News

For further information on any of the news items listed here, please contact Alice Black, PhD, OPA, Director of Communications & Mission Advancement, at 614-416-1020.


 

Justice Updates: 6.10.2020

OHIO’S STAND YOUR GROUND LAW MUST BE STOPPED
Ohio lawmakers are advancing Stand Your Ground — a dangerous and racist policy known for helping white shooters avoid prosecution and putting Black Americans at further risk of gun violence.

Stand Your Ground laws encourage the escalation of gun violence in avoidable situations and do not deter crime. HB 381 would allow a person to shoot to kill another person in public, even if there is a safe and clear way to walk away from the danger. This racist policy is associated with increases in gun homicides and disproportionately impacts communities of color.

Send your state representative a message urging them to OPPOSE HB 381 by clicking here.

STOP TRAFFICKING
The June issue of Stop Trafficking is now available. Click here to download the PDF version. 

ALLY VS. CO-CONSPIRATOR
Sr. Barbara Kane shared this article on how we can support our friends, neighbors and co-workers of color during this very painful time. Click here to read.

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Small Group Discussion on Direction Setting

Deadline: June 17, 2020

Thank you for your responses to the three questions we sent to you in March in preparation for the Assembly/Chapter. The questions you considered were:

  • How do you want to be together for Assembly/Chapter?
  • What is the world asking of us now? What do we have to offer the world?
  • What important matters do you want to talk about at the Assembly/Chapter? 

The Writing Committee (Sisters Dot Trosclair, Chair, Rene Weeks, Peggy Martin and June Fitzgerald) synthesized your responses. You will find them in the attached documents “First Question Responses” and “Dominican Life and Mission Responses”.

The Assembly/Chapter Planning Committee will incorporate the “First Question Responses” into planning. This is for your review only. There was much variety in the responses, some suggestions appropriate for a virtual meeting and others appropriate for an in-person gathering.

Now the Assembly/Chapter Planning Committee invites you to again gather in small groups to assist us in prioritizing those areas of discussion you have already named in the second and third questions found in the document “Dominican Life and Mission Responses”. These are the steps you should follow:

  1. Gather into a group smaller than ten persons for this process. Those who answered as individuals in the last survey are encouraged to find others and reply as a group. Review the responses from Sisters and Associates in the document “Dominican Life and Mission Responses” linked below. You will see that the Dominican Life Section and all its parts have BLUE TITLES in Italics and the Mission section and all its parts have GREEN TITLES in a different font. It would be good if at least one of you had a color copy of the document.
  2. Your group will select two priorities around Dominican Life (pages 1 and 2) and two priorities around Dominican Mission (pages 3, 4, 5). Indicate the priorities on the document so you have a record for yourselves. Along with your selections please include a sentence for each priority indicating why you chose these topics.
  3. Select one person to fill out the Survey below. Using the same language in the document “Dominican Life and Mission Responses”, fill in the Survey with the group’s priorities and reasons. 

Your responses will assist the Assembly/Chapter Planning Committee as it plans the Virtual Assembly this summer and the Chapter in 2021. As much as possible, form small groups so you can explore your ideas with others and listen to varying perspectives. We realize that some of you will need to do this individually.

Reminders:
Each person’s voice can only be part of one discussion.
Delegates are reminded that your participation is required.

Survey responses are due by June 17th.

CLICK HERE to view and download “First Question Responses” document (for review only)
CLICK HERE to view and download “Dominican Life and Mission Responses” document (use for the Survey)
CLICK HERE FOR THE SURVEY link.

Questions? Contact Sister Lisa Zuccarelli at lzuccarelli@oppeace.org or 614-416-1017.

Posted in News

Symbols Tell Us Who We Are

Blog by Sister Judy Morris, OP

George Printice was a man of great power and influence in the 1840s and beyond.  As editor of the Louisville Journal, a newspaper considered the “best in the west,” he wrote biting and militant editorials that fed the haters of his day. He was pro-slavery, anti-immigrant, and anti-Catholic. He and his followers did not like those who were “different.” He wrote about the “pestilent influence of the foreign swarms” loyal to a pope who was “an inflated despot who keeps people kissing his toes all day.”

On August 6, 1855, 22 Irish-Americans and German-Americans were killed by a mob trying to prevent them from voting. “Bloody Monday” followed numerous editorials that fed the bigoted spirits of that day.

Years later, George Printice, who was a member of the “Know Nothing” party (aptly named), was honored with a statue placed in front of the main library in Louisville. Seated in a chair, he presided over the people walking in front of the library every day. The irony of placing a renowned bigot in front of a building that represents learning and the pursuit of truth is stunning.  After numerous protests the statue was removed in 2018.

Why is this story important and why is this statue important? We find similar stories of statues being removed and confederate flags no longer flying around the country. The governor of Virginia has ordered the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond. Southerners revered Lee and northern generals respected him.  Many southerners are upset, saying, “This is heritage, not hatred,” or “this is history, not hatred.”

Racism comes in many forms. Many African-Americans and white citizens see the confederate flag as a symbol of slavery, lynchings, segregation, and Jim Crow. The confederate flag and these monuments are a vivid reminder of a brutal and painful history.

