The Justice & Peace Committee is organized by subcommittees. These dynamic clusters, composed of passionate and engaged volunteers, focus on systemic injustices and their impact on human lives and advocate for societal changes that improve the lives of those who face systemic oppression. We nurture lay leadership as well as personal faith through solidarity with oppressed groups and dedication to the greater good. Meetings take place monthly and are convened by Subcommittee Chairs for one hour. A combined meeting including all subcommittees follows. There is a dynamic quality to this process which allows for open communication, bonding, and supporting one another. To view the subcommittee structure chart, click here.
The Justice & Peace Committee of Saint Ignatius Catholic Community is dedicated to the service of faith and the promotion of justice. As a parish, we are called and challenged to articulate, advocate, and act upon critical social, economic, cultural and political issues that affect us, our city, and our world. We are called to be a resource to provide parishioners with opportunities to live out their faith through justice.
We encourage people to reflect on their experiences and to discern God’s presence in their lives. We seek to nurture leadership and personal faith by engaging, partnering with, advocating on behalf of, and being converted by the diverse urban community of Baltimore. Our priorities are advocacy, education, and social responsibility. Our work is carried out by subcommittees, ministries, and community partnerships.To view a demographic map of Saint Ignatius Catholic Community of Baltimore, click here.
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Get involved with our subcommittees! We meet the second Thursday of every month at 6:30 PM. Find out more by visiting the specific subcommittees below:
FRIDAY, JULY 17 carried a double blow. First came notice that civil rights activist Rev. C.T. Vivian had died and then, later that evening, that Rep. John Lewis had also joined the ancestors. The internet was awash in selfies with Lewis and tributes for the good trouble the two had caused.
A chorus began to call for renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where Lewis had been beaten on Bloody Sunday, in 1965, along with other marchers. (Pettus was a Confederate general, a U.S. senator, and grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.) But a number of people who had participated in the events of Bloody Sunday or the voting campaigns in Selma were wary. Lynda Lowery, who, like Lewis, had been beaten on the bridge, explained, “I left my blood and tears in the cement of that bridge. So did John. So did a lot of other people … if we’re going to try to fix things that are broken, then fix the things that are broken.”
There were reasons to worry. Seven years earlier, on February 27, 2013, in a rare moment of bipartisanship, then-House Speaker John Boehner, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Lewis, and others joined President Barack Obama to dedicate a statue of Rosa Parks in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall — the first full-size statue of a Black person to be installed there. Obama praised Parks’s “singular act of courage,” while McConnell celebrated: “What a story, what a legacy, what a country.”
NEW YORK (AP) — Black Roman Catholics are hearing their church’s leaders calling for racial justice once again after the killing of George Floyd, but this time they’re demanding not just words but action.
As protests against racism and police brutality continue nationwide, there are rising calls for huge new investment in Catholic schools serving Black communities; a commitment to teach the complex history of Black Catholics; and a mobilization to combat racism with the same zeal the church shows in opposing abortion.
“As a church, we’re very good with words. The church has made clear it stands against racism,” said the Rev. Mario Powell, a Black priest who heads a Jesuit middle school in Brooklyn.
“What’s profoundly different this time is folks aren’t looking for more words — they’re looking for actual change,” he said. READ MORE
The sixth day of demonstrations began in a uniquely low key Baltimore way with a longtime activist and barbecue cook Duane “Shorty” Davis cooking for a small crowd in War Memorial Plaza.
Davis called it an “Art and Activism” event, an avenue for members of the community to eat, showcase art and talk about racism in America.
“Today we’re going to practice civility. We’re going to practice education. We’re going to practice entertainment. And we’re going to practice fellowship,” said Davis, taking a break from grilling meat.
As his event ended, several hundred protesters began assembling around him near City Hall for a separate demonstration and another group began marching miles away on Reisterstown Road in Baltimore County near Franklin High School. Two other protests, one in Harford County in the afternoon and a second on Reisterstown Road near Northern Parkway later in the evening showed that the movement started after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis last week showed no signs of being over. READ MORE
In the days since the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man who died after being pinned to the ground by a white police officer in Minneapolis last Monday, an outpouring of outrage and grief has swept the United States—from every corner of the internet to large protests in the midst of a global pandemic in dozens of cities across the country, including the streets of Baltimore.
It’s an all too familiar scene, coming on the heels of other deeply disturbing, high-profile killings of black Americans like Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and just one month after the five-year anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.
From personal anecdotes to documentary footage, here are some of the responses coming out of Baltimore, as well as ways to get involved. READ MORE
Congress granted women the right to vote on June 4, 1919, a bittersweet moment for many who had fought for equality for decades. To commemorate the centennial of the ratification in 1920, enshrined in the 19th amendment, new tours and exhibitions can be found across the country.
“There’s been a huge interest in the centennial and voting rights,” said Deborah Hughes, president of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House in Rochester, N.Y.
Upstate New York
This national landmark, where Anthony was arrested for voting as a woman before that activity became legal, receives over 13,000 visitors each year. The $15 daily admission for adults includes a tour, while “Votercade 2020,” a free series of daylong events with artistic and philosophical discussions, runs until Oct 3. READ MORE
‘A room with a different view’: Maryland unveils statues of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass in State House
Until Nov. 1, 1864, the day Maryland lawmakers officially approved emancipation, fugitive slaves Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass could not legally enter their home state of Maryland, let alone the State House in Annapolis.
On Monday, the two abolitionists received a place of honor in that building. Statues of the two leaders were unveiled and dedicated during a joint legislative session held outside the Old House Chamber, where slavery in Maryland was formally abolished.
The installation of the statues of Tubman and Douglass marks the end of a nearly four-year-long push to honor the pair of abolitionists in the State House building, which still features controversial statues and artwork in an era of increasing scrutiny of such displays.
Until 2017, a statue of Roger B. Taney, the U.S. Supreme Court justice who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and denied citizenship to African Americans, sat outside the Capitol. Lawmakers voted to remove the statue days after the death of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, who was among a crowd condemning an event where hundreds of white nationalists protested the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. READ MORE
One year later, how has Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy affected asylum seekers?
One year ago, the Trump administration began implementing the Migrant Protection Protocols, which empowered immigration officials to return thousands of asylum seekers to Mexico while their cases were decided by the U.S. immigration court system. The Department of Homeland Security said the policy, known as “Remain in Mexico,” would address the escalating number of asylum claims.
In a way, it has, according to Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute in El Paso, Tex. “Inflicting cruelty is the motive behind a policy like this,” he said. “It’s meant to be a deterrent.”
Of the 7,000 asylum cases that have been completed in the El Paso sector since the policy was implemented, Mr. Corbett said, only 15 individuals received asylum—a denial rate of more than 99 percent. READ MORE
Census is crucial, but many people may go uncounted | COMMENTARY
This year marks the beginning of a new decade and importantly, a new Census — the nationwide survey that will influence the political and socio-economic agenda for the next 10 years.
When I moved to Baltimore in 2011, the Census data from the previous year had been released and with it came a debate on redistricting and the loss of representation in the General Assembly. Nine years later, I have witnessed the growth of immigrant communities in Baltimore. You can see the demographic shift throughout the city from inclusive murals to the growing number of minority-owned businesses. The recent Year in Review report from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs highlighted the tremendous contributions by immigrants who account for 1 in 5 businesses in Baltimore. The Latino population alone represents approximately 8% of the city’s population, a 134% increase since the last census. READ MORE
Baltimore’s black men helping each other | COMMENTARY
January 22, 2020
On Monday’s National Celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy, I responded to the call to be among the 1,000 men walking in the MLK Day Parade in Baltimore. It was an honor to say the least. Walking shoulder to shoulder, side by side with other men from various religious and socio-economic backgrounds was not only a sight to behold, but also a statement that needed to be made.
The demonstration was a continuation of the ongoing “We-Our-Us Movement” walks that have been taking place in the city over the last six months. These walks, led by the Mayor’s Office for African-American Male Engagement (AAME), faith and community leaders, have become a show of unity for men to come together for peace and provide resources to those who have been marginalized as a result of long standing structural and institutional warfare on black men in Baltimore. READ MORE
The Injustice of This Moment Is Not an ‘Aberration’
From mass incarceration to mass deportation, our nation remains in deep denial.
By Michelle Alexander
January 17, 2020
Ten years have passed since my book, “The New Jim Crow,” was published. I wrote it to challenge our nation to reckon with the recurring cycles of racial reform, retrenchment and rebirth of caste-like systems that have defined our racial history since slavery. It has been an astonishing decade. Everything and nothing has changed.
When I was researching and writing the book, Barack Obama had not yet been elected president of the United States. I was in disbelief that our country would actually elect a black man to be the leader of the so-called free world. As the election approached, I felt an odd sense of hope and dread. I hoped against all reason that we would actually do it. But I also knew that, if we did, there would be a price to pay.
Everything I knew through experience and study told me that we as a nation did not fully understand the nature of the moment we were in. We had recently birthed another caste system — a system of mass incarceration — that locked millions of poor people and people of color in literal and virtual cages. READ MORE
Democratic Attorneys General Sue to Block Trump Food Stamp Cuts
Fourteen states, New York City and the District of Columbia asked the courts to block the Trump administration from imposing tougher work requirements on food stamp recipients.
By Lola Fadula
January 16, 2020
WASHINGTON — Fourteen states, New York City and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration on Thursday to block new rules that would tighten work requirements for food stamp recipients, accusing the administration of doing an illegal end run around Congress.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the Agriculture Department and its secretary, Sonny Perdue, argues that the finalized rule, set to take effect in April, is unlawful, arbitrary and capricious.
“The new rule eliminates state discretion and criteria regarding local economic conditions for waiving work requirements, resulting in the termination of essential food assistance for benefits recipients who live in areas with insufficient jobs,” the lawsuit maintains. READ MORE
Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law
More than 3,000 federal inmates were granted early release under the bipartisan criminal justice overhaul passed late last year.
By Katie Benner
July 19, 2019
WASHINGTON — More than 3,000 inmates were freed from federal prison on Friday as part of the Justice Department’s implementation of the sweeping bipartisan criminal justice overhaul that President Trump signed into law late last year.
The department has faced sharp criticism over its execution of the act. The partial government shutdown in January stymied progress on its implementation, which was further overshadowed by a debate over when the bill authorized the release of thousands of prisoners.
Advocates have expressed worries that the department would slow-walk implementation because former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others within the department who stayed on after he was fired had fiercely opposed the law. READ MORE
Senate OKs $700M plan for schools
2-year program of extra funding now goes to House
By Pamela WoodThe Baltimore Sun
Maryland senators voted Wednesday to approve a two-year plan to send more than $700 million in extra funding to the state’s public schools.
The bill, called the “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” now moves to the House of Delegates, where it is expected to move swiftly in the final days of the General Assembly session.
The Senate vote was 43-1.
Sen. Paul Pinsky, chairman of the Senate’s education committee, described the bill this week as a first step toward a decade’s worth of increased investment intended to improve the state’s school system.
“You should look at this as a short-term piece, focusing on the first year or two of implementation,” Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat, told senators.
The bill calls for the state to spend an additional $355 million on public schools in fiscal year 2021, the budget year that will run from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.
It also calls for $370 million in fiscal 2022, plus an additional $130 million if the General Assembly passes laws that will bring in more revenue to the state. READ MORE
We were initially moved to write this opinion piece while our country was in the midst of the longest partial government shutdown. While a second shutdown has been averted, we are distressed over the declaration of a national emergency to circumvent the will of the people. The shutdown directly inflicted pain upon federal workers and contractors, and we recognize the trauma that the working class, working poor, and those living in poverty faced due to reduced access to many services. Now with the national emergency declaration billions of dollars will be diverted from departments and agencies that they were appropriated to. All of this is troubling for us because we hold that the border wall is an ineffective, simplistic solution to a manufactured crisis that would cause more harm than well-being. READ MORE
– Parish: ‘the thought’
President Donald Trump Wants to cut SNAP and Give Poor Boxes of Food
Donald Trump’s administration wants to replace half of SNAP benefits, which were commonly known as food stamps, with boxes of pre-selected non-perishable food items, and zero fresh food. Joy Reid and her panel discuss why this would be less healthy and more humiliating for the poor.
– AM Joy | MSNBC
Come & Celebrate – We Funded the Trust!
This year has been a big one for Affordable Housing in Baltimore. Our city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF, for short) was created in November 2016, established with the support of 83% of Baltimore voters. For almost two years it sat empty. Though our public officials committed to and even campaigned on dedicating $20 million every year to create and maintain affordable housing for us, they did not act.
Community members across the city were ready to take charge and #FundTheTrust. We claimed space in our city’s budget process and demanded the right to participate. We went to the budget office, the planning commission, the board of estimates — we demanded to be heard. When the budget was finalized, $2 Million was dedicated to the trust while $10 Million was dedicated to city computer upgrades. “Where are our city’s priorities?” we asked. READ MORE
– United Workers
Baltimore Agrees to ‘Historic’ Funding of Affordable Housing
City officials have agreed to fund an affordable housing trust, two years after Baltimore voters approved its creation, committing an eventual $20 million a year, which Mayor Catherine Pugh called “historic.”
Pugh and City Council leaders agreed to levy two excise taxes on certain real estate transactions and other allocations to fund a trust to create, rehabilitate and preserve more than 4,100 affordable housing units in the next decade. Activists say it will help fill a critical need in a city where low-income residents in particular struggle to find decent homes or apartments to rent or buy. READ MORE
– Baltimore Sun
Where Migrant Children Are Being Held Across the U.S.
The more than 2,300 children who were separated from their parents while crossing the Southwest border in recent weeks have been sent to shelters and other temporary housing across the United States.
The shelters are part of a system, shown below, overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, that was originally established to provide temporary housing for children entering the country without parents. READ MORE
– New York Times
Due Process for Undocumented Immigrants, Explained
WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Twitter this weekend that undocumented immigrants were invaders who “must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases,” be sent home. Mr. Trump’s comments prompted criticism that he wanted the United States to strip immigrants and asylum seekers of due-process rights. He also appeared to ignore the fact that some people who enter the country illegally are already removed from the United States without court hearings.
Here is what you need to know about how due process is applied in cases of illegal immigration: READ MORE