January 2019 Newsletter
Homelessness in the U. S.
Each year the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development sends a report to Congress on homelessness in this country. Here are some key findings from the 2018 report.

  • On a single night in 2018, roughly 553,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the U.S.
  • Homelessness increased for the 2nd year in a row. 
  • On a single night in 2018, about 36,000 people were experiencing homelessness as unaccompanied youth—that is, people under the age of 25 experiencing homelessness on their own. 
  • African-Americans are considerably overrepresented among the homeless population compared to the overall U.S. population. While accounting for 13% of the U.S. population, African Americans account for 40% of all people experiencing homelessness and 51% of people experiencing homelessness as members of families with children.

To learn more, click here.
For more on Housing , click here .
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
70 years ago the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed th e Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.
It was signed by the vast majority of the member nations -- including the United States.
The Preamble states,
The inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world...And disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind.

The Declaration incorporates 30 Articles that list specific rights, including:
  • The Right to Live in Freedom and Safety
(Article 3)
  • The Right to Be Free From Torture or Degrading Treatment
(Article 5)
  • The Right to Protection in Other Countries from Presecution
(Article 14)
To learn more, click here.
Families and the Criminal Justice System

In addition to the emotional effects of having a family member incarcerated, many families bear financial burdens as well:
  • For every $1 spent on prisons, there is an additional $10 in social costs -- most of it borne by families.

  • US families that have an incarcerated family member bear costs totaling $2.9 billion every year.

  • 34% of families go into debt to pay for phone calls or visitation. 87% of these were women.

  • 65% of families with an incarcerated member are unable to meet their families basic needs.

  • When a formerly incarcerated family comes home, 18% of the families are evicted, denied housing or disqualified from public housing. 

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

For more information, click here.

For more on the Criminal Justice System ,
Protecting Immigrant Families,
Advancing Our Future
A program from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) that offers action ideas, resources, news and events plus a short video that explains the "public charge" rule.  Learn more .
For more on Immigration , click here.
Safe Haven: The Sanctuary Movement
This 13 minute documentary from the New York Times Retro Report, explores the roots of the interfaith movement in the 1980's to protect refugees. Focuses on some of the leaders of the movement and looks at its resurgerence in 21st century America. Watch now.
For more on Refugees , click here .
Informed Immigrant
A collaboration of more than 1,000 organizations offering on-the-ground legal support, healthcare services, and more, in an easy-to-access online resource offering the most up-to-date and accessible information and guidance for the undocumented immigrant community.  Learn more .
For more on Immigration , click here.
Catholic Accompaniment and Reflection Experience (CARE) Program
A new pilot initiative from Justice for Immigrants committed to connecting volunteers as well as men and women religious with undocumented immigrants and their families in need of accompaniment and emotional, social service and spiritual support when integrating into their communities or attempting to comply with immigration proceedings such as reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for check-ins or attending immigration hearings.
For more on Immigration , click here.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree
By James Cone. Explores two of the most powerful symbols for African Americans and their interconnection in the history and soul of the black community. Proposes that the lynching tree is a reality/symbol for reflection on the cross of Christ. Understandings of the cross and lynching tree can mutually inform one another and explain how events of trauma and injustice can still inspire hope for the African American community.  
For more on Racism , click here.
The Johns Hopkins Center
for Gun Policy and Research
Engages in original scholarly research, policy analysis and agenda-setting public discourse. Its goal is to bring public health expertise and perspectives to the complex policy issues related to gun violence prevention. An important part of the Center's mission is to serve as an objective and informative resource for the news media, thereby providing the public with accurate information about gun injuries, prevention strategies, and policies.

This spring the Center will launch an open online course on gun violence prevention research that will be taught by some of the world's leading gun violence researchers. It will be offered twice a year and will be tuition free.
For more on Gun Violence , click here.
Sinking Cities
A resource from PBS, this four-part series examines how cities such as New York, London, Tokyo and Miami are preparing for the real-time effects of climate change. Watch the preview.
For more on the Environment , click here.
National Climate Assessment
A resource of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century.  Learn more.
For more on the Environment , click here.
God's Good Earth:
Praise and Prayer for Creation
By Anne & Jeffrey Rowthorn. A resource for prayer, reflection, and worship that reflects and nourishes efforts to serve God and care for God’s creation. Contains 52 ready-made prayer services, each around a specific theme, drawing from a variety of ecumenical resources: psalms and other responsive readings, Scripture, hymns, prayers, and reflections from nature writers and interpreters of the social and cultural landscape.  Read more.
For more on the Environment , click here.
Walking with Domestic Abuse Sufferers
By Helen Thorne. Aims to bring victims to a place of freedom, peace, and hope. Suggests that there is a way out, and that there is hope for an end to the pain. Learn more.
For more on Domestic Abuse , click here.
12 Neighbors
An 8 week documentary film series for small groups, that asks, "Who is My Neighbor?" Encourages participants to discuss appropriate action in their communities, and then take action together. The films challenge perspectives on poverty, marginalization, and effecting real change. Learn more.
For more Justice resources, click here.
Rethinking Incarceration:
Advocating for Justice that Restores
By Dominique DuBois Gilliard. Explores the history and foundation of mass incarceration, examining Christianity’s role in its evolution and expansion. The book assesses our nation’s ethic of justice based on merit in light of Scripture and exposes the theologies that embolden mass incarceration. It also shows how Christians can pursue justice that restores and reconciles, offering creative solutions and highlighting innovative interventions. Read more.
For more on the Criminal Justice System ,
Sister: A Documentary
A resource from PBS that hightlights the life of Sister Helen Prejean -- advocate for men and women in the criminal justice system -- particularly those on death row. Watch the trailer.
For more on Capital Punishment , click here.
White Picket Fences: Turning toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege
By Amy Julia Becker. Shows how an insular life can restrict even as it protects, and how it can hinder the love of neighbor. Invites those who are privileged to respond with generosity, humility, and hope. Asks questions many privileged are afraid to ask, so that they can walk further from fear and closer to love. Learn more.
For more on Economic Justice , click here.
A documentary that tells the story of how Greg Boyle SJ founded Homeboy Industries, an economic development and jobs program in Los Angeles begun in 1988 for at-risk and gang-involved youth, and transformed the lives of thousands of Latino, Asian, and African American gang members.
Watch the trailer here.
For more resources on compassion and Forgiveness, click here .
A Franciscan Blessing
for the New Year
May God bless you with a restless discomfort --
about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger --
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears --
to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness --
to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.
Important Dates This Month

Individuals Honored This Month

January 6th
At stake are two different visions of faith, the Church of Caesar, powerful and rich; and the Church of Christ - loving, poor and spiritually rich.
January 7th
This is our cry, this is our prayer:
peace in the world.
January 13th

January 14th
The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.
Janaury 14th
For politicians truth and falsehood are unimportant. So I never could become a politician - not even a church politician.
January 15th
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
January 24th
Jesus didn't say, 'Blessed are those who care for the poor.' He said, 'Blessed are we where we are poor, where we are broken.' It is there that God loves us deeply and pulls us into deeper communion with himself.
January 31st
Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.
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