The Kentucky Capital, with a statue of President Abraham Lincoln in the foreground and Jefferson Davis in the background. Photo by Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press

The rotunda in the state capital of Kentucky hosts a statue of Abraham Lincoln, born in Kentucky, and Jefferson Davis, president of the confederacy, also born in Kentucky. The governor of Kentucky has ordered the statue of Davis removed.

We are reminded every day of the consequences of systemic racism. Protests will continue. Demands for changes in state and federal laws that enable abuse by police will continue. Racism is a “pandemic within a pandemic” and will continue as long as we look the other way.

The issue of offensive statues and confederate flags is not trivial. Both stand as signs that racism has a long history that continues today with those monuments as reminders. They continue to be a slap in the face of African-Americans. Our “heritage” needs to be a history of justice for all, freedom for the oppressed poor and marginalized. If we can move forward there will be no need for professional football players to kneel during the national anthem, for people to protest in our streets, or for men and women to die needlessly.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

An Exercise in Self-Reflection

Let this sink in:

“What we saw on that video was torture. What we saw on that video was inhumane. What we saw on that video was evil. We cannot cooperate with evil. We cannot cooperate with inhumanity. We cannot cooperate with torture. We must seek justice.”

Attorney Benjamin L. Crump

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

Now, take a look in the mirror and answer the following questions:

  • Are you a seeker of justice?
  • How do you show justice to others?
  • Do you (unwittingly or intentionally) fail to do justice?
  • Are there groups of people who you think should have no rights or limited rights?
  • Do Black lives (really) matter to you?
  • Are there areas of your life in which you are indifferent to justice?
  • What are you prepared to do to act justly?
  • Again: Are you a seeker of justice?
Posted in Associate Blog, News

“Peace and Protest” after the Murder of George Floyd

Reflection by Ann E. Killian, Candidate

The words “peaceful protest” dominated headlines last weekend as citizens across our nation took to the streets, demanding justice for George Floyd, following his murder by four Minneapolis police officers. Everyone from President Obama to local faith leaders urged the protestors to remain peaceful. Listening to them, I thought of the students I have taught over the years in a college writing course entitled “Peace and Protest.” We read various texts defending and critiquing nonviolence. My students’ reactions help me reflect critically on our current moment and the public emphasis on keeping the peace.

The ideal peaceful protestor in the American imagination is, of course, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But King was not always universally applauded for his protesting tactics. The “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963) reports that he and fellow Black Christian leaders were labeled “outside agitators” by the mainstream media when they traveled to Birmingham to join demonstrations against segregation. White religious leaders criticized the demonstrators for engaging in civil disobedience, which they said provoked violence, and praised the police department for maintaining law and order – even as those officers unleashed attack dogs on the nonviolent protestors and beat those who had been jailed.

My students admire the 1960s Civil Rights activists for their courage and willingness to suffer police brutality without retaliating. However, they are powerfully persuaded by the skeptical argument of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me (2015), written after the acquittal of police officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Coates recalls growing up as a black boy in 1980s inner-city Baltimore, watching videos of Civil Rights “heroes” – black people knocked down by fire hoses and beaten with clubs in the streets. Coates remembers wondering, “Why were only our heroes nonviolent?” The morality of nonviolence, he realizes, is specially enforced upon people of color.

Coates’ question exposes a double standard that we saw play out again last weekend. The American public expects peaceful conduct from citizens who are protesting the extrajudicial killing of unarmed black men and women. These protestors come from communities oppressed for decades by police brutality, racism, and white supremacy. Handling the protestors – ensuring that they remain “peaceful” – are police and National Guard forces armed with military-grade assault weapons, firing into crowds with rubber bullets and tear gas, and physically taking unarmed people to the ground.

These violent tactics are supposedly justified by instances of looting and vandalism. But there is an undeniable power differential here. It strikes me as deeply hypocritical for this country to demand respect for private property – the symbol of a capitalist economy – while training and arming police to use lethal force against private citizens. In this military-capitalist state, black and brown lives are deemed expendable, apparently less worthy of protection than store-front windows. To reinforce this message, the White House has threatened to send the U.S. military, “thousands of heavily armed soldiers,” to “dominate the streets” and “protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your second amendment rights.” The very law-abiding, white citizens who, mere weeks ago, brandished their guns outside state capitals to intimidate public officials trying to save lives in the midst of a pandemic.

If peaceful protest is to be more than a byword of the white power structure in this country, all Americans must hold our government to a rigorous standard of peace-keeping that does not harm, threaten, or intimidate. We cannot demand nonviolence from the oppressed while allowing the government and law enforcement officers to commit murder in the name of our safety and public order. If we are to speak authentically to our young people about justice and peace, we must live out of the truth that we preach, as Jesus and St Dominic did. Openly carrying arms does not witness to nonviolent commitment – or to the inviolable dignity of human life.

There are immediate actions to take to address current tensions, and they do not include deploying the National Guard. First, charges must be brought against the other three officers responsible for George Floyd’s death. But the issue is obviously much larger than any four individuals. To work for systemic change and racial justice, police training needs to be overhauled in favor of nonviolent conflict resolution, and Stand Your Ground laws overturned. Ultimately, we must heed the Black Lives Matter movement and demilitarize the police.

As people of faith committed to preaching the Reign of God, we remember the vision of the prophet Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again” (Is. 2: 4). May we commit ourselves anew to working nonviolently toward a just peace.

Posted in News