What is it like sitting on top of a hill? As children we played a game called King of the Mountain. The United States and the Developed countries sit on top of other world economies. Two hundred giant corporations, most of them larger than many national economies, now control well over a quarter of the world’s economic activity. When on top of the hill, one can rewrite the rules to solidify one’s position and increase even further one’s coffers. The wealthier are getting wealthier, leaving the rest behind.
“Just Reflecting” features a variety of blogs and bloggers discussing various social justice topics that we encounter in our daily lives, whether it be within our communities or own families.
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 →
“To build peace, to preach peace and to be peace” is the challenge that all of us have been given as Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace. I have had the wonderful opportunity to realize this challenge by joining Sisters Ceal Warner and Pat Thomas in founding our Peace Center in New Orleans. In August 2016 the Peace Center will be two years old, so it is a good time to reflect.