Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

More on the 40-Hour Fast

In Saturday’s Times Union, Sister Marianne Comfort writes about the Labor-Religion Coalition’s 40-Hour Fast, which begins at 8 p.m. Monday and runs through noon Wednesday, and which we first told you about here.
As a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, I recalled how our congregation was founded in 17th-century France by a group of women committed to meeting the needs of widows, orphans and others left destitute in that war-torn society. That same spirit is alive now in Los Angeles, where one of our sisters is providing services to victims of human trafficking who have passed through her program for homeless women and children. While visiting 1 years ago, I was horrified as I listened to some of these women tell their stories. One was locked up in a sweatshop for 24 hours a day after being lured to the United States with promises of a good seamstress job. Two others were virtually imprisoned as round-the-clock maids.

A few years ago, the newspapers were full of the story of Mexican farm laborers who were being housed in appalling conditions and forced to work for very little or no pay in agricultural fields near Rochester. Workers from Peru, placed in fast-food restaurants and other mainstream businesses on Long Island, were having their wages taken by those who had brought them into the country.

The Labor-Religion Coalition is giving New Yorkers an opportunity to share our concern for these and other, hidden victims of human trafficking through the time-honored religious practice of fasting. As we fast, we will be praying that lawmakers open their hearts to the gut-wrenching stories that we have heard and respond by passing comprehensive, effective legislation that includes felony-level penalties for perpetrators and immigration and social services for victims. True justice demands nothing less.

The rest of the article is here. More information on the Fast is here.