The Lane Center has provided education and experience for the USF community and beyond regarding topics such as immigration, economics, Central America, human trafficking, etc. For each of these kinds of areas, there are public and corporate policy decisions that contribute to either improving or worsening that situation, and a natural followup to the education and experience of these realities is to address those policies.
That is what Advocacy is all about, and there are many excellent organizations with expertise and resources to carry it out. The Lane Center would like to encourage this kind of action, and will now begin to provide contacts with advocacy organizations so that the education and experience we provide can be linked to more effective action. We do not imagine ourselves recreating advocacy networks, etc., but rather integrating what we do with the work of sister organizations in that field.
The Great Recession has changed the situation of wage workers in the US, perhaps permanently, and not for the better. Twice as many are officially unemployed as in 2007, many for six months or more, and many others have stopped looking for work. For those who are employed, many only have part time positions or are working for lower wages. Some have argued that there has been a "hollowing out" of the kinds of jobs now available, with growth in highly paid high skill jobs and low wage relatively low skilled jobs, but middle level jobs disappearing. These trends do not seem to be short term, but rather suggest a more permanent change in the character of work in the US. Work and its nature are at the heart of the Catholic Social Thought regarding the economy. What does CST have to say about the current situation? is a crucial question for our time. First, we encourage you to become part of an ecumenical effort of which the US Bishops are a strong partner called A Circle of Protection. This broad coalition advocates for a higher priority for the poor and unemployed in the current Federal budget discussions. Second is a coalition of which the national Jesuit Conference is an active member, Faith Advocates for Jobs. This organization both advocates for public policy change and provides grassroots faith based organizations including parishes with ideas, resources and networking possibilities for assisting the unemployed. Both are based on the principles of Catholic Social Thought and we at the Lane Center see them as most appropriate "Action in Behalf of Justice".
The Bishops Conference now publishes something called Notes for Neighbors [as in "Who is my Neighbor?" from the story of the good Samaritan] which has a wide variety of suggestions for advocacy and action. We recommend that you check out this resource. Click here and look down the page for Notes for Neighbors to sign up. Let us know what you think.