network presented President Trump and Attorney General Barr with a petition signed by more than 3,000 bishops, clergy, women religious, and laypeople condemning the restart of federal executions.  Then the Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the preliminary court injunction that temporarily placed federal executions on hold.  In the coming months, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbus Circuit will decide whether the executions can resume.  They are still collecting signatures to the National Catholic Petition Against Federal Executions.  You can read the petition and add your signature here.

Did you know that the House of Representatives has passed 389 bills, 250 of which are bipartisan?  The Senate has only passed 91.  Who’s working harder?  Find out more?

Religious Institutions are providing the impetus for a solar energy boom. This is a good news story.

Earlier in the year, Sr. Doris told us about the Honduran climate crusader, Berta Cáceres who was murdered. Seven men were sentenced in early November. Several of these men, Douglas Bustillo and Mariano Dias were both trained at the SOA (School of the Americas) in Bennings, GA.  However, none of the seven sentences were the ones who ordered and paid for Cáceres’ murder. None of these perpetrators have faced trial.  Bustillo and Diaz were sentenced to 30 years and six months and 30 years respectively. They communicated with Henry Hernandez who led a group of hitmen to Cáceres’ home on March 2, 2016 to execute the murder. Hernandez and the other three hitmen were sentenced to 50 years for both the murder of Cáceres and the attempted murder of Mexican environmentalist Gustavo Castro who was at Cáceres’ home at the time of the murder. The court’s sentences affirmed that Cáceres was murdered for her leadership in COPINH’s (Council of Popular and Indigenous Organization of Honduras)  opposition to DESA’s (Desarrollos Energeticos, SA) internationally-financed hydroelectric  project on the Gualcarque River.  To read more about this, click here.

 

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Dominican Month for Peace – December 17, 2019

Last week we highlighted the friars ministries in India, here is a sampling of what the Sisters are doing. 

The PBS News Hour presented a feature called Fighting to Unravel India’s Widespread Child Labor Abuses. There are laws against child labor in India, yet millions of underage children are still trafficked or forced by poverty to toil away in factories. Here is that report.

What’s happening in India? Reuters explains this in pictures.

The Indian Parliament voted last week to pass a measure that would give special treatment to Hindu and other non-Muslim migrants in India. Critics say that this action by the Hindu nationalist government is in conflict with the country’s founding as a secular republic.  To understand better what is happening, read here.

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates