Justice Alerts Blog
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.
As I write this early on this feast, the sun is shining and there is not a cloud to be seen in the sky over Fond du Lac. What a wonderful gift for the celebration of the feast of our patron, St. Agnes!
The overcast days of the past many weeks appeared to mimic our nation's darkness due to the relentless, death-dealing pandemic, the descent into economic crisis, the manifestations of deep-rooted racism, the precarious future of our planet, the divisions in our nation, and the horrific attack on our national capital.
The brightness of this new day, following yesterday's new beginning for our country, is a sign to me of a better time to come. In hope I renew in my commitment to do my part to dispel darkness and create a more loving, just, and peaceful world.
Amanda Gorman's poem, read at yesterday's inauguration, leaves us all with the challenge BE light.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it
If only we're brave enough to be it.
Sister Ruth Battaglia CSA
Prayer for Inauguration Day
Prayer for President Joseph Biden
and Vice President Kamala Harris
Good and Gracious God assist the President of these United States, Joseph Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and that of this administration to be conducted in impartiality with your spirit of counsel and fortitude
- May they encourage respect for all people.
- May they execute the laws with justice and compassion.
- May they listen and respond to the concerns of the American people with civility.
- May they seek to unite the country.
Let the light of your divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress. Let light shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government.
- May they seek to preserve peace, promote the national good,
and continue to bring us the blessings of liberty and equality.
- May they be enabled to discharge their duties with honesty and civility.
- May they seek to work across party lines for the good of the nation.
Loving God, we ask for safety and protection for President Biden, Kamal Harris, members of Congress, and all people involved with the inauguration.
The truth is no family, no group of neighbors, no ethnic group, much less a nation, has a future if the force that unites them, brings them together and resolves their differences is vengeance and hatred.” #242
TODAY - Ceremony at Lincoln Memorial for those who died of COVID
The Presidential Inauguration Committee will be hosting a memorial to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19 in cities and towns across the country Today, January 19, 2021, at 4:30 p.m. CT.
A Washington, D.C. ceremony will feature lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. It will be the first-ever lighting around the Reflecting Pool to memorialize American lives lost.
From Death Penalty Action:
First, thank you for signing the petition last month, urging Joe Biden to speak out against the federal executions. I have not shared this yet, but when we gave him your signature (along with more than 20,000 others), the result was not silence. In fact, within days we had a meeting with a Transition Team staff member, and now I am able to share some very exciting news!
We learned today that Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order banning federal executions. Please click here to say THANKS to President-Elect Biden.
Together with you and many others, Death Penalty Action is going to take this much further. We plan to organize and have congress send Biden a bill that abolishes the federal death penalty. We also want our new president to take it all the way, and BULLDOZE the Death House at the federal prison at Terre Haute, where Trump executed 13 prisoners in the past six months. (California Governor Gavin Newsome made a big production of dismantling his state's execution apparatus, and we think Biden should do that too.)
More Great News
A federal appeals court struck down the Trump administration's Clean Power Plan replacement after finding that the agency's Affordable Clean Energy rule failed to provide adequate environmental and public health protections. The decision is a resounding blow to EPA's efforts to more strictly limit its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
- Rejoining the Paris Agreement
- Ending the travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries
- Sending an immigration reform bill to Congress
Many of Joe Biden's Cabinet picks come with a history of concern for environmental protection. Faith-based organizations say these prior records raise optimism about the federal response to climate change. For more information click HERE.
Care of the Earth
From Mercy Justice Team:
Many of us in the U.S. are diligent about separating out our trash, paper, plastics and cans and putting anything our municipal government tells us can be recycled into the proper blue bin.
But did you know that only 9 percent of all the plastic ever made has actually been recycled? For awhile, China was accepting plastics from the U.S. but now bans the imports of our trash. That means that much of our plastic is being shipped to even poorer countries -- and making them deal with it. This 4-minute video dispels the recycling myth. (You can use the settings function for Spanish subtitles.)
It’s clear that reducing plastic pollution requires actually reducing use of plastic, from manufacturing and corporate packaging to individual consumer decisions.
Some actions to consider to supplement the tips in our January calendar:
- If you regularly order home-delivered products from a certain store or company, let them know that you want less packaging
- Try these laundry strips as alternatives to laundry detergent in plastic bottles. You can find other plastic alternative products here and here.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that."
Lord God, You led your chosen people from slavery in Egypt to the freedom of the Promised Land.
We ask you to lead us from any enslavement to hatred, ignorance, fear, racism, injustice or anything else that prevents us from being the community of love and respect that you want us to be.
We remember with gratitude today the witness of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and we ask that you give us the courage and determination to follow his example in confronting injustice and living the Gospel of love. May his prophetic words guide our justice, peace, and integrity mission.
Excerpt from a statement by Kelley Henry, attorney for Lisa Montgomery:
"Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice. She should never have faced a death sentence in the first place, as no other woman has faced execution for a similar crime. And Lisa was much more than the tragic crime she committed, a crime for which she felt deep remorse before she lost all touch with reality in the days before her execution. Lisa was also much more than the horrors inflicted upon her, the sexual violence and abuse she endured at the hands of those who were supposed to love, nurture, and protect her.
Lisa was a loving mother, grandmother, and sister who adored her family. She was a devout Christian who loved Christmas and created beautiful angels for those lucky enough to receive her gifts. Lisa often became trapped in the prison of her mind, losing touch with reality for periods of time. But when not gripped by psychosis, she was a gentle and caring person whom I was honored to know and to represent."
"The Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide”. (Pope Francis' pronouncement of the change in church teaching.)
At the end of this 6 month spree of federal executions -- most likely by the end of this day 13 in number -- we mourn their deaths, lament the lack of compassion and mercy, and object to murder as form of punishment, a punishment disproportionally and unjustly meted out to people of color and those who are poor.
Our hope did not die with these victims. The attention raised by these executions has spurred increased awareness and efforts to abolish the death penalty in the United States. Shortly, we will have a President who opposes the death penalty. We must continue to make our voices heard. Write your Members of Congress. (Click on "not Ruth?")
In October 2020, Pope Francis released his most recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship, in which he commented extensively on the issue of migration. JFI has developed a series of resources highlighting his commentary on this issue, including a discussion guide you can use with your JFI and parish teams.
Check out new JFI Fratelli Tutti Resources!
- English Migration Excerpts from Fratelli Tutti
- Spanish Migration Excerpts from Fratelli Tutti
- English Migration Fratelli Tutti Discussion Guide
- Spanish Migration Fratelli Tutti Discussion Guide
The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) and Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) invite you to an event titled "Reimagining Refugee Resettlement for a New Administration" on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 from noon -1:00 (CT). This virtual event is free to attend. To register for the event, please fill out this form.
See the report on what is working with resettlement. Access the report follow this link.
For more information about the event, please visit the event page at https://rcusa.org/inauguration-week-2021/.
You are invited to two virtual events that NETWORK is hosting over the next two weeks to provide its members and supporters with the opportunity to celebrate together, hear about the new Administration's Day One and First 100 Days priorities, and learn about advocacy efforts with the 117th Congress.
1. Post-Inauguration Day Community Conversation
Thursday, January 21, 7:00 PM Eastern/4:00 PM Pacific
Join Sr. Simone Campbell, Chief Lobbyist Laura Peralta-Schulte, and the Grassroots Mobilization Team for an evening of celebration, reflection, and discussion! Sr. Simone will reflect on Joe Biden's Catholic identity and its implications for our nation, and Laura Peralta-Schulte will recap his Day One accomplishments. There will also be plenty of time for small group discussion and sharing. Register here.
2. NETWORK's 2021 Legislative Agenda: New Administration, New Congress, New Year
Thursday, January 28, 4:00 PM Eastern/1:00 PM Pacific
During this webinar, Sr. Simone and members of the Government Relations team will discuss the Biden administration's plan for the first 100 days, provide an analysis of the make-up and priorities of the 117th Congress, and give an overview of the issues NETWORK will be working on in 2021.There will also be time for Q&A. Register here.
Note: This webinar will be recorded, and everyone who registers will receive the recording and a copy of the PowerPoint afterwards.
The Best Way to Move On
244. When conflicts are not resolved but kept hidden or buried in the past, silence can lead to complicity in grave misdeeds and sins. Authentic reconciliation does not flee from conflict, but is achieved in conflict, resolving it through dialogue and open, honest and patient negotiation. Conflict between different groups “if it abstains from enmities and mutual hatred, gradually changes into an honest discussion of differences founded on a desire for justice”.
Pax Christi Post
I share with you today's Pax Christi Post. It is insightful and concise.
"Trump was the match, but other factors also contributed to the events at the U.S. Capitol" by David Atwood, Pax Christi Texas. Click here.
Some Good News
- Congress passed the Global Child Thrive Act and it is now law, which will help millions of children reach their God-given potential.
- Vital poverty-reducing foreign assistance was protected in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, meaning migrants, refugees, families impacted by hunger and other vulnerable communities will receive lifesaving support.
- A COVID-19 emergency bill passed at the end of December and included some funding to support our nation’s global response to the pandemic.
- A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the Omnibus Asylum Regulation on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. This ruling means that the final rule published by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security titled “Procedures for Asylum and Bars to Asylum Eligibility,” also known as the “Death to Asylum” regulation which was scheduled to go into effect today, has been halted nationwide.
Resources for Individuals/Groups
Resource on Racism
open wide our hearts—the enduring call to love is a four session process provided by The Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center. This Study Guide on the USCCB Pastoral on Racism is designed to enable faith communities to understand individual and systemic racism; to listen to the stories of our brothers and sisters and be moved to restore right relationships; to unpack white privilege; and to work to end racism. It includes a timeline on Racism Legislation & Resistance from 1452-2018.
If you would like a complimentary copy to preview, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
To order copies of the open wide our hearts booklet, please use the Booklet order form
From JustFaith Ministries
Tuesday, January 19 – The first of what will be a bi-monthly resource intended for a small group Zoom gathering or personal prayer/reflection will be sent via email. This month’s resource will focus on how we might think of a “New Year’s Resolution Checklist for Justice.” Click here if you’d like to receive it and the ones that will follow in the months to come.
Thursday, January 21 – “Acting for Justice” Zoom Presentation. Hear Dr. Lewis Brogdon address the topic, “The Unknown King: Why You Need a Class on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Description: As racism has emerged as an issue we can no longer ignore, it is time to take Dr. King seriously as a civil rights leader and a radical intellectual leader whose ideas spurred a movement of global change. Dr. Lewis Brogdon is the Visiting Professor of Preaching and Black Church Studies and chair of the Department of Religion at Simmons College of Kentucky, a historically black college. To register, click here.
Capital Punishment/Lisa Montgomery
Late Monday night, a federal judge in Indiana blocked the execution of 52-year-old Lisa Montgomery — hours before she was scheduled to die by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind. Barring an immediate appeal by prosecutors, Lisa is spared today.
Care of the Earth - Plastics Beyond Convenience
From the Mercy Justice Team:
Increased plastic pollution is turning out to be one of the fall-outs from the coronavirus pandemic.
People who study these things date the problem of plastic pollution to the late 1950s, with a significant increase in the 1990s. Now they wonder if 2020-21 will mark another bump with the use of disposable face masks, gloves, and gowns; bottled water and hand sanitizer; and take-out containers and plastic packaging for home-delivered groceries all on the rise.
While some of this increased use of plastic may be necessary for health and safety during the pandemic, we can look for opportunities to reduce plastic waste where we can and plan for doing even more once it’s safe to do so.
Many of us are well aware of the harms of plastic pollution in our oceans. We’ve seen photos or videos of animals, fish, or birds entangled in plastic debris, and heard tragic stories of deaths by starvation as marine life mistake bits of plastic as food. We’ve learned of the huge garbage patch in the northern Pacific Ocean.
What we might not have considered is the harm to human health from the full life cycle of plastics. This starts with the extraction of fossil fuels that are the building blocks of plastics and continues through the manufacturing process, incineration of plastics and exposure through the food chain, and release of toxins in packaging. Additionally, waste pickers in poor nations risk their health during covid-19 to make a little money cleaning up other people’s trash and keeping their communities free from litter. This four-minute video from the Story of Stuff series illustrates the impacts of plastics manufacturing on small towns in Texas.
What can we do?
- Consider tips for plastics alternatives and re-use of plastics in our Plastics: Beyond Convenience calendar.
- Advocate for bans on or small fees for plastic bags, straws and plastic foam-based take-out containers in your community.
- Follow efforts to implement a global agreement on plastics through the United Nations Environment Assembly this year and next.
"The Racist Attack on Our Capital"
After the attack on our nation's capital, I feel compelled to respond, but emotions and words are yet too jumbled. I resonate with a piece posted by Pax Christi, titled "The Racist Attack on Our Capital", written by a master of words, Fr. Bryan Massingale, I believe that he is a prophet in our time, shining a light on uncomfortable truth. I invite you to read and reflect on his words. It may lead you to action, such as writing to your members of congress, supporting or challenging their positions regarding the election. Click Here to read the article.
We can rise from the malicious attacks on our capital and our democracy determined to preserve and strengthen our nation in justice, peace, and truth, or we can continue the downward spiral of hatred, lies, inequality, racism and violence. It is our choice to make.
232. There is no end to the building of a country’s social peace; rather, it is “an open-ended endeavour, a never-ending task that demands the commitment of everyone and challenges us to work tirelessly to build the unity of the nation. Despite obstacles, differences and varying perspectives on the way to achieve peaceful coexistence, this task summons us to persevere in the struggle to promote a ‘culture of encounter’. This requires us to place at the centre of all political, social and economic activity the human person, who enjoys the highest dignity, and respect for the common good. May this determination help us flee from the temptation for revenge and the satisfaction of short-term partisan interests”. Violent public demonstrations, on one side or the other, do not help in finding solutions. Mainly because, as the Bishops of Colombia have rightly noted, the “origins and objectives of civil demonstrations are not always clear; certain forms of political manipulation are present and in some cases they have been exploited for partisan interests”.
Martin Luther King Day
The Civil Rights Memorial Center invites you to a panel discussion commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event – The March Continues: Building Collective Power to Impact Policy and Dismantle Systems of Oppression in 2021 and Beyond – will take place on Jan. 15, Dr. King’s 92nd birthday.
The panel will feature activists and public servants from across the Deep South and beyond, and will include a special message by civil rights activist Sheyann Webb-Christburg, named by Dr. King as the “Smallest Freedom Fighter” and co-author of the book Selma, Lord, Selma.
During the event, panelists will reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and the example of civil disobedience he set for future generations that are continuing the fight for racial, economic and social justice. They will also discuss strategies for organizing around these issues to effect change in government and local communities.
Friday, Jan. 15; 11 a.m. Central Time; Zoom Webinar REGISTER HERE
January is Anti-Trafficking Month. January has been declared human trafficking prevention month. It is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on what steps we can take in our own lives and in our community at large to fight the evil of human trafficking. For resources go to the anti-human trafficking toolkit.
Access a prayer calendar, January 11 - February 8, the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita and a day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking designated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General.
Reflection and Prayer to End Human Trafficking Calendar
Lisa Montgomery likely to be executed on January 12.
Last week, the judge ruled that the execution should be delayed again — saying the Bureau of Prisons couldn't set a new date while the case was on hold. But on Friday, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the execution can proceed.
Barring any successful last-minute appeal, the 52-year-old Montgomery will become, on Jan. 12, the first female federal inmate to be executed in nearly 70 years.
Montgomery's attorney says the crime was "the direct result of her mental illness and trauma" and says Montgomery was repeatedly raped by her stepfather and first husband and has brain damage and multiple mental illnesses. Her attorney plans to ask the full circuit court to reconsider the ruling.
Sign a petition to President Trump to keep Lisa from being executed.
Still Time to Act in Support of For the People Act
The aim of the For the People Act is to:
- Drive big money out of politics;
- Restore voting rights and offer new protections for voters;
- End gerrymandering so that electoral districts are fairly drawn; and
- Hold government officials accountable with new ethics standards.
Please take these two actions to stand with the people and support the For the People Act:
- Sign NETWORK’s petition urging Congress to prioritize and pass the bill early in 2021 and share it with others!
- Call your U.S. House Representative today (Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121) to urge her or him to support the passage of For the People Act as a first order of business in the new Congress.
Suggested Script for calls to your U.S. Representative:
As your constituent from (name your city or town) and a person of faith (or Catholic sister) , I am deeply concerned about the state of our democracy. Harmful Supreme Court decisions and lack of Congressional action to address them have disempowered voters and threatened our democratic systems. The For The People Act (H.R.1) is a comprehensive reform bill that targets the corrupting dynamics that are endangering our democracy. H.R.1 would protect voters’ rights, limit the influence of money in politics, shore-up our election systems, strengthen ethics rules for government officials and end partisan gerrymandering. Passage of the For the People Act must be a first priority in 2021. Does Rep. (name of your Representative) support bold comprehensive democracy reforms and will s/he vote in favor of H.R.1 when it comes to the floor later this month?
Lunch and Learn -- Life After COVID
FSPA Ecospirituality in Action: Lunch & Learn Series
All are invited to experience FSPA Ecospirituality in Action and join A Revolution of Goodness through a new Lunch and Learn series, presented virtually the second Tuesday of each month, January through December in 2021.
This series is designed to explore FSPA's commitment to Relationships, Gospel Living and Unity in Diversity -- provocative movements proclaimed to stretch us to be people of encounter who stand with all suffering in our Earth Community, to transform us in love and goodness for community and mission and to challenge ourselves to unveil our white privilege -- through a lens of ecospirituality.
Each Lunch & Learn session, brought to you by the FSPA Ecospirituality Committee, will feature a new, ecospirituality-centric topic presented by experts in the field.
Please register for our first session, share the invitation with others, grab your lunch and join us in action for ecospirituality!
The Work of Christmas
You most likely have read this piece written by Howard Thurman, but each time I read it the message challenges me. I offer it for your reflection.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the parishioner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among all,
To make music in the heart.
Ending Human Trafficking
The Stop Trafficking Newsletter for January can be found HERE. The focus is on climate change as one of the causes of poverty and forced migration that leads to human trafficking.
Support For The People Act
Do you want to get big money out of politics, protect voting rights and stop the practice of politicians drawing their own districts to get re-elected? Support the For The People Act H.R. 1 / S. 949 and sweeping Democracy reform in 2021.
See this awesome parody of the 12 Days of Christmas calling for passage of For the People Act!! It’s very clever and it gives a full rundown of the provisions of the bill 4 min full song or 60 second cut. Thanks to the many members of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC for helping put together the song, For the People Act.
The bill could come to a vote as early as January 7 or 8. Please sign the petition and spread the word.
Call your members of Congress—both Senators and Representative—wish them a Happy New Year and urge them to support the For the People Act!
U.S. Capitol Switchboard. (202) 224-3121.
Sister Helen Prejean, Krisanne Vallaincourt-Murphy, and Bishop Flores of Texas will be among the guests at an online event entitled "Killing in our Name: Federal Executions and Pro-Life Witness." It is scheduled for 11:30-12:30 EST on Friday, January 8, 2021. Here is the link to RSVP.
A new session of Congress has begun. Write to your members of Congress asking them to abolish the death penalty. Sign Here.
Care of the Earth
Check our this great resource! Creation Justice Ministries
Here is their January Action Center. Take a look at the 52 Ways to Care for Creation and make caring for creation a priority in 2021
‘At a time like this, when the barque of humanity, tossed by the storm of the current crisis, struggles to advance towards a calmer and more serene horizon, the “rudder” of human dignity and the “compass” of fundamental social principles can enable us together to steer a sure course. May we work together to advance towards a new horizon of love and peace, of fraternity and solidarity, of mutual support and acceptance. May we never yield to the temptation to disregard others, especially those in greatest need, and to look the other way; instead, may we strive daily, in concrete and practical ways, “to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another.’ 2021 World Day of Peace message from Pope Francis
Click HERE for the full text of the Pope's 2021 message for World Day of Peace
COVID-19 Vaccine for All
To stamp out COVID-19, we need to take GLOBAL action by joining World Health Organization-led global vaccine initiatives.
Sign the petition: Urge President-elect Biden to fight for global access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines in his first 100 days.
No Cuts to Medicaid
Tell U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
"Do not approve proposed cuts to Medicaid, which threaten access to care for people across the country. These cuts will unfairly impact women, people of color, immigrants, people turning 65, and people with disabilities—worsening existing health disparities. The proposed changes are especially concerning for people with disabilities
During the pandemic, Congress approved more money for state Medicaid programs; in return, they were prohibited from cutting health services. This proposal lets states make cuts that would be harmful to the health and well-being of our communities. We should be working to strengthen our healthcare system, not tear it down." Comment Here (It takes several seconds to load)
No to Line 3 Pipeline
Canadian company Enbridge has begun construction of the dirty Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline stretching from Alberta to Wisconsin
Construction may be underway, but opposition is stronger than ever too. Last week, 22 water protectors were arrested for resisting construction.
Joe Biden has the power to review the permits granted by Trump and can still halt construction on this destructive pipeline. But he won’t do it without an unprecedented wave of public pressure. Add your Voice.
Add your voice to a new regional network of more than 330 grassroots and faith-based organizations from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S. that have joined together to address the root causes of poverty, unemployment, climate change, corruption, and violence that force families to migrate north. Together we have the power to fundamentally change U.S. policy toward Central America.
The policies that are advocated in their position are shared by the Catholic Coalition for Migrants and Refugees. You can sign on via this link.
"An epiphany that is needed by all of us is the realization that once we emerge from the menacing threat of this pandemic, we must not try to return to “normal.” Normal was a country of severe economic inequality, of racism woven into the cultural and institutional fibers of our nation. Normal was corporate power in the hands of a few and political indifference to “the cries of the poor.” It was ecological devastation for short term economic gain—and more. Once the biblical Magi realized that this particular star was different and unique, they acted; they set out on a journey that led them to the great Epiphany, the revelation of the Christ Child whom they worshipped and to whom they offered their gifts. May we act on pandemic epiphanies to assure that we do not return to “normal.” Warned in a dream, the Magi returned home “by another way.” May we have the wisdom to heed the warnings of a terrible virus in order to return to post-pandemic life determined to create “another "way,” lighted by justice, peace, mercy, and compassion for ALL."
Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF
Franciscan Action Network Associate Director
In the Stillness of a winter night God's silenced whispers, "PEACE"
Thank you for all of your justice making efforts.
May PEACE settle in your soul and echo in your life.
Just One Urgent Action
Contact the US Department of Agriculture with this or a similar message.
Deadline, December 28
"Reject the proposed rule that would continue the rollback of healthy nutrition standards for school meals. During this time of unprecedented food insecurity and health disparities, our nation’s children need strong, evidence-based nutrition standards that support their learning, health, and well-being.
I strongly oppose this proposal to secure nutrition standards rollbacks, and support the original, evidence-based healthy school meal standards. Research has shown the positive impact of the original healthy school meal nutrition standards on school food offerings, school meal disparities, and student nutrition-related outcomes."
Why are we here, a small group holding our torches?
Do we think that we can dispel the darkness of the night?
No, that would take millions of torches.
The massive problems we face will not be overcome by a few.
We need many, many more.
So why do we hold our torches here in the night?
So that there is enough light to see our companions beside us,
and reassure ourselves that we are not alone in the dark.
Because what we fear is not so much the dark, but being alone in the dark.
And from afar, others will see our small brave community,
and will feel greater courage to join.
Because it is easier for others to join a group that has already taken a stand, rather than starting by themselves.
Let us believe and imagine in our mind’s eye,
that there are other groups of people who are holding their torches in the dark.
Time will come when they will link to one another, and our lights will merge and be more powerful than the darkness.
Fr. Edicio Torres
ACT NOW A bipartisan amendment proposed by Senators Sanders and Hawley to offer a second round of direct payments has been included in the COVID Relief package currently under consideration. Unlike the CARES Act, these payments would include mixed-status immigrant families in which only one spouse has a social security number, a crucial improvement. That’s very good news. Contact Congress and White House in Support of Mixed-Status Families HERE.
Justice for Immigrants has published recommendations for the incoming Biden Administration and 117th Congress. They were drafted over the past couple of months by JFI Core Group members including LCWR.
The document, divided into four different areas, are:
- Ensuring Access to Lawful Status and Citizenship Click Here
- Guaranteeing Just and Humane Border Policies Click Here
- Reforming Enforcement and Ending Mass Detention Click Here
- Addressing Root Causes of Migration from Central America Click Here
Only two human beings have the unilateral authority to stop the upcoming federal executions: The Attorney General, and the President.
There's not much hope that the President will show mercy. Now that Attorney General Barr has resigned effective December 23rd he will be replaced by Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. Sign the new petition.
Building a Strong Democracy
In 2021, President-elect Joe Biden will have many important issues to address: from combating climate change and gun violence, to overcoming the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling systemic racism in America. But in order for the next administration to do that effectively, we need to build a stronger and more representative democracy.
I signed a petition calling on Biden and Congress to prioritize the For the People Act – Will you join me? Sign Here
Pipe Line 3
Pipe Line 3 is a proposed pipeline expansion to bring nearly a million barrels of tar sands per day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin.
Line 3 isn’t about safe transportation of a necessary product, it’s about expansion of a dying tar sands industry. There will destructive spills. Tell your representative to Stop the Line.
Care of the Earth
Give a gift to Earth! See how much plastic you can avoid using over the holidays.
Lord, Father of our human family,
you created all human beings equal in dignity:
pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit
and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter,
dialogue, justice and peace.
Move us to create healthier societies
and a more dignified world,
a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.
May our hearts be open
to all the peoples and nations of the earth.
May we recognize the goodness and beauty
that you have sown in each of us,
and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects,
and shared dreams. Amen.
Protect School Meal Program
The Trump Administration has proposed a rule that would continue the rollback of the healthy nutrition standards for school meals. It is time to get on the record against this damaging rule. Use our platform to quickly submit a model comment letter or send your own letter directly to USDA.
During a time of unprecedented food insecurity rates and health disparities, our nation’s children need strong, evidence-based school nutrition standards that support their learning, health, and well-being.
Yet, this last-ditch effort seeks to sustain existing rollbacks -- making permanent weaker nutrition standards for whole grains, sodium, and milk.
As part of USDA’s effort to railroad this through, there is only 30 days to comment. You need to act quickly to have your voice heard!
Comment Deadline: December 28, 2020
End Forced Labor
Write a letter for the Action Network letter campaign: Tell Senate: Support the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.
Since a brutal crackdown on civil liberties protests in 2009, the Chinese government has systematically exploited Uyghur and other Muslim ethnic minorities in a network of forced-labor camps.
In March, it came to light that Amazon, Apple and dozens of other U.S. companies have been benefiting from this horrendous system.
The House version of the bill was approved by a staggering 406-3 in September. That's why it's important we write to our Senators today and ask them to support S. 3471
Write a letter. Click here:
Join more than 800,000+ people who have signed on to the call HERE asking to save Dustin John Higgs from the death penalty. Higgs is accused of killing three girls, but maintains his innocence, as do all witnesses to the crime including one man who himself confessed to the murders. Higgs is scheduled to be executed by the outgoing Trump administration just five days before the presidential inauguration of death-penalty opponent Joe Biden.
Congress passed the Global Child Thrive Act
As we honor International Migrants Day this Friday, let’s celebrate that thousands of migrant and refugee children facing adversity will benefit from the passing of the Global Child Thrive Act which now awaits the final step of being signed into law. All children should be able to grow and thrive, and we are one step closer to accomplishing that vision.
Webinar Notice: Responding to Family Separation: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward
Please join this webinar on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 2 PM CT as presenters examine the consequences of family separation on immigrant families over the last half decade and provide recommendations to prevent family separation in the future. The panelists are:
Leah Chavla, Senior Policy Advisor, Women's Refugee Commission
Carol Anne Donohue, Managing Attorney, Family Reunification Project, Al Otro Lado
Ashley Feasley, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, USCCB/MRS
Jeremy McLean, Policy & Advocacy Manager, Justice in Motion
Please join us for the webinar at Bit.ly/Family_Separation
Care of the Earth
From the Mercy Justice Team:
The clothing we wear, especially the demand for “fast fashion has an unseen price on the lives of the workers and on the environment. In the effort to produce clothes more cheaply and quickly, companies often turn to workers in underdeveloped nations, where they are paid unfair wages and may work in slave-like conditions that contribute to the cycle of poverty. In garment factories, children may be put to work at any or all stages of the supply chain, from the production of cotton, to the yarn spinning, to the final cuts and sewing stages. The 2018 Stop Child Labor Coalition estimated that there are nearly 200 million child laborers throughout the world. Clothing production also creates a significant environmental impact, such as the massive amount of waste created as newer fashion trends push older ones into landfills.
The clothing industry is the second largest consumer of water in the world after agriculture. It takes about 1800 gallons of water to produced one pair of jeans. This is roughly the average amount of water used by an American in 20 days.. Dyes and harmful chemicals used in manufacturing are often toxic, not only for the workers but also for the environment, as the production waste is frequently discharged into the surrounding communities and area waterways, compromising sanitation and creating health risks to those living nearby.
While donating used clothing is better than putting it in the trash, most donated clothing ends up in the landfill, is sold to textile recyclers or is sent overseas. Recycling clothing for insulation, carpet padding, yarn, or paper, does reduce greenhouse emissions. But clothing sent overseas to be sold cheaply in poor countries has the effect of depressing and harming the local markets for clothing. You may read more here about what happens to your donated clothing.
How can we shop to promote the use of sustainable and ethical practices in the manufacturing of the clothes we wear and protect the people and places that produce them?
- Buy Fair Trade, Ethically Sourced, or Organic. Many companies have eco-conscious product lines and sustainability reports. Clothing made from synthetic fibers such as acrylic, nylon, polyester, coated finishes and the stretchy parts of clothing are made from oil.
- Buy secondhand clothing. If everyone bought one secondhand item of clothing a year instead of new clothing, this would be the equivalent of taking ½ million cars off the road.
- Keep your clothing longer. The average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year. Even keeping clothing for 9 months longer reduces the carbon footprint for that garment by 30%
We hope that the attached reflection sheet helps you further consider your use and purchasing of clothing and the impacts of "fast fashion.". Access segments of this four-part series, or of previous series in the Mercy Earth Challenge, in the resources HERE