Category Archives: Human Rights

PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL: 70th anniversary program in May 2015

pcilogonewPax Christi International will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2015!

Pax Christi International invites you to attend the celebrations, taking place in Bethlehem, Wednesday, 13 May – Sunday, 17 May 2015.  Bethlehem was chosen as a symbol of Pax Christi’s commitment to peace and reconciliation. The title is:

Pilgrims on the Path to Peace

Please find the outline programme by clicking here.

T One special feature of this anniversary celebration is that we will be hosting an event open to all Pax Christi members, partner organisations, local and international peacemakers, as well as interested individuals sympathetic with the PaxChristi movement. In the past, world assemblies were mainly for delegations but this time, we are hoping to bring more people to celebrate with us.

The programme offers a variety of events ranging from local visits to dialogue sessions and round tables where members and local peacemakers can reflect and strategize on Pax Christi themes and issues. Also, there will be a day long anniversary festival, celebrated with the local people, including a marketplace, a variety of events, entertainment and the Pax Christi Peace Award ceremony.

There will be several opportunities throughout the programme to connect with the reality of the peace work on the ground. We will also look ahead, as a global network, and launch a new strategic framework for our global peace work for the next five years.

PCI  in partnership with the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) is sponsoring a Living Stone Pilgrimage to the Holy Land May 11-23, 2014. This extraordinary journey, operated by HCEF will encompass PCI’s annual worldwide conference in Bethlehem from May 13th to May 17th, 2015. For more information on the pilgrimage, e-mail pilgrimage@hcef.org or call (301) 951-9400 ext. 219.

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Pre-registration is now open for the event.  The deadline for pre-registration is 16 January 2015. This pre-registration asks for your basic details and confirms your participation.

Pricing

Includes lodging, full board and participation fee

  •    750 USD  –   Single room, 13 May evening meal – 17 May lunch
  •    595 USD  –   Double room, 13 May evening meal – 17 May lunch
  •    450 USD  –   Triple room, 13 May evening meal – 17 May lunch

PRE-REGISTER HERE

After pre-registering, you will receive confirmation from Pax Christi International. You will also continue to receive updates and further information.

We ask you to check the entry and visa requirements for entry to Israel.

For any specific questions or concerns regarding the event, please contact us at paxchristi2015@paxchristi.net.

We look forward to sharing the 70th anniversary of Pax Christi with you all!

STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA statement on the President’s immigration action

While some would argue that the recent announcement by President Obama on Immigration changes for 5 million immigrants is but a crumb from the table of the empire…Pax Christi USA applauds President Obama for his courage in using his constitutional authority to begin addressing a broken immigration system.

This executive action does lessen the fear of some of those living in the shadows and does provide some measures of safety and protection for 4 million of our brothers and sisters.

While we applaud the President’s courageous action, we know that there is much more to do to assure 7 million other immigrants that life in the shadow of fear is not a permanent state.

Pax Christi USA will continue to urge its members to press Congress to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that delineates a clear path to citizenship, reunites families and addresses the root causes that force migrants to flee their home to find safety and life elsewhere.

STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA official statement following the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting

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Pax Christi USA is deeply disappointed and saddened by the grand jury decision not to indict Office Darren Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. An indictment would have moved the process of justice forward, allowing Officer Wilson to be tried by a jury of his peers and the events that led to the death of Michael Brown fully considered. It is our opinion that the failure to indict is another failure of the justice system in protecting the rights of people of color in our nation.

Pax Christi USA stands with the people of Ferguson and Michael Brown’s family in the hope for a nonviolent resolution to a volatile situation.  The people of Ferguson, as well as communities of color all across our country, are rightfully angry, and they have a right to peacefully demonstrate and to demand further action.  Protestors have a right to engage without militarized intimidation from law enforcement. Police have a duty to nonviolently help to defuse tension where necessary, without recourse to overtly militant and provocative actions, including the use of tear gas and pepper spray. All citizens have the right to expect that their homes, churches and businesses will be safe from raids, destruction and looting.

Pax Christi USA joins the throng of voices, led by the organization ColorOfChange, asking President Obama, Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice to take action so that justice may be served for Michael Brown and his family. We encourage our members and all people of good will to take part in actions to increase public pressure to see that justice is done.

We call for the demilitarization of our civilian police forces. We call for the creation and empowerment of citizen review boards which can engage in police investigations in a robust manner and hold police accountable for the safety of all communities. As our brothers and sisters at ColorOfChange have pointed out, law enforcement in the United States kills Black Americans at nearly the same rate as Jim Crow-era lynchings (see http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/25/mike-brown-shooting-jim-crow-lynchings-in-common). The casual disregard for the lives of the poor, especially young black men, should be an affront to all of us who believe that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God.

