Archive for July 1st, 2017

Department of Violence Prevention: City of Oakland Did a Good Thing

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .


The City of Oakland did a good thing on June 20, 2017.  It created a Department of Violence Prevention (DVP), with a Chief of Violence Prevention reporting directly to the city administration and a mandate to work directly with victims of violent crime — and those who are most likely to be future victims or perpetrators of violent crime – by pursuing a public health approach to dramatically reduce violent crime and end the cycle of trauma in impacted communities.  

unnamedFor too long, Oakland has endured murders of its youth, domestic violence in its families and sex trafficking in its streets, not to mention myriad issues with the Oakland Police Department.

Councilmembers Lynette McElhaney, Larry Reid and Rebecca Kaplan supported a DVP throughout months of community and council meetings, where there was not always agreement.  At the meetings, person after person came to the microphone to talk about loved ones killed on the streets of Oakland, horrific experiences with domestic violence and human trafficking in this city. They talked about multiple violent deaths in their families, a murder in a church parking lot, a murder near City Hall, attending funeral after funeral, a city where boys and men of color are 62 times more likely to be murdered than their white counterpartsimages_9606_7f81049ce35_original

One woman said we need to rise above the doubt and to look beyond what is, to act for what is possible.  The council and the community did a good thing by creating a DVP.  They honored lost and traumatized lives and took a significant step in the healing work of violence prevention and community building.

Thank you to the East Bay community, the City Council and the Northern CA Peace Alliance/ Department of Peacebuilding supporters for attending council meetings and contacting councilmembers.

Read the article online for more details.

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Save Health Care for 22 million people

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .

Friars and Friends, take action!
Our faith teaches that access to healthcare is an essential human right that is necessary to illuminate the dignity of every person. The Better Care Act will take away health care coverage from 22 million people, (15 million in the first year). Medicaid, which cares for the poorest of the poor, such as children, elderly, and the disabled, is facing enormous, morally unconscionable cuts.

“It should come as no surprise that the small group of Senators put in charge of overhauling America’s health care in secrecy has received nearly double the amount of campaign contributions from health insurance and pharmaceutical companies than the rest of their colleagues who have been shut out from the process. From 2010 to 2016, each of these Senators has received an average of $214,000 from insurers and Big Pharma.” (Source: American Promise)
The proposed health care bill will include $1 trillion of tax cuts to high-income households, insurance companies, as well as makers of prescription drugs and medical services.

Contact your Senators here

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The Laudato Si Challenge

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .


Launching startups that sustainably solve the global climate change crisis by 2030

Roman Skyline

The Laudato Si’ Startup Challenge, inspired by Pope Francis is a global initiative, an urgent call-to-action, that encourages early to mid-stage startups to grow their breakthrough solutions to the world’s boldest challenges. Teams of young people, of all faiths, all backgrounds, on every continent, are being asked to scale their profitable, innovative and sustainable products and services which address a grand challenge. The challenge category for 2017 is: climate change and involuntary migration. Startup teams from over 100 countries are now being recruited through a direct call-to-action, through global startup ecosystems, university partners and a worldwide executive network. After submitting first-round entries, the field will be narrowed to 50. Following a rigorous, 60-day screening and interview process, a panel of experts will choose the most promising 12 startups (semi-finalists) to advance into an 8-week business accelerator in Rome to expand and scale their solution.

Each semi-finalist will be offered an equity investment and mentorship as they work to become one of the finalists. All of the startups that reach the semi-finals stage of The Challenge will receive ongoing support to further define their products and services, with the goal of emerging as fully-investable enterprises. In December, The Laudato Si’ Challenge will culminate with a demo day and grand ceremony inside Vatican City. The global event will celebrate each of the six startups as they present their game-changing products and services to the world, as well as memorialize the 21st Century standard of doing business: profitable, social, mission aligned and bankable.


The Laudato Si Startup Challenge will unite humanity in common purpose and productive conversation, much like His Holiness Pope Francis’s “Revolution of Tenderness.” It will be a beacon of new business, inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs to build for-profit, for-purpose companies that address humanity’s biggest challenges in ways that are beneficial to all.

Learn more about the Laudato Si Challenge here

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Report on Return of Central American Refugees

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .


On World Refugee Day 2017, the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) and Cristosal (El Salvador) released a report entitled, Point of No Return: The Fear and Criminalization of Central American Refugees. The report is available at

The report details ten cases from the Northern Triangle of Central America—four from El Salvador and three each from Guatemala and from Honduras—which chronicle the journeys of refugees in search of protection, how the system did not protect them, and what they face upon return to their home countries. The report concludes that the United States and Mexico are returning Central American asylum-seekers to danger, and, as a result, are violating the international principle of non-refoulement. Overall, 18 cases were interviewed and analyzed for the study.

Jeanne Rikkers, Director of the Center for Research and Learning at Cristosal, which interviewed the refugees, stated that those returned to their home countries remain living in fear and are restricted from attending school or obtaining employment. The majority are in hiding, restricted in their movements and liberty. Some have had family members killed in their place.

“The denial of due process to these refugees and their return by US and Mexican authorities have forced them into hiding, where they are unable to live normal lives,” Rikkers said. “They remain in danger and could still become victims of organized crime. It amounts to refoulement, which is a violation of international law.”

Donald Kerwin, CMS’s executive director, stated that family networks, both in Central America and in the United States and Mexico, have replaced governments as a source of protection for many refugees.

“The sad truth is that family networks have filled the protection void that sending, transit and receiving countries have created,” Kerwin said. “Tragically, family members are not always in a position to protect their loved ones and they themselves can become targets of organized crime in the absence of targeted family members.”

Kevin Appleby, CMS’s Senior Director of International Migration Policy, called upon the governments, who recently concluded a conference in Miami to address security and economic issues in the region, to replace deterrence with protection policies.

“For the past several years, the US and Mexico have done everything possible to deter refugees from fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle, to no avail and to the detriment of their rights,” Appleby said. All the nations in the region, including the US, must cooperate to ensure that these vulnerable families and children are protected, until the root causes of their flight can be adequately addressed.” The report includes several policy recommendations for the governments to consider.

For more information on the report or to set up interviews with one of the report’s authors, please contact Rachel Reyes, CMS’ Director of Communications, at (212) 337-3080 x 7012 or

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Pax Christi USA Featured in New Documentary

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .


A new documentary titled “Peace be with you” has just been released by Punnamedeter Stewart. The documentary includes interviews from members of the Pax Christi chapter in Beverly, MA as well as some of the Pax Christi USA National Staff and other social justice peacemakers.

The piece is a beautiful collective of personal stories from regular people sharing their yearnings for peace in our world. With alluring visual images and soothing music, it is a lovely way to take a 30-minute retreat. We invite you watch it when you can this week.

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