Justice Action Bulletin: 'Living the Change' mobilizes sustainability commitments

Edith march c.jpg

Faith leaders and supporters in Columbus, Ohio, march to a press conference and prayer vigil at the Columbus Mennonite Church Oct. 2 to mark the one-year anniversary of Edith Espinal's entry into sanctuary there. (Faith in Public Life)

Editor's note: Welcome to NCR's Justice Action Bulletin, where every Tuesday we bring you the latest news on active nonviolence in the service of peace and justice. Do you have news you would like to share? Contact Maria Benevento at mbenevento@ncronline.org.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Faith leaders in Columbus, Ohio, held a press conference and prayer vigil at the Columbus Mennonite Church Oct. 2 to mark the one-year anniversary of Edith Espinal's entry into sanctuary. Clergy called on lawmakers to let her remain in the country without fear of deportation.

Espinal, an immigrant mother of three who has been an organizer for worker and immigrant rights since 2014, took sanctuary in the church to protect herself from deportation in 2017 because immigration officials have a policy of not conducting enforcement actions in "sensitive" locations such as churches, schools and hospitals.

According to an Oct. 2 report from WBNS-10TV, during the press conference, Espinal called out politicians such as city council members and U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) who have pledged to help her and have taken some action but have yet to obtain results, saying they needed to do more.

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas wrote in an Oct. 3 statement that they were "outraged and appalled by the recent reports of immigrant children being moved to detention camps under the cover of darkness."

The sisters were responding to recent images and reports, such as a Sept. 30 story from the New York Times that indicate migrant children from shelters around the country were moved to tent cities in West Texas as populations of detained migrant children surge. The New York Times report says that unlike children who stay in shelters or foster homes, children in camps receive limited access to legal services and no schooling.

The Sisters of Mercy called the move an example of the current administration's escalation of aggressive immigration policies that "are tearing immigrant families apart" without addressing issues with U.S. foreign policy that have contributed to life-threatening conditions that compel migration. They called for the nation to "reflect and act justly upon what it truly means to welcome the stranger."

WASHINGTON — The Franciscan Action Network and the Global Catholic Climate Movement are among faith-based groups that are supporting and coordinating "Time for Living the Change," a global week of sustainability events and celebrations Oct. 7-14 that is part of the Living the Change initiative, which mobilizes people of various faiths to commit to sustainable living.

According to an Oct. 5 media advisory, the week will include over 75 events in 20 countries on six continents, including announcements of sustainable living commitments from leaders of faith-based groups such as the World Evangelical Alliance, Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers), Caritas Internationalis, the Church of Sweden, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Jewish Ecological Coalition.

Planned events also include Aboriginal and Interfaith Groups in Adelaide, Australia, planning "an interfaith blessing and vegan meal, featuring live music and a performance by Aboriginal Dance troupe Dusty Feet"; Hindus in Kolkata, India, hosting a pan discussion on "sustainable development in our daily lives and individual commitments for a sustainable future"; Muslims and Christians in Shiroro, Nigeria, presenting trees for planting at houses or worship and homes and Catholics in Tena, Ecuador holding a three-day "Festival for Free Rivers" focusing on faith and environment.

CACTUS SPRINGS, Nevada — Activists gathered Sept. 30-Oct. 6 for the fourth annual Shut Down Creech convergence, a mass mobilization against the use of drones. Held in the Nevada desert near Creech Airforce Base, where hundreds of drone pilots operate, the gathering included a camp at the "Goddess Temple to Sekhmet," daily vigils Oct. 1-5 during rush hour times at Creech and an act of non-violent civil resistance Oct. 4.

[Maria Benevento is an NCR Bertelsen intern. Her email address is mbenevento@ncronline.org.]

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