February 2021 Newsletter
Issue #48
The Minimum Wage
This month the new administration proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. This rate would then be reviewed annually and adjusted based on changes to median hourly earnings of
all employees.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and hasn’t been increased since 2009. Working full time, this comes to $15,080 a year -- which is below the 2020 federal poverty rate for a family of 2.

Inflation over the past 11 years has been 20.6%, so the hourly wage is now worth about $5.76.

Before 1968 the minimum wage grew faster than inflation but since then it has decreased in value.

Currently Wyoming and Georgia require a minimum wage that is lower than the federal standard and much of the deep south (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina) has no minimum wage.

Current statistics regarding people working at the minimum wage:
  • The average age is 36
  • 89% are not teens
  • 37% are 40 or older
  • 56% are women
  • 26% have children
  • 57% work full time
  • Earn more than 50% of their family’s total income
Employers typically raise prices to accommodate inflation, even if they don't increase employee wages accordingly.
For more on the Minimum Wage, click here.
World Food Program
The leading humanitarian organization of the United Nations, the WFP works to save and change lives, by delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Partners with more than 1,000 national and international NGOs to provide food assistance and tackle the underlying causes of hunger.
Funded entirely by voluntary donations, the WFP focuses efforts on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations. Two-thirds of their work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict.
For its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict, WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
in 2020.
For more on Hunger, click here.
Against All Odds:
The Fight for a Black Middle Class
A documentary that examines the efforts of black families to pursue the American dream in the face of unrelenting barriers. Through dramatic historical footage and personal interviews, shows how the traditional route up the economic ladder — attaining a job that pays a living wage and then buying a house that becomes a financial asset for future generations — has been systematically denied to black families. Highlights how reduced educational opportunity, rampant employment discrimination, the inequitable application of the GI bill, mortgage redlining and virulent housing segregation are among the injustices that have converged to limit the prosperity of black families from generation to generation. Watch now.
For more on Racism, click here.
White Noise
A documentary that tells the story of the alt-right, following Richard Spencer, Lauren Southern, and Mike Cernovich as they ride a wave of racist ideas to viral fame. Watch the trailer.
For more on Racism, click here.
Hate Among Us
A documentary that shows the current rise of global anti-Semitism and its hateful and consequential effects on the lives of all people. Depicts unique perspectives on anti-Semitism from young and old alike, from Jew and non-Jew, from within historic Jewish neighborhoods in Europe, to the streets of Charlottesville and Pittsburg’s Tree of Life Synagogue massacre – this narrative connects real stories of current survivors of violent anti-Semitism, to those of the holocaust. Illustrates how renewed intolerance is taking root in our communities, institutions & universities, with far reaching consequences around the world. Learn more.
For more on Religious Intolerance, click here.
NASA Climate Video
A short animation of the Earth that graphically indicates temperatures rising from 2016 to 2020. Watch now.
For more on the Environment, click here.
Represent Justice
Turns stories into action in order to accelerate social change. Through producing entertainment media and impact campaigns featuring stories of hope, justice, and redemption, creates public demand for a fair legal system, dignity for system-impacted communities, and an end to extreme sentencing and mass incarceration. Learn more.
For more on the Criminal Justice System,
The Homestretch
A documentary that follows three homeless teens in Chicago as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. Each of them work to complete their education while facing the trauma of being alone and abandoned at an early age. Through first-person narratives, the teens take viewers on their journeys of struggle and triumph. As their stories unfold, the film connects to larger issues of poverty, race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBT rights. Watch the trailer.
For more on Housing, click here.
Paper Children
A documentary that explores America's invisible refugee crisis through the eyes of one Miami family who navigates a broken system with unwavering resilience. Four siblings and their parents work at starting a new life together, as far away from the frightening gang violence in their native Honduras as possible. As they begin to heal from past trauma, the thorny complexities of the US immigration system lead to crushing setbacks that once again threaten their sense of security. Watch the trailer.
For more on Refugees, click here.
Refuge Reimagined:
Biblical Kinship in Global Politics
By Mark R. Glanville & Luke Glanville. Offers a new approach to compassion for displaced people: a biblical ethic of kinship. The authors argue that God's people are consistently called to extend kinship―a mutual responsibility and solidarity―to those who are marginalized and without a home. Drawing on their respective expertise in Old Testament studies and international relations, the two brothers engage a range of disciplines to demonstrate how this ethic is consistently conveyed throughout the Bible and can be practically embodied today. The book applies the kinship ethic to issues such as the current mission of the church, national identity and sovereignty, and possibilities for a cooperative global response to the refugee crisis. Challenging the fear-based ethic that often motivates Christian approaches, they envision a more generous, creative, and hopeful way forward.
(Available February 16, 2021)
For more on Refugees, click here.
Love 146
An international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care and prevention. Helps to grow the movement to end child trafficking while providing effective, thoughtful solutions. Learn more.
For more on Human Trafficking, click here.
Less Stuff, More Happiness
A TED Talk, featuring writer and designer Graham Hill who asks the question: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing our lives: edit ruthlessly, think small & make it multi-functional. Watch now. 
For more Simple Living resources, click here.
A World Free from Nuclear Weapons:
The Vatican Conference on Disarmament
Edited by Drew Christiansen and Carole Sargent. Presents Pope Francis' address and testimony from Nobel Peace Prize laureates, religious leaders, diplomats, and civil society activists at a Vatican conference of leaders in the field of disarmament. Makes the moral case against possessing, manufacturing, and deploying nuclear arms. Shows how the Church's revised position presents an opportunity for global leaders to connect disarmament to larger movements for peace, pointing toward future action. Read more.
For more on War click here.
For more Peace resources, click here.
The Risk of the Cross:
Living Gospel Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age
By Arthur Laffin. This new edition seeks to answer questions such as: What does it mean to follow Jesus way of the cross and to place our trust in God for our true security, instead of in nuclear weapons that can destroy all life on earth? How do we find hope and courage to stand for God's reign of love, justice, and nonviolence in a world threatened by nuclear weapons, environmental devastation, warfare, systemic inequality, and other perils? And ultimately, in whom do we place our trust?
At its core are five small-group sessions focusing on Jesus call to discipleship in Mark's gospel all linked to appendices containing information and inspiration to help faith communities embrace the way of gospel nonviolence and to take action to avert nuclear annihilation and create a disarmed world.
For more Peace resources, click here.
Waging Peace:
One Soldier's Story of Putting Love First
By Diana Oestreich. The autobiographical story of a combat medic in the Army National Guard, who refused to follow orders to run over an Iraqi child to keep her convoy rolling and keep her battle buddies safe. Torn between God's call to love her enemy and her country's command to be willing to kill, she chose to wage peace in a place of war. For the remainder of her tour of duty, Diana sought to be a peacemaker--leading to an unlikely and beautiful friendship with an Iraqi family. Exposes the false divide between loving our country and living out our faith's call to love our enemies. Read more. 
For more Peace resources, click here.
Good Shopping Guide
Since 2002, reports on a wide range of environmental, animal welfare and human rights issues and provides ethical rankings for some of the world’s leading brands. Industries include: energy, money, fashion, technology, home, food & drinks as well as health & beauty. Learn more.
For more Justice resources, click here.
Important Dates This Month

Individuals Honored This Month
February Birth Date Unknown
I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.
February 3rd
For any human being, freedom is essential, crucial to our dignity and our ability to be fully human.
February 4th
As far back as I can remember, I knew there was something wrong with our way of life when people could be mistreated because of the color of their skin.
February 4th
If I sit next to a madman as he drives a car into a group of innocent bystanders, I can’t, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe, then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. No, I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver. 

February 7th
When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. But when I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.
February 11th
It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.
February 12th
The death of the forest is the end of our life.
February 23rd
What a world this will be when human possibilities are freed, when we discover each other, when the stranger is no longer the potential criminal and the certain inferior!

February 27th
There are many people ready to do what is right because in their hearts they know it is right. But they hesitate, waiting for the other person to make the make the first move - and the other person, in turn, waits for you.
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