Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Join Dominican Sisters of Peace as we strive to bring PEACE and justice to our world in this post-truth era. Each week, our Justice Promoter will share important information (including action alerts, prayer opportunities and much more) that will help you to spread peace in your own local community and our world at large.


 

Justice Updates – Tuesday, June 4, 2019

WEAR ORANGE Day. This Friday, June 7. Help make people aware of gun safety legislation. Everyday over 100 people in America are killed by guns with 2/3 of them being suicide. Everytown for Gun Safety Research  provides more information on this national disgrace and epidemic.

Tomorrow (June 5) is World Environment Day. It invites us to set aside our differences in pursuit of the health of the natural world.  We must protect nature for it is God’s revelation and for our future generations. Many general practices today threaten the future integrity of animals, plants, and natural systems.  Take time and watch this 3 minute video of a contemporary view of the Beatitudes inspired by Laudato Si’ produced by Catholic Climate Covenant.

Take Action. Call TODAY.   Ask your representatives and ask them to pass H.R.6, the American Dream and Promise Act to protect Dreamers, TPS (Temporary Protected Status) and DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) holders.  Dreamers and TPS recipient were thrown into legal limbo when the current administration canceled their temporary protections.  If passed into law, H.R. 6 would provide a pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers TPS and DED holders living in the U.S.   Here is some selected language that you can use during your call but make sure to use your own words.

Dear Representative:

As a person of faith, I believe in protecting the God-given dignity of every human being. As your constituent, I urge you to vote in favor of passing H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, as currently written, and to reject any amendments which would curtail the bill’s critical protections.

Dreamers, TPS and DED holders are our neighbors and an important part of our community. They have prayed with us in houses of worship, contributed to the U.S. economy, attended schools and colleges, and served in our military.

Thank you for your important work in Congress on my behalf and for promoting the human dignity of immigrants and refugees.

For more information about H.R.6, the National Immigration Law Center explains the bill in more detail.

Great news!  New Hampshire has abolished the death penalty.

Bad news.  Alabama carried out the 1499 execution since 1977, executing Christopher Price. Read about how poverty contributed to his execution.

Why isn’t our Senate doing anything?  The House of Representatives have passed the following legislation but Mitch McConnell won’t introduce it in the Senate. Call your Senators and ask them why nothing is happening.

  • Global Fragility Act
  • Equality Act
  • Paycheck Fairness Act
  • Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019
  • American Dream and Promise Act of 2019
  • Climate Action Now
  • Voting Rights Advancement Act
  • Keep Families Together
  • No Ban Act

 

“With this in mind, we frame our policy on immigration. Human beings do not leave their villages for pleasure but out of necessity. That’s why, from the beginning of my government, I proposed opting for cooperation in development and aid for the Central American countries with productive investments to create jobs and resolve this painful situation.” This quote from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico to the administration’ threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods.  Read the entire letter in Spanish here.

Here’s the English Translation:

Mexico City, May 30, 2019

President Donald Trump,

I am aware of your latest position in regard to Mexico. In advance, I express to you that I don’t want confrontation. The peoples and nations that we represent deserve that we resort to dialogue and act with prudence and responsibility, in the face of any conflict in our relations, serious as it may be.

The greatest President of Mexico, Benito Juárez, maintained excellent relations with the Republican hero, Abraham Lincoln. Later, when Mexico nationalized its oil resources and industry, Democratic President Franklin D, Roosevelt understood the profound reasons that led our patriotic President Lázaro Cárdenas to act in favor of our sovereignty. By the way, President Roosevelt was a titan of freedom who proclaimed the four fundamental rights of man: the right to freedom of speech; the right to freedom of religion; the right to live free from fear; and the right to live free from misery.

With this in mind, we frame our policy on immigration. Human beings do not leave their villages for pleasure but out of necessity. That’s why, from the beginning of my government, I proposed opting for cooperation in development and aid for the Central American countries with productive investments to create jobs and resolve this painful situation.

