July 2016 News Notes
Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace
As our 4th of July, Independence Day approaches in the U.S. I cannot help but think of independence in the light of the recent vote in the UK for "independence" from the European Union.
Thankfully we've progressed in the last 240 years so that the desire for independence can be expressed in a nonviolent vote rather than in a bloody revolution. Yet, it was not bloodless. The passions and fears of at least one man caused the death of young MP, Jo Cox, ended a promising life of a representative dedicated to actually serving her constituents.
The BREXIT vote initiated a process of withdrawal from the EU, but does it really bring independence? Will it cost the UK dearly in lost investments in the NHS? How will the U.K. economy fare? What will Scotland and Northern Ireland do?What about global alliances for security?
Perhaps our nations are not as independent as we think. It was worthwhile to note that the immediate reaction to the BREXIT vote was a downturn in the GLOBAL stock markets. In our life as CSJPs we know that interdependence needs to be sought in a world growing ever smaller. The issues of climate change, militarism, and terrorism are, among others, issues that cannot be addressed unilaterally.
We would do well to ask what caused the largely older, poor, and white voters in the U.K. to want to leave the EU? Many of those same voters in the U.S. are tending toward support of Trump for President. (It hurts me to even write that phrase.) I do not believe the fear comes simply because they are told to be afraid of immigrants, or of foreign influences. There is a deeper fear that needs to be identified and addressed, a fear that their future is lost, that poverty awaits, that they no longer have an influence in their own nations, much less on the world stage.
Peace through Justice Facilitator
- Follow Up to: Welcome Immigrants and Refugees
- Four CSJPs Heading to Calais
- Torture Month News
- Anti-Deportation programs, DACA and DAPA, Overruled by U.S. Supreme Court
- Fossil Fuel Exports to China Threaten the West Coast
- Palestine, Israel and Nonviolence
- Nuns on the bus tour 2016
- We Want a Clean Energy Revolution
Follow Up to: Welcome Immigrants and Refugees
A story on our congregational statement:Welcome Immigrants and Refugees
, appeared in the Catholic Universe (UK). When a copy is available, you will be able to read it on the statement webpage
. We also received mention on the Pax Christi International website on World Refugee Day.
Press releases were sent to secular and religious press outlets in the U.S. and U.K. where we serve as well as to major peace organizations. Outreach also happened through Facebook and Twitter.
Letters introducing Welcome Immigrants and Refugees
were sent to clerical leaders from Pope Francis to the local ordinaries where CSJPs serve. You can read the letter to Pope Francis here
. Letters were also sent to the LCWR and COR.
Publishing our statement like that makes us all the more responsible for living it. One recommendation is for us to consider ways to welcome immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers to our family or communal tables. The website for Refugees are Welcome has resources and stories to help make that happen.
Consider inviting refugees or immigrants to your table during the week of Campaign Nonviolence, September 18-25, 2016.
Four CSJPs Heading to Calais
Four CSJPs have volunteered to serve the refugee families in Calais France.
Sr. Sheena George, CSJP and Frank McCann, CSJP-A leave on August 6th for Calais. Sr. Sheena returns on August 26th to re-start her studies at Fordham University.
Donna Clifford, CSJP-A will join Frank on August 30th before he returns home on September 2nd or 3rd. Donna will stay through September 20.
Bryan Johns, CSJP-A will be following Donna to Calais. His dates are not yet firm but he will serve from mid September to early-mid October. So there should be a constant CSJP presence in Calais from August 7 thru mid-October.
During that time, an order of French sisters will be opening a second house in Calais. The original Catholic Worker house will be used to house refugee families with special needs while the second house will house religious and volunteers.
Please consider supporting the four in prayer as they set out on this new adventure. More next month, and reports from Calais as I am able.
More than 1,200 people are held captive in inhumane detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island by Australia. These brave people fled torture and war in search of mere survival and for this, and now they're being held in conditions so appalling that a UN special committee called them "cruel, inhumane and profitable".
Ferrovial, the detention center's latest operator is close to abandoning its contract -- and if w enough pressure is applied, we could push it over the edge.
Call on detention center contractor Ferrovial to walk away from the illegal centres now.
Anti-Deportation programs, DACA and DAPA, Overruled by U.S. Supreme Court
(from the Center for Migration Studies...)
On June 23, an understaffed U.S. Supreme Court come to a 4-4 deadlock, meaning the ruling of the lower court, that Obama's executive actions violated theconstitution, was allowed to stand.Action to reform U.S. immigration policies and to provide legal status to the nation's undocumented residents will now await the next administration and Congress.
In November 2014, the Obama Administration announced the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. The DAPA and expanded DACA programs, if implemented, would provide work authorization and temporary relief from deportation to roughly four million undocumented immigrants
living in the United States. Texas and 25 other states, challenged the programs, and the case, United States v. Texas
, has made its way to the US Supreme Court. For background read more...
Several thousand immigrants and their allies are expected to march through downtown Cleveland, Ohio, calling for compassionate comprehensive immigration reform on July 9th. The walk organized by faith, labor, and immigrant rights organizations will take place one week before delegates for Republican National Convention arrive. Live near Cleveland or known someone who does? - spread the word! LEARN MORE
Fossil Fuel Exports to China Threaten the West Coast
China's growing need for fossil fuel and the U.S. desire to export puts many parts of the west coast at risk as energy and construction companies look to build ports to ship coal oil and natural gas to China.
In May of this year the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sided with the Lummi Nation in the latter's fight to block the development of a coal port at Cherry Point in Washington State. Approving the port would have meant the U.S. would abrogate yet another treaty with Native people protecting their rights to watershed and land. Read more...
On June 6th
an oil "bomb" train derailed near the town of Mosier, Oregon along the Columbia River. According to the fire chief the only reason they were able to contain the resulting blaze was that the days was extraordinarily windless. It allowed time for tankers to come from Portland to pump water from the river to douse the blaze. Had the day been normally windy, a school and most of the town would likely have been incinerated. See a video news report of the derailment here...
To urge western governors to oppose oil "bomb" train shipments sign here
Shell wants to build one of the largest oil train tanker terminals on Earth at its Puget Sound refinery, bringing mile-long trains full of volatile crude and dirty Tar Sands up along the shores of the Puget Sound. Shell admits it expects at least 1 derailment every few years.
Just last month, hundreds of kayaktivists took to the water to block Shell's oil tankers at their Puget Sound refinery, Shell countered bycancelling every single oil tanker coming into their refinery for three days. That's the power of kayaktivism. New "kayactivists," those using Kayaks as a means of deterring movement of oil tankers and equipment to the refinery, are being trained to continue the struggle.
China is also offering a free trade agreement to Canada in exchange for building a pipeline to the Canadian west coast which would allow shipment of the Canadian tar sands oil to China. The XL Pipeline that would have taken the tar sands oil to Louisiana for shipment to the global markets was rejected by President Obama.
All these attempts pose continued risks to local environments in the process of shipping and transfer of fuel products. They also mitigate against the spirit, if not the letter, of the Paris accord which calls on all nations to keep most of the fossil fuels in the ground in order to keep global warming under 2 C.
Many groups will be gathering in Philadelphia on July 24 before the Democratic Convention to protest continued use of dirty fuels that threaten the environment. As of this writing, the Democratic platform still promotes fracking and the Trans Pacific Partnership which would limit the abilities of the U.S. to restrict the sale of fossil fuels.
The struggle to keep fossil fuels in the ground continues with some success.
Palestine, Israel and Nonviolence
(Please copy or retain this story for discussion in a future CSG on the Palestine-Israel Conflict.)
News reports throughout most of the world report violent incidents perpetrated against Israelis by Palestinians. Less frequent are the news reports of Israeli violence against Palestinians. That violence begins with the ever-increasing occupation and confiscation of Palestinian land for the purpose of building Israeli settlements, the restriction of movements of Palestinians, and constant invasions of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to search for and arrest alleged perpetrators of violence against Israelis. Israel also opposes peaceful nonviolent protests by Palestinians opposed to Israeli occupation.
These peaceful, nonviolent means being employed by Palestinians are rarely even covered as news stories by mainstream press even though some protests occur every Friday. Instead, the image of Palestinians as violent extremists and terrorists is perpetuated.
Here are a few stories of nonviolence being employed by Palestinians trying to achieve a minimum standard of human rights:
A major nonviolent effort being undertaken by and with Palestinians is called the BDS movement: Boycott, Divest and Sanction. A similar program was successfully employed against the apartheid movement in South Africa in the 1980s. Those in solidarity with the Palestinians are asked to boycott products of, and divest from companies that support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. The four companies most often targeted are: Caterpillar, that provides machines used to tear down Palestinian homes and dig foundations for Israeli settlements; HP, that supplies and maintains the IT systems used by the IDF to monitor Palestinians; Motorola that develops the surveillance and communication systems for Israeli settlements; and G4S that provides security in Israeli prisons, settlements and checkpoints.
G4S, a British security company, has lost contracts worth millions of dollars due to their "reputationally damaging work" in Israel. In March of this year, they announced the sale of their Israeli subsidiary in the next 12-18 months. BDS may continue to protest G4S due to their participation in mass incarceration globally.
A rabbi from Jewish Voices for Peace spoke to those of us at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days in DC in April. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said "First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, they they fight you, then you win." Clearly those who support Israel without question now are fighting the BDS movement.
Over the last few months, politicians all over have mobilized to attack, slander, misrepresent, undermine, blacklist, and otherwise condemn the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement working to hold Israel to basic standards for international law and human rights. recently, Governor Cuomo of New York, and the NJ legislature have spoken out to condemn the movement and are trying to make it difficult for anyone receiving state funds to boycott or divest from Israeli companies, or companies supporting Israel's occupation.
The two articles below argue pro and con the anti-BDS boycott legislation proposed within the NJ legislature:
Among many mainstream protestant churches in the U.S., the Methodists, Presbyterians and United Church of Christ are taking the lead in supporting the nonviolent BDS movement. For example, in January, the Methodists blackisted those Israeli banks that lend mortgage money to Israeli settlers buying homes in Palestinian territories. It was important to target the divestment against those participating in the building of settlements and not just against Israel generally. This is a targeted campaign to achieve human rights for the Palestinians and is not driven by anti-Semitism, something the protesting churches want to make clear.
Nuns on the bus tour 2016
The Nuns on the Bus tour for 2016 starts On July 11 in Madison, Wisconsin with the first stop in Janesville, hometown of Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives. The theme this year is "Mend the Gaps: Reweaving the fabric of society."
Our goal is to bring a politics of inclusion to divided places, change the conversation to mending the vast economic and social divides in our country, and counter political incivility with our message of inclusion.
This year, our own Sr. Susan Francois, CSJP will be aboard the bus for the first week ending with Delegate Dialogues at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18th. Susan is prepping to be the spokesperson on taxes.
Later in the tour, the Nuns on the bus will be hosted overnight at St. Michael's Villa.
You can find more information and follow on the Nuns on the Bus tour here
We Want a Clean Energy Revolution
"If political leaders are unable to recognize the urgency of our global crisis, or unwilling to put the long-term good of humankind above the short-term benefit of fossil-fuel corporations, we may need to challenge them with sustained campaigns of citizen action."
- A Time to Act is Now, A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change
WATERSPIRIT is one of many environmental groups from across the U.S. planning a large march and rally for Sunday, July 24th
from noon to 4 p.m. in Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. The groups are gathering to call for a Clean Energy Revolution
, that would keep fossil fuels in the ground. Busses and trains are being arranged to bring any of us who can go to the event, including from Mahwah and Jersey City. The round trip will cost between $25-35. They are hoping for thousands to come from New Jersey alone. The website for the event can be found here
. Participating in such events where we "collaborate with others, including interfaith and civic groups, who are addressing climate change" is a way of living our Chapter Act, Seeds of Peace: Care of Creation and Climate Change.
For CSJPs and associates, please contact Frank McCann CSJP-A
, if you are interested in attending so we can know if we are going with one of the pre-arranged means of transport, or arranging our own.
Independence Day U.S. (240 years)
Wednesday, July 6th from 5-6 pm, join the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains and 350NJ in Dumont, NJ at the "No Bomb Trains in our Communities" rally to commemorate the third anniversary of the Lac Megantic bomb train tragedy which killed 47 people and decimated a town.
Birthday of the Dalai Lama (b.1935)
July 8 Lampedusa Prayer Vigil for Immigrants
Lampedusa U.S.A., a Catholic organization inspired by Pope Francis' call to welcome migrants and refugees, will be hosting a 24 hour Facebook prayer vigil on July 8, 2016 to commemorate the third anniversary of Pope Francis' visit to the island of Lampedusa.
We invite you to join us in solidarity with migrants and refugees from all around the world.
Sign up to plan a prayer activity of your choice and post photos, graphics, or video a few times for one hour on July 8th. If you are unable to hold a prayer vigil at that exact time, you can send us photos or video ahead of time and we will publish it on Facebook during an hour of your choosing.
Join Catholic organizations, parishes, and individuals in prayer for immigrant and refugee families over this 24 hour period.
Annual Justice & Peace Conference
Theme: "Justice, Power and Responsibility: How Can Democracy Work for the Common Good?"
*** PLACES STILL AVAILABLE ***
Booking forms from:
39 Eccleston Square
London SW1V 1BX
020 7901 4864
Some assistance may be possible for families. Please contact NJPN to discuss.
Clean Energy Revolution Rally
Philadelphia, PA City Hall Noon - 4 PM.
Rally at Military Park
109 Park Place, Newark NJ 07102 7 p.m.
Pax Christi USA National Conference. Doubletree Inn, Linthicum, MD at BWI Airport. This year's theme is "Building the Beloved Community," and we will be addressing how racial injustice disrupts movement towards peace. Register today to participate in sessions about how racial injustice is linked with so many important issues including militarism, care for the earth, immigration, and criminal justice.