'Justice'

‘An amazing honor’ for an amazing RGV nun

Posted on 13. Oct, 2017 by .

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She has done it again.

Sister Norma Pimentel, the Rio Grande Valley’s uber-ambassador, met last week at the Vatican with Pope Francis to help kick off a new global campaign to assist immigrants and refugees.

That the world leader of the Roman Catholic Church hand picked our Sister Norma is no coincidence. She truly is blessed and she has blessed us all with her unending humanitarian spirit and her strive to show us all how we should treat one another, regardless of religion, age, color, income and government papers.

It seems as though her and Pope Francis are becoming old friends as she has now met with the pontiff in person when he visited the United States and on TV when he personally acknowledged her work via closed circuit TV.

As always, Sister Norma displayed humility and did not announce the trip until after she met with Pope Francis on Wednesday along with 20 refugees from Syria, Africa, Cuba and Ethiopia.

“They’re asking for protection and they’re asking to be safe,” Sister Norma told Monitor Reporter Naxiely Lopez-Puente via phone.

As director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, she was invited to tell about the thousands of immigrants that her organization has helped at the Humanitarian Respite Center at Sacred Heart in downtown McAllen, which she helped to open after a flood of immigrants began coming through our region in 2014 upon being released by U.S. federal immigration authorities.

Women late in their pregnancies, toting babies and without a dime to their name, have found their way to the center’s doors; eating warm chicken soup and gaining strength in the welcoming applause and smiles of the many volunteers there.

Leading them all has been Sister Norma, who insists that all refugees are greeted with the utmost respect, like visiting family. And it is that attitude that has made her a sister to us all.

We hope that her tales will help to inspire other refugees and those opening refugee centers in other countries as part of the Vatican’s new two-year campaign called “Share the Journey.” Spearheaded by the Vatican’s Caritas charity, this program aims to build bridges of understanding and hospitality toward the displaced.

“This is simply to help us understand not to be afraid of immigrants, to understand their journey and see what your role is in helping them,” Sister Norma told Lopez. “It’s definitely an amazing honor to be recognized and be picked among many people doing such wonderful work.”

We are honored to have Sister Norma living within our Valley.

At a time when our nation is so bitterly divided on the issue of immigration, this nun cuts to the chase and stays out of the political fray by addressing the very essence of who we, as humans, and why we are put on this Earth: To help one another.

We hope and we believe her work will temper this division and mellow us all to try to better understand one another.

And so on this Sunday, a day when many give thanks, we give thanks for Sister Norma for helping to put the plight of so many who have crossed through South Texas on journeys of hope and even salvation. We hope her stories will help to guide our political leaders as they search for a way to reform our nation’s policies to better accommodate and fairly recognize those who could contribute and add to our American society.

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Bank Boycott?

Posted on 13. Oct, 2017 by .

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Some advocacy leaders are asking how can we better identify what influences key political leaders in order to better move our policies toward justice for immigrants. As a complement to many common tactics, the idea of boycotting key banks, who are profiting from the rapid increase in detention of immigrants and funding key politicians, has been gaining traction.

Read this 1 pager of basic facts and leverage points

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UN: We’ll Give Trump’s Peace Efforts a Chance

Posted on 01. Oct, 2017 by .

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that Israel was evading its responsibility to end the occupation.
“While we call to end the occupation, Israel incites and pretends there’s no Palestinian partner for peace,” Abbas said, addressing the UN General Assembly hours after U.S. President Donald Trump told him that now might be the Palestinians’  “best shot ever” to achieve peace.
Abbas said the United Nations bore a legal, political, moral and humanitarian obligation to end the occupation, adding that Israel knew that the occupation bred incitement and violence.
“Draining the swamp of Israeli occupation would greatly affect the fight on terror,” he said, adding that ending the occupation would deprive terror groups of a key rallying cry.

“We called on Israel’s prime minister to sit with us to negotiate. He rejected this offer,” Abbas said, adding that “Israeli policies stir religious animosity and may lead to a violent religious conflict.”

Abbas told the General Assembly that Jerusalem was an occupied city, saying that Israel’s decisions there were null and void and illegal. He added that “we cannot allow Israeli occupation to continue without cost.”
According to Abbas, “our problem is with the Israeli occupation and not with Judaism as a religion.” He pondered if “the world can accept an apartheid regime in the 21st century” and asked: “Has the international community surrendered to the fact that Israel is a country above the law?”
Abbas criticized Britain for “failing to rectify the grave injustice it inflicted on the Palestinians when it issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917.”
He urged countries that have not yet recognized the State of Palestine to do, noting that “Israel has no borders. How can you recognize a state with no borders?”
Abbas also called for a blacklist of companies operating in Israeli settlements, similar to terrorist blacklists.
He also saluted “our glorious martyrs and our courageous prisoners in Israeli jails.”
Earlier, Trump noted that Israeli-Palestinian peace was considered the “toughest deal of all” to achieve, but vowed to devote “everything within my heart and within my soul to get that deal made.”
Trump said Saudi Arabia and other Arab states were making efforts to advance the peace process. “Who knows, stranger things have happened, but we have a good chance,” he said, adding: “No promises, obviously.”
Abbas praised Trump and his team, saying that its efforts had given him  the confidence that “we are on the verge of real peace.”
Read full article here
Read the full text of the speech here.

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DEAR MRS. KAEPERNICK: Every son should have a mother like you

Posted on 28. Sep, 2017 by .

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Usually I don’t post editorials. This is a “must read”….Bro. Mark

“Dear Mrs. Kaepernick,

We can’t imagine what it felt like to hear President Donald Trump call you a “bitch,” just to get some cheap laughs and cheers at a campaign rally. No woman deserves to be called that. But to those of us in the Central Valley, those of us who know your story, there’s something particularly egregious about insulting you, the proud Modesto mother of a proud Turlock son.

Thirty years ago, you and your husband, Rick, adopted Colin from a teenager who wasn’t ready to be a mother. He was 5 weeks old and you called him “our little Colin.” It didn’t matter that you were white, and he was biracial and would someday grow an Afro that would both inspire and enrage millions.

When Colin was still young, you moved from Wisconsin to California for a better life. You got him involved in sports and supported him as became one of the top quarterbacks in the country.

You cheered as he dazzled fans at the University of Nevada, Reno. You selflessly shared him with the ever-present eyes of the public and the press as he joined the NFL, leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. And then, perhaps at the height of his popularity, you stood by Colin’s side as he chose to wade into the tumultuous national debate over police brutality.

By kneeling on the sidelines during the national anthem at each 49ers game, he challenged a cross-section of Americans to confront racism. Not surprisingly, many Americans didn’t like that. Colin made himself a target – both for the racist yahoos who are among Trump’s core supporters,and for the football fans who think kneeling is an insult to the American flag and the military. The NFL, meanwhile, has blackballed Colin, cutting short what had been a promising career.

Through all of this, the booing, the name-calling, you haven’t shied away. And what did you get for your sacrifice? The president went off-script on Friday and called your son a “son of a bitch.”

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.’” he said. “‘Out! He’s fired!’”

This is the “son of a bitch” who is just shy of a pledge to donate $1 million to various charities. For that, the National Football League Players Association gave him an award. And this is Colin, who is helping fight famine in Somalia.

This is also the “son of a bitch,” who went around the country putting on “Know Your Rights” camps to teach kids about how to interact with police. And Colin, who spends time with kids at Camp Taylor, a Salida charity that helps kids with heart disease. He has a soft spot for the organization because you lost two kids to heart disease before adopting him.

So what did you do as Trump repeated his comments on Sunday? Being the fierce mother that you are, you gamely tweeted: “Guess that makes me a proud bitch!”

We know what the president thinks about women. But you, Mrs. Kaepernick, are a great mother. You don’t deserve to be called anything less. Nor do the sons of other moms deserve to subjected to brain-damage. Trump thinks preventing CTE is “ruining” the NFL. You know, because he’s tougher than they are.

We know the NFL is popular, but moral courage isn’t found as much on the gridiron as it is in communities that have moms like you. So here’s to you Mrs. Kaepernick.”

[Sacramento Bee, Sept. 26, 2017]

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Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and Impact on Human Trafficking

Posted on 28. Sep, 2017 by .

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During the recent hurricanes first responders have been warned to “look beneath the surface” and to be aware that many people become trapped in human trafficking after natural disasters.

U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking is a collaborative, faith-based network that offers educational programs and materials, supports access to survivor services, and engages in legislative advocacy to eradicate modern-day slavery. They have put together this informative piece on the connection between those displaced by environmental disasters and human trafficking.

We encourage you to visit their website for many more resources including an Interfaith Toolkit on Human Trafficking and the Stop Trafficking Newsletter.

 

 

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