Every month, one of our Sisters or Associates writes a reflection on a topic related to social justice. We welcome you to read and reflect on these essays, contemplating your own thoughts on these important issues of our day.
"We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase. So where knowledge is limited, we will remember all those who will walk after us and err on the side of caution." (Taken from "A Declaration of Interdependence," 1992 Earth Summit. Rio Janeiro)
Land (earth) is a living organism of which "we, humans, are but one of thirty million species weaving the thin layer of life enveloping the world."2 "The preciousness of human life cannot and must not any longer be separated from the preciousness of the Earth."3
I have vivid memories of the bitterly cold Colorado December day when Sr. Gemma Doll called to ask me if I would consider participating in a delegation to Iraq. Iraq? Surely I had heard her wrong. But no, she was inviting me to be part of Voices for Veritas, sponsored by the Dominican Leadership Conference, to support the Dominicans who were suffering under US sanctions. Never one to turn down a request or an opportunity, I agreed to go and thus I spent ten days of Lent 2001, along with Thoma Swanson and eight others, learning that "we have family in Iraq."
Connections lead to caring and to seeing ourselves as one human family beyond barriers of race, nationality, religion, language and all the other things that seem to divide us.
I have been working with immigrants in adult education since 1993 in New Orleans, Chicago, and now in Columbus, Ohio. This ministry has largely entailed helping them learn English and the culture of the U.S. in order to survive here. I have heard many stories over the years, but I would like to share some key elements of immigrant stories of current adult learners at the Dominican Learning Center.
I have been working with immigrants in adult education since 1993 in New Orleans, Chicago, and now in Columbus, OH. This ministry has largely entailed helping them learn English and the culture of the US in order to survive here. I have heard many stories over the years, but I would like to share some key elements of immigrant stories of current adult learners at the Dominican Learning Center in Columbus, OH.
Have you ever had this experience: You are walking down the street and see a homeless person asking people for money. You would simply like to cross the street and avoid this person but you are fairly certain he/she has already seen you and there still might be the possibility they will ask the person directly in front of you and, like a tailback, perhaps you can use this person to "block" you from the beggar. You do have a couple of singles in your wallet or pocketbook which you could easily spare, but if you pull out your wallet the homeless person would see the three $20s you have in there. So, after a flurry of thought, anxiety and quick rationalizations you say, like the rest of the folks speeding down the sidewalk, "Sorry, I don't have anything." You don't feel like a terrible liar necessarily.
In case you missed it, Abby McCrary, Dominican Volunteer at the United Nations, NY, recently reported on a new UN campaign to examine the role men play in women's oppression: the HeForShe Campaign. Abby works with Amityville Dominican Sister Margaret Mayce, OP, the DSI NGO representative to the UN who works on our behalf to advocate on issues such as climate change and worldwide social development related to women and girls. The "HeForShe" video and social media campaign is an innovative approach to engaging men and creating a space to raise male voices for empowerment of women. (You can read Abby's report here.)
Several weeks after the Sisters of Loretto refused last July to allow the Bluegrass Pipeline Company to cross the 800 acres of land they have loved for 200 years with a huge hazardous liquids pipeline, they became aware that they did not want to spend all of their energy being AGAINST this pipeline, AGAINST fracking, AGAINST tar sands oil production and the Keystone XL pipeline. They also wanted to tell the world what they are FOR regarding energy sources for the future.
It has been two years since President Obama determined that there was not enough research completed about the Keystone XL pipeline for him to make a decision to allow the project to cross the international border between Canada and the U.S., and ordered the State Department to re-examine if the pipeline is in our national interest. This report is scheduled to be released by the end of 2013, followed by three months of public comment on the study. In the President's climate speech this past summer he said "the net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward."
As recent as December 23, 2013, TransCanada Corp. Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said he is "very confident" the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will be approved by President Barack Obama.