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JPR News

December 12, 2020

Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Office
Priests of the Sacred Heart, US Province
"Jesus, Immigrant and Worker" (the Catholic Worker)
In this Issue:

      We're postponing our Fratelli Tutti issue until the new year; instead we're continuing our focus on "post-election" matters. The JPR Commission, in planning our priorities for the coming months, recognizes that Joe Biden's choice of a Cabinet and the first six months of the his administration will be a critical "window of opportunity" for immigration reform, climate action, and other social justice issues from how to respond to Covid-19 to addressing racial and economic justice. To that end, we devote this issue to an article by Fr. Bob Bossie on making the most of this historical moment...
THE ELECTION CONTINUES:
VOTING IS AN ONGOING REQUIREMENT
– Bob Bossie, SCJ

To Vote: The word comes from the Latin “vovere,” which means “to vow.” As those accustomed to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and those who have taken marriage vows, we know that this is a life choice that comes from an overflowing expression of what lies in our hearts. As such, to vote is not to be done lightly nor is it simply a moment in time. It is, in fact, an ongoing choice of our life's intention.
 
The JPR Commission of the Priests of the Sacred Heart addressed this truth in our cover letter to the
talk by Bishop McElroy which we distributed before the presidential elections. In this letter, we acknowledged that “No party has the monopoly on respect for life and social justice. Therefore whichever party we are in, we must work hard and speak out to make it more truly pro-life in the fullest sense of that term, more pro-human rights, more pro-environment, more pro-migrant, more pro-poor, more anti-racist, more anti-war and violence.”

Now that Joseph Biden has been elected, it is high time we SCJs and all people-of-good-will bring pressure to bear on him to that end. This is essential not just when he takes office but especially now when he is putting together his cabinet, those who will be helping to construct and carry out Biden's policies. Yes, he has already nominated a number of persons but these individuals must be affirmed by the Senate in January. There will be much resistance to his choices, especially by Senate Republicans, but we should not let them, or the Democrats, set the agenda for what we believe is truly for the common good.
 
Toward this end, the Guardian newspaper, among others, has produced a significant
critique of those persons Biden has already nominated. In addition, the organization Code Pink has supplied us with a list of those who would be better choices for Biden’s cabinet.  Moreover, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is urging Mr. Biden  to name Arturo S. Rodriguez, the former president of the United Farm Workers, as the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. We would do well to consider strongly all these recommendations.

Another group, Demand Progress, notes that Mr. Biden has a huge opportunity to choose a champion of climate action and a Native American leader to a crucial Cabinet post: Secretary of the Interior. Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico would be the first Native American Interior Secretary -- with the power to end fossil fuel extraction on public lands, return land to Indigenous stewardship, and start implementing a Green New Deal. Haaland has served as a tribal administrator, and in Congress serves as vice-chair of the Committee on Natural Resources -- experience that makes her ready to lead the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs and oil and gas leases on federal land.

Here are some specific actions we can take to continue using our "voting" power:  
 
1.      Lend your name to
a petition by The Action Network to President-elect Biden and your senators to appoint an Administration that will immediately address the issues of the nation, not corporate interests.
 
2.     
Click here to urge President-Elect Biden to select Rep. Haaland as Interior Secretary,

3.      Join a Dialogue with the Biden Transition Team on the Root Causes of Migration Thursday, December 17 at 9a Pacific / 10ª Mountain / 11a Central / 12p Eastern. Register
here to join the call.
 
Finally, it’s good for us to remember the
words of famed historian Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States:


“I’m talking about a sense of proportion that gets lost in the election madness. Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes—the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth.

“But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice.”
Why the Coming Months Are
Critical for Migrants
CNN: "Help us before it's too late! Children facing deportation plead with President Trump, President-elect Biden
In a last-ditch effort to prevent deportation, asylum-seeking children in federal custody wrote letters seeking aid from President Trump and President-elect Biden.

International Policy Digest: 'Remain in Mexico' policy needs to end
An immigration policy that should be quickly ended by President-elect Biden is the "Remain in Mexico" policy that requires migrants to wait in Mexico for their U.S. immigration court hearings. The real aim of the policy is to keep migrants from entering the United States.
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