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April 2017 NewsNotes

 

Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

NewsNotes  
April, 2017

 

Greetings Friend!

Eileen and I recently welcomed a 24 year old man form Cameroon into our home. I visited Wandji Mfombaa in detention at the Bergen County jail since the fall and attended his court hearing when he was granted asylum in the U.S. on March 20. Released from the courtroom with borrowed clothes (from his thoughtful attorney) he came back to the office in Shalom Center with me before we headed home.

We are adjusting to another person at home, more regular meals, explaining American culture and trying to accommodate his food tastes which is not difficult. He has been on a few shopping trips for clothes, found a football team (soccer) to play with on Sundays after he joins us at Mass. He has also blown all the dust off my bicycle as he rides around the county.

This week we experience the frustration of his trying to get work without a social security number or work authorization. All have been applied for, but it hits home how slow government works for those most in need. For our part, he can take his time finding work, but he insists on paying back money loaned to him to make his escape from Cameroon to the U.S. He also wants to support his family.

He is full of youthful energy, no doubt pent up from nine months in detention. It is like having a second job just to get materials and tasks around the house ready for him (or us) to tackle.

As Easter approaches, we have a very living sign of life reborn.

Thanks be to God!

Frank

Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator


Contents:

  1. Congregation Leadership Statement: Clean Power and Climate Change
  2. Cardinal Nichols Interviewed in America Magazine
  3. Nuclear Arms Ban Negotiations at the UN
  4. CAAT Meetings Now to Plan for Arms Fair Actions
  5. Trump Proposes Dramatic Cuts to UN Budget
  6. BREXIT Begins
  7. Next Up for Standing Rock Sioux: Divestment

Congregation Leadership Statement: Clean Power and Climate Change

 

 

On March 31, Congregation Leadership published a statement in opposition to President Trump’s executive order overriding the Clean Power Plan produced by the previous administration.  Scrapping the Clean Power Plan would allow more carbon to be produced by coal plants and generally more burning of fossil fuels. Interestingly, some major corporations including General Electric and Exxon Mobil announced they are prepared and plan to continue on a path that would allow the nation to reach the carbon emissions goals set forth in the Paris Climate agreement. 

Read the entire statement here.


Cardinal Nichols Interviewed in America Magazine

 

Cardinal Nichols & Pope Francis Photo by America Magazine

 

The current issue of America Magazine, the Jesuit publication, features an interview with Cardinal Nichols of Westminster, Archbishop pf England and Wales. In seeming contrast with the leaders of either the U.K. or the U.S., the Cardinal proposes using Pope Francis as a political model. The Pontiff’s appeal to the best in people would be, according to the Cardinal, an excellent antidote to the negativism of what is currently labeled “populism.”

Nichols is critical of the U.K.’s policies regarding admission of unaccompanied children from Europe, France in particular. After promising to admit 3,000, the program was ended after only a few hundred were welcomed. Many of these unaccompanied children are likely to become victims of human trafficking, another issue close to the Cardinal’s heart. He has invested in the Santa Marta Group, using Catholic institutions to help victims of trafficking. It is a issue of concern he shares with Theresa May, one that helped develop a relationship between them. He notes the tension, “It is particularly in this instance, very difficult to champion the work against human trafficking and to leave unaccompanied children vulnerable.”

Read the entire interview here.


Nuclear Arms Ban Negotiations at the UN

 

Ambassador Rycroft speaks against the nuclear ban negotiations Photo by Seth

 

Over 120 nations of the world gathered at the UN last week to begin negotiations on a ban of all nuclear weapons worldwide. The United States led a boycott by 20 other nations, including those with nuclear capabilities. Most in opposition said with a rogue North Korea testing weapons, now is not the right time to talk about a global nuclear ban.

Pro-ban nations were led by Austria, Brazil, Ireland and Mexico. They hope that if enough nations ratified a treaty, it would put moral pressure on nuclear nations to eliminate them. Ambassador Rycroft of Britain reminded listeners that they had greatly reduced their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Russia and the United States have done likewise, nevertheless, they continue to spend enormous sums in upgrading the current nuclear arsenal.

Pax Christi International’s voice at the UN negotiations was represented by Jasmin Nario Galace.  A video of his presentation can be seen here.

More than 2,000 scientists signed an open letter endorsing the talks.

Read the NY Times story on the negotiations here.


CAAT Meetings Now to Plan for Arms Fair Actions

Photo from CAAT.org.uk 

 

London will play host to one of the world's largest arms fairs July 22-23. The Campaign Against the Arms Trade is holding meeting this month to plan their resistance at the event. Registration to take part in the event can be found here.

April 15 there is a "Creative Action to Stop the Arms Trade in Scotland" meeting at the Quaker Meeting house in Edinburgh, 11AM - 5 PM.

April 22 "Shut Down DSEI: This is how we stop it" will be held at the Friends Meeting House in London from 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM.



Trump Proposes Dramatic Cuts to UN Budget

 

 

One of the more troubling and under publicized cuts in the Trump administration’s proposed budget is to make cuts of up to 50 percent in support paid to the UN. The greatest impacts will be felt in peacekeeping, the U.N. Development program and UNICEF. U.N. funding comes primarily from the State Department budget and the proposal is to cut that budget by 37 percent.  U.N. officials warn that such cuts could seriously damage the world food relief programs. It is not clear that the Congress will approve such dramatic cuts.

Read more…


BREXIT Begins

 

On March 30, PM Theresa May initiated the letter to the EU which formally begins the exit of Britain from that union. Negotiations will be on-going for the next two years focusing on trade, immigration policy and the free movements of people across borders.  

The start of BREXIT raises several concerns that may be of interest to you: 

If you are concerned about the rights of EU nationals in the UK especially those whose children were born in the UK use this link to Amnesty International.  

To Join the European Movement (anti-BREXIT) use this link.  

The Great Repeal Bill, will transfer many of the rights and protections of the EU into UK law. However, it transfers power to the government, not to parliament. To find a FAQ sheet on the Great Repeal bill, use this link.  

To register your support for Fair Trade that will consider the needs of poor and underserved communities you can add your name here.


Next Up for Standing Rock Sioux: Divestment

 

Photo by Ashlee Espinal/Reuters

 

The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies who are still fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline and its culturally demeaning affects have turned to divestment as a strategy. They are divesting from banks that finance the pipeline or the companies that build them. Many American cities, led by Seattle, one of the largest, cities. Seattle has divested $4 billion from Wells Fargo a prime financier of the pipeline. 

Dutch and German banks have already pulled out of the pipeline financing business. 

Read the Guardian USA opinion piece here.   

"We must be signs of hope and healing in the midst of the cultural reality in which we find ourselves."

Ann Rutan, CSJP