This year, the 2016 School of the Americas Watch moved from Fort Benning to the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales. Six Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates participated in the Convergence at the Border that took place on October 7-10. The change of location was an effort to bring “awareness to the militarization of the border, the criminalization of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and people of color.” (SOA Website). The weekend event included rallies, workshops, prayer services, actions and gatherings in both Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico. Continue reading →
Are you not bound to love them as you love yourselves?
The reading list for the oral exam in Spanish language and literature was long and detailed, and I remember being delighted to find, in the library at Albertus Magnus College, an essential item: the only printed edition of Bartolome de las Casas History of the Indies – a 19th century edition in an oversize difficult-to-handle tone. I settled in to the drudgery of reading the difficult text. Then suddenly I read a section which still thrills me as I think about it today. It was the account of the sermon preached to the Spaniards on the island of Hispaniola by the Dominican friar Antonio de Montesinos in which he declared that they were all in mortal sin, and “live and die in it, because of the cruelty and tyranny you practice among these innocent peoples.” The text of the sermon was “written out and signed by the other friars,” and its most famous lines were: “Are these not men? Do they not have rational souls? Are you not bound to love them as you love yourselves?” Continue reading →
What options do ordinary people have to express their opinions about national issues? In a democracy like the United States, where free speech is a valued right, we don’t worry about being jailed or even killed for speaking out. In fact, it is our duty to speak out when there are unjust systems or treatment of people. As quoted in Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation, Chris Hedges protesting the militarization of our country, gave a speech called, “Real Hope Is About Doing Something.” He believes that hope is an action “which is always nonviolent, knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on us all… If we resist and carry out acts, no matter how small, of open defiance, hope will not be extinguished.” (Nook Book, p. 35) This is why I choose to participate in protests and sit-ins.
Slavery, many Americans believe, ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. For the most part, that was the end of chattel slavery, when a person was treated as another person’s property, to be bought, sold, inherited, and controlled. Yet, if you define slavery as the condition in which humans are forced to work, under the threat of violence, for no pay beyond enough to subsist, it is rampant in our world.
A number of our sisters lived in Chimbote, Peru during the “years of terrorism” (1980-2000), when nearly 70,000 people were reported as killed or missing. I say “reported” because the number is likely much higher, but unreported for any number of reasons. They were victims of one of the two terrorist groups or of extrajudicial government disappearances and killings. To this day, far too many families still do not know what happened to their loved-ones, and have yet to receive any type of just reparation (which was recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission). Continue reading →