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Justice Today Blog

Alerts, Announcements, and Conversations 
Nonviolence... Human trafficking... Women... The elderly... Immigrants' rights... Housing... Children... Prisoners' rights... Health care... World Hunger... Globalization, as it affects Latin America... Care of the earth... Seamless ethic of life


The mission of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation ministry is to explore CSA's distinct contribution to the ongoing, nonviolent transformation of the world towards peace, justice and ecology. This work embraces the efforts of sisters, associates, co-workers and others who share the CSA vision. We live out the mission to bring about systemic change by using the lens of nonviolence to focus on the issues of women, children, health care, globalization (especially as it affects Latin America), seamless ethic of life.

Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members.


 

Justice Alerts - July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Laudato Si'

 

The Victory Noll Sisters Small Grants Program
Seeding Creation Care

Have you heard?  Small grants are available up to a maximum of $1,000 for groups, parishes and individuals. The priority deadline to apply is October 14th, 2021. (If funding remains thereafter, grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until the funds are exhausted.)

The types of activities that could be funded include:

  • Projects/programs that connect to the Laudato Si’Action Platform (LSAP)
  • Advocacy and dialogue with church and political leaders on our call to care for creation and our vulnerable neighbors
  • Support for events (educational events, rallies, fairs, festivals) that connect to Season of Creation, Feast of St. Francis, Earth Day, or any of the seven Laudato Si’Action Platform goals.
  • Participation in existing creation care events with the intention of lifting up the Catholic voice within them
  • Prayer services and liturgies related to creation care
  • Retreats, workshops, or forums to promote understanding, bridge-building, and healing related to creation care
  • Service projects (tree-plantings, cleanups, community gardens, etc.)
  • Carbon reduction activities
  • Classroom instruction/curriculum related to creation care
Are you planning something special?  Please let us know, we'd love to share it!

 

Plastic Free July

As we continue Plastic Free July, do you wonder...
What more I can do?  Well, do you...

Understand the problem of single-use plastics?
Keep useable bags handy when shopping?
Bring cloth or mesh bags for your produce?
Buy in bulk?
Use reusable straws, cups and mugs?
Bring your own utensils?
Wrap without plastic - use compostable parchment paper, a plate or silicone stretch lids instead?
BYOC - Bring your own container for leftovers?
Party without plastic (balloons, cups, decorations...)?
Recycle responsibly?
Please (re)visit https://www.sustainfdl.org/recycleinfo

Congratulations and thanks for your efforts!
Love, The Earth

 

Earth Justice

The Biden administration is about to start the first of what will likely be several official rulemakings to reverse the last administration’s rollbacks of the Endangered Species Act, one of the most effective tools we have for protecting wildlife and its habitat.  There are two things you can do right now to help:  LEARN and TAKE ACTION.

Trafficking

If you missed this month's episode of Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate, you can find the podcast, "Ending Human Trafficking" here.  

Next month's episode is "Eliminating Gun Violence" on August 11th. 

 

Peace & Nonviolence

Pax Christi USA is holding a fabulous National Conference, via zoom, next Friday and Saturday, July 30 and 31 with speakers like Olga Segura, Megan McKenna, Marie Dennis, Fr. Bryan Massingale, and others!  It includes a wrap-around event with the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

Information can be found HERE. Registration is free (though donations are welcomed), and you can drop in for all or parts of the conference as you like.

 

Immigration

Citizenship for All: Faithful August Recess Advocacy on July 27 at 4pm CT
Sign up now for a webinar to learn how your faith community can put pressure on Congress during August recess to include citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and essential workers - including farm workers - in the next recovery package.

 

Options to Take Action

Urge Congress & the Administration to Evacuate and PROTECT our Afghan Allies

Tell Congress: Support H.R. 2590 The Palestinian Children & Families Act Today! 

Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition

Pass a national red flag law to help reduce gun violence.

Close down private immigration detention facilities

Tell Secretary Haaland know we stand with her and urge her to take swift, bold steps toward ending fossil fuel extraction on our public lands and waters.

 

Justice Alerts - July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Remembering John Lewis

“We all live in the same house, we all must be part of the effort to hold down our little house. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just… do something about it. Say something. Have the courage. Have the backbone. Get in the way. Walk with the wind. It’s all going to work out.”

John Lewis
(February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020)
John Lewis' Last Message

 

Laudato Si'

Introducing a NEW Website!
https://godsplanet.us/

As women religious around the world begin the work of the Laudato Si' Action Platform, the Catholic Climate Covenant has created this new US-based site, which houses and provides wonderful resources for all Catholic sectors (families, parishes, organizations, colleges, etc).  Enjoy navigating around!

Please also consider signing the individual petition to send a united message to U.S. Leaders to protect our common home and our future.   

 

Plastic Free July

As we continue Plastic Free July, test your knowledge.
How much do you know about the threats our planet faces from plastic pollution?
Take the Plastic Pollution Quiz

 

Undoing Racism

Education and Conversations!

The Wisconsin Council of Churches is co-hosting a virtual training in local civil engagement called, Taking A Faithful Stand of Equity on Monday, July 19th at 6:30 pm.  All are welcome to register and join.

