VeryTopShalom News North America  

An instrument of hope, formation, and action

concerning priority matters of social justice.

In This Issue
Climate Crisis and COVID-19
Environment and COVID-19
Earth Day and Laudato Si'
Trafficking and COVID-19
Racism and COVID-19
Stations of the Cross
Immigration and COVID-19
Human Rights and COVID-19
Forced Labor
Labeling for Lent
World Health Day
Global Conflict and COVID-19
Nuclear Weapons and COVID-19
Plan for Peace
Quick Links
Join Our List
April/2020
         
  
"The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering." Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi address.
 
May these words and the resources found in this e-newsletter inspire your efforts to promote solidarity and protect the dignity of all life during these very challenging times.     
       
  
Shalom North America Contacts
Click here for our printer-friendly (pdf) version of the newsletter.

Integrity of Creation              

The Climate Crisis and COVID-19      
While there is no evidence that global warming activated this virus to jump from animals to humans and helped its spread, there are enough scientific studies that indicate that a warming climate, along with a host of other factors, exacerbates the emergence of new infectious diseases.  Click here for an excellent article by Chandra Bhushan, foremost environment and climate change expert. And here for a thoughtful reflection by Meehan Crist from Columbia University. 
  
Integrity of Creation              

Environmental Protection & COVID-19        
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a sweeping relaxation of environmental rules in response to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution. Learn more. Read also, EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus. Concerned? Let your voice be heard.  
     
Back to Top 
Integrity of Creation           

Earth Day and Laudato Si'   
This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si'. Saying he wanted to renew his "urgent call to respond to the ecological crisis," Pope Francis has asked Catholics around the globe to participate in the international observance of " Laudato Si' Week" May 16-24.  In solidarity with people all around the world, SSND invites you to commemorate these anniversaries with prayer and other actions with the help of a variety of resources - prayer service, webinar, and Just Act reflection - all found here .  Be sure to share these resources with family, friends, and contacts.

Pope Francis invites the Church to celebrate Laudato Si' Week
Pope Francis invites the Church to celebrate Laudato Si' Week

Human Life and Dignity          

Human Trafficking and COVID-19           
With so many people isolated in their homes, access to and use of the internet and social media has skyrocketed. While these are critical tools for learning capabilities and contact during this time of social distancing, it also increases the risk of people for online sex trafficking - especially that of children, who are already prime targets for cyber-traffickers. For tips about how to keep kids safe online, click here. For materials related directly to online safety during this pandemic, click here.  
 
       Back to Top 
Human Life and Dignity              

Racism and COVID-19           
Since the novel coronavirus, which originated in China, became a global pandemic, there has been an uptick in xenophobia and racially-motivated aggression. Xenophobic tendencies that are often dormant are on display: from leaders labeling the virus the " Chinese virus" and closing borders to asylum seekers, to citizens being verbally maligned, physically attacked, or unjustly discriminated against on account of their phenotype. Let us pray for a change of heart for all who turn their fear of this virus into hatred for their fellow human beings, and for unity and solidarity among us all as we address the health crisis and the underlying social ills it has revealed.   
 
 
 
Human Life and Dignity               

Stations of the Cross: Overcoming Racism 
This new Stations of the Cross resource on overcoming racism can help you reflect on the pastoral letter against racism, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love. A rich Lenten reflection, this prayer resource can help open our hearts to the persistent sin of racism and the call to help overcome it. 


 
 
Human Life and Dignity              

Immigration and COVID-19 
As we navigate this global health crisis, we invite you to consider the pandemic with our immigrant neighbors in mind. For important facts, suggested actions, and a thoughtful prayer resource, check out SSND's " Loving Our Immigrant Neighbors during the Coronavirus Pandemic." For those in the U.S., consider urging Congress to provide resources to protect detainees from the current threat, and to develop alternatives to detention to avoid putting them at risk in the future.     
 
COVID-19 impact on undocumented community
COVID-19 impact on undocumented community
 
    Back to Top
Human Life and Dignity               

Human Rights and COVID-19
Governments should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by prioritizing the right to health for all and respect for human rights, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch, "Human Rights Dimensions of the COVID-19 Response".  The report includes recommendations for governments to address the outbreak while respecting fundamental human rights, including the rights to health, education, free expression, nondiscrimination, and freedom of movement. Learn more
    


Human Life and Dignity              

Forced Labor in Supply Chains  
The U.S. China Commission reported that political, ethnic and religious prisoners are being used as forced labor in China, making goods that end up in U.S. supply chains. Members of Congress condemned the abuses and introduced legislation to hold US companies accountable for their supply chains. The new bill, Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, sets up accountability to ensure US supply chains are free of forced labor. Learn more.      
 
    Back to Top
Human Life and Dignity               

Labeling for Lent Campaign Continues
We are reaching out to Sysco Corporation (a major wholesale company that provides food services to over 650,000 restaurants, schools, and health care facilities - many of which are Catholic) urging them to better inform their customers about their efforts to ensure their supply chain is free of forced labor. Even with social distancing you can participate and promote the campaign. Simply sign and share this online petition provided by U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking. The petition will stay up until after Easter.    
    


Human Life and Dignity              

World Health Day (4/7) 
World Health Day is an annual event on April 7 to draw attention to particular priorities in global health.  The focus this year is appreciation for the countless nurses, midwives, and other healthcare persons who are on the frontline in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the following for relevant information for this time.  See: Get the Facts. Also:  Social Distancing and Social Justice  and Compassion and Community.    
 
    Back to Top
Peace and Non-Violence              

Calling for a Global Ceasefire     
Both Pope Francis and UN Secretary-General António Guterres have called for the cessation of armed conflicts "in all corners of the world." In his call for a global ceasefire Guterres said, "It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives." The ceasefire would allow humanitarians to reach populations that are most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, which has now been reported in more than 180 countries. Click here to add your voice to this call for a global ceasefire.  
 
 
  
            
Peace and Non-Violence              

Nuclear Weapons and COVID-19   
The 191 parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty postponed a conference (originally scheduled for April 27-May 22) to review its implementation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations has announced. The treaty is considered the cornerstone of global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. While delaying the conference for health reasons makes sense, we cannot let momentum for addressing nuclear weapons fade away. Consider adding your signature to the Hibakusha Appeal calling for an international treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. For those in the U.S., consider urging Congress to support S 2394 and HR 2529, two bills that would extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), a vital step towards nuclear disarmament and towards avoiding a nuclear arms race. 
 
Peace and Non-Violence              

Religions for Peace Adopts New Strategic Plan      
Religions for Peace is a multi-religious peacebuilding coalition that has been operating since 1970. Its Tenth World Assembly meeting led to the group's newly published 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. The plan aligns itself with the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and focuses on six strategic goals: promote peaceful, just, and inclusive societies; advance gender equality; nurture a sustainable environment; champion freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; strengthen interreligious education; and foster multireligious collaboration and global partnerships.
  
           Back to Top

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, Kathleen Bonnette, Rose Mary Sander, and Tim Dewane. Your comments, suggestions, and feedback are always welcomed. Email us at tdewane@ssndcp.org.

Please only print this e-publication if necessary.