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Justice Promoters Meeting Creates New Strategies for Advocacy

Dusty Farnan
Dusty Farnan, OP (Adrian)

ADRIAN, MI June 21, 2009-- Justice promoters from across the United States gathered at Weber Center to report on their progress on the Dominican Call to Justice and to plan new strategies to combat violence and poverty as well as to promote a compassionate, comprehensive immigration policy.

The Call to Justice document, which outlines the work and goals for justice, peace and care of creation is reviewed annually and revised every three years.

"The 'text' underneath global climate change is poverty, women, and the use of water, among other issues," said Sharon Zayac, OP (Springfield) in her presentation on the current status of climate change. She offered a power pont presentation that offered graphic illustration of the effects of climate change on the planet and described the root causes of global warming related to issues of poverty in developing countries and the use of natural resources in countries like the United States.

The 27 participants also heard a presentation on the coming debate in Congress over compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform, including a look at the present position of the US Bishops on the subject. Chuck Dahm, OP (St. Albert) offered a critique of the pending legislation and where the lines of debate will be drawn.

Other presenters included Toni Harris, OP (Sinsinawa) International Co-Promoter of Justice and Peace, who examined the recent work of the International Justice and Peace Commission including its priorities: 1) peace and authentic human security, 2) migration – the movement of peoples, and 3) economic injustices. (See report on the most recent International Commission meeting.)

Margaret Mayce, OP (DLC/Amityville) NGO Representative at the United Nations offers a presentation on the present agenda of the Dominicans at the United Nations and an overview of the work being done there by many religious communities.

Other presentations included a report from Ceil Lavan, OP (Blauvelt) on the plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza, the corporate stance on nuclear disarmament by the Dominican Sisters USA (Federation) and regional reports on local justice and peace efforts. (See related story)

Sharon Zayac, OP (Springfield)

The meeting also began to strategize around the issues most commonly pursued by justice promoters and considered the question of including the full array of what has been called "life issues".

In order to build a common strategic plan for advocacy on common issues, the group used the question: what can we do better together that we cannot do as well alone? And they shared some of their own best practices for building support, proactive advocacy, and collaboration around human trafficking, immigration, micro financing and the death penalty, among many issues.

The justice promoters organized their work under three themes that provide a framework for the issues they have committed their energies to in the future.

Economic and Social Justice: promote the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) promote justice for immigrants and migrants; work against human trafficking at all levels.
Culture of Peace: educate and act for non-violence; promote peace in Iraq and aid to Iraqi refugees; promote peace in the Middle East; promote nuclear disarmament.
Care of Creation: promote a consistent ethic of life and integrity of Earth; mitigate global climate change; promote water security.

The Dominican Call to Justice is the working document out of which each Dominican congregation and province carries out its local justice agenda. It is developed in concert with the work of the International Justice and Peace Commission of the Order.

In a lighter moment, justice promoters broke into song during an evening social gathering.


In New Encyclical, Pope Calls For Sharing Earth's Resources Equitably


Witnessing the Truth of Gaza

USSB web site on Immigration Reform