 

For the People Act 

The Sisters of Mercy Justice Team and anti-racism committee and the Franciscan Action Network are hosting a teach-in on the For the People Act  (S.1) at 6:30 p.m. CT, Tuesday, July 20.
 
As you may know, this bill is focused on protecting voting rights, ending partisan gerrymandering, reducing the influence of big money in politics, and strengthening ethics rules for government officials. These basics of our democracy are critical if we’re ever to address important issues like climate change, environmental injustice, gun violence, immigration, and hunger and homelessness.
 
In this teach-in they aim to provide some background on voter suppression, explain why this bill is so important and provide some ideas for action over the next few weeks to press for passing the bill in the Senate. (It already passed in the House of Representatives, but was blocked by the filibuster in the Senate earlier this summer.)
 
You may register HERE.  Please share with others who might be interested.

 

Immigration

Learn How Congress Can Defund ICE & CBP on July 20 at 6:30pm CT.  
Register today for a Defund Hate event to learn how Congress funds immigration enforcement agencies and how you can advocate to defund them.

Citizenship for All: Faithful August Recess Advocacy on July 27 at 4pm CT
Sign up now for a webinar to learn how your faith community can put pressure on Congress during August recess to include citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and essential workers - including farm workers - in the next recovery package.

 

Death Penalty

Mr. Rodney Reed is on death row.  He is scheduled for an evidentiary hearing at the trial court level in Bastrop County, Texas starting on July 19, 2021.  He is believed to be innocent.  Read the Innocence Project's letter to Texas Governor Abbott HERE.

Add your name to the petition to Free Him Now!

Additionally, you are invited to register for a special FREE on-line concert in honor of the work of Death Penalty Action, featuring musical artists Charlie King and Elise Bryant at 6pm CT on Thursday, July 22. 

 

Like Podcasts?

The Gloria Purvis Podcast is a newer podcast from America Media hosted by radio personality and Catholic commentator, Gloria Purvis. The podcast centers the opinions, stories and experiences of individuals who have been marginalized in the Catholic Church and in society. 

I enjoyed this one this week:  "What if you are wrong - How to engage with opposing ideas and beliefs."

 

Additional Options to Take Action

Urge Congress & the Administration to Evacuate and PROTECT our Afghan Allies

Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition

Pass a national red flag law to help reduce gun violence.

Close down private immigration detention facilities

Tell Secretary Haaland know we stand with her and urge her to take swift, bold steps toward ending fossil fuel extraction on our public lands and waters.

 

Follow, Like, Tweet, Learn!

In addition to the blog on the CSA website, I will be using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to share social justice information. If you don't already, please consider following the JPIC Office in these ways:

If you haven't yet, please take a minute to complete this survey that will help me better serve the CSA community.  Thank you!  

 

 

Justice Alerts - July 9, 2021

July 09, 2021
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Prayer for the Pope

Merciful and Gracious God, we pray you guard and protect Pope Francis. Grant him continued healing, longevity, and many fruitful years of life, service, and hope to the world.  Amen.

 

Care of Earth

Last week I shared the link to Plastic Free July which challenges us to choose to refuse single-use plastics.  How are you doing?

Here are some "not-so-fun" facts:

  • Roughly 9 billion tons of plastic has been produced since 1950 — the weight of over a billion elephants or 50 million blue whales.
  • Only 9% of this plastic has been recycled, 12% has been burned and 79% has ended up in our environment.
  • The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the oceans every minute.
  • Up to 9 in 10 seabirds, 1 in 3 sea turtles and more than half of whale and dolphin populations have ingested plastic. Studies reveal that species of crustaceans at the deepest depths of the ocean have ingested plastic.
  • Microplastics are in our food, water, air and even our bodies. We each consume the weight of a credit card worth of plastic on average per week.

 

Laudato Si'

There is still time to register for the Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home. a biennial conference series co-sponsored by the Catholic Climate Covenant, its 20 Catholic partners, and Creighton University is still open.
 
All Catholics are invited to attend the virtual LSUS Conference to be held July 13-15, 2021.

The conference is free, but registration is required, and a donation is encouraged to offset costs that include Spanish language interpretation.  

 

Undoing Racism

Where do we start?

I believe the first step in undoing racism is to be able to define what it is. "At it's core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value".  I borrowed this from a summary of Ibram X. Kendi's book, How to be an Antiracist.  Another definition I use is this:  Racism is a system of advantage based on skin color.  The normalized marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.

I have an ongoing list of resources that have helped me discover the untold, or not so well-known, historical stories of racism.  I will be adding the films and documentaries I found in THIS LINK next!  I hope you will too!

 

Ending Human Trafficking

Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate is a collaborative project of LCWR Region 10.  Each month they focus on a social issue and explore how it intersects with racism, migration, and climate.  The month's program is Wednesday, July 14th, 3-4 pm, with the topic:  Ending Human Trafficking.


HOW TO JOIN.

 

Building a Just & Equitable Economy for All

 
SAVE THE DATE!