You also know that we are fulfilling our responsibility to prevent, as much as possible and without violating human rights, any passage of the persons concerned through our country. It is worth remembering that – in a short time, Mexicans will not need to go to the United States and that migration will be optional, not forced. This is because we are fighting, like never before, the main problem in Mexico, corruption. And, in this way, our country will attain a powerful social dimension. Our countrymen will be able to work and be happy where they were born, where their families, their customs and their cultures are.

President Trump, social problems are not resolved by tariffs or coercive measures like turning a neighboring country overnight into a ghetto, an enclosed place for the migrants of the world, where they’re stigmatized, abused, persecuted, and excluded and the right to justice is denied to those who seek to work and to live free from want. The Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol.

With all due respect, although you have the sovereign right to say it, the slogan “United States First” is a fallacy because universal justice and fraternity will prevail until the end of time, even over national borders.

Specifically, citizen President, I propose to deepen our dialogue, and seek alternatives to the immigration problem. And, please remember that I do not lack courage, that I am not cowardly or timorous, but that I act on principles. I believe that politics was invented to avoid confrontation and war, among other things.  I do not believe in the Law of Talon, in a ‘tooth for a tooth’ or an ‘eye for an eye’ because, if we practiced it, we would all be toothless and one-eyed. I believe that as statesmen and even more so as patriots, we are obliged to seek peaceful solutions to controversies and to practice the beautiful ideal of non-violence, forever.

Finally, I suggest that you instruct your officials, if it doesn’t cause any inconvenience. that they attend to representatives of our government, headed by the Secretary of Foreign Relations, who will be in Washington tomorrow to reach an agreement for the benefit of our two nations.

Nothing by force. Everything by reason and human rights.

Your friend,

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

President of México

 

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Death Penalty Resources.  The Peace and Nonviolence Committee invites you to reflect and pray about the Death Penalty Corporate Stance and the rationale for taking this stance.  Please click here for the corporate stance, the rationale, and articles about the Death Penalty.

Pope Francis changed the Catechism saying executions are an attack on human dignity and promising that the church would work “with determination” to abolish capital punishment worldwide.  Read more in this New York Times article and from Crux Now.

An invitation to go to the Border.  Sisters Manuela Crisologo Gonzalez and Barbara Kane are going to El Paso from July 7 – 22. If you are interested, please contact Sr. Barbara at bkane@oppeace.org.

Update on Asylum Seekers.  On April 29, 2019, President Trump issued a memorandum directing the U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to issue regulations on asylum by July 28th. The USCCB Justice for Immigrants prepared this information to explain more about this memorandum.

Thousands of unaccompanied children are coming to the border. They are sent to ‘influx’ or emergency shelters like the infamous Homestead, Florida facility. Justice for Immigrants has prepared this fact sheet about these facilities and how they can be made better.

Earth Day Network is launching a new program called Foodprints for the Future to address one of the largest contributors to climate change facing us today – our food system.  A foodprint measures the environmental impacts associated with growing, producing, transporting, and storing our food – from the natural resources consumed, to the pollution produced, to the greenhouse gases emitted. The campaign will enhance literacy around our food choices and food waste and create a call to connect plant based food choices with climate solutions. For more information about Foodprints for the Future visit foodprints.earthday.org. 

The Administration has proposed to weaken regulatory oversight of overseas gun sales by transferring export controls from the Department of State to the Department of Commerce. The decision to transfer control will allow semi-automatic pistols, assault-style firearms, sniper rifles, and ammunition from the United States Munitions List to be exported under significantly less stringent criteria, effectively exacerbating gun violence, human rights abuses and armed conflict abroad. Additionally, this transfer eliminates existing congressional oversight of arms transfers by circumventing the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act – laws that provide critical oversight impacting human rights abuses. Congress has introduced two bills to prevent this dangerous transfer: H.R. 1134, sponsored by Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA-35) and S. 459, sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). Please ask your elected officials to co-sponsor and vote for these bills to ensure adequate oversight of firearms sales abroad.

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Did you find your orange ribbon? Get it out, dust it off, and plan to wear it on Friday, June 7th. Tell anyone who asks that too many people have been killed by gun violence and you want gun safety legislation that can make a difference.

Stop the rollback of NEPA.  The hallmark of democracy is that all citizens have a right to speak and be heard. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is one of the only federal laws that allows people to voice their concerns about the impacts federal projects have on their communities.  Imagine the government trying to put a highway through the property of one of our motherhouses and/or ecology centers, wouldn’t we want an opportunity to speak against it?

