Justice Team

Representing the Needs of All the People

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Soon the unrelenting cacophony of political ads will end. More heat than light has come from this routine exercise. What is missing in debates, ads and stump speeches of politicians around the country?

One concern that never surfaces is a broken judicial system that continues to be racist. Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, is an important voice on the issue. He notes that 1 in 3 African American men in the United States are in jail, on probation or on parole. One in six Latino boys will be in prison. He further states that 14 states have no minimum age for trying a child as an adult and 10-year-olds are being prosecuted as adults. They are put in adult jails and many are raped or abused.

Wearing Purple for an Important Cause

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If you have noticed people wearing purple ribbons during October, they are working to bring awareness to domestic violence and all who suffer from its effects. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence initiated Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 1981, with a goal of connecting battered women’s advocates across the country who were working to end violence against women and their children. Programs mourned those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrated those who have survived and connected those who work to end violence. One of the most important actions coming in 1989 was establishing a toll-free hotline.

A Look into Ferguson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

As by now, most Americans have seen coverage, extensive and from various angles of the events leading up to and after the death of Michael Brown. So I will not be blogging to the obvious, but what I would like to do is to take a look at this event from a different perspective.

Of Riparian Buffers and Peace Dominicans

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Riparian buffers are both a part of and a means of caring for creation. As such they have become a common conservation practice. They are vegetative areas usually forested near a stream that provide shade to cool the water thus increasing habitat quality for aquatic life. They, also, partially protect associated streams, rivers and lakes from nearby land use. 

Buffers provide environmental benefits by improving water quality and reducing pollution. They intercept sediments and pesticides that are detrimental to aquatic habitats and harmful to aquatic life. The also serve to prevent bank erosion which can lead to siltation which can damage reservoirs and dams. 

We the People, We the Voters

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

They are going to Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia and Colorado. They are, Nuns on the Bus, traveling on a mission that is vitally important to this country. On every stop Sr. Simone Campbell and sisters from around the country will talk about the crisis of income inequality. The middle class is shrinking and the poor are getting poorer. Network and religious organizations around the country continue to urge congress to raise the minimum wage, stuck at $7.25 an hour. No one yet has asked members of congress if they could live on $7.25 an hour!

Mountain-size student loan debt continues to be ignored by congress, even when a moderate bill is introduced to lower the percentage of the loan. Equal pay for equal work continues to be a dream for women.

There is no Planet B

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our first impression of the People's Climate March was that there were a lot of people. The organizers reported that over 400,000 people marched to show the leaders coming to New York City for the Climate Summit that saving our planet was important. NPR called those of us who marched ‘activists’ and there was an amazing diversity of people and causes…long hair, short hair, curly and straight hair, blond, brown, blue and green hair. And that was just the men! Small children rode on their parents’ shoulders; seniors were pushed in wheelchairs; students and teachers; doctors and nurses walked in solidarity, and only in New York, dogs watched from baby strollers. I walked next to a man in a suit and a young woman covered in tattoos. Religious sisters, Buddhists, Muslims, and Jews came together for this common cause. Along the route, we saw a group sitting in meditation as we passed by.

Time to Man Up

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

By now most television watchers have seen the video of Baltimore Ravens player, Ray Rice, hit his girlfriend in an elevator and drag her face down, like a sack of flour, out of the elevator. What was as shocking as this event was the response before the full video appeared. The Ravens owner, general manager, and coach defended Rice. Ravens fans gave Rice a standing ovation when he took the field in a preseason game. Law enforcement officials in New Jersey permitted Rice to begin counseling, and this will result in all charges being erased from his record. Michael Vick received a 19 month prison sentence for engaging in dog fights. Is the message, dogs are more important than women?

9/11: Creating the Seeds of Compassion

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

When reflecting on 9/11, I remember a time of great pain and great love, a time of faith and testing, of endings and beginnings. The sky was the bluest I can remember, in contrast to the grayness of the events to come.

Soon after the second plane hit the second twin tower I joined members of the Kentucky Council of Churches for a scheduled meeting. The previously planned agenda was ignored. We shared tears, prayers, silence and fears. What happened at that meeting carried on in the days to come—compassion and gentleness with those around us. Wherever I went I heard people on cell phones saying ‘I love you’ to parents, spouses and friends. There was a sense of urgency to reach out and make certain that people knew we cared.

Peacemaking in Daily Life

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

At a recent fund raising dinner for Interfaith Paths to Peace I had the privilege of hearing a reflection on "how I go about peacemaking in my daily life." There were many creative examples of furthering peacemaking in one’s everyday life. I would like to share a few.

Widen your circle. No one is a stranger. We are all just branches of the same tree. When I help you, I am helping myself. This is true, but difficult to see unless we are willing to look deeper and see our common roots. Genetically we are 99.5% the same. Let's build on that circle.

Keep a good question in front of you. A good question focuses our attention without closing off discovery. What does compassion want for ______________ (name of your city/town). Sit with that question for a lifetime.

Victory Measured

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the soil, while Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not. Cain resented this and was crestfallen. When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" He answered, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" - Genesis 4: 3-9

In Genesis we read the tragedy of Cain and Abel, a metaphor for violence in human history. Two sons, representing light and shadow, symbolize the light and shadow within every human.

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