Celebrate Earth Day
Check out ways you can honor the movement and ‘do healthy things.’ And for more ideas to last until next year: http://www.earthday.org/earth-day/earth-day-toolkit/
April 22, 2016 marks the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, a secular celebration that many faith communities have incorporated into their annual calendars. This year, we join with the Earth Day Network to celebrate “Trees for the Earth.”
Ever wondered how Earth Day started? This observance arose from an interest in gathering national support for environmental issues. In 1970, San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson separately asked Americans to join in a grassroots demonstration. McConnell chose the spring equinox (March 21, 1970) and Nelson chose April 22. Millions of people participated, and today Earth Day continues to be widely celebrated with events on both dates. The most common practice of celebration is to plant new trees for Earth Day.
MORE EARTH DAY RESOURCES: Care for God’s Creatures
On April 18th, the Supreme Court will hear an important immigration case to determine whether to uphold crucial immigration reforms, specifically the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). These reforms would stay the deportations of many immigrants with close family ties and relationships in the U.S. Above all, they would protect and keep families together.
You are invited to pray for and lift up the many immigrant families that will be impacted by the Court’s decision, which is expected in June. That might include reflecting on Pope Francis’ message on World Day of Migrants and Refugees last year: “The Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place, or disposable.”
Please click here for the new toolkit to learn how to spread this culture of acceptance by elevating the DACA/DAPA case in the media and social media and through prayer. Included are prayer resources and sample letters to the editor, Facebook postings and Tweets.
We reverence the dignity of each person and are working to reduce harmful policies that increase deportations, tearing families apart. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, let us stand with immigrant families and children.
Call your Senators about these issues:
ACTIONS/ADVOCACY: Call Your SENATORS: Sample message: I SUPPORT HEARINGS FOR THE SUPREME COURT VACANCY! Please act to affirm a person soon! Please be willing to have the hearings and vote, up or down, on Supreme Court nominations! It is the responsibility of Congress to act on this responsibility and not be irresponsible in waiting another 9 months or 6 or 3 months! Act now!
And you can also call the Capitol Switchboard number (202-224-3121) and use the following call script to encourage Congressional endorsement of the Green Climate Fund:
Hi, my name is (name) and I’m calling from (city). As a person of faith and your constituent, I urge (Senator/Representative) to support the U.S. pledge to the Green Climate Fund and the President’s FY17 budget request of $750 million for the GCF. Addressing the harmful impacts of climate change upon the most vulnerable people and the future of all God’s creation is the moral responsibility of our nation, and the GCF is a crucial piece of this effort. The GCF represents a new way forward in climate finance to build resilience and stability in the face of the unavoidable impacts of climate change. We have a responsibility to take leadership on this issue and so I ask that (Senator/Representative) support this critical funding.
Finally, if you would like to learn more about the Green Climate Fund click here http://us.boell.org/2016/03/02/fact-sheets-civil-society-green-climate-fund.
Tell House Leadership Not to Bring Anti-Refugee Bill to a Vote
Background: In March, the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 4731, the “Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act” out of committee. As House Leadership decides whether to bring this bill to the House floor for a vote, it is critical that they hear from everyone! We want to stop them from even considering bringing H.R.4731 to a vote by the full House.
H.R.4731 would drastically reduce and cap refugee admissions; place refugees under continual surveillance after they have arrived; and create new procedures that would significantly and potentially indefinitely delay resettlement for many refugees whose lives are in danger, including but not limited to Central Americans, Syrians and Iraqis.
It would allow state and local governments who “disapprove” of refugees to veto resettlement in their localities. Under the guise of prioritizing religious minorities from countries of particular concern, H.R. 4731 could effectively prevent many Muslim refugees from being resettled. It would keep refugees from adjusting to Lawful Permanent Residency until they have been here for three years, which would delay family reunification and integration opportunities. The bill would also revoke the refugee status of any refugee who returns to their country of origin to visit loved ones or rebuild their communities.
Even though the House is not in session, most of the offices are accepting calls. So, call next week, and the following week. SPREAD THE WORD for this advocacy.
Call House leadership TODAY: Urge them to STOP this anti-refugee bill
- Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1): (202) 225-0600 / @SpeakerRyan
- Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23): 202-225-4000 / @GOPLeader
- Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA-1): (202) 225-0197 / @SteveScalise
- Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5): (202) 225-5107 / @housegop
- Policy Committee Chair Luke Messer (R-IN-6): (202) 225-3021 / @RepLukeMesser
Here’s what you can say: Please oppose H.R. 4731 and don’t even bring it up for a vote. “I support refugee resettlement, and I urge the Representative to STOP H.R.4731. Show better concern for our moral and humanitarian responsibility to assist with refugee resettlement. It is not helpful to change the definition of who is a refugee, nor to allow states and localities to stop resettlement to their areas.
Don’t Deport Families
We want to urge the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the lower Circuit Court of Appeals and support President Obama’s executive actions on expanding deferred action to deport children and parents—both DACA and DAPA. Click the link, and sign the petition.
Sign Thank You Note to Obama
Write thank you note to President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau who have joined together to announce both the U.S. and Canada will regulate the dangerous climate pollution emitting from oil & gas facilities currently in operation!
Environmental Advocate Murdered
Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader Berta Caceres was assassinated on March 2, 2016. She had stood up for the rights of indigenous people in Honduras to hold on to their land in the face of corporate/government incursions for decades. Finally they caught up with her.
Unfortunately, this was far from an isolated incident—hers was but one in a procession of murders of environmental activists around the world. Globally, there were over 100 in 2014 (see map in link below), with 101 in Honduras alone in the past five years. Overall, 40 percent have been indigenous people—those whose lands have been under assault for centuries—and still are. And we—Rich World corporations, along with governments like ours, which supported a coup in Honduras several years ago bringing the current government into power—are part of the problem. How can we be part of the remedy? https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/environmental-activists/how-many-more/
You can send an e-letter: firstname.lastname@example.org or write a formal letter.
Letter to Congress: Migrant Policy Reform
Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico was an opportunity to reshape the global conversation on migration and borders. Write to President Obama and Congress and ask them to commit to humane policies that respond to the realities of migrants who are fleeing war, repression, violence, and poverty.
2016 National Election Resources
A FOLLOW-UP TO OUR PRE-ELECTION WORKSHOP:
You will find both a ‘long’ and ‘short’ version of the guide.
The short version is the text given out during the workshop, A Revolution of Tenderness, to our ASC community – Sisters, Associates, Sojourners, and partners in ministry – to assist each of us in this election preparation process. We encourage you to reflect on our Catholic values and principles, as you consider how each of the candidates is, or is not, living up to them as they finalize their platforms with specific policies. Each issue section includes a brief overview of the issue, Catholic wisdom and reflection questions. These questions can be used in phone calls, letters to the candidates, letters to the editors, at town hall meetings and in conversation with other voters.
The issues covered in this interactive guide are:
- Our Political Foundation: The Sacred Gift of Life and Creation
- The Economy
- Global Peacemaking
- Immigration and Refugees
- The Environment
- Racial Justice
- Freedom of Religion and Conscience
An “INTERACITVE” web site
Scroll down the page, and you will see two ‘boxes’ which ask you to enter “KEY WORDS” and “HIT ENTER.” Do this, and you will find many resources.
In this very challenging United States election cycle, each of us is being called to be a faithful citizen by sustaining hope and respecting all persons while bringing the wisdom of Catholic Social teaching to our turbulent public square.
Would you like some prayer with that ballot?
From the Springfield Dominicans comes, “Take It To Prayer.”
You are invited to spend a few moments with God before you go into the voting booth.
Today we are releasing Take it to Prayer: A Spiritual Reflection for Voters. The brief guide is meant to help busy people prepare themselves spiritually before they vote.
“Voting is one of our primary responsibilities as U.S. citizens,” explained Sister Marcelline Koch, OP, who is the justice coordinator for the Springfield Dominican Sisters as well as the North American Dominican’s Co-Promoter for Justice and Peace. “’Why does my ballot matter?’ you might think. But because we are citizens of the most powerful nation on earth, the tiny pebble that is my ballot can make big waves around the universe, especially when we consider that the health of Creation, our common home, may depend on it.”
Take it to Prayer was inspired by the Catholic tradition of examination of conscience. Often used by Catholics as a prayer at the end of the day or before going to confession, and examination of conscience is a way to discern where and how a person has acted in accord with God’s grace, or not, in the course of a day.
The guide includes a quote from Pope Francis: “To live charitably means not looking out for our own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us.”