Under NEPA, federal agencies must perform an environmental review for each proposed major federal action. The current administration has begun dismantling these requirements including how agencies should address greenhouse gases and waiving NEPA reviews completely.

Because NEPA reviews are centered on the voices from the communities impacted, they give people — especially people of color — the power to fight against these systemic inequities to protect their families and communities. In fact, from harmful pollution to the real impacts of climate change disasters, race is the single biggest indicator of how likely an individual is to experience negative environmental and public health impacts. That is environmental racism. Communities of color face greater environmental and public health hazards because they have less power and access to fight back. And since communities of color are already impacted first and worst by these environmental challenges, rolling back NEPA protections will only exacerbate existing injustices.

Contact your senators and representatives and tell them to stop the administration from gutting NEPA.  The Harvard Law School Environmental and Energy Law Program provides more information.

Revoke the Authorization for Use of Military Force.  After the attacks on September 11, 2001, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that granted the President the authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the September 11 attacks. In 2016, the Office of the President published a brief interpreting the AUMF as providing authorization for the use of force against al-Qaeda and other militant groups.  AUMF has been used to allow military action in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, and Somalia.  Now the administration has declared there is a threat coming from Iran.

H.R. 1274, introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, is a bill to revoke Congress’ two-decade-old authorization of military action. Without Congress’s approval, the administration could extend military action into Iran and even Venezuela.

According to Win Without War, “presidents from both parties have distorted Congress’ 2001 AUMF beyond belief – to justify global war and counterterrorism operation in 80 countries over 18 years.  The never-ending war in Afghanistan. Hidden drone strikes across Africa. Torture in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons. The erosion of civil liberties across the United States.”

Call your representative and tell him/her that any military action should be approved by Congress and to support H.R. 1274.

Good news…more money to study gun violence.   Everytown for Gun Safety reports that the House Appropriations Committee has allocated $50 million in a 2020 federal spending bill to study both the causes of gun violence and the solutions to help prevent it. Gun violence kills 100 people, and injures hundreds more, every day in our country. More than 20 years ago the NRA fought aggressively to persuade Congress to block funding for gun violence research, resulting in the so-called Dickey Amendment. As a result, funding for gun injury prevention fell by over 90 percent over the last two decades.

The money would go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The research would look at the causes and effects of gun violence, and different gun safety prevention strategies. Building on what we already know works, it could point the way toward effective new approaches for ending gun violence in America.

Since the Dickey Amendment in 1996, gun violence research has been severely underfunded by the CDC and NIH. In 2018, out of a total budget of more than $8.2 billion, the CDC devoted merely $199,000 to firearm-related research. $50 million of research funding would signal a sea change in the federal commitment to ending gun violence.

Now, this spending bill is moving to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote — and we need their support for this funding. Please call your Representative and encourage him/her to vote for this funding.

Sowing hope for the planet.   At the UISG Plenary, Sr. Sheila Kinsey, FCJM presented this 17-minute video to highlight how Sisters are responding to the cries of the earth and the plights of the poor.

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) invite you to a conversation with Sister Gabriella Bottani, CMS, the director of Talitha Kum. She will talk about Talitha Kum, the international network of consecrated life against the trafficking of persons, and how this global network of sister organizations is working to eliminate human trafficking.  The Zoom webinar will be on Monday, May 20 at 11 am Eastern, 10 am Central, 9 am Mountain, and 8 am Pacific. It will last for one hour.  Click here to get the flyer and information on how to connect to the Zoom link.  (Click anywhere on the flyer and you will get to Zoom.)

Get out your orange ribbon! June 7th is Wear Orange Day.  A day to remember those killed by gun violence and to work for an end to gun violence.  If you lost your orange ribbon, let me know and I’ll send you another (bkane@oppeace.org).  Why are we wearing orange?   Click here to find out.

H.R. 5 Equality Act.  Everyone, regardless of who they are or who they love is created with sacred dignity and worth. Our laws should reflect that. The House of Representatives is voting next week on the H.R. 5 Equality Act – a step forward for justice for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Faith in Public Life invites you to add your name to thousands of faith leaders speaking out. Here is the link to this petition.  H.R. 5 Equality Act prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation. The bill expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.

The bill allows the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions in federal court on account of sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill prohibits an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.

Climate Refugees. We have heard about the refugee coming to the border because of violence and poverty. But what about those who are forced to flee their countries because of climate change?  The Jesuit Office of Justice and Ecology explain this phenomena.

Climate Refugees: Your Questions Answered

April 23, 2019 — Climate change is having significant impacts around the world and powerful weather events, often the result of climate change, have captured the public’s attention. But how is climate change impacting displacement of people? In honor of Earth Day this week, Jesuit Refugee Service USA (JRS/USA) and the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology are answering your questions about climate and displacement.

What is a climate refugee?

There is no internationally recognized definition of climate refugees, but climate refugees are generally understood to be migrants who have been forced to leave their homes due to the sudden or gradual impacts of climate change. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that by 2050, up to 250 million people will be displaced by climate change impacts such as rising sea levels, floods, famine, drought, hurricanes, desertification and the negative impacts on ecosystems.

In 2013 alone, almost three times as many people were displaced by disasters than conflict.

People who must migrate due to environmental degradation can be forced to flee temporarily and quickly due to a sudden natural disaster (e.g., hurricane, tsunami, etc.), leave because the environmental conditions in or near their home are deteriorating (e.g., deforestation, coastal deterioration), or leave to avoid future problems due to environmental deterioration (e.g., a farmer must move because crop production starts to fall).

People displaced by climate are often displaced within their own country and do not cross a border to reach a new country.

How does climate impact displacement otherwise?

Not only can climate change be a direct contributor to the displacement, but in many of today’s conflicts causing forced displacement climate change is a “threat multiplier.” A key example is Syria, where a five-year drought preceded the civil war. Some experts assert that the devastation and scarcity of resources caused by the drought exacerbated socio-political tensions that led to the war. According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “Climate change [is] now found to be the key factor accelerating all other drivers of forced displacement.”

Those who are displaced feel the impacts of climate change more than others. The recent example of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi made this clear. Jesuit Refugee Service saw firsthand the impact this weather had on the refugees we serve in Tongogara refugee camp in Zimbabwe, home to more than 10,000 refugees, the majority of whom fled violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of these refugees had already survived violence and persecution only to have their new home destroyed by a storm.

People wait in line for food at a camp for displaced people in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 30, 2019. (CNS photo/Zohra Bensemra, Reuters)

What is the legal status of those displaced by climate change?

Climate refugees are not currently classified by international law as refugees, so they do not have the same recognition or protection as those who flee persecution, war or violence.

Despite widespread recognition of the needs of climate-related forcibly displaced people — as great as any refugee — they continue to lack formal recognition.

Where are climate refugees?

No region is immune from the impacts of climate change, but some regions are being particularly hard hit. In parts of the Pacific, sea levels are rising as much as four times the global average. According to UNHCR, in 2015, 85 percent of people displaced by sudden onset disasters were in South and East Asia. That year, Tuvalu and Vanuatu saw 25 percent and 55 percent of their populations displaced during Cyclone Pam. When Cyclone Komen hit India and Myanmar later that year, 1.2 million and 1.6 million people were displaced respectively.

Villagers on Tanna Island, Vanuatu, in March 2015 after Cyclone Pam destroyed their homes. (CNS photo/Dave Hunt, EPA)

Low and lower-middle income countries have the most displacement linked to disasters, including in the context of climate change.

What does Catholic Social Teaching tell us about climate refugees?

Both climate change and the welcoming of migrants are issues that the Holy Father has pointed to as central in our time. In his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis draws the link between them, noting that climate is causing people, especially the poor, to leave their homes. He writes that “There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation,” calling all of us to take responsibility for our brothers and sisters who have experienced this loss.

So what steps can we take to address the needs of climate-related forcibly-displaced people?

Educate: We can share the stories of the people directly impacted by changes in global weather patterns. Millions of people have already been forcibly displaced by climate-related disasters, and we can share the stories of our brothers and sisters who are suffering, whether they have lost everything from flooding in Bangladesh or Houston, or are starving due to recurring droughts.