On October 12, 2021 Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment (SGI-CRI) will hold its annual (in-person) conference at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  

This year’s theme is Resilience: Building a Just & Equitable Economy for All. The two crises of 2020 – the COVID-19 pandemic and the exacerbation of economic and racial inequities – demonstrated and accentuated the fragility of our systems, structures, and policies. The pandemic raised awareness of the critical importance of frontline workers, such as grocery clerks, meat processing and farmworkers, delivery drivers, and many more in maintaining business operations and ensuring the functioning of our global economic system. Many of these workers are women and people of color and this public health crisis has demonstrated their vulnerability and the disproportionate economic and health impacts they experience.

As we begin the recovery process from the COVID-19 pandemic, we see an opportunity to build a resilient society with systems and structures that are just and equitable for all. A panel of company, investor, labor, and NGO representatives will offer their perspectives on how we can implement positive change from the learnings and challenges of 2020, dismantle systems that perpetuate gender and racial inequities, and build an economy that serves all people and ensures the dignity of all workers.

Please contact Tracy or Sister Ruth if you are interested in attending with them.

 

Something to Smile About

I have been asked to share this beautiful audio story of two Mercy Sisters from Chicago. Their interview appears on the Spiritual Edge podcast, which explores the shifting, modern landscape of religion and spirituality. They air diverse stories of people and their communities. It's a reflection of our collective reality, injected with a dash of hope. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

Option to Take Action

4,000 low-risk people could be sent back to prison.  Contact President Biden now.

 

Follow, Like, Tweet, Learn!

In addition to the blog on the CSA website, I will be using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to share social justice information. If you don't already, please consider following the JPIC Office in these ways:

Please watch for a Survey Monkey in your inbox next week.  I will appreciate your feedback to better understand the justice information most important to you and how you wish to receive it.  Thank you in advance!

 

Justice Alerts - June 30, 2021

June 30, 2021
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Celebrating Independence Day - the 4th of July

The opening lines of the Declaration of Independence read: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men/women are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.&aquot;

As we celebrate our American Independence this weekend, we are ever so mindful of the inherent human rights endowed by our Creator to all gender identities, among these are LOVE, JUSTICE, HUMAN DIGNITY, and EQUALITY.

I thank you for joining in this justice work with us. May you always be in contemplation and praise for the work done before us, the work you're doing now, and the work that must continue.  

"Not all of us can do great things,
but we can all do small things with great love."
Mother Teresa

 

 

Care of Earth

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics?

LEARN MORE HERE  

 

Undoing Racism

Should Catholic Schools Teach Critical Racial Theory? 
This is a good article from the Jesuits.

 

Ending Human Trafficking

Consider this:
If all ships stopped for 1-2 weeks in the world, how would this affect your life?

Friday, June 25th was Day of the Seafarer.  I attended a webinar by  the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) which opened my eyes to an issue I admittedly knew little about, but should have - as should every U.S. customer.  Seafarers travel the world, bringing us goods daily.  The worldwide exploitation of seafarers needs our attention.  Below are some takeaways from what I learned:

  • 90% of cargo is transported via waterways.
  • There are ancient prejudices against seafarers; they are treated as incompetent threats to our societies when in reality, they are just people trying to support their families. 
  • Businesses and governments must recognize the value of seafarers to our shipping industry and support their human and labor rights.
  • Seafarers are the first ones to suffer during economic recessions.  At the height of the COVID pandemic, over 400,000 seafarers were forced to work well beyond their contracts without compensation, were abandoned on ships without food or pay, and denied access to go ashore or return home.
  • Seafarers have severely dangerous jobs.  They can be held by pirates for ransom that often goes unpaid.  They are abused and are some of the most exploited workers of the world.

There is some good news!  There are Catholic Maritime Ministries, such as Stella Maris and Apostleship of the Sea, supporting our seafarers at ports around the world.  You too can demonstrate your solidarity with seafarers with prayer, signing petitions, and simply learning more.  Here are some resources to get you started:

Solidarity with Seafarers Call to Action:  U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking

Solidary with Seafarers Educational Resources

Stella Maris National Office, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America

Burmese Cowboy: The Shwe Tun Aung Story
 

"You May Choose To Look the Other Way But Never Say Again You Didn't Know."
-William Wilberforce

 

Capital Punishment

John Hummel, an honorably discharged US Marine, is scheduled to die by lethal injection TODAY, June 30, 2021 in Huntsville, Texas. 

There may still be time to stop this.  Please contact the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at bpp-clemency@tdcj.texas.gov or 512​-406-5852 OR contact the Governor of Texas at  https://gov.texas.gov/contact/ / (512) 463-1782.

"To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice"
-Desmond Tutu

"There can be no stepping back from this position. ... A life sentence is a secret death penalty.
- Pope Francis

Follow the 28th Annual Starvin' for Justice Fast and Vigil to abolish the death penalty.  Schedule found here.

 

Follow, Like, Tweet, Learn!

In addition to the blog on the CSA website, I will be using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to share social justice information. If you haven't yet, please follow the JPIC Office in these ways:

 

Peace & Blessings through Christ, our Teacher

Tracy Abler
tabler@csasisters.org
920-907-2315

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” (Psalm 89:14).

Justice Today - June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Opening Prayer

God of truth, 
We know every human being is a person of dignity and worth. Guide our efforts to create a more just democracy and soften the hearts of our lawmakers to needed reforms in our democratic institutions.  
(borrowed from NetworkLobby.org)

 

Rid our Democracy of Systemic Racism

Later today, the Senate will try to bring S.1, the For the People Act, to the floor for a vote. This legislation can protect the freedom to vote, end gerrymandering, and get big money out of politics, but in order to get to this critical vote, 60 Senators will have to come together to overcome Senator Mitch McConnell's filibuster.

With more than 20 state laws already enacted this year making it harder to vote, it's urgent that the Senate follows the House's lead and passes the For the People Act (S.1) immediately. Inaction is not an option. Without the For the People Act, the future of our democracy itself is on the line.

URGENT!  Please call your Senators TODAY and urge them to support S.1, the For the People Act every day until they vote. Dial 1-888-885-1748 and ask your Senators to advance S.1 to the Senate floor.  Your call will automatically be forwarded to your state Senators.  Call twice to reach both offices.  Below is a sample message:

"Hello, my name is (NAME) from (TOWN) and I’m calling to ask Senator (NAME) to support cloture on S.1. As a person of faith, it’s important to me that all voters in our community have the opportunity to participate fully in elections and have their voices heard in policy discussions. The For the People Act will create national standards to protect our freedom to vote, ensure fair representation for all, and end the dark influence of corporate money in politics that inhibits our progress on so many fronts.”

FYI - Here in Wisconsin, my first call rang to Senator Baldwin's office and I was able to state my message to a live person. When I called back and got Senator Johnson's office, I was directed to leave a message.

 

The War on Drugs = The Attack on BIPOC

 

(the acronym BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color)

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the War on Drugs. Here is some background:

On June 17, 1971, Nixon declared drug abuse "public enemy number one." Since then, long prison sentences and far-reaching civil sanctions have done nothing to reduce rates of drug use or overdose.

Instead, hundreds of billions of dollars have been pumped into law enforcement agencies, which has led to the over-surveillance and incarceration of millions, disproportionately Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people. Nearly half of the people in federal prison currently are in for drug offenses.

This is why we need to take action by urging President Biden to use his power of clemency to release people incarcerated in federal prison for drugs.  Please take action here.

 

Day of the Seafarer - June 25

June 25 is the Day of the Seafarer. LCWR and Coalition of Catholic Organizations against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT) are committed to protecting all of those who work on the water and are too often subject to abuse and even trafficking. Please join them on June 25 at 11 AM CST to learn more about the plight of seafarers, the dangers they face, and what actions you can take to help.

REGISTER HERE.

 

The Death Penalty

Thanks, in part, to many of you who signed petitions, the South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked the planned executions of two inmates by electrocution, saying they cannot be put to death until they truly have the choice of a firing squad option set out in the state's newly revised capital punishment law.  This hardly seems a win, but it does give us more time to act.  For one, we need to continue to press President Biden to abolish the federal death penalty.

For those feeling called to this specific ministry, please familiarize yourself with the resources from our CSA website, including a sample letter to write death row prisoners and the calendar of scheduled executions. Personally, I have found Death Penalty Action.org to be very valuable to my justice work.  

The CSA has gone on record as opposing the Death Penalty in a corporate stance approved November 2006.  CSA Associates affirmed this stance in February 2021.

Please email me if you would like to included in a group email list to specifically receive information on executions and/or join our letter writing efforts.

 

F-35s - An environmental and humanitarian threat 

I viewed Code Pink's "F-35s Out of Our Skies: Film Screening and Panel Discussion."  It was incredibly informative and equally disturbing!

The Pentagon's F-35 program is the most expensive and the most dangerous of its kind.  Madison, WI was chosen to be one of two new sites as a base for these fighter bombers within the next four years, and Senator Tammy Baldwin seems to be an adamant supporter of this.  These jets have been considered a "violent sensory assault" creating significant health threats, especially to infants and children. They have disastrous environment implications from the toxins they release. Multiple F-35s fly several times a day, several days a week and cost tax payers $44,000 and hour to fly and use 1,000 gallons of fuel with each flight. 

Are you shocked and disappointed that President Biden requested a defense budget in the absurd amount of $753 billion?!  This equates to $1 million A MINUTE for our military budget?!  Imagine that 10% of the 2021 budget could end homelessness!

PLEASE VIEW THIS FILM AND PANEL DISCUSSION and consider how you want to act.  

Co-sponsors and panelists include:
Safe Skies Clean Water, Peace Action Wisconsin, Interfaith Peace Working Group, Madison Environmental Justice Organization, Poor People's Campaign WI, Eken Park Resistance, 350 MKE, Family Farm Defenders, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ)    

 

Recommended Webinar/Podcast Series

Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate is a yearlong webinar series of panel conversations to address societal injustices and offered the second Wednesday of each month at 3 pm.  

Episodes include subjects on gender equity, care of creation, racial justice, human trafficking, gun violence, food security, restorative justice, affordable housing, and more.

The first episode I watched was on Racial Justice and I found it very well done and especially appreciated the action items that are given at the end of each one.  I highly recommend this series!!

The monthly programs are recorded and shared as podcasts and can also be found on Facebook .  

 

Follow, Like, Tweet, Learn!

In addition to the blog on the CSA website, I will be using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to share social justice information. If you haven't yet, please follow the JPIC Office in these ways:

Justice Today - June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Opening Prayer

God of wisdom and mercy, grant us patience to listen; compassion to be open to other views and opinions; generosity to forgive and grace to change.  As you taught us to love our dear neighbor, we pray that you give us strength to be healing instruments of unity and reconciliation.  
(borrowed from 100daysofprayer.net)

 

BIG Environmental WIN!

After years of hard work of Indigenous and climate activists fighting against the Keystone XL pipeline developer, TC Energy, cancels the project. 

Following is a statement from TC Energy’s President and Chief Executive Officer, François Poirier:

We value the strong relationships we’ve built through the development of this Project and the experience we’ve gained. We remain grateful to the many organizations that supported the Project and would have shared in its benefits, including our partners, the Government of Alberta and Natural Law Energy, our customers, pipeline building trade unions, local communities, Indigenous groups, elected officials, landowners, the Government of Canada, contractors and suppliers, industry associations and our employees.

Through the process, we developed meaningful Indigenous equity opportunities and a first-of-its-kind, industry leading plan to operate the pipeline with net-zero emissions throughout its lifecycle. We will continue to identify opportunities to apply this level of ingenuity across our business going forward, including our current evaluation of the potential to power existing U.S. assets with renewable energy.

 

Say NO to the gas chamber!

Arizona recently announced that it has refurbished its gas chamber and is prepared to use cyanide gas to execute any current death row prisoner who was sentenced to be executed prior to November, 1992.

 

Lending support to the Vamos a la Milpa Delegation to Honduras

Vamos a la Milpa is asking for our help by signing the letter below to Vice President Kamala Harris.
 
The letter is a statement of support for a SHARE-sponsored delegation of religious and community leaders traveling to Honduras July 2-12, 2021 at the invitation of Sister Rosa Maria Troches, SSND and Father Ishmael “Melo” Coto, SJ. The purpose of the delegation is twofold:

  1. To support a promising local initiative – Vamos a la Milpa – to build food security and community bonds. 
  2. To visit the families of 8 environmentalists from Guapinol unjustly incarcerated for over a year and seek their release.  

Vamos a la Milpa draws from the age-old indigenous tradition of planting vegetable gardens of corn, beans, squash, fruit trees, medicinal plants, flowers and more.  Not unlike the “victory gardens” planted during WWII in the United States, the campaign is an effort to promote local sources of food and solidarity as communities confront the devastation, dislocation and hunger caused by the recent natural disasters, the endemic violence and corruption plaguing their countries, and the recent hurricanes that further devastated the region. It also brings communities together to demand basic human rights, the rule of law, and due process.
 
They hope to gather as many signatures as possible of men and women religious by June 30th, 2021You can read the letter and sign HERE.  

 

Intersecting Systems Causing Poverty

I signed a petition on Action Network telling Congress to LAUNCH A 3RD RECONSTRUCTION.

Emerging from the pain and organizing power of the 140 million people living in poverty or with low wages in this nation, the congressional resolution for a Third Reconstruction reflects an omnibus vision for a fundamental restructuring of society that lifts from the bottom. The non-partisan resolution comes as a response to years of movement-building to create the collective resolve necessary to implement real and transformational legislative action. This resolution recognizes that in order to build a true Third Reconstruction we must simultaneously deal with the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the denial of health care, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism that blames the poor instead of the systems that cause poverty.

Can you join us and take action? Click here: https://3rdReconstruction.org?source=email&
 



Additionally, Please join The Wisconsin Poor People's Campaign this Sunday, June 13th, 6:00-7:00pm CST, for a State Budget Teach-In.
 
This is a virtual statewide discussion analyzing major points of Governor Evers’ proposed State Budget which we feel are most impactful in the lives of poor and working Wisconsinites. Listen to our perspective, supported by personal testimonials. Engage in the discussion. Consider joining the movement!

RSVP here to receive call-in information for the June 13th Teach-In

 

#EndChildLabor2021

2021 is the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.  Backed by a unanimously adopted resolution at the United Nations General Assembly, the International Labour Organization is leading the way.

Discover ways you can make a difference:  www.endchildlabour2021.org

 

Prayer & Self Care

Friends,
Justice work can be overwhelming.  There is so much needing our attention, but we cannot do it all.  This work is my full-time job, and I am blessed by it, but it's not for everyone. I thank you, and encourage you to continue giving yourself time and energy to those things you are feeling most called to, and trust others will do the same.  

Blessings on your weekend.  I hope you find plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation. 

In closing, I offer this prayer:

God grant that violence be overcome by the power of love,
that opposition give way to reconciliation
and that the desire to oppress be transformed
into the desire for forgiveness, justice and peace…

May peace be in our hearts
so that they are open to the action of God’s grace…

May all members of the family community,
especially children, the elderly, the weakest,
feel the warmth of this feast,
and may it extend subsequently to all the days in the year.

Amen.

 - Pope Benedict XVI

 

Follow, Like, Tweet, Learn!

In addition to the blog on the CSA website, I will be using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to share social justice information. If you haven't yet, please follow the JPIC Office in these ways:

 

Justice Today - June 9, 2021

June 09, 2021
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Opening Prayer

God of wisdom and mercy, grant us patience to listen; compassion to be open to other views and opinions; generosity to forgive and grace to change.  As you taught us to love our dear neighbor, we pray that you give us strength to be healing instruments of unity and reconciliation.  
(borrowed from 100daysofprayer.net)

 

Environmental Justice

Sister Ruth and I are working with the Wisconsin Interfaith Peace Working Group on a postcard campaign asking Senator Tammy Baldwin to prevent F-35 Fighter Jets from coming to Wisconsin. These planes will jeopardize the health and safety of citizens and our natural environment.  They are designed to carry "useable" nuclear bombs.

You are encouraged to learn more on your own, but here is one article from WPR:  https://www.wpr.org/f-35-jets-are-coming-madison

You may request a postcard from either Ruth or myself. Please also consider registering for the Code Pink event on Thursday, June 17th at 7 pm. At this event, Code Pink will screen Jet Line: Voicemails from the Flight Path. This is a 12-minute film described as “a poetic portrait of a community plagued by war machines, documenting untenable conditions in a small city once voted one of the best places to live in America.”  The screening will include a panel discussion.  Click here to register for the event. 


Other ways to stay informed on what's happening in Wisconsin government:

 

Immigration

June is Immigrant Heritage Month!  This month provides people across the country an opportunity to explore their own heritage and celebrate the diversity that forms the unique, rich American experience.

It is vital that we urge the administration and Congress to pass a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented community members – many of whom have kept our families and communities safe and healthy as essential workers during the pandemic. It is long past time for our nation to fulfill its moral imperative to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented community members who already call the U.S. home.

CLICK HERE to urge your members of Congress to support and pass a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented neighbors.

 

Voter Protection

Legislators in Wisconsin are trying to pass bills that would restrict our freedom to vote. As voters, we must hold our elected officials accountable and ensure they create a transparent election process that all people can participate in.  Your voice is imperative to making it clear to elected representatives you expect a fair, equitable democracy.

We need your help.
Tell your legislator to oppose the anti-voter bills being voted on in the Senate.  

 

Follow, Like, Tweet, Learn!

In addition to the blog on the CSA website, I will be using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to share social justice information. If you haven't yet, please follow the JPIC Office in these ways:

Justice Alert - June 3

June 03, 2021
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Greetings!
My name is Tracy Abler.  I am the new Justice Coordinator for the Sisters of St. Agnes!  I've heard several people say I have big shoes to fill, and boy do I know it!  I have worked with Sister Ruth since she first came into this role in mutual efforts within the Fond du Lac community, particularly with the nonprofit United for Diversity (UFD).  I am the Past President of UFD, having served as president for the last eight years.  Sister Ruth has been a tremendous resource - and inspiration - to me for several years.  I am proud to follow in her footsteps as well as Sister Sally Ann Brickner's, who served on the United for Diversity board with me, before departing as Justice Coordinator.  But one of my dearest friends, and greatest role models for social justice, is Sister Stella Storch.  My first ever visit to the Motherhouse, over a decade ago, was to create posters with Stella for some downtown march or rally.  Stella was one of the first people I called when this position was offered to me and she was the first to call my office on my first day.  I treasure these women and all they bring to my life and my work.  My goal is to continue the great works of my predecessors while continuing to grow, learn, and to be guided and challenged by the Catholic Social Teachings in our work together for social justice and the dignity and integrity of all creation.

With Love & Peace,
Tracy

World Environment Day - June 5th

World Environment Day is hosted by different countries around the globe. It has a participation of over 143 countries annually. Pakistan will host World Environment Day 2021 in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

This year's theme is Reimagine. Recreate.  Restore.
Learn more here!
 

June is Pride Month

Pride Month is when the world's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves.  Most Pride events take place each year in June, although some hold their celebrations at other times of the year.  Locally, a Pride Picnic is planned at Lakeside Park on June 27th from 11 am to 7 pm. Pride events are geared toward anyone who feels like their sexual identity falls outside the mainstream -- although many straight people (allies) join in too.  The community is invited to this free, family-friendly event.

On June 1st, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, one of the most vocal U.S. Catholic prelates in support of the LGBTQ community, offered a blessing during the virtual Catholic Pride Blessing. Click HERE to view the entire 35-minute program.  Last September, in a brief encounter with Italian parents of LGBTQ children, Pope Francis assured them that “God loves your children as they are” and “the church loves your children as they are because they are children of God."  He is an advocate for civil union that legally protect families.

Border Ministry

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) produced a 10-minute video that tells the story of the response of women religious to the CCUSA call to help welcome migrants and asylum speakers at the US southern border.

We thank all religious who through their prayer, donations, volunteers and advocacy are helping to ease the burden of this difficult journey to the United States being undertaken by many.

The video is a poignant demonstration of how you make a difference.
Please feel free to share this video widely.

Protecting the Land & Indigenous People

This weekend, more than 300 people of faith are expected to join the Treaty People Gathering in Minnesota in solidarity with Indigenous resistance to the Line 3 pipeline.

The pipeline, now under construction, if completed would run more than 1,000 miles from the tar sands oil fields of Alberta, Canada, to Lake Superior. It is proposed to cross land protected by a treaty that is often ignored, and threatens the water supply of 18 million people and the sacred manoomin (wild rice) fields of the Anishinaabe People. Two contractors working on Line 3 have been charged with sex trafficking, heightening concerns about “man camps” posing risks to Indigenous women and girls.

You may participate in the Treaty People Gathering from home in several ways:

  • Learn more about Line 3 and Indigenous resistance in this three-minute video.
  • Pray for the Indigenous women leading the Line 3 resistance and the more than 1000 people of faith and other allies heeding their call to travel to Minnesota this weekend.
  • Attend a virtual rally on Sunday, June 6 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time (6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Pacific). The rally will feature activists at the gathering, including members of the multi-faith delegation.
  • Contact President Biden and ask him to halt the Line 3 pipeline. 

Thank you for participating as you are able, and inviting others to join as well.

Socially Responsible Investment WIN

A huge victory, more than 10 years the making, was won on May 26 when 55.6 percent of the ExxonMobil’s stockholders voted to pass a resolution asking the company to disclose its trade association payments used for lobbying. The resolution was led by United Steel Workers and cofilers Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, Home Missioners of America, The Sisters of the Holy Family, Sisters of St. Agnes, School Sisters of Notre Dame Cooperative Investment Fund, Gwendolen Noyes and Oneida Tribe of Indians Trust Fund for the Elderly. The Sisters of St. Agnes have been consistent cofilers for several years.

“Shareholders face a dark money blind spot when the company fails to disclose its trade association payments used for lobbying, especially when these lobbying efforts contradict with ExxonMobil’s public position,” said Ricky Brooks, a member of USW Local 13-2001 who introduced the resolution. “Disclosure of the company’s payments to trade associations and social welfare groups that influence public policies will allow shareholders to assess the company’s management of risks.” 

Here is the LINK to the press release from United Steel Workers. A brief mention of this win and the big climate win for religious shareholder advocates can be found in this National Catholic Reporter EarthBeat article.
 

Understanding Racism

REMINDER:  Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate is a yearlong webinar series of panel conversations to address societal injustice.  It is not too late to sign up for the June 9th episode on Racial Justice.   https://exploringintersections.org/2021/01/15/upcoming-episode/

ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY:
The Summer Institute at Oblate School of Theology will feature Sr. Teresa Maya, CCVI, former President of LCWR.  The series of lectures and discussions will address Racism as a Soul Sickness.  This will be an online event held from June 14th – 16th. Other featured speakers will be Rev. Dr. Bryan Massingale and Dr. KimOanh Nguyen-Lam. 

REGISTER HERE.  There is a $75 registration fee.

Racism, for all its overt manifestation in our daily lives, is never a conscious thing. No one identifies himself or herself as a racist. But racism is unconsciously embedded in the DNA of most every culture and the soul of most every one of us. We aren’t always conscious of what’s ill inside of either our bodies or our souls. This series of lectures and discussions will examine the issue of racism by drawing upon the experience of Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans.

What do you know about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921?  Here is a great article to provide some background on this devastating U.S. tragedy.

Love & Peace, 

Tracy Abler
(she/her/hers)

920-907-2315

Updates and Actions (May 27)

May 27, 2021
By Sister Ruth Battaglia, CSA

Journey Ended--Journey Begun

This is my last Justice Alert as Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Coordinator for the Sisters of St. Agnes. It has been an honor and a blessing to serve in this role for nearly four years. Like many of you, I have not ventured out for meetings, conferences, and other gatherings for many months allowing me the time to connect with you twice a week with Justice Alerts. Your great response has been heartening and humbling. Thank you!

There will be no hiatus in the work of the JPIC office with Tracy Abler taking on the role of coordinator on June 1. She comes with a rich background of social justice involvements and deep respect for the values held by the Sisters of St. Agnes. Recently she became an associate with the congregation. She will introduce herself to you in an upcoming Justice Alert.

While the current form of my justice ministry is ending, I will continue, along with you, to be an advocate for the dignity of every person, for peace and nonviolence, and for care of Earth.

Peace, 
Sister Ruth Battaglia CSA

 

 

Care of Earth

All Catholics in the U.S. who care about faithfully protecting creation are invited to attend the virtual LSUS conference:Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home.” Registration is now open for the July 13-15, 2021 virtual gathering. Register Here (free).
 
The LSUS conference opens July 13th with keynote addresses by His Eminence Blase Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, and Maureen Day, PhD, Assistant Professor of Religion and Society at the Franciscan School of Theology. Together, they will assess why the U.S. Catholic response to Laudato Si’ has not been commensurate with the urgency and gravity of the climate crisis. See full conference schedule.
On July 14-15, the conference continues, featuring interactive breakout sessions in eight areas of the U.S. Catholic Church working to more faithfully incorporate Laudato Si’:

  • Advocacy
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Communications/Media
  • Creation Care Teams (especially at parishes and dioceses)
  • Environmental Justice
  • Homiletics
  • Parochial School Education
  • Youth & Young Adults

Each ministry leadership team will share the strategies, plans, and resources being developed with members of their working group. Presentations will be followed by discussion with conference participants. 

The conference concludes July 15 with a closing address by Sister Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD, and Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University.

 

Nonviolence

Ghost guns may be the scariest and fastest growing gun safety threat in the country. They allow anyone to make an untraceable weapon in less than an hour. And to make matters worse, they have already started to show up as a weapon of choice for violent criminals, gun traffickers, dangerous extremists, and more generally, people legally prohibited from buying firearms.

The good news is that the Biden-Harris Administration has put forward a new proposed rule to end the spread of these dangerous firearms.  
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) is asking for the public—for people like you—to weigh in on a proposed rule that would stop the spread of these ghost guns and save lives. Tell the ATF to regulate these dangerous firearms and help end gun violence. Click Here. 

 

Addressing Human Trafficking

Engaging Men in Ending Sex Trafficking

The National Faith Coalition Against Human Trafficking is hosting a panel on men's role in ending sex trafficking. They will share the kinds of action that men are uniquely qualified to do that will make a real difference in reducing sex buying. As the initiators of many organizing efforts it is important for women to attend this event as well as men. Register Here  (Free)

One Year Later

May 25, 2021
By Sister Ruth Battaglia, CSA

Floyd mural

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Not long after his death, George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, smiled, raised her hands and declared that her “Daddy changed the world!”  We know that that change is just beginning, but in the year since Floyd's death there has been a shift. There is a greater awareness of systemic racism and its effects on our sisters and brothers of color. Real change will come about when there is a transformation of the heart, a recognition of the rights and dignity of each person that is manifested in doing the hard work of acknowledging racism, rooting it out it in ourselves and in our institutions, and making reparation.  

Let us pray today for courage and commitment to ending racism in our nation and the world. 

A Year Later

I encourage every one to tune into this interview with Fr. Bryan Massingale, One Year Later: the fight for civil rights since George Floyd's murder. Fr. Massingale is insightful, thought-provoking and challenging. Click Here

 

George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020

This bill addresses a wide range of policies and issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability. It increases accountability for law enforcement misconduct, restricts the use of certain policing practices, enhances transparency and data collection, and establishes best practices and training requirements.

The bill enhances existing enforcement mechanisms to remedy violations by law enforcement. Among other things, it does the following:

  • lowers the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution,
  • limits qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer, and
  • grants administrative subpoena power to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in pattern-or-practice investigations.

It establishes a framework to prevent and remedy racial profiling by law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels. It also limits the unnecessary use of force and restricts the use of no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and carotid holds.

The bill creates a national registry—the National Police Misconduct Registry—to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct. It also establishes new reporting requirements, including on the use of force, officer misconduct, and routine policing practices (e.g., stops and searches).

Finally, it directs DOJ to create uniform accreditation standards for law enforcement agencies and requires law enforcement officers to complete training on racial profiling, implicit bias, and the duty to intervene when another officer uses excessive force.

The bill passed in the House. Contact your senators asking them to pass an effective bipartisan reform bill. 

 

A Reparation's Commission

From Network:

Dismantling systemic racism is our holy call today. Systemic racism is ubiquitous in our country's history and built into our systems and institutions today, putting Black people at a constant disadvantage. It's time to right the wrongs of slavery and its continued impact. Will you join advocates across the country acting for racial justice?

Last month, H.R.40, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee's bill to establish a commission on reparations, received a favorable vote from the House Judiciary Committee. This is the first time a House committee has considered the bill for recommendation to the House floor since it was first introduced in 1989 by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

Now we have to make sure H.R.40 is passed into law to Call Your Representative Now: 888-422-4555

Tell them to pass a H.R.40 and establish a Reparations Commission!

Sample:
"Hello, my name is [NAME] and I'm a constituent from [TOWN]. I'm calling to ask Representative to pass H.R.40 to study and develop reparation proposals. We need legislation to examine the impact of chattel slavery, Black Codes, convict leasing, Jim Crow, redlining, access to fair housing, education, employment opportunities, and more. As a person of faith, I believe every person in our country should have the opportunity to live up to our country's fundamental organizing principles- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Right now, we see the devastating effect of white supremacy on Black people throughout America. Please support H.R.40, as a start to end institutional racism."

 

Immigration

From Presbyterian Office of Public Witness:
Central American Migration:  Root Causes & US Policy
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 5 p.m. Eastern

The first workshop in this webinar series will look at the circumstances that drive people from Central America to seek safety in the U.S. Lisa Haugaard, Co-Director of the Latin American Working Group, and Rev. Santiago Flores, Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador (IRCES), will provide a helpful framework to understand these push factors. Considerable attention will be given to U.S. foreign policy, U.S. immigration policy, and the impact these policies have on individuals in Central America. Presenters will also offer opportunities for you to take action. Click here to register in advance for this webinar, or join us on Facebook/PCUSA Washington page.

 

Ending Human Trafficking

From USCSAHT:
In our next virtual round table, we check in with survivor leaders from around the world for an update on their advocacy and frontline service work since the global health crisis began. The panelists will evaluate their respective governments' responses to the pandemic's impact on women in the sex trade and the policy implications of their (in)action. They will also share their vision and plans to secure justice and equality for prostituted and sex trafficked women and girls worldwide.

Join us on May 27, 2021 at 11:30 p.m. CT for At the Edge of the Margins: One year later — COVID-19's impact on women in the sex trade. Register Here.

Recent Posts

7/23/21 - By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator
7/15/21 - By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator
7/9/21 - By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator
6/30/21 - By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator
6/22/21 - By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

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