Most of all, we mourn, as our chapter in St. Louis so eloquently has stated, “the lack of clear accountability for the taking of a young man’s life.”  We join with Pax Christi St. Louis and others in calling every citizen in our nation to take thoughtful and prayerful action to end systemic racism and structural oppression, locally and nationally. Such actions would be an apt legacy for Michael Brown and all those who have been systemically marginalized in our communities and paid for that marginalization with their lives.

STATEMENT: Statement from PC-St. Louis on the Grand Jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting

from Pax Christi St. Louis

To the Citizens, Police, Criminal Justice System and Political Leaders in St Louis County and Missouri:

#13In light of the recent Grand Jury decision, we are disappointed and saddened because of the lack of clear accountability for the taking of a young man’s life.  We thoughtfully and prayerfully call for actions to end systemic racism and structural oppression, locally and nationally. The casual disregard for the lives of the poor, especially young black men, is a moral scandal. Our laws, policies and regulations must be revised so those currently disenfranchised need no longer fear injustice and the implicit threat to their lives.

Accordingly we join others in calling for full accountability any time a life is taken. Police officers in particular should be models when enforcing the law.  Citizen review boards, formed to assure equality of all, should be established to provide oversight to police departments, and Quality Policing Initiatives brought forward from the community should be reviewed and implemented.

We call for a demilitarization of the police force. While we do not condone destruction of property, looting, or violent behavior of any kind, we hope that better police methods can be used, while still protecting the right to protest and the lives of all citizens.

We do not believe that police officers should be trained to ‘shoot to kill.’

And finally, we believe that police departments should represent the communities they police, both racially and geographically.

May the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s ‘nonviolent social change to build the beloved community’ be the central theme in how we interact with one another.  And, may the Peace of Christ be paramount in our hearts.

IMMIGRATION: Urge the president to expand deferred action for our undocumented community members

childrenattheborderbutton-smallAs President Obama prepares an executive order on immigration, urge him to inclusively expand deferred action for our undocumented community members.

Call the White House TODAY and every day until the President acts!

And tell Congress that you support the President taking action!

Immigrant rights groups and faith communities across the country have been urging the administration to take bold, concrete actions to stop the pain that families and communities face due to deportations. Such action has been promised and delayed, but it seems likely that President Obama will act soon. Every day the administration delays its executive order, more than 1,000 individuals are deported from their families and communities. The President’s action could look similar to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in which undocumented individuals who came to the U.S. as children can apply to temporarily be able to travel and work legally. Such action may condition relief on having a child who is a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), living in the United States for five or ten years, and/or other criteria. This could leave out a significant number of our community members who have lived here for less time, do not have U.S. Citizen or LPR family members, and individuals who have committed immigration infractions or crimes in the past but have accepted responsibility for their actions and turned their lives around. As people of faith, we do not define a person by how long he or she has been in the United States. We do not value family unity based on one family member’s immigration status. We believe in the power of redemption, repentance, forgiveness and rehabilitation, as all of us have made mistakes. Now is the time for the President to hear from us that administrative relief must be inclusive.

Some members of Congress have threatened to stop administrative action through legislation, legal action or blocking funding for implementation. It is important for Congress to hear from people of faith that we support the President expanding deferred action. President Obama has signed fewer executive orders than any president in 130 years. He has the authority to provide our undocumented community members opportunities to stay in the United States without fear of deportation. Deferred action is one of the many long-standing forms of prosecutorial discretion available to the Executive Branch. Indeed, every U.S. President has used their authority to offer temporary immigration relief to groups in need since at least 1956. Ronald Reagan used categorical grants of deferred action for large groups of undocumented immigrants in 1987, as did George H.W. Bush in 1990.  George W. Bush exercised prosecutorial discretion in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for over 40 percent of the then-unauthorized population.

Tell the White House that you don’t want to see your community members left out of administrative action!

And tell Congress that you support the President using his authority to expand deferred action!

Call the White House at 1-866-961-4293. You can also call the White House Comment Line directly at 1-888-907-2053.

“I’m from (City, State, Congregation/Community) and as a person of faith, I urge President Obama to inclusively expand deferred action. The President must act boldly and act now. Administrative Action should not be limited to individuals who have been in the United States for a long time, or those who have family members here. We seek broad, accessible relief for all of our community members.”

Then call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with Your Representative. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 or find your Representative’s direct line at http://www.house.gov

“I’m from (City, State, Congregation/Community) and as a person of faith, I support President Obama expanding deferred action. The President has the authority to act boldly and act now. I ask Congress to support the President’s decision to expand deferred action and to promote its implementation.”

Keep up the pressure on social media!

Ex: .@WhiteHouse As a person of faith I want you to use your authority to grant inclusive relief to our undocumented community members. #Not1More family separated

Ex:.@Raul_Labrador As a person of faith from Idaho I support the @WhiteHouse decision to expand deferred action for our #immigrant brothers and sisters (Find you Representative’s Twitter handle at house.gov)

Follow @InterfaithImm on Twitter and “like” the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on Facebook to receive up-to-date alerts.

REFLECTION: Everyone deserves a home

Tony Maglianoby Tony Magliano

Just imagine for a moment that you have no home.

What will you do for meals today? Where will you shower? Where will you sleep? If you have children, how will you provide for them?

And how will you cope with being homeless tomorrow, next week, next month?

Such imaginations are distressing. Aren’t they?

NHHAW-TWITTER-SIZE

Last winter I took imagining what it would be like to be homeless one step further. I lived one day in Baltimore as a homeless man trying to stay warm and fed. From street, to soup kitchen, to shelter I ventured.

I learned a lot that day about how rough it is to have no place to call your own. But later that night my experience as a homeless person ended. I got in my vehicle and headed for home.

But for 100 million people throughout the world, not having a home to go to each night is a hard, sad reality (61st session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights).

And in the U.S., according to the National Coalition for the Homeless (www.nationalhomeless.org), 3.5 million people – 39 percent of which are children – have no place to call home.

Recently I spoke with Ken Leslie, a former homeless alcoholic and drug addict, who is now a leading advocate for people who have no home. Based in Toledo, Ohio, Leslie founded 1Matters (www.1matters.org), an organization inviting each of us to “Be 1 that matters to 1 that matters.”

As their motto indicates, 1-on-1 relationships help break down homeless stereotypes and build community.

One major stereotype is the word “homeless” itself. Because the word “homeless” often conjures up negative images of people – which in most cases are completely untrue – Leslie prefers using the word “unhoused.”

A model project of 1Matters is “Tent City.” Every year on the last weekend of October, Tent City brings together doctors, nurses, medical students, social workers and over 500 other caring souls to serve the unhoused.

Recently – Oct. 24-26, 2014 –Tent City celebrated its 25th anniversary. On Toledo’s Civic Center Mall, under several tents, approximately 1,000 unhoused and marginally housed fellow human beings received medical treatment, prescriptions, job and housing assistance, I.D. acquisition, haircuts, food, clothing, commitment to follow-up care and lots of love.

To watch an inspiring video on Tent City go to www.1matters.org/tentcity. And then kindly consider how a Tent City could be started in your town or city. You can contact Ken Leslie for assistance at ken@1matters.org.

Another outstanding program of 1Matters is “Veterans Matter.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs there are over 49,000 homeless veterans on the streets of America. And while many of them qualify for government rental assistance, they lack the upfront deposit needed to get an apartment.

Veterans Matter has provided deposits for approximately 500 veterans to date in several states. You can help an unhoused veteran get off the street and into decent housing by making a donation at www.veteransmatter.org.

Everyone deserves a home. And National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week – Nov. 15-23 – is an ideal time to get started in helping to make a difference in the lives of unhoused people.

The social doctrine of the Catholic Church clearly teaches that safe, decent housing is a basic human right. And that individuals, governments and society in general have a moral obligation to help end homelessness.

In the spirit of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who help the unhoused, for they shall find a home in heaven.”

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. Please contact your diocesan newspaper and request that they carry Tony’s column. Tony is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings about Catholic social teaching. His keynote address, “Advancing the Kingdom of God in the 21st Century,” has been well received by diocesan gatherings from Salt Lake City to Baltimore. Tony can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.

RESOURCE: Webinar on Thursday on “Understanding the U.S.-ISIS crisis”

from the Institute for Policy Studies

iraq-syria-buttonJoin Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism project, for an in-depth discussion on the crisis. We will discuss:

  • Why is the Obama administration going back to war in Iraq and Syria?
  • What is ISIS and why are they considered such a threat?
  • Is this U.S. war helping the Syrian regime?
  • Who – AND IN what country – is next?

Please join us for this important discussion – and invite your friends!

Understanding the U.S.-ISIS Crisis and Washington’s New Wars: A Discussion on Context with Phyllis Bennis

Thursday, November 13, 2014
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST

You can participate in the webinar online or in-person with us in the conference room of the Institute for Policy Studies (1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington DC, 20036.)

If you will be joining us online, you can listen in using either using your computer’s microphone and speakers or your telephone.

To participate, please RSVP to the webinar.

After entering your information at the above link, instructions on how to participate will be displayed and emailed to you.

We hope to see you there!