Advocate: The U.S. withdrew from the UN Global Compact on Migration which specifically talks about the need to address the growing problem of climate displacement. We need to urge our elected officials to re-engage in global responses to climate change.

The U.S. should also become a leader in reducing our negative impact on the environment. Encourage your representatives to support HR 9, the Climate Action Now Act, which directs the President to develop a plan for the United States to meet its obligation under the Paris Agreement to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Action:  Call your congressperson to support H.R. 1945 (The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act). The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (HR1945), demanding a suspension of all U.S. security aid to Honduras, was recently re-introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson with 43 initial cosponsors. The bill will work to ensure that the Honduran government, military, and police cannot commit crimes or acts of violence against the Honduran people with impunity.  Berta Cáceres was an environmental activist who with the indigenous Lenca people waged a nonviolent campaign to prevent the building of the Agua Zarca Dam. She was murdered in 2016 by gunmen in her home.

“This legislation will suspend U.S. military funding to Honduran security forces and discourage multilateral development bank lending until the Honduran government investigates and prosecutes those in the military and police who have violated human rights.” “For years, members of the Honduras police and military have engaged in corrupt practices and gross human rights abuses without consequence. By limiting funding, we have the opportunity to force the Honduran government to investigate and prosecute these crimes,” said Rep. José Serrano (NY-15).For more information about this bill, click here or here.  Co-sponsors of the bill include representatives from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Ohio

Who was Berta Cáceres?  In a country with growing socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations, Berta Cáceres (d. 2016) rallied the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras and waged a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam.

Since the 2009 coup, Honduras has witnessed an explosive growth in environmentally destructive megaprojects that would displace indigenous communities. Almost 30 percent of the country’s land was earmarked for mining concessions, creating a demand for cheap energy to power future mining operations. To meet this need, the government approved hundreds of dam projects around the country, privatizing rivers, land, and uprooting communities.

Among them was the Agua Zarca Dam, a joint project of Honduran company Desarrollos Energéticos SA (DESA) and Chinese state-owned Sinohydro, the world’s largest dam developer. Agua Zarca, slated for construction on the sacred Gualcarque River, was pushed through without consulting the indigenous Lenca people—a violation of international treaties governing indigenous peoples’ rights. The dam would cut off the supply of water, food and medicine for hundreds of Lenca people and violate their right to sustainably manage and live off their land.

Berta Cáceres, a Lenca woman, grew up during the violence that swept through Central America in the 1980s. Her mother, a midwife and social activist, took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, teaching her young children the value of standing up for disenfranchised people. She grew up to become a student activist and in 1993, she cofounded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) to address the growing threats posed to Lenca communities by illegal logging, fight for their territorial rights and improve their livelihoods.

In 2006, community members from Rio Blanco came to COPINH asking for help. They had witnessed an influx of machinery and construction equipment coming into their town. They had no idea what the construction was for or who was behind the project. What they knew was that an aggression against the river—a place of spiritual importance to the Lenca people—was an act against the community, its free will, and its autonomy. With mandates from local community members at every step of the way, Cáceres began mounting a campaign against the Agua Zarca Dam. She filed complaints with government authorities, bringing along community representatives on trips to Tegucigalpa. She organized a local assembly where community members formally voted against the dam, and led a protest where people peacefully demanded their rightful say in the project.

The campaign also reached out to the international community, bringing the case to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and lodging appeals against the project’s funders such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank. Ignoring these appeals, the national government and local mayors forged ahead. They doctored minutes from a community meeting to paint a false picture of unanimous approval for the dam, and offered cash to local people in exchange for their signature on documents declaring their support.

In April 2013, Cáceres organized a road blockade to prevent DESA’s access to the dam site. Using a carefully organized system of alerts to keep everyone in the loop, the Lenca people maintained a heavy but peaceful presence, rotating out friends and family members for weeks at a time. For well over a year, the blockade withstood multiple eviction attempts and violent attacks from militarized security contractors and the Honduran armed forces.

