Peace and Justice Updates 3.3.2021

For our Family in Iraq
As of this writing, Pope Francis is planning to leave for his trip to Iraq on Friday. In his Wednesday audience, he said, “The people of Iraq are waiting for us. The people cannot be let down for a second time. Let us pray that this trip can be carried out well,” he said.
Please pray for his safety, and for him to accomplish his goal of sharing the desperate plight of our sisters and brothers in this country.

The Dominican Sisters Conference and Dominican Iraq Coordinating Committee (ICC) have provided this prayer.

Gracious God, grant Pope Francis health and safety to carry out successfully this eagerly awaited visit. Bless his effort to promote dialogue, enhance fraternal reconciliation, build confidence, consolidate peace values and human dignity, especially for us Iraqis who have been through painful “events” that affected our lives.
Our Creator, enlighten our hearts with Your light, to recognize goodness and peace, and to realize them. Mother Mary, we entrust Pope Francis’ visit to your maternal care so that the Lord may grant us the grace of living in complete national communion and cooperate fraternally to build a better future for our country and our citizens. Amen.

Adapted from the Vatican prayer as posted on the Vatican Website

Help for Honduras
On February 23, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon introduced the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act in the U.S. Senate. The bill would:

  • Suspend U.S. assistance to the Honduran military and police until the Honduran military and police cease committing human rights violations and those responsible for human rights violations are brought to justice.
  • Prohibit exports of U.S. munitions, including semiautomatic firearms, tear gas, tasers, and more, to the Honduran military and police.
  • Direct President Biden to sanction and stop supporting Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
  • Support the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Office in Honduras and the creation of a United Nations anti-corruption mission in Honduras with the ability to prosecute corruption cases against high-ranking government officials.

Call and e-mail your Senators today and ask them to join as a co-sponsor on the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021! Unless of course, your Senator(s) is/are the co-sponsors listed above, in which case, you can call to thank them.

  1. Call your Senators (to find your Senators and their office phone numbers, click here). Identify yourself as a constituent and ask to speak to the foreign policy aide:

“I am calling from (town/city, state) to ask Senator _____ to co-sponsor the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021. The bill would suspend U.S. support for the Honduran government until systemic corruption, impunity, and human rights violations cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice. It is time for the U.S. to stop supporting a regime where environmental and Indigenous defenders, journalists, and demonstrators are murdered regularly. Please co-sponsor the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021 and let me know when you do so.”

  1. E-mail your Senators to ask them to co-sponsor the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act by clicking here! 

For far too long, the U.S. has been training and equiping the Honduran military and police, who murder and repress with impunity. For far too long, the U.S. has been propping up President Hernandez — who has been named by U.S. federal prosecutors as a co-conspirator in drug trafficking cases — while simultaneously sending millions to his government under the guise of stopping drug trafficking. For far too long, the U.S. has been financing and backing a regime that regularly commits human rights violations and plunders the country, causing thousands upon thousands to flee Honduras for the U.S.  It is far past time for the U.S. to stop supporting the Hernandez regime and cease training and equipping its military and police. This bill is a significant step forward because while the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act has been introduced in the House in recent years, this is the first time there is such a bill introduced in the Senate.

Support the COVID Relief Bill
The pandemic has shown more clearly than ever before how our communities are deeply interconnected. Over the past year the virus has taken the lives of over 500,000 people in our country; we mourn with the millions of Americans who are grieving their loss. Many more are still caring for sick loved ones and waiting for meaningful relief.

Unfortunately, our nation faces multiple crises outside of the pandemic, including the worsening climate crisis and rampant racial injustice. Our families and communities desperately need bold action to address these crises and deliver on long-overdue relief to the people who need it most.

Last weekend, the House passed a historic relief package to ensure that families and communities across our country get the vaccines they need to survive, support to put food on the table, and the resources to heal from the pandemic.

Now, it needs to pass the Senate. Email your Senators to urge them to vote to pass the relief bill.

As the pandemic has raged on, we’ve gotten more and more data showing that Covid is deadliest in the communities with the most pollution. Historically marginalized communities are more likely to have pre-existing conditions exacerbated by pollution, like asthma and heart disease. Lower-income communities that are predominantly Black, Indigenous, and people of color have borne an unfair burden of pollution for decades; this is a moral issue and people of faith and conscience must speak up.

That’s why we are grateful that the House relief package includes funding for environmental justice monitoring and grants to respond to the pandemic equitably, reducing pollution and saving lives both now and in the future.

It also helps working families keep the lights on and afford their water bills, and provides support to help public transit make it through this crisis. Many essential workers rely on public transit to get to their jobs, and a robust public transit system is a key piece of solving the climate crisis.

This package is the rescue plan that our country urgently needs. Please write to your Senators today to urge them to vote to pass the Covid Relief Package.


Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates