One of the privileges of being the justice promoter for the community is the opportunity to meet with justice promoters from the midwest and south each year. This provides a forum to share experiences, ideas, and goals around a number of justice concerns. This year we met at the Motherhouse of the Houston Dominicans and focused on immigration reform, human trafficking, and economic justice and participated in the Dominican Sisters Conference web seminar, "What is Earth Asking of the Order?"
Everyone came away not only with the challenges each of these justice concerns brings, but the opportunities that collaboration has provided. The corporate voice of Dominicans is impressive, as shown in the DSI web seminar.
"We have the best government money can buy." - Mark Twain
Just when we thought the Supreme Court had finished their work on dismantling responsible campaign finance reform with their Citizens United decision, they knock down all barriers to the distorting power of money in US elections. In their recent decision on McCutchen vs. Federal Elections Commission, they determined "the sky's the limit" when it comes to political donations. By chipping away at campaign finance regulations, the court has given billionaires and millionaires the loudest voice in politics.
"Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people’s poor of their rights, making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, when ruin comes from afar? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth, lest it sink beneath the slain?" - Isaiah 10:1-4
"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." Martin Luther King, Jr.
Over 65 years ago, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was approved by its member states. In this important document on basic human rights, Article 25 states, "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself/herself and of his/her family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services."
U.N. guiding principles make it clear that companies are responsible to respect, protect and remedy human rights within the global supply chains. The pharmaceutical industry is the key industry in promoting availability and affordability needed to deliver life-saving medicines.
"Don't jump the gun" "Trouble shooter" "He went ballistic" "It militates against" "The Senator is under fire." "She uses a double barreled approach"
What do these expressions have in common? They all send a message by using violent terms. I could list another 100 violent expressions as examples from a recent communication I received, compiled by Presbyterian USA.
"One does not help only one's own generation. Generation after generation, David pours enthusiasm into somber souls. Generation after generation, Samson arms weak souls with the strength of heroes." - The Hasidic Masters
As we begin National Catholic Sisters Week, this quote from the Hasidic Masters came to mind. For every student taught, patient comforted, homeless person helped, directee guided or senator visited, a sister has left a compassionate memory for years to follow. Recently, at a meeting in Chicago, a Viatorian brother, who serves on his community's council, informed me that he decided to pursue a social work career after serving as a volunteer in my social service program at Catholic Charities. That gives me energy on days that are challenging!
Sacred Space. What image comes to mind when you think of a sacred space?
For many, the image would be of a church, synagogue, or mosque. Special moments such as Baptisms, First Communions, and marriages are images that easily appear as sacred moments in a sacred space.
It was to such a sacred space that a young woman came on a Saturday in August a few years ago in Owensboro, Kentucky. The doors to this Catholic Church were open as usual, reflecting the desire of the parish to be open and accepting of all people. This young woman came to pray the Stations of the Cross as she frequently did in the past. She was alone with her thoughts and her God. What she did not know at the time was that she really was not alone.
"There is class warfare all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we are winning." - Warren Buffet
Recently, the newly-elected Mayor of New York, Bill deBlasio, came under criticism for keeping public schools in session on a day when New York City was hit by another snow storm. What was he thinking? His response, "…for many children in public schools, their lunch will be the only meal they will have on this day." Startling, but true. Government funded school lunch programs provide a hot, nutritious meal for millions of students around the country.
Last year, in an ill-advised decision, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965. This action eliminated the protections that millions of people of color, elderly, young voters, and the poor have depended on in states with the worst history of voting discrimination. This stunning decision has made it easier for voter discrimination to fly under the radar in the former Confederate States of America.