Honduras’ violent climate is well known to many, but few understand that environmental and human rights activists are its victims. Tomas Garcia, a community leader from Rio Blanco, was shot and killed during a peaceful protest at the dam office. Others have been attacked with machetes, discredited, detained, and tortured. None of the perpetrators have been brought to justice. Against these odds, Cáceres and the Lenca community’s efforts successfully kept construction equipment out of the proposed dam site. In late 2013, Sinohydro terminated its contract with DESA, publicly citing ongoing community resistance and outrage following Tomas’ death. Agua Zarca suffered another blow when the IFC withdrew its funding, citing concerns about human rights violations. To date, construction on the project has effectively come to a halt.

Death threats to Cáceres continued until March 3, 2016, when she was killed by gunmen in her home in La Esperanza, Honduras. Her death, followed by the killing of her colleague and fellow COPINH member Nelson García just 12 days later, sparked international outrage. Dutch development bank FMO and FinnFund have since suspended their involvement in the Agua Zarca project. COPINH, along with fellow activists, are determined to continue her legacy, fighting irresponsible development and standing up for the rights of the Lenca people in Honduras.

 Network Lobby for Social Justice continues its Lenten series on Racism with this reminder: “Being anti-racist is a daily choice. When white supremacy permeates the daily society, structures, and systems we encounter daily, it is not enough to be passive – we must actively counter the presence of white supremacy in our daily lives. However, when you do join a conversation about racism, participate in an action, or just go about your daily life mindful of race, you may slip up. We all have racial biases that we are working to overcome, and sometimes there are things that you just haven’t educated yourself on yet. The important thing is that how you choose to react when you mess up.” This week’s information is called Hope for our Liberation.

Action:  We need to fight environmental racism.  When the federal government wants to build something in our communities, we have a right to be a part of the process – especially if there are potentially harmful environment risks.  It is a part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the administration is attempting to roll back parts of the bill that give citizens a voice. This will especially impact communities of color who are often the victims of environmental racism.  From harmful pollution to the real impacts of climate change, race is the single biggest indicator of how likely an individual is to experience negative environmental and public health impacts. NEPA reviews allow people – especially people of color – the power to fight against systemic inequities to protect their families and communities. Call your senators and representatives and urge them to protect NEPA.

Cecilia González-Andrieu writing for America explores why women stay in the Catholic Church. She states that  “the story of the dysfunction of the Catholic Church as an institution is now the subject of multiple investigations and copious news coverage worldwide. Tragically, at issue is not just the sexual abuse of minors by clergy or the exploitation of women religious or the exclusion of women from positions of authority and oversight or denying women full use of their gifts. We are now confronting all of this together.”   Read “With a Church in Crisis, Why do Catholic Women Stay?” 

Many individuals criticize asylum seekers saying they should enter the U.S. the legal way. While claiming asylum is legal based on both national and international law, it is incredibly hard to enter the U.S. through other legal means. Here’s what’s happening with the current immigration system as explained by Peniel Ibe of the American Friends Service Committee.  One of the major problems is the reduction in the number of refugees allowed into the country. This year’s quota is 30,000. Last year, only around 24,000 were admitted.  On April 9, 2019 Senator Edward Markey, Representative Zoe Logfren and Joe Neguse and 22 Senate and House co-sponsors introduced the Guaranteed Refugee Admissions Ceiling Enhancement (GRACT) Act. It would establish 95,000 as the minimum goal for refugee admitted each year. Read, Ms. Ibe’s blog “Trump Attacks on Legal Immigration System Explained.”

More Action: Call your Senators and Representatives to support the DREAM Act and SECURE Act.  The USCCB Committee on Migration publicly voiced support and sent letters to the Senate endorsing the “Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors” (DREAM) Act of 2019, S. 874, and the “Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression & Emergency” (SECURE) Act of 2019, S. 879. The DREAM Act of 2019 would provide permanent legal protection and a pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers. The SECURE Act of 2019 would provide permanent legal protection and a pathway to citizenship to qualifying Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders.

 Yesterday was Earth Day – a day to celebrate the beauty of our Mother Earth. What has been accomplished since the first earth day in 1970?  This article from National Geographic provides a list.  There have been many advancements but there is still a long way to go.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates