VeryTopShalom News North America  

An instrument of hope, formation, and action

concerning priority matters of social justice.

In This Issue
Education for All
Extreme Poverty
Dignity of Work
Rana Plaza
Forced Labor
Fair Trade Day
Family Detention
Cultural Diversity
Truth and Reconciliation
Human Trafficking
Vatican Earth Summit
Biological Diversity
Dwindling Water Supplies
Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Catholic Social Teaching
Mother's Day
Defense Budget
Quick Links
Opportunities
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May/2015
         
 
May 1 is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. We invite you to take time today and throughout the month to reflect on the dignity of work and the treatment and well-being of workers. What can you do to promote dignified work for all?  

"Social justice and the common good are built up and torn down day by day in the countless decisions and choices we make." - U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1998.
          
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Human Life and Dignity             waveofprayer                             


Education for All 
Global Monitoring Report  
According to this year's report, one third of all countries have achieved all the measurable EFA goals while only half have achieved the most watched goal of universal primary enrollment. Signs of progress include nearly two-thirds more children enrolled in pre-primary education than in 1999, and 34 million more children have gone to school than if previous trends had continued. As we look forward to the new post-2015 education agenda, governments and the international community should intensify their commitment to education as a vital part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more.  

Global Monitoring Report 2015
Global Monitoring Report 2015
 

Human Life and Dignity                                          


Ending Extreme Poverty - 
A Moral and Spiritual Imperative 
"For the first time in human history, we can do more than simply imagine a world without extreme poverty, we can make it happen," according to thirty global faith leaders and the heads of world organizations who have issued a joint statement indicating their commitment to bring an end to extreme poverty by 2030. The statement notes that we need to "assert unequivocally that bringing an end to extreme poverty without mitigating climate change and fighting inequality will be impossible".  Many have observed that the next encyclical from Pope Francis may make an important contribution to the global awareness of the appeal. Learn more.
 
 

Human Life and Dignity               


Reflecting on the Dignity of Work (EFJ)
"We do not get dignity from power or money or culture. We get dignity from work. Work is fundamental to the dignity of the person. Work, to use an image, 'anoints' with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God who has worked and still works, who always acts. I address a strong appeal that the dignity and safety of the worker always be protected," said Pope Francis. "Work must be combined with the preservation of creation, so that this may be responsibly safeguarded for future generations."  

A wonderful variety of prayer and reflection resources can be found here. (Our username - schoolsisters, password - peace). Action opportunities - End Child Labor in the Fields, Call on Wendy's CEO to Commit to Farmworker Human Rights, Sign the Jobs with Justice Pledge.


Human Life and Dignity               


Rana Plaza - Two Years Later
Two years ago, 1,129 people died in a Bangladesh factory collapse. While major clothing companies have made progress on upgrading the factories where they source their products, governance is still weak and infrastructure lacking. A coalition of religious and other global investors (including SSND) representing $2.5 trillion in assets sent letters to corporations requesting that they disclose efforts to safeguard the lives of workers in Bangladesh garment factories. Learn more.


  

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Human Life and Dignity               


Forced Labor - Eliminate Recruitment Fees
The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, which represents tech corporations around the world, says that its members will work to eradicate forced labor practices beginning with the elimination of recruitment fees in the supply chain. Learn more. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility recently issued a report that analyzes slavery risks in the seafood sector and makes recommendations for companies looking to strengthen their recruitment and employment policies. Learn more.

Unethical labor recruiting puts workers at risk for trafficking
Unethical labor recruiting puts workers at risk for trafficking

                

Human Life and Dignity               


World Fair Trade Day - May 9
A global celebration, World Fair Trade Day brings together thousands committed to building healthy and sustainable communities world-wide. This year's theme is Stand with Small-Scale Farmers: Together We Can Cool the Planet. When you choose fair trade products and ingredients, you help improve the lives of farmers, farm-workers, producers, and their families. Learn more, order some Fair Trade Chocolate.
                 

Human Life and Dignity               


Family Detention - 
A Mother's Day Call to Action
As we honor and remember the blessing of motherhood this Mother's Day we are especially mindful of all those mothers and children held in immigration detention facilities in our country.  These moms and children face limited access to legal services and inadequate care. Download this action kit for worship resources, stories, action suggestions, and background materials. The SSND International Shalom Network endorsed the Global Campaign to End the Detention of Children in 2012. Individuals can indicate their endorsement here.

A Tale of Two Children
A Tale of Two Children

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Human Life and Dignity               


World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 
"Our cultural diversity is the common heritage of humanity. It is a source of renewal of ideas and societies, through which we open up to others and craft new ways of thinking. This diversity provides opportunities for peace and sustainable development," according to Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.  The day, celebrated on May 21, recognizes diversity as a valuable resource for fighting poverty and promoting gender equality, education, and human rights. Learn more, see what you can do.

Human Life and Dignity               


Truth and Reconciliation Commission - 
5 Things You Can Do
Many people will be gathering in Ottawa from May 29 to June 3 to mark the ceremonial close of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). But you don't need to be in Ottawa to mark this historic moment. There are many things that can be done to demonstrate a nationwide commitment to reconciliation - hold a reconciliation walk, plant a heart garden, gather to watch live streaming, ring bells at noon (EDT) on May 31, plan a reconciliation worship service.  Learn more/take action.

                 

Human Life and Dignity               


Sisters Work to Prevent Human Trafficking at Pan Am Games 
This summer Toronto will host the Pan Am Games. With athletes coming from 41 countries, it's bigger than the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver - the largest multi-sport event ever held on Canadian soil. Led by Catholic religious sisters, a broad coalition is getting ready for the games by ramping up public education campaigns about human trafficking and the sex trade. The most visible of these will likely be the GIFT Box. Two meters long, two meters wide and three meters high, the GIFT Box will look like a present on the outside and tell the tale of enslavement and exploitation on the inside. Learn more.

Integrity of Creation              


Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity 
World leaders meeting at the Vatican for a summit on climate change have issued a final statement, declaring that "human-induced climate change is a scientific reality" and "its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity." Participants included representatives from the world's major religions, climate scientists and influential environmentalists. The statement says that humans have the technological and financial means, and the know-how, to combat human-induced climate change, while at the same time eliminating global poverty. Learn more.
              

Integrity of Creation              


International Day for Biological Diversity
Recognizing that the larger context from which human culture derives is the entire community of life on Earth, the UN marks May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity.  This year's theme, Biodiversity for Sustainable Development, reflects the importance of efforts to establish Sustainable Development Goals for 2015-2030 and the relevance of biodiversity for their achievement.  "Humanity's fate is tightly linked with biological diversity - the variety of life on earth. Biodiversity is essential for sustainable development and human well-being." Read more at Biodiversity: The foundation for sustainable development and Fast facts: Biodiversity supporting development.


Integrity of Creation              


Dwindling Water Supplies Threaten Food Security
In 2050 there will be enough water to help produce the food needed to feed a global human population expected to top nine billion, but overconsumption, degradation, and the impact of climate change will reduce water supplies and threaten food security in many regions, especially developing countries, according to a joint report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Water Council (WWC).  Some 60 percent more food will be needed to feed the world's people and as farming remains the largest user of water, food must be produced much more sustainably to ensure future supplies of food and water. Learn more.        
 

Peace and Non-Violence               


Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference 
The United Nations is currently hosting the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goals of achieving nuclear disarmament. Conferences to review the operation of the Treaty have been held at five-year intervals since the Treaty went into effect in 1970. Each conference has sought to find agreement on a final declaration that would assess the implementation of the Treaty's provisions and make recommendations on measures to further strengthen it. Learn more.

   

Peace and Non-Violence               


Catholic Social Teaching

May is Catholic Social Teaching Month
Although it's not an official designation, many papal encyclicals, as well as the U.S. Bishops' pastoral letter, The Challenge of Peace, were promulgated during the month of May. With Rerum Novarum in 1891 defending the rights of workers, Quadragesimo Anno, Mater et Magistra, Centesimus Annus, and other encyclicals, the Church has reminded Catholics that proclaiming and living social teaching is an essential part of the Catholic faith. And yet, many Catholics know very little about these encyclicals (Latin for "circulating letter") because they have not been well circulated. Perhaps May would be a good month to brush up on what these documents say about our Catholic faith in action.
   

Peace and Non-Violence               


Mother's Day
The founders of this day might be a bit dumbfounded at how Hallmark and florists have commercialized this day given its original purpose was to commemorate women's public activism, originally to improve sanitation in Appalachian communities in 1858. In that year, Anna Reeves Jarvis organized Mothers' Works Days in West Virginia. During the Civil War, Jarvis pried women from their families to care for the wounded on both sides. Afterward she convened meetings to persuade men to lay aside their hostilities. In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", proposed an annual Mother's Day for Peace. Committed to abolishing war, Howe wrote the famous Mother's Day proclamation. Nineteenth century women dared to dream of a day that honored women's civic activism.  While some may think it insulting to alter our current way of celebrating Mother's Day, perhaps we need to inject a bit of the vision of Jarvis and Howe in our celebration of what motherhood might include.
   

Peace and Non-Violence               


Federal Budget vs. People's Priorities
According to Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), 49 cents of every tax dollar paid for 2014 are going to the Pentagon.  And Congress could soon vote to increase that amount.  An upcoming vote on a budget resolution will determine how much money to put into an additional special fund for war.  This Overseas Contingency Operation account is outside the regular budget and lets the Pentagon budget grow despite the restrictions that Congress has approved for all federal spending. Learn more, let your voice be heard regarding budget priorities.
   

The SSND International Shalom Network witnesses to the Gospel with audacity and hope as we collaborate to build just relationships and respond to the urgent needs of our times. 

Shalom LogoShalom News North America is an e-publication of the Shalom North America Contacts (SNAC) of the School Sisters of Notre Dame - Arlene Flaherty, Ethel Howley, Jeanne Wingenter, Paulette Zimmerman, Rose Mary Sander, and Tim Dewane. Your comments, suggestions, and feedback are always welcomed. Email us at tdewane@ssndcp.org.

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