Collaborating with Other Justice Advocates
Dominicans in search of truth and justice engage with one another on many issues of concern.
The Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids collaborate with the North American Dominican Promoters of Justice, Peace, and Care of Creation which represents Sisters and Brothers in Dominican Congregations.
North American Dominican Promoters Call To Justice 2017-2019
The ministry of the North American Dominican Promoters of Justice, Peace, and Care of Creation is to encourage all members of the Order of Preachers and their associates to embrace a deepening of the Dominican charism to search for and preach TRUTH as it impacts the lives of people and planet. In 2017, the Justice Promoters gathered to reflect on our commitment to promote the call of Gospel justice and help guide the study of and advocacy for human rights and climate justice in our world today. This document reflects our priorities in this time and place in history.
OUR JUSTICE MINISTRY PRIORITIES
The North American Justice Promoters have given priority to the following justice areas for our ministry:
- Climate Justice
- Peace and Security of All Life
- Migration and Immigration
- Human Trafficking
- Economic Justice
We recognize that each of these areas of injustice is rooted in racism, sexism, poverty, and oppression that give rise to violence. These root causes of injustice inform our study and search for truth. Such study helps guide us to commitments in areas where we can be most effective individually and collectively.
Woven through the Dominican pillars of prayer, study, ministry, and community is the quest for TRUTH. Finding truth is not a simple process, nor can we ignore truth’s complexity.
Dominicans in search of Truth and Justice engage with one another and join the international community of Dominicans in studying the link between faith and justice.
We accompany and collaborate with many individuals and organizations.
It is through dialogue and with courage that we…
- Listen to those who are oppressed, economically poor, and living on the margins.
- Seek to understand the interconnected realities that are the roots of injustice and conflict.
- Work with others to challenge and change the systems that perpetuate the harm that is being done.
- Address injustice in a spirit of respect, compassion, and solidarity.
Ecological reflection leads us to acknowledge three truths: 1) The theological truth that creation, the precious common home for the whole of life, is of God.
2) The scientific truth that human behavior is causing grave harm to the environment, even to the extent of changing the climate. (Laudato Si’)
3) The moral truth that we individuals, groups, and nations have the duty to reverse this destructive trend. Pope Francis, in Laudato Si’ Care for Our Common Home and in his 2015 address to the United Nations, gave voice to the rights of nature.
Our call is to respect and honor those rights through the lifestyle choices we make, personally and collectively.
Peace and Security for All Life
We extol the dignity of every human life, made in God’s image, a truth revealed in Genesis. To live that truth we take a stand, by preaching and action, against all threats to human well-being. “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties” of all people – of those threatened by war abroad or gun violence at home, of prisoners, of the sick, of children in the womb, of mothers in crisis – these too are our “joys and hopes…griefs and anxieties.” (Cf. Gaudium et Spes, #1)
Our call is to see the face of God in the whole of life, to embrace the tenets of nonviolence, and to practice loving our enemies.
Migration and Immigration
According to the United Nations, there are over 60,000,000 displaced people in the world today. Recent Popes and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have repeatedly defended the right of people to migrate whether they are fleeing poverty, political or religious repression, or violence. They call upon wealthier countries, like the United States, to open their doors to receive those coming to them in need.
Our call is to welcome the stranger, to speak the truth of the roots of our own immigrant nation, and to advocate for just immigration policies and practices.
There is the sociological and economic truth of the deplorable worldwide industry in human trafficking. For purposes of slave and sex labor, desperate men, women, and children are drawn into a vortex of degradation. We denounce the consumerist mentality by which human beings are turned into mere instruments of satisfaction and profit.
Our call is to expose the truth about modern-day slavery and advocate for substantive laws that protect victims and hold accountable all who facilitate and enable human trafficking.
Moved by the Prophets, inspired by Jesus, and guided by Catholic Social Teaching, we claim the truth that the fruits of creation and all that is produced from them have a universal destination – they are meant for all. The economy, enlivened by a healthy cooperation between private initiative and government, is to be at the service of the common good. We denounce global economic systems that value money and profit over the dignity of human beings and the life of the planet.
Our call is to examine economic structures and systems in terms of how they hurt people living with the least resources; to change our own practices that contribute to this; and to advocate for policies that promote more equitable sharing of Earth’s abundance.
During Advent of 1511, Fr. AntonioMontesinos, OP preached against the oppression and enslavement of the native peoples of Hispaniola, modern day Dominican Republic and Haiti. “Tell me, by what right or by what interpretation of justice do you keep these Indians in such a cruel and horrible servitude? By what authority have you waged such detestable wars against people who were once living so quietly and peacefully in their own land?”
A Legacy of Justice
Dominicans have a deep history of bringing greater understanding about human rights and the economic, social, and other systems that influence and shape the lives of people.
During a time of famine, the young philosophy and theology student Dominic de Guzman, a son of Spanish nobility, sold his school books to help those who were starving and destitute. His preaching, teaching, and forming others in the Truth of the Gospel led to the founding of the Dominican Order of Preachers.
In the 16th century, Dominican missionaries, accompanying native peoples, shared experiences with the Dominicans at the University at Salamanca, Spain. Bringing the light of faith to those experiences, Dominicans reflected, wrote, and called for justice for the native people oppressed by the system of colonialism.
Dominicans, 800 years later continue justice preaching, recommitted to the promotion and defense of human rights and protection and care of Creation. Learn about our priorities in the Dominican Call to Justice Guide 2017-2019.
More Justice Collaboration
We are also members of the United States Catholic Sisters against Human Trafficking and serve on their educational committee. We meet regularly with the Justice Promoters of Religious Congregations of Michigan and Indiana for updates about human trafficking in the U.S. and around the world and focus our initiatives.
The Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids are part of an international community striving to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
In West Michigan, we are closely aligned with The MICAH Center, the West Michigan Coalition for Immigration Reform, Human Trafficking Task Forces (Michigan/Kent County), Christian Reform Office of Social Justice, and others.