By Sister Mary Pendergast, RSM and Sister Patricia Moriarty, RSM
As Sisters of Mercy who work closely with people living in poverty, we urge all of our legislators, including Sen. Jack Reed and Rep. Jim Langevin, to support a proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, that would cut bloated Pentagon spending by 10%. We agree with Senator Sanders that this money should be diverted to rebuilding “communities at home devastated by poverty and incarceration.”
The proposed cuts would happen through amendments to a defense bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Sanders will propose the amendment in the Senate and Representative Lee will do so in the House. It is imperative that all of our Rhode Island legislators support their efforts so that we can reinvest some of the enormous Pentagon budget into Rhode Island communities.
As nuns who have long worked closely with people on the margins in Rhode Island and nationwide, we have been shocked by the increasing numbers of hungry, homeless and sick people at McAuley Ministries, our comprehensive social service agency in Providence, and affiliated agencies, during the pandemic. These women, men and families include people of color, whose suffering is made worse by our country’s history of racism.
We believe that our nation’s healing from its many ills could be more readily undertaken if the federal government diverted a fraction of its military spending towards addressing structural injustice and shoring up the country’s safety net and public-health systems…