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Social Justice Programs

In accordance with the mission of the University of San Francisco, University Ministry's Social Justice Program invites students to step outside of their familiar university lives, walk with people at the margins of society, and in doing so, open their minds and hearts to personal transformation.

USFtv Executive producer, student Lucas Waldron '13 captures 2013 Arrupe Justice Intersession Immersion: "Public Health & Homelessness." Click below to watch the video.

homelessness

"Love in Action: Conversations with Women Religious," A Film Created by USF Students & Resident Minister Emily Czarnik-Neimeyer. Click below to watch the video. Click here to read more.

sister


ONGOING SOCIAL JUSTICE PROGRAMS

Campaign to End the Death Penalty in California

In January 2012, University Ministry began collaborating with SAFE California, a San Francisco based organization, to collect signatures on behalf of a proposed initiative for the November election that would replace the death penalty in California with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Petitions may be signed through mid-February, after which point of the campaign will direct its focus towards education and advocacy on this issue.

In February 2012, a screening of the film Dead Man Walking, a speaker event featuring a long time death-row legal advocate and family member of murder victims, and a candlelight vigil were held to raise awareness of and involvement in this cause. To get involved with this campaign, contact Kique Bazan at lebazan@usfca.edu. 

Dream Act Advocacy Campaign

JusticeProgramsThroughout the fall 2012 semester, students engaged in justice advocacy through University Ministry on behalf of the proposed Federal DREAM Act, which aims to allow qualifying undocumented immigrant youth who earn a college degree or serve in the military to be placed on a path toward legal status in the United States.

In September-October 2011, a three-day series of events was used to promote awareness, reflection, and civil engagement around the Dream Act. The series included a documentary film screening, an interfaith candlelight vigil featuring personal testimony from "DREAMers", and a day of advocacy to deliver petitions in support of the DREAM Act to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's office in downtown San Francisco.

In November 2011, University Ministry sent a delegation of students and staff to represent the University of San Francisco at the 14th Annual Ignatian Family Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C. As part of the three-day teach-in, which was attended by delegations from each of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. and included speakers from around the world on various topics of justice and political action, our delegation met with representatives from Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein to lobby for the passage of the DREAM Act.
The advocacy campaign will continue into 2012-2013 with a variety of programs and events. Contact Kique Bazan at lebazan@usfca.edu for more information.

The Social Justice Lunch Series

The Social Justice Lunch Series invites the university community to come together every Thursday to discuss issues on human rights, environmental justice, homelessness and public policy. Guest speakers present on a variety of issues followed by questions and discussion. Topics this year will include:

Working on the front lines with Catholic Relief Services

Andrew Schaefer, Emergency Coordinator for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Emergency Response Team based in Nairobi, Kenya, talks about the work of CRS in the Dadaab Refugee Camps, near the Kenya- Somali border and in Afghanistan.
Date/Location: TBA


Jesuit Volunteer Corps Panel

A panel of Former Jesuit Volunteers share the impact of a year of volunteer service, and discuss the on-going challenges of working for justice.
Date/Location: TBA


Immersion as a Mission

Students share their experiences and reflect upon the importance and relevance of immersions in articulating the USF mission.
Date/Location: TBA

Teach-In

The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice is one of the largest national gatherings of people inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. More than 1,000 people convene in Washington, DC each year to learn, network, reflect, pray, and develop skills to advocate for social justice.Picture hundreds of people congregated in one room for a common purpose. This practice has been done for centuries in various communities around the world, and for a number of common purposes.
This past November 16-18, 2012, the Ignatian Solidarity Network hosted such a gathering through the “FamilyTeach-in for Justice” in Arlington, VA. Eight USF students and two Resident Ministers joined forces to prepare for and attend the Teach-in, which was themed “Imagination Reform: Moving Beyond the Margins.” USF was a proud sponsor of the 2012 Teach-in and has been involved in it in years past.According to the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s website, “The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice is an annual gathering for members of the Ignatian family (Jesuit institutions and larger church) to come together in the context of social justice and solidarity to learn, reflect, pray, network, and advocate together. We gather each year in the spirit of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador, using their lives and ministry as inspiration for discovering the injustices of today and how we might engage in them. The Teach-In is a place where people are empowered, re-energized, inspired, challenged, and supported by a community that sees faith and justice integrally linked.”Click here to read more.
University Ministry provides resources, information, and practical support to USF faculty and staff within the context of immersion experiences, reflection, and action from the Catholic Jesuit perspective. Pre and post- immersion reflections, classroom presentations, and community building when the students return, are some of the key activities that we offer. University Ministry has been providing support to faculty and staff in the student trips to Cambodia (2007, 2010), India (2004), Mozambique (2006), Peru (2003), South Africa (2002, 2006), Thailand (2008), Vietnam (2005), Uganda (2009).

PAST SOCIAL JUSTICE PROGRAMS

Stand 4 2010

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Stand 4 2010
Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, President and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States was invited to speak on the Catholic tradition that views health care as a basic human right. Sr. Keehan has held administrative and governance positions at hospitals sponsored by the Daughters of Charity for more than 35 years and has devoted her life to ensure that the poor receive adequate access to health care. Indeed, in her letter sent to Congress representing 59,000 Catholic nuns and more than 50 heads of religious congregations and organizations she remarks, “health care reform is a faith mandate for life and dignity of all of our people.”
The Stand 4 program took place on November 23rd in St. Ignatius Church with a prayer and recognition service acknowledging the work of Sr. Keehan as well as other individuals and organizations dedicated to the promotion of wellness for all people.

Stand 4 2009

STAND 4stand4 2009

On the morning of November 16, 1989, armed men burst into the Jesuit residence at
the University of Central America in San Salvador, and shot six Jesuit priests along
with their cook and her daughter. These men were targeted because of their work to promote social justice and to empower the most vulnerable members of society. 70,000
Salvadorians died during this civil war and hundreds of thousands were displaced by
the fighting.
On November 16, 2009, University Ministry hosted the Stand 4 Conference on the
USF campus to honor the memories of these extraordinary individuals. Among USF faculty, staff, and students, many community members, local schools, and activists
participated in the day’s events. Fr. Kevin Burke, S.J., discussed the prosecution of the soldiers who were on trial for the murders. Three workshops followed Fr. Burke’s
talk, focusing on lobbying and advocacy, litigation, and civil rights for immigrants.
Afterward students, faculty and community members were provided the opportunity
to engage in dialogue about the November 16th events in El Salvador, as well as a
range of human rights issues.

The Justice Lecture Series 1998-2009

The Justice Lecture Series was held annually for eleven years. University Ministry invited speakers to campus to address issues surrounding peace, justice, and human dignity in a Catholic context. Speakers included Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Authors, and Health Care Providers.
1997/1998: Sr Helen Prejean, Author of Dead Man Walking
1998/1999: Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1997
1999/2000: Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1976
2000/2001: Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1992
2001/2002: Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1980
2002/2003: Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1987, Former President of Costa Rica
2004/2004: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1989
2004/2005: Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2003
2005/2006: Dr. Paul Farmer, Founder of Partners in Health
2007/2008: Greg Mortenson, Author, Three Cups of Tea

 Prime Minister
2009 marked the 11th year of the University Ministry Justice Lecture Series. At the September 30th Mass of the Holy Spirit, former Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik received an honorary doctorate for his work in peace and human rights. Following mass, Bondevik presented his lecture on “A Global Perspective on Human Rights.” He stressed the importance of facilitating dialogue across religious, political and cultural divides and transcending those boundaries in order to achieve higher human rights goals.
Prime Minister Bondevik is a Norwegian Lutheran minister and politician. He served
as Prime Minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000, and from 2001 to 2005, making him
Norway’s longest serving non-Socialist Prime Minister since World War II. Currently, he
is President (and founder) of the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights.

 

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL JUSTICE

White House Initiative

University Ministry took part in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge during the 2011-2012 academic year. Our project focused on environmental sustainability. We recognize that every faith tradition has something to say about the care and concern for the environment. Therefore, we developed a series of programs that invites the USF community to:
  • Explore and understand how different religious traditions approach creation and responsibility to care for the earth.

  • Create awareness of environmental sustainability awareness into social justice and anti-poverty projects, so that when we talk about social justice, we are talking about environmental justice as well.

  • Deepen one’s own personal commitment to an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

  • Join together on April 13, 2013 for April Action, a day-long service project in partnership with a wide variety of environmentally-focused community groups in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jesuits and the Environment

Portions of the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus pertaining to the environment (complete document available at www.sjweb.info/35/index.cfm)
The documents of the Thirty-fifth General Congregation of the Society of Jesus clearly states:

This Congregation urges all Jesuits and all partners engaged in the same mission, particularly the universities and research centers, to promote studies and practices focusing on the causes of poverty and the question of the environment’s improvement. We should find ways in which our experiences with refugees and the displaced on one hand, and people who work for the protection of the environment on the other hand, could interact with those institutions, so that research results and advocacy have effective practical benefits for society and the environment. Advocacy and research should serve the poor and those who work for the protection of the environment. (GC 35 Decree 3 #35)

In our preaching, teaching, and retreat direction, we should invite all people to appreciate more deeply our covenant with creation as central to right relationships with God and one another, and to act accordingly in terms of political responsibility, employment, family life, and personal lifestyle. (GC 35 Decree 3 #36)


Portions of the Promotio Justitia’s Healing A Broken World document pertaining to the environment. (complete document available at www.ecojesuit.com/)

Promotio Iustitiae’s Healing A Broken World, a document published by the Social Justice Secretariat at the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, lists the following as one of its recommendations: “Jesuit higher education institutions, theological faculties, business schools, research and capacity-building centers are invited to engage students in transformative education and to explore new themes and areas of interdisciplinary research.”


“The Church, and especially the two most recent Popes, have been insisting on the need for us to collaborate in the efforts to preserve the environment, and thus to protect creation and the poorest populations, who are those most threatened by the consequences of environmental degradation.


The Society of Jesus is also involved in this task. Many Jesuits and collaborators who accompany poor farming communities are attempting to protect the environment and promote sustainable development as an essential condition for the future. The younger generations of Jesuits are especially sensitive in this regard. Some Conferences have made the ecological question an apostolic priority. Most definitely, the Society is engaged in many efforts in this field.

(Healing A Broken World: Promotio Iustitiae p. 7)


We need to proceed in dialogue with the world, with all religions and with those committed to environmental justice. This is a crucial dialogue at the very frontier of the ecological sustainability of all life.

(Healing A Broken World: Promotio Iustitiae p. 17)


The first consideration proposed by Ignatius is the Principle and Foundation (SE, 23). We understand today that creation is ―both a resource from God as well as an avenue to God, making it possible for humans to communicate with each other.

(Healing A Broken World: Promotio Iustitiae p. 34)


Following Ignatius‘ directive that ―love ought to be put more in deeds than in words (SE, 230), we need to make an offering of ourselves with great generosity to heal our relationship with creation

(Healing A Broken World: Promotio Iustitiae p. 34)