Positive Action for Justice and Peace

Sister Simone Campbell

Will be at SNDdeN – Notre Dame High School, 1540 Ralston Ave, Belmont, CA on September 21, 2019, from 8:30 AM to 3 PM

  • $60 Bring Your Lunch
  • $70 Lunch Provided
  • $75 Registration at the Door, Bring your Lunch
  • Scholarships Available

Click Here to Register and to get more details.

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Advocates against Human Trafficking become involved in the issue at different times in there lives. Here is a letter from a Junior in high school who asked for assistance from Sister Marilyn Wilson, BVM for his project on trafficking to be given to his class on Social Justice.

We had the highest grade in the class on the project so our teacher really enjoyed it.  However, the paper we turned in was only the first part of the project and we have to continue with an annotated bibliography.   For the first part of the project, we were asked to connect the issue of human trafficking with Christian ethics, identify specific policies to focus our efforts, and write about how we would enact change in these policies. We wrote about supporting a new TVPA bill, the one you told us about, that would increase federal funding for laws dealing with human trafficking because we believed that to be the root cause for the lack of reasonable enforcement on the part of many state and local governments.  Another important change we sought was in section 230 of the Communications decency act which immunizes websites who host information from users.  This was the law that made it so difficult to destroy Backpage because technically websites like Backpage simply “host” things, even though those things may be illegal.  This law should be revised to fit in with modern times since website owners now have plenty of power to curate their website and prevent human trafficking ads from being on their website.  The current status of the section 230 Communications Decency Act is that there is a SESTA bill, recently made in 2018, preventing sites from hosting sex trafficking.  My group would like to extend that bill to labor trafficking and human trafficking in general.

We wanted to focus our efforts for change on federal legislators because these are big laws that should be applied to the whole of the nation.  Senator Harris, who has on and off supported efforts against Human trafficking, and could aid our efforts greatly from both her current position and the presidency which she now runs for.  My group decided that the best moral stance to frame the issue with was how dehumanizing human trafficking is, pro-human instead of pro-life as many other groups frame themselves as.  Technically, slavery does not kill people but it does reduce or kill their humanity and we thought that was important to focus on. I think the main thing I personally learned was the sheer magnitude of the problem.  I learned second hand from my sister of the issue and listened to her when she was practicing her speech or just thinking of ideas for her club,  but without having researched the topic myself I did not realize the enormity of the issue.  I think that in and of itself reveals another important thing, which is that normal people in my privileged bubble of the Bay Area just do not notice trafficking.  There needs to be higher awareness for this crucial issue and if I know of this issue then I should try to educate others on this issue as well. Thank you for your assistance on our project.

We are all committed to the work of Justice. That is the Gospel’s Good News for us.

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Analysis of Social Justice Involvement Survey    In March 2017, BVM Sisters, Associates, and friends were asked to complete a survey about their participation during the first three months of 2017 in a range of social justice involvement activities. A total of 87 responses were collected and tallied for this report. Of that total, 64 respondents identified themselves as a Religious (59%), as Associate (28%), or a Friend (13%).

What Participants Have Done

Seven of the nine survey questions asked respondents to indicate their participation in a variety of activities within the first three months of 2017. Six questions were formatted in a multiple-choice format, asking about specific kinds of participation in social justice activities. The table below summarizes the participation of respondents in the activities requested by Questions 1-6. In summary, the five most-often-cited activities were: signing petitions for US Congress and/or Senate (79%, 90%); engaging in organized conversations about immigration (79%); participating in the Women’s March (68%); donating to just causes (66%); and signing petitions for state bills (63%).  To view Table click on this link   Analysis of Social Justice Survey 2017

 Here are some reflections from the survey.  If you would like to add a reflection or comment click here to send an email.                                                                                   

Reflections by BVM Associates from the Survey:   The first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency have deepened a division in our citizenry beyond anything experienced in nearly 75 years. This chasm, revealed in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll,* showed 96% of Trump voters would do so again despite the President’s approval rating at the 3-month benchmark being at the lowest level since 1945. With the President’s supporters steadfastly advancing an agenda that challenges some of the fundamental principles of our nation, those of us who are on the other side of this gulf have grown increasingly confounded, anxious and depressed.

Thus, I was inspired by the results of this poll. It demonstrated that participants moved rapidly from post-election disbelief to putting their beliefs into action. The graphs, and especially the responses, documented individual and collective acts of faith and justice carried out for the sake of people and policies at risk. Being aware of this authentic witness and solidarity has strengthened my own resolve to work towards a peaceful and egalitarian future with no walls — just bridges – to seek common ground and heal the widening rift in our nation. *4/17 -20/2017

#2 As we all reflect on our lives as BVMs and Associates through our most recent survey results:  there is one thing that stands out above all others “PRAYER”.  The more we realize and,  “Live into the greatest gift to us”.   LOVE  the more purposeful and meaningful our actions will be.

#3: Looking at the results of this survey was just what I needed for a morale booster at the dreaded 100-day mark of the Trump administration.  From a group of 78 people who responded to the survey, I estimated that nearly 1200 hours of social justice activity was carried out with commitment and persistence. That is remarkable!  What an honor to participate in this company of women.

Reflection by BVM Sister: On November 8, 2016 future plans for me took a turn from looking forward to quieter days, taking time for more quiet prayer and contemplation, to multiple conversations with friends trying to make sense of what the results of the US Presidential election meant for this country and for the world. Besides conversations there was a desire to spend time in contemplation that would result in action.

Even though many of us were initially greatly concerned about what we thought was impending injustice and no one to stop the flood. Instead what I have discovered through the survey is that the arc of justice still bends to those who need it most, but its arc for the good is being held more tightly and demonstrated more visibly than ever before.

In the survey one sees the activism of a group of people doing not just one thing, but many that add up to a mountain of positive actions. Besides daily personal prayer, people are attending prayer services for peace and justice, they are participating in peace vigils, cyber clusters, and social justice committees in their cities.

It is clear from the survey that the actions for social justice are not going to stop with these first 100 Days. One sees the commitment and resolve to continue the effort of being a presence on the political scene from prayer to rally for issues such as restoring creeks to clean water standards. organizing events around human trafficking, and supporting the work of organizations vested in justice efforts.

Reading through the results of the survey gives me great hope that even though the road forward is filled with many steep mountains, innumerable raging rivers to cross, with some fertile valleys for rest. Yet the arc of justice is still bent toward those in need. An arc held vigilantly by the faithful, by the hope filled, by those who know that it is their responsibility to care for their neighbor, their country, their society, and the earth.