The Fourth Year [2010 - 2011]
- On July 14, Dr. Sue Weishar spoke on a panel with three representatives from local labor unions on the challenges that undocumented immigrants face in the workforce and the need for comprehensive immigration reform. The panel was part of a day of service and education provided to 25 high school students completing their community service hours and was held at Archbishop Chapelle High School in Metairie.
- From July 10-13, JSRI co-sponsored the Social Action Summer Institute of The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors on the Loyola campus. Fr. Kammer presented a workshop on "Foundations of Catholic Social Teaching"; Dr. Alex Mikulich conducted a workshop on "The (Dis)Harmony of White Privilege and Racism in the Gospel Perspective"; and Dr. Sue Weishar co-led participants in a "Statewide Immigration Legislation Strategy Session."
- From June 13-18, Mary Baudouin and Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ led fifty participants, including 35 Jesuits, through the first cycle of the province-sponsored Ministry of Ministry seminar focused on leading and managing people within organizations. The seminar was held on the Loyola campus.
- On June 9 and 10, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, and Dr. Sue Weishar were presenters at the Conference "Living Justice in the 21st Century" at St. Thomas University in Houston. The annual conference was sponsored by the Young Social Justice Institute. Fr. Kammer gave the July 10th keynote address, "Catholic Social Teaching--The Tasks Ahead." Dr. Weishar co-presented the breakout session, "Immigration: The Pull Factors," and the action session, "Federal, State, and Local Advocacy Initiatives."
On May 31-June 1, Dr. Alex Mikulich co-facilitated a two-day “Race, Diversity, and Pedagogy” workshop for the College Theology Society held at Iona College, New
Rochelle, NY. The workshop concluded a three-year initiative by the College Theology Society to help theological faculty address issues of race and diversity in
their classrooms and home institutions.
From May 22-26, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, moderated the sessions of the General Assembly of Caritas Internationais, the international Catholic charitable confederation, meeting in Rome, Italy. Attending were representatives of 130 national Catholic charitable organizations from all parts of the world working under its 60th anniversary conference theme of One Human Family, Zero Poverty. At the session, members elected a new President and Treasurer, approved a new Secretary General, and adopted a new strategic framework and financial framework for the next four years.
On May 12 Mary Baudouin, and Dr. Sue Weishar attended the annual meeting of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) in Nashville to speak to the board, staff and shareholders of the need for CCA to adopt a verifiable human rights policy and adopt stricter accountability and reporting measures. CCA is the largest private prison company in the United States. In FY 2010 CCA facilities under contract with ICE held 21.2% of immigrants detained in the U.S. The New Orleans Province is working with a cadre of faith-based investors who filed a shareholder resolution with CCA in November 2010 this resolution was withdrawn when CCA agreed to hold at least three dialogues in the coming year regarding risk assessments and transparent reporting about human rights abuses at CCA facilities. On May 12 Mary and Sue also discussed the terms of the upcoming meetings with CCA officials.
- In May, Dr. Alex Mikulich co-signed with 75 professors of Catholic universities a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House, John A. Boehner, on the occasion of his commencement address to the Catholic University of America. The letter welcomes the Speaker to Catholic university and urges him to consider how his voting record and proposed 2012 budget "is at variance from one of the church's most ancient moral teachings to preference the needs of the poor." The letter criticizes how the Speaker's budget would cut financing for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program, while granting tax cuts to corporations and the most wealthy Americans. The story was widely reported in national and local newspapers.
Louisiana Supreme Court Justices
- On May 9, Alex Mikulich was one of two dozen "friends of the court" who attended a hearing in the capital appeal on behalf of Felton Dorsey at the Louisiana Supreme Court. Dorsey was convicted by a jury of eleven whites and one African American and sentenced to the death penalty. At the hearing on May 9, friends of the court wore buttons which read, "Subject to Removal for Cause,” referring to the fact that Carl Staples was rejected for jury duty (in the Dorsey case) because he objected to the Confederate flag that flies in front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse. Mikulich’s full story of the Confederate flag hearing appears in the upcoming summer issue of JustSouth Quarterly under the title “A Curious Case of Racial Amnesia.”
- On April 29, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, was the special guest of the Marquette University Law School for the Posner Pro Bono Exchance on the occasion of the admission of over ninety law students into the Law School's Pro Bono Society. Admission is contingent on the law student contributing at least fifty hours of pro bono legal work. Fr. Kammer also participated in a luncheon discussion with about twenty of the students about the nature of their pro bono work, his own career, and post-Katrina New Orleans recovery..
On April 15, Dr. Sue Weishar was the guest speaker at the New Orleans Catholic Worker House’s monthly Clarification of Thought meeting. She spoke about immigration enforcement actions under the Obama administration. She also provided an update on the post-earthquake deportation of Haitians being detained in Louisiana detention facilities.
- On April 9, Dr. Alex Mikulich presented “Mission, Identity, and the Question of Race Privilege,” to nearly twenty diversity directors and members of the Jesuit Secondary Education Association on April 19, 2011 at Loyola University New Orleans. Later
the same day, he facilitated a conversation with the group addressing issues of pedagogy and how Jesuit high schools might integrate anti-racism into their approach to
- On April 4, the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., The Huffington Post published "Honoring MLK: Honor the Dignity of Workers" by Dr. Alex Mikulich. The op-ed is available online here.
- On April 2, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ conducted a morning of reflection on the theological foundations of faithjustice in the Old and New Testaments for the Loyola University Ignatius Chapel Community.
- On March 18, thanks to the work of Dr. Sue Weishar, JSRI sent a letter to the Department of Justice urging the inclusion of immigration detention facilities in the anti-rape regulations proposed under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA). The proposed regulations excude detention facilities where there have been noted cases of rape of detainees. The letter is here.
On March 14, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ delivered the keynote address to the 41st Annual Assembly of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference meeting in Lafayette, Louisiana. His address was entitled, Louisiana Children, Poverty, and the Faith Community, found here. On the following day the Assembly members adopted a resolution committing the members to work collaboratively to improve Louisiana's repeated ranking as the 49th worst state for children, according to the categories developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in their annual Kids Count report.
- On March 2, Fr. Ted Arroyo, SJ, testified at a public hearing in Alabama's state legislature in Montgomery on HB56, Alabama's pending anti-immigrant legislation. The twenty or so speakers, pro and con, were allowed only three minutes to advocate concerning this highly complex and controversial issue. Reports on this advocacy appeared in several Alabama newspapers, along with much anti-immigrant blogging in response. A copy of Ted's testimony can be found here on JSRI's website. Many other resources are available on this issue on our website and at the website of the bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign.
- On February 16, while in Washington, DC, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, was interviewed for video broadcast by Catholic News Service on the conditions in New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina.
- On February 14, in Washington, DC, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, participated in a panel on domestic poverty and the federal budget proposals for several hundred persons attending the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. See the National Catholic Reporter's on-line story here (accessed on February 28th).
- On February 8, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, together with representatives of Catholic Charities of New Orleans and staff of the Louisiana Catholic Conference of Bishops participated in a discussion with the bishops of Louisiana about anti-immigrant legislation in the state.
- On January 29, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, made a presentation to Loyola students attending the Emmaeus retreat program on the social implications of the celebration of the Eucharist.
- From January 15-26, fifteen first-year students--nine Jesuits and their religious and lay colleagues --from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley visited New Orleans as pat of their first year "pilgrimage." JSRI staff and associates met with them in various educational sessions during this time: Sue Weishar (immigration), Fred Kammer, SJ (social analysis and theological reflection), Alex Mikulich (white privilege), Mary Baudouin (Jesuit urban ministries), and Ted Arroyo, SJ (Popular religiosity).
- From January 13-16, Mary Baudouin and Fred Kammer, SJ, led sixty Jesuit Volunteers through their reorientation retreat in the Texas hill country on social justice, social analysis, and theological reflection on social realities. The volunteers work among the poor and vulnerable in community agencies, parishes, and schools in El Paso, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans, Mobile, Atlanta, and St. Francis Mission, South Dakota.
On January 6,, Alex Mikulich (with cap in photo, above) led a "Five year Post-Katrina" tour of New Orleans for eleven of his colleagues in the Society of Christian Ethics. Mikulich offered the tour in conjunction with the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics held in New Orleans. Tour participants heard Fr Doug Doussan tell the story of how St Gabriel Catholic Church rebuilt after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, visited sites of levee breaks at the 17th Street and Industrial Canals, enjoyed lunch at Cafe Reconcile, visited the Orleans Parish Prison, the Community Bookstore in the 7th Ward, and the Common Ground Collective in the 9th Ward, where they learned how the Collective has helped to build over one hundred homes in the devastated Lower 9th Ward. The tour also visited new mixed income housing developments in Central City as well as the last standing public housing development of the 20th century in Treme.
On January 5, 2011, the JSRI Strategic Team met for a full day, beginning work on strategic issues, goals, strategies, and tactics in light of the working draft completed in December, 2010, by the team and the Advisory Board on Mission, Vision, and Values for the Institute.
- From November 17-19, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, moderated the Executive Committee meeting of Caritas Internationalis in Rome, Italy, as they considered business of the international Catholic charitable confederation, including revisions of their Internal Rules, a new membership fee structure, and preparations for the 19th General Assembly to be held in Rome in May, 2011.
On November 11, JSRI co-sponsored a presentation by Dr. Kate Crassons with the Loyola Medieval Studies Program entitled "Poverty, Literature, and Interpretation: The Case of Piers Plowman's Half-Acre," exploring how many claims made about poverty in the late Middle Ages continue to influence contemporary social and political views about the nature of poverty and the identity of the poor themselves.
- On November 11, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, did a presentation of legal services, Catholic Charities, and the challenges of representing low-income clients to the Law and Poverty class of Prof. Davida Finger at the Loyola Law School.
- On October 30, Ted Arroyo, SJ, presented a paper on Faith-Based Organizations’ Responses in Disaster Research at the 2010 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) in Baltimore, Md. On October 29 he also chaired a session there on Religion and Social Stratification.
- Ted also continues his participation as an advisor for the Jesuit Conference USA’s ongoing consultation on inner city populations, analyzing and reflecting upon the impact of the economic downturn upon Jesuit inner city ministries in the U.S. See the Fall 2010 issue of JustSouth Quarterly.
On October 27, Louisiana Public Broadcasting presented “Immigration Reform in Louisiana” as part of its Louisiana Public Square monthly program. JSRI Migration Specialist Dr. Sue Weishar was invited to participate on a panel of experts with State Senator Neil Riser, who plans to again introduce legislation to enforce the use of e-verify by all employers in Louisiana, and New Orleans immigration attorney Kathleen Gasparian. Audience members were selected by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab and posed questions to the panelists. To view the show, go to http://beta.lpb.org/index.php/publicsquare/home.
- On October 19, Dr Alex Mikulich led a workshop addressing white privilege and racism with twelve students from the Creighton University Center for Service and Justice who were volunteering for a week-long service project in New Orleans.
- On October 17, November 7, and later dates, Ted Arroyo, SJ, is facilitating multiple pre- and post-immersion reflection sessions for the 50+ students, faculty and staff involved in Spring Hill’s International Service Immersion Program (ISIP), this year involving 5 immersion trips to Belize, El Salvador, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
- From October 14-17, Dr Alex Mikulich met in Raymond, MS at St. Moses the Black Priory with the Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team (PCART). The training and organizing session included a visit to the Margaret Walker Alexander National Research Center at Jackson State University. PCART met with MS Civil Rights Veterans Owen Brooks and Hollis Watkins and Keith Lamont McMillian, Project Coordinator/Research Associate for the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy. PCART also visited the monument erected at Jackson State to remember the students James Earl Green and Phillip Lafayetter Gibbs who were murdered by police during an antiwar protest on May 14, 1970, exactly two weeks after the Kent State University tragedy.
- On October 9, Dr. Susan Weishar is quoted in The Times Picayune of New Orleans in an article entitled, "Hispanic groups lambast Vitter for 'racist' TV spot." In her words, "It is poisonous to the political discourse that Sen Vitter continues to scapegoat people who came to Louisiana to help us rebuild our homes and businesses after Katrina."
- From October 7-9, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, participated in a public symposium at IUPUI in Indianapolis on "The Relationship of Religion and Philanthropy in Religious Philanthropic Organizations." Fr. Kammer's chapter in this collaborative book project will focus on pluralism in the work of Catholic Charities.
- On October 6 and 13, in response to the Jesuit Conference USA’s sign-on letter initiative to advocate 5 principles for migration policy reform, Ted Arroyo, SJ, facilitated discussions at Spring Hill College for students, faculty and staff.
- On October 5, Fred Kammer, SJ, participated in an on-campus panel presentation sponsored by the Student Government Association regarding workers rights, specifically in the context of a Catholic higher education institution. He relied heavily on the recent document Respecting the Just Rights of Workers