Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Message from Polaris Project

From Polaris Project:  Tell Congress to Support Anti-Human Trafficking Bills

From the clothes we wear to the food we eat, slavery’s footprint touches many aspects of our lives. A new bill in Congress is looking to change this. The Business Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act (H.R. 2759) requires companies with a minimum of $100 million in income to publicize the measures they are taking to combat slavery. On July 19, the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) hosted two briefings on Capitol Hill to discuss how informed consumers and investors can take steps to help eliminate human trafficking from corporate supply chains.

You can help! Take action here to urge Congress to support H.R. 2759. Also show your support for victims of human trafficking by taking action on three other vital bills: the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act, and End Trafficking in Government Contracting. Tell your elected officials to reduce trafficking by passing these laws.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Running for his life

During the Olympic season, we hear many inspiration stories.  Here's one involving Lopez Lomong, who was the flagbearer for Team USA at the 2008 Opening Ceremony in Beijing.  Lopez Lomong was one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan, who came to the US at age 16.  In his recently-released book, Running for my Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games, he tells the story of "his inspiring ascent from a barefoot lost boy of the Sudanese Civil War to a Nike sponsored athlete on the US Olympic Team" (from the book description).  The opening pages of the book tell the story of his separation from his family at the hands of a truck full of armed soldiers.  Lomong ends his description of this horrific incident in this way:  "I didn't know it at the time, but my childhood had just ended.  I was six years old."  Click here to visit his website where you can learn about him, his book and his foundation, "4 South Sudan," which exists to "bring hope to families who face the realities of poverty and the lingering impact of daily violence."  Additionally, watch the video below (sponsored by Tide) to hear Lopez tell his story (e-mail subscribers, click here if you do not see a video link below).

Friday, July 27, 2012

Health Care: Telling the Stories, Day 5

As we finish these days of paying attention to the relationships of health care as told in the documentary, The Waiting Room, let's look at the film's trailer and a video, "What is the Waiting Room," about the concept behind the film.  As we noted on Monday, we continue to remind ourselves that everyone has a story.  Hopefully, the stories you've heard this week, and the thousands of other stories that we didn't hear, will move us to compassion for the uninsured and underinsured.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Health Care: Telling the Stories, Day 4

In today's story from the Storytelling Project, volunteer Lucy Ogbu tells of her desire to become a doctor so that she can help others. Lucy, a native of Nigeria, shares:  "I believe that medicine is a way for me to impact people's lives. . . . As long as I'm standing, I'm going to fight for the chance. . . . I know how much there's a need for health care in impoverished communities. . . . The cause is bigger than me."  Click here for Lucy's story.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Health Care: Telling the Stories, Day 3

Today's video from the Storytelling Project of The Waiting Room tells the story of William Morgan, a father of three young boys, who waits for his wife to get the insulin she needs.  Click here to view the video.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Health Care: Telling the Stories, Day 2

As our video storytelling continues, we hear the story of a 7-year-old girl, Nia Walker, who is being treated for asthma at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA.  Click here for Nia's story. A statistic from the video:  Did you know that African Americans visit the ER for asthma-related symptoms at a rate nearly five times higher than Caucasians?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Health Care: Telling the Stories

The Waiting Room is a documentary by Pete Nicks that tells the story of caregivers and patients at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA -- a hospital that serves a large population of uninsured patients. The Waiting Room attempts to tell stories of "common humanity instead of politics."  As the debates on health care reform become increasingly divisive, we are reminded that health care is first of all about people and relationships among them.  This week, we will focus on some of the videos from the film's Storytelling Project.  After hearing these stories, let's pledge to remember that everything we say about "health care" is about human beings who are in need of health care.

Today's video, "The Caregiver," comes from the Storytelling Project of The Waiting Room.  Click here to view the video.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Political Activity Guidelines

The USCCB Office of General Counsel reminds organizations that are tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) of what is permitted and what is prohibited on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate, as a condition of maintaining federal tax exemption.  Click here for more information.  Although it cannot anticipate every possible situation, this advice is very comprehensive, including such things as the prohibition against bumper stickers for particular candidates on cars owned by tax exempt organizations.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ATEST Webinar on Supply Chains

The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) held a 30-minute webinar on Tuesday, July 17 entitled, "Slavery in Supply Chains: The Role Businesses and Consumers can Play in Ending Human Trafficking.  Click here to view a replay of the webinar and to get more information about the work of ATEST.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Opting Out" of Medicaid Expansion

Thanks to Sister Mary Joan for bringing this article -- "Lines are Drawn Over Opting out of Medicaid Plan" --  from the NY Times to our attention.  However we feel about the Accountable Care Act and whatever its moral drawbacks, we must continue to remind ourselves that there are human beings in the United States who are unable, for many reasons, to obtain the health care they need.  As you know, the ethical standards of behavior that guide Catholic health care are driven by the dignity of the human person.  As we engage in dialogue over this Act, let us rememberboth the dignity of the humans who need health care and the dignity of the persons with whom we debate.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Read Any Good Books Lately? (Part 3)

Since the first two books of our summer reading were war stories, perhaps it's now appropriate to share some peace.  The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by the Arbinger Institute is our current recommendation.  From the back cover:  "What if conflicts at home, conflicts at work, and conflicts in the world stem from the same root cause?  What if we systematically misunderstand that cause?  And what if, as a result, we systematically perpetuate the very problems we think we are trying to solve?  Every day." 

The book description from amazon.com reads: "Through an intriguing story of parents struggling with their troubled children and with their own personal problems, "The Anatomy of Peace" shows how to get past the preconceived ideas and self-justifying reactions that keep us from seeing the world clearly and dealing with it effectively. Yusuf al-Falah, an Arab, and Avi Rozen, a Jew, each lost his father at the hands of the other's ethnic cousins. As the story unfolds, we discover how they came together, how they help warring parents and children to come together, and how we too can find our way out of the struggles that weigh us down. The choice between peace and war lies within us. As one of the characters says, 'A solution to the inner war solves the outer war as well.'  This book offers more than hope -- it shows how we can prevent the conflicts that cause so much pain in our lives and in the world."

We cannot make peaceful choices from a heart at war (when we see others as objects); we can only make peaceful choices from a heart at peace (when we see others as persons).  It's a quick read and well worth the time.  Your heart will thank you!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thank you, Sisters!

75 members of Congress say "Thank you" to Catholic Sisters in the United States.  (E-mail subscribers, click here if you do not see an embedded video below.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Recycling Pantyhose?

In our quest to make our landfills a bit less full, did you ever consider recycling your pantyhose?  The No nonsense company has a program that allows us to recycle our used pantyhose (any brand, size, style).  Click here for more information and to print out a shipping label.