Recommended Reading

Excerpt from Mujerista Theology

“Our participation in the act of salvation is what we refer to as liberation. It consists of our work to transform the world. Liberation is both cause and effect of the struggle to have a love relationship with others, including God. Now, there can be no salvation without liberation, though no single act of liberation can be totally identified with salvation in its fullness. As Gustavo Gutierrez has said, ‘Without liberating historical events, there would be no growth of the Kingdom…we can say that the historical, political, liberating event is the growth of the Kingdom and is a salvific event; but it is not the coming of the Kingdom, not all of salvation.’ …

To struggle against oppression, against alienation, is a matter of an ongoing personal conversion that involves effective attempts to change alienating societal structures. This personal conversion cannot happen apart from solidarity with the oppressed. But why are the poor and the oppressed those with whom we must be in solidarity? Why does overcoming alienation demand a preferential option for the oppressed? The reason is not that the poor and the oppressed are morally superior. Those who are oppressed are not personally better or more innocent or purer in their motivations than the rest of us. The preferential option at the heart of solidarity is based on the fact that the point of view of the oppressed, ‘pierced by suffering and attracted by hope, allows them, in their struggles, to conceive another reality. Because the poor suffer the weight of alienation, they can conceive a different project of hope and provide dynamism to a new way of organizing human life for all.’ This contribution, which they alone can give, makes it possible for everyone to overcome alienation. The preferential option for the poor and the oppressed makes it possible for the oppressors to overcome alienation, because to be oppressive limits love, and love cannot exist in the midst of alienation.”

Source: Mujerista Theology by Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz (Orbis Books, 1996), pages 90-91.

Challenged About the Wall

In this fascinating and easy-to-absorb piece, the author recounts being challenged by a Trump supporter to make a solid case against building a border wall. Her response is a practical, eleven point list of reasons that the wall is impractical, ineffective, and full of damaging consequences. What makes her list unique, however, is that she drew these conclusions from analyzing all conservative or right-wing data! Because she spoke with the language of her challenger, her points were impossible to refute. For those of us who struggle to know how to converse with someone whose priorities seem so different from ours, this article gives helpful language to begin conversations!

How Latinos Are Shaping America’s Future

This article explores the rising influence of Latinos communities across the United States. From the sleepy, rural town of Wilder, Idaho to urban hubs such as Los Angeles, American cities  have been shaped by generations of Latinos who interweave Hispanic and American traditions into their communities. Stunning photos, personal stories, and an exploration of "Latinidad", or shared cultural identity of Latinos of different races or natural origins who live in the United States, make this article from National Geographic a compelling read. 

Communities in Crisis

This 2017 study conducted by the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), and the Office of Justice and Ecology (OJE) of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States uses surveys of 133 deportees and their family members to explore and examine the United States deportation process and the personal, emotional, and community effects it has on those who are affected by it.

When a Nation Erased Birthright Citizenship

In 2010, the government of the Dominican Republic called a constitutional convention to exclude the children of anyone “residing illegally in Dominican territory” from the birthright citizenship clause which mainly targeted people of Haitian descent. In this article, the author draws parallels to the rhetoric and efforts of the Trump administration to end place-based birthright citizenship. 

Latina Social Justice Leader Reflects

Read this moving interview with Mireya Reith, Executive Director of the Arkansas United Community Coalition. Asking herself the question "What would our politics look like if our politicians looked like the people they represented?" spurred Reith to become an activist and social justice leader for families and Latino communities in Arkansas. She espouses the belief that true salvation requires all members of a community working together and respecting the role of each individual's ability and need to be part of the solution. 

Stop Saying ‘Migrant Caravan’

This easy-to-read piece explains the importance of language regarding the Central American exodus happening right now, and encourages us to more properly name it a refugee crisis. "There is no migrant crisis," she writes, "There is, however, a refugee crisis. That crisis is the effect of at least a half-century (and, arguably, twice that) of calamitous US political intervention in Central America."

Responding to Anti-Semitic Violence With Solidarity’s Sacred Power

In this piece, Rabbi Brant Rosen reflects on the tragic antisemitic massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue and concludes that "[m]oments such as these must remind all targeted minorities that we are always stronger when we resist together."

Trump and the Reality at the Border

(From the Center for Migration Studies) In this op-ed, Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), writes that President Trump uses “grotesque and inhumane rhetoric” to make the public think that the individuals and families fleeing horrific violence and poverty in Central America are criminals and terrorists coming to harm Americans. In regards to the migrant caravan, President Trump’s “blatant effort to stoke more xenophobia and fear” ignores the fact that the caravan is “mostly ordinary men, women and children — part of a long tradition of families coming to the United States to make their lives better.” Furthermore, Trump’s characterization of the situation at the US-Mexico border is misleading. Although arrests along the border have increased since Trump took office, they are “well below the historic peaks of two decades ago.” 

The Refugee Caravan

In this piece by the New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer, the root causes and emergence of the refugee crisis in Central America which led to this most recent exodus is explored in an easy-to-understand, relatable manner. Blitzer humanizes the refugees and helps readers understand what the decision to flee was like for many of those traveling with the caravan.

Administration Denying Asylum

This article evaluates the power of the President within current law to use an executive order to effectively close the US-Mexico Border. The author offers multiple legal arguments in support of an in opposition to the use of executive orders as proposed by the Trump Administration to deny the migrants currently traveling through Mexico as part of the Honduran/Central American exodus the right to seek asylum in the US.

Honduran Refugee March

A Refugee Crisis Caused by US Policy and US Partners: On October 12, 2018, hundreds of women, men, children, youth and the elderly decided to leave Honduras as a desperate response to survive. This article calls for respect of the human dignity of these migrants, while outlining the impact of US policy in creating the current crisis.

San Óscar Romero and Immigration Reform

This weekend, the Catholic Church celebrated the canonization of Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero, who has for decades been popularly recognized as a saint for the poor and marginalized. This 2017 article details American Catholic efforts to use Archbishop Romero’s legacy to engage in the struggle for just immigration reform.

Civility Can Be Dangerous

This article explores when "tolerance" is a value and when it is not. This is a personally challenging read that offers an opportunity to evaluate the ways we support and sustain systems of oppression when we value keeping the peace over interrupting the damage of those systems. What is the role of nonviolence in fighting for peace? How can we become co-creators of justice? 

Disappeared Students

September 26 marked the four-year anniversary of the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico. Tragically, the victims’ families are still searching for answers about the fate of their missing loved ones, who were attacked by Mexican security forces and forcibly disappeared. The Peña Nieto government defends its thoroughly discredited theory about the tragedy, but the incoming administration of president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with victims’ families and committed to finding the missing students. 

DHS Report

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a special report this week revealing its findings following an investigation into the Trump administration’s contentious family separation policy. The report found that DHS was “not fully prepared to implement the Zero Tolerance Policy.”

Considering Colonization

It is important that we continue to assess our role in decolonization, anti-racism, faith, truth-telling, the impacts of colonization and the ways we contribute to continuing oppressive systems and more. This article presents a recap and guide to a series of conversations to help us reflect deeper on these issues.