Peace & Justice

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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sweatshop-Free NYS

The New York State Labor-Religion Coalition, together with Sweatfree Communities and United Students Against Sweatshops, invite you to participate in the Sweatshop-Free NYS Worker Tour and Week of Action February 3 - 9.
In the wake of November's deadly factory fire in Bangladesh claiming the lives of 112 garment workers, consumers are more aware than ever that something has gone terribly wrong in the global apparel industry – and brands like Adidas and Gildan are to blame. 
Come join students and community members to hear from garment workers who sew apparel in Honduran and Haitian factories owned and contracted by Gildan Activewear, a Montreal-based apparel company that supplies government entities in addition to companies like Adidas and Walmart. A worker from Haiti will speak about her union's protracted struggle to force Gildan to honor a nationwide minimum wage increase for some of the poorest garment workers in the world. A worker from Honduras will tell stories of death threats and intimidation she and her co-workers faced when organizing to improve working conditions in their factory. 
Workers will be speaking out across New York in the backdrop of a mounting campaign demanding New York State eliminate sweatshops from its purchasing supply chain. Thanks to the efforts of sweatshop-free advocates, New York State has joined the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium in 2009 and its representative member is the President of the Consortium. Yet, despite its leadership, New York has hesitated to pass a meaningful sweatshop-free Code of Conduct and continues to purchase its apparel from sweatshops.
You can learn more here.

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Catholic News Service reports that Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders are calling for bold new initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace:

Thirty Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders from the United States called for "a bold new U.S. initiative for a two-state peace agreement before it is too late." They made the call in a statement sponsored by the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI).

"The current dangerous stalemate, including the legacy of past failed peacemaking efforts, undermines our security and that of others, destabilizes the region, fuels terrorism and extremism, allows continuing Israeli settlement expansion, and prolongs Palestinian disunity," wrote the leaders, who included retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Sayyid Syeed, Ph.D. of the Islamic Society of North America. "These realities and the absence of negotiations threaten to kill the prospect of a viable two-state peace agreement, the only realistic solution to the conflict."

The leaders acknowledged daunting challenges but said they "believe a bold new initiative for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement should be an immediate priority of the Obama Administration in 2013" and that they "fear the opportunity for a peaceful resolution is rapidly waning and the current stagnation encourages the rejectionists on both sides."

They said the United States "has unique leverage and credibility in the region. Indeed, no past progress towards peace has occurred in this conflict without U.S. leadership, facilitation or staunch support. Once again, we need active, fair and firm U.S. leadership to help break the current deadlock and to achieve a two-state peace agreement now before it is too late."

The Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders of NILI are pledged to mobilize strong support for bold, determined U.S. leadership for peace in churches, synagogues and mosques across the country.
The full text of the statement is here.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Soundtrack for a Revolution

On Saturday, January 26, at 7:30 p.m., there will be the showing of Soundtrack for a Revolution, a documentary that tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music -- the freedom songs which protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in police vans, and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality. It features new performances of the songs by top artists, plus interviews with civil rights leaders and grassroots activists, among them John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, and Andrew Young.

Following the film-showing, there will be a discussion led by Donald ("The Soul Man") Hyman: teacher, playwright, performer, and musicologist.

This event – co-sponsored by Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace and Upper Hudson Peace Action – will take place in Channing Hall of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, located at 405 Washington Avenue (across the street from the downtown SUNY Albany campus).

Admission is free, and free refreshments will be provided by the Honest Weight Food Co-op. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Poverty Awareness Month

January is Poverty Awareness Month. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has an interactive calendar page with links to videos, podcasts, prayers, and other information about poverty. You can learn more here.
The Eucharist, celebrated as a community, teaches us about human dignity, calls us to the right relationship with God, ourselves and others, invites us to community and solidarity, and sends us on mission to help transform our communities, neighborhoods and world. Church teaching, rooted in both Scripture and Tradition, emphasizes both the personal and social natures of the Eucharist.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ken Lovett of the Daily News reports that New York’s Legislature is poised to pass the strictest gun control law in the nation:
Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders were on the verge Sunday night of finalizing a major gun-control deal that would give New York the nation’s toughest assault weapons ban, sources told the Daily News.  
“An agreement could be reached as soon as [Monday],” said a source close to Sunday’s negotiations, which continued well into the evening.  
Top aides to Cuomo, Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have resolved disagreements over big-ticket provisions, and talks in recent days focused on the bill’s language.  
“I can’t see anything killing this,” said state Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn). “The deal is going to get done.”  
The Senate GOP leadership, which is facing intense pressure from gun owners to hold the line, was looking to postpone signing off on a final deal until late Sunday or early Monday, so it could brief its members and vote quickly on the measure — before the gun lobby has time to scrutinize it, another source close to the negotiations said.
For details on what is in the bill, go here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nazi-style gun control?

Opponents of gun control are quick to claim that Adolph Hitler tightened his grip on power by confiscating everyone’s guns. Alex Seitz-Wald, political reporter for Salon, writes that the facts tell a different story:

NRA head Wayne LaPierre dwelled on the Hitler meme at length, writing: "In Germany, Jewish extermination began with the Nazi Weapon Law of 1938, signed by Adolf Hitler."

. . .

Unfortunately for LaPierre et al., the notion that Hitler confiscated everyone’s guns is mostly bogus. And the ancillary claim that Jews could have stopped the Holocaust with more guns doesn’t make any sense at all if you think about it for more than a minute.

University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explored this myth in depth in a 2004 article published in the Fordham Law Review. As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler’s, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime.

. . .

The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. "The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition," Harcourt wrote.

There is much more to this fascinating story here.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 11, 2013

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, a day of awareness and vigilance for the countless victims of Human Trafficking around the world.

The National Weekend of Prayer is a Coalition of abolitionists and prayer leaders. The mission of the Weekend of Prayer is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage awareness of the issue of human trafficking which is correctly called modern day slavery.

You can learn more here.


Monday, January 07, 2013

National Migration Week

National Migration Week 2013 is January 6-12; the primary theme is "We are Strangers No Longer: Our Journey of Hope Continues." This year's National Migration Week observance and theme commemorate the 10th anniversary of the historic joint pastoral letter of the United States and Mexico bishops conferences, Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope. This theme reminds us of our responsibility as Catholics to help newcomers integrate in ways that are respectful, culturally sensitive and responsive to social needs, and of the ongoing need for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform.

To learn more, go here.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A conservative case for an assault weapons ban

The judge who sentenced Jared Lee Loughner to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in federal prison for his shooting rampage in Tucson makes the conservative case for an assault weapons ban:
To guarantee that there would never be another Tucson or Sandy Hook, we would probably have to make it a capital offense to so much as look at a gun. And that would create serious 2nd Amendment, 8th Amendment and logistical problems.  
So what's the alternative? Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don't let people who already have them keep them. Don't let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don't care whether it's called gun control or a gun ban. I'm for it.  
I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos.
Read more here.