Peace & Justice Blog

Stay up to date on peace and justice issues, both locally and internationally, and learn how you can take action.


 

It’s Time for Good News

    Blog by Justice Promoter Kelly Litt

In a time where every issue seems to carry with it elements of partisanship and an “us versus them” mentality, it is refreshing to reflect upon issues that bring all together, regardless of color, creed, or party lines. Human trafficking is one such issue that seems to have bipartisan support in protecting victims and in the effort to work to combat this form of slavery.

While human trafficking is indeed modern day slavery, and the victims of trafficking are subjected to unthinkable torture physically, emotionally, and spiritually, it’s still essential for us to acknowledge the large strides that are being taken to end trafficking worldwide. It’s time for some good news!

Earlier this year, UPS announced that they will be working with Truckers Against Trafficking to train their drivers to recognize and report cases of human trafficking. They plan to train all of their freight drivers by the end of the year.

Delta Airlines is also working to provide training to their employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking on board their aircrafts. As of March 7, 54,000 Delta employees have been trained, and now they are encouraging Delta customers to join in their efforts to end human trafficking. Through a partnership with Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery, “all Delta SkyMiles members can now donate miles to Polaris through [the] SkyWish program at Delta.com to cover the airfare survivors need to return home, receive critical services, reunite with their families or engage in survivor leadership opportunities.”

These are critical partnerships and training initiatives that will save the lives of numerous individuals. I am filled with hope after hearing about these initiatives of dedication and goodwill coming together to save countless women, men, and children around the world. This is progress, and this is good news!

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Showing Mercy to Earth

Blog by Justice Promoter Kelly Litt

When I was in elementary school, I remember annual celebrations of Earth Day which included planting trees, repurposing tin cans into flower pots, and coloring pictures of a cartoon Earth with a big grin on its face. Today, those actions are still important, but our Earth is calling us to more.

Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22nd, and Sunday, April 23rd is Mercy Sunday. In the Gospel reading on Mercy Sunday, we hear Jesus greeting the disciples with “Peace be with you.” What relief the disciples must have felt after hearing Jesus’ greeting! What if we took the tenderness and mercy that Jesus showed to the disciples and let it permeate our lives, pushing us to say “Peace be with you, Earth.”

I have been greatly moved by the idea that the moral character of a nation can be judged by how it treats the poor, and yet we know that the poor are the most immediately impacted and harmed by climate change and lack of care for the Earth. We can see that how we treat the Earth directly impacts our care for the poor.

So whether you are passionate about providing for the poor, creating a safe environment for future generations, protecting wildlife and endangered species, or merely ensuring that we provide for our planet so that we can see another day of beauty and blooms in the life it provides for us, we can all rally around Earth Day and recommit ourselves to taking care of our one common home. How will you work to protect the Earth?

For some ideas of how to get involved in caring for the Earth, check out these resources from the Eco-Justice Committee:

  • It isn’t too early to think about spring cleaning!  Along with including free sunshine and fresh air, take a natural approach to cleaning rather than using the often harmful, sometimes polluting, and usually expensive cleaning products. The Eco-Justice Committee offers to you some planet-friendly, healthy alternatives compiled by Sister Imelda Schmidt, OP newly returned to ministry at Heartland Farm. We will share her wealth of wholesome hints throughout the seasons. Click here for April’s tips.
  • Do you have plans for Earth Day? There are numerous events and rallies occurring across the country throughout the month of April. Click here for a listing of events and here for a listing of People’s Climate Movement events. If you’re participating in an event, feel free to take along one of our banners and send pictures! We have banners in Columbus, Kentucky, New Orleans, and Kansas.
  • You can also participate in Earth Day through prayer. Our Eco-Justice Committee would like to offer this prayer. Click here to download the Earth Day Prayer; feel free to use excerpts or edit it to best fit your needs).
Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Loosening the Bonds of Bias

Blog by Justice Promoter Kelly Litt

Implicit Bias

Since my time as Justice Promoter began, I’ve had the privilege to visit a number of our Motherhouses as well as Mission Groups and Associate Groups to meet with our Sisters and Associates throughout the country. These opportunities give me the chance to get to know our Dominican family and talk about various justice issues that we are working on together.

At a number of these meetings, I’ve led a presentation and discussion on implicit bias. Implicit bias, according to the Kirwan Institute at The Ohio State University, refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. Continue reading →

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

…And They Were Cured

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. (Matthew 10:8)

Blog by Justice Promoter Kelly Litt

ACA vs AHCA – Our Gospel Mandate

Throughout Scripture, Jesus heals the sick, comforts the suffering, embraces children, reaches out to the marginalized, and continually encourages us to do the same. Pope Francis has reinforced Jesus’ words by explaining that “health care is not a consumer good but a universal right, so access to health services cannot be a privilege.”

With the recent battle between the Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act (cleverly and confusingly known as AHCA), our Gospel mandate to care for the poor and sick has become front page news. The current Administration has promised to fix the ACA by repealing it and replacing it, yet members of Congress on both sides of the aisle expressed concern after the Congressional Budget Office estimated that up to 24 million individuals could lose coverage under the new proposed AHCA. Continue reading →

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Lost Lands, Broken Bonds


Blog by Sr. Roberta Miller, OP

Many of us come from localities in which we have embedded family roots. From these roots we have our language, pronunciations, cultural traditions and ties to the familiar environments. How have you felt when uprooted from the familiar environs?

If family evictions from their traditional locales have occurred through economic losses, urban renewals, natural disasters or war, how do you imagine their thoughts and feelings about themselves? Despairing? Lost? Helpless? Hopeless? Continue reading →

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog