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Nuns on the Bus

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Blogs are published here: www.nunsonthebus.org/blog they're on the sidebar where it says "News from the Road.

Photos throughout the week can be found and downloaded from NETWORK's photo albums on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121511644@N04/albums  you can also use the shortcut www.nunsonthebus.org/photos  

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November 1, 2018

This morning we visited Tower Center in Miami, an affordable housing site for senior citizens. We talked with residents (I wish I spoke Spanish), site administrators, staff and state advocacy leaders. Rich experience. I gave the Nuns' speech highlighting that we visited to learn firsthand why this organization is a responsible program; we realized their significant hardships due to the tax laws and their contributions to solutions; we urged them to learn more about the real issues we all face; we encouraged voting for the common good. And the bus was signed.  ~Julie

October 30, 2018
By Sister Clare Lawlor, CSA

This morning Nuns on the Bus met with members of the Columbia, South Carolina community at the ConneXion Baptist Church. We participated in a roundtable discussion that included representatives of the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN), Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Homeless No More, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, PASOS, and Representative Jim Clyburn.

We heard about the struggles of clients and constituents as the result of the passage of the 2018 tax law. There are less monies allocated for housing and transportation. Rep. Clyburn described the loss of 234,000 low-income housing units across the country. He stated that evictions have greatly increased in number during the past two years. As rents increase due to gentrification, current renters can no longer afford to live in their neighborhoods, increasing the number of homeless persons. These persons often cannot access services as budgets for these services have been slashed, creating a cycle of homelessness and despair in the lives of many local residents.

Other panel members described the impact on agriculture created by the immigration “war” occurring on the United States/Mexico border. The effects leave farms and other agricultural enterprises without employees. The loss of these jobs eventually affect the food supply, with low income persons/families becoming most affected by the loss of employment and food deprivation. Employers are known to give lists of undocumented workers to the FBI leading to increased number of deported family members.

Morning: October 30

Can't see the crowd gathered in this pic, just the media. Clare spoke very well. She outlined goals on the Network bus, the regressive and destructive taxation policy we now have, the need to vote for tax justice and the tremendous challenges and generative solutions of the women leaders organizing local programs working for the common good. We had a Tremendous site visit to Rep Clyburn with round table discussion including women leading strong community advocacy programs. The stories bring tears and gasps and vision hopeful community-strengths based programming. We need reasonable taxes for responsible programs such as these. The bus gets signed and we r on the road to Savanna. Exhilarating to be here,.  ~ Julie

October 29, 2018  - Raleigh, North Carolina

At 9:00 this morning, the bus pulled in front of a nice-looking, small business-type building, the Women’s Center of Wake County.  Its non-descript look denied its role as ‘home’ for women looking for safety and stabilization.  With the leadership of Brace, the Women’s Center is a day program aiming to prevent and end the homelessness of women. We met welcoming staff working in rooms made beautiful and calm by the art and design. We saw spaces that addressed the physical and mental health concerns of the women, spaces that held safe their personal belongings, spaces for calm and comfort, spaces with a piano, spaces for eating plentiful and nutritious meals. We heard of programs providing clothing, cleanliness, coffee and laughter. We heard of ever-expanding resource and revenue sources for the program and the individual women; individuals, businesses, HUD.   There is no space or intent for the women to sleep inside, they are a day program.  Yet, women sleep outside at night. 

And we met the women.  Dorothy and Kathy spoke of warmth, multiple points of ease and access to local resources connecting them to hopes and plans for recovering and for securing life.  And this was ‘home’ until then.  Our hour in that building brought us to know and feel that this was not a simple space but a thriving yet struggling community creatively and powerfully taking care of each other.  The Women’s Center of Wake County truly is a responsible program working successfully for the common good.  A program worthy of the support of our taxes.

We walked out of the building to a rally in front of the bus that featured inspiring talks from Brace, Sister Simone, Sister Donna. an Reprepsenttaive D. Price. What we heard further highlighted the need for this program, the need for reasonable taxes for responsible programs.  We present further understood the need to vote for officials that have the willingness and courage to 1) work for progressive taxation and 2) expand programs that work for the common good of ‘we, the people’   And the bus grew with more signatures.

October 29, 2018 - Durham, North Carolina

Our afternoon began with a sunny walk in a garden. It looked lovely and simple enough with a variety of trees and flowers and plants.  Then subtleties of organization became apparent: plowed rows of plants raised to efficiently improve the irrigation system, food plants in stages of harvest.  Then the inter-related complexity wowed us: solar panels on the green house, flowering plants for the bee hives across the street, compact and nutritious food sources, diverse vegetation encouraging volunteer care, old bicycle tires beautifully repurposed to support sunflowers and climbing berries, composting organic waste from the nearby food distribution center, a community contributing to and receiving many benefits.  Awesome!  And symbolically representative of the site we were visiting:  Farmer Foodshare.  

It looked lovely and simple enough: cool building, neat trucks, and friendly people.  Then we noted the subtleties of organization: efficacious use of historical space, flexible scheduling and appropriate tools and resources to manage the ebb and flow of the bounty and the needs.  Then three women shared their perspectives with us and the inter-related, interdependent complexity of the three partnering social service agencies wowed us. With food access and food justice as paramount to their work,  Gini Bel, Quisha, Camryn, explained how they organized the community to build pathways out of food insecurity.   They created a robust community-response to the multiple identified food challenges with avenues for cooperative economics.  It was expansive.  Gathering, storing, distributing local-grown and prepared foods; connecting farmers, neighbors, seniors, school children; educating for nutrition, sources of food, food tastes, ecology; remodeling and utilizing vacant neighborhood buildings; securing local and federal (ie. USDA) sources of revenue, employment, community involvement. The result—reliable, consistent access to fresh, diverse food provided and enjoyed by the community through their own ingenuity, efforts, and resources. 

And we were awed. What a garden!  What powerful community action!  What a responsible program!

The nuns and the leaders walked outside, and with the crowd gathered, shared goals and new understandings of ‘we, the people’ successfully working for the common good. We encouraged voting to get reasonable taxes to develop responsible programs.   And the bus grew with more signatures.


October 26, 2018

One More Day!!!
Sunday Morning, Clare and I fly out to Washington DC to join the Nuns on the Bus.   We are part of the tour’s final week, joining the fourth set of sisters on the bus.  We have our suitcases ready to carry and our mind and hearts filled with conviction and the message of tax justice: responsible revenue for responsible programs.  We are ready for the ride, the enthusiastic and questioning crowds, the prayer and reflection with our bus community.  By the time we get to Mar-a-lago next Friday, we will be tired of our suitcases, but still energized by the people who gather ‘round the bus and the need for significant change in the tax policy.    We are getting excited to actually see the Bus.  Sr. Eileen’s pictures taken at a Tucson event highlight a key activity: joining in the NOTB commitment by signing the bus, a powerful visual rolling down the road.  By now, weeks and states later, signatures gathered on the tour must be edging over the rooftop and under the fenders.  We will also sign the bus and will hold you with us as we do.  We will send pictures!    Keep us in your thoughts and prayers; do discuss and pray for a tax-responsible outcome to the elections; and .... vote.       ~Julie           

You can get information about the tour and message and follow the Bus :  www.nunsonthebus.org