J/P Alert is the newsletter of the Justice and Peace office of CMSM. It is intended to inform and stimulate discussion and involvement among the members. Its contents do not necessarily represent official positions of CMSM.
After her husband's assassination in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968, she continued his work for social justice and devoted her life to his legacy, establishing the King Center in Atlanta and working for decades for a federal holiday in his honor.
King became a symbol, in her own right, of her husband's struggle
for peace and brotherhood, presiding with a quiet, steady, stoic presence
conferences on global issues.
She became increasingly critical of businesses such as film and television companies, video arcades, gun manufacturers and toy makers she accused of promoting violence. She called for regulation of their advertising.
King received numerous honors for herself and traveled around
the world in the process.
Excerpted from an NPR story, Jan. 31, 2006. Follow the link for more on Mrs. King's life and accomplishments.
God, we are grateful for the life of Coretta Scott King, who worked for social justice and racial equality all of her life, as the wife and the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. and as a woman of valor who never gave up the struggle for a better America for all God's children.
We remember and reflect on her words: "One of the ways you bring about change is to change yourself so that you're prepared to lead people in the direction they should go. If your emotions are as bad as those you're confronting, even if your cause is just, you are not leading from a just and peace-filled place."
Help us to honor Coretta Scott King's life by transforming our own hearts as we work to transform the unjust systems and structures of this world. In her, you have given us a model of perseverance to a just cause and a model of great dignity and faith. May she rest in the peace of the Lord. Amen.
by Dr. Jane M. Deren, Education for Justice Project
Human trafficking is an evil that is receiving increasing attention in our globalizing world. The US State Department estimates that more than 16,000 persons are trafficked into the United States annually, but other estimates are much higher. Worldwide, there may be as many as six to eight hundred thousand persons trafficked annually. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country each year is even higher, with an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry. [Department of Justice - Human Trafficking] Victims of trafficking are overwhelmingly also victims of extreme poverty in their homelands, which makes them particularly vulnerable to the empty promises of traffickers.
Trafficking in human beings is characterized by three indicators: force, fraud, or coercion. Although there are a growing number of cases of forcible abduction, trafficking victims often leave home willingly, having been promised work and even residency in First-World countries by their exploiters. Upon reaching their destinations, however, they are victimized by being sold or held in involuntary servitude as prostitutes, agricultural workers, sweatshop workers or domestic servants. They are victims of forced labor or sexual exploitation for commercial purposes.
Even when victims are able to contact authorities, they often do not do so, or do not cooperate with the prosecution of traffickers, out of fear of reprisals to their families or other threats made by their captors. Children are particularly vulnerable to such threats. Victims often do not know whom they can trust and do not understand their rights.
On the occasion of the International Conference "Twenty-First Century Slavery - The Human Rights Dimension to Trafficking in Human Beings," held in Rome in 2002, Pope John Paul II wrote:
Recent legislation renewing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 has been described as a step in the right direction, but didn't go far enough to protect children, according to Sister Mary Ellen Dougherty, SSND, of the USCCB's Migration and Refugee Services. She said the legislation, called the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, fails to empower Department of Health and Human Services officials to make decisions about the eligibility of children (to receive refugee benefits) "without having to wait an unreasonable amount of time."
She also wanted to see more steps taken to make sure that immediate guardians are appointed to children who have been trafficking victims. Sister Dougherty praised the legislation for making human trafficking a "criminal offense under the uniform code of military justice" and for "increasing penalties for domestic trafficking." She also commended the legislation's inclusion of residential treatment facilities for juveniles who had been subjected to trafficking. [For the full Catholic News Service story on the legislation, go to www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=18297 ]
More information about human trafficking can be found on the web at www.humantrafficking.org/ and homepage.mac.com/srjeanschafersds/stoptraffic/index.html.
In 1996, 10,000 people, including high-level representatives of 185 countries and the European Community met at the World Food Summit in Rome, and resolved to reduce by half the number of undernourished people by 2015. In March 2005, the United Nations Secretary General asked the World Food Program (WFP) to take a lead role in ensuring the achievements of the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving world hunger by 2015.
WFP cannot achieve the MDG of halving world hunger by itself, nor by continuing with business as usual. Ending child hunger is a challenge that will require a worldwide multi-party effort sustained over time. A tangible joint activity for any and all who are committed to the goal of eliminating child hunger, Walk the World is an annual global walk to raise awareness and funds and encourage action to end child hunger. The WFP policy is to share the visibility and funds raised with local organizations that are committed to ending child hunger and willing to contribute to the Walk's success.
Walk the World 2006 will take place on May 21, 2006. Follow the link for more information about organizing a local walk.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days: Challenging Disparity:
March 10 - 13, 2006
Information and registration at http://www.advocacydays.org/
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
T. Michael McNulty, SJ, editor
8808 Cameron St., Silver Spring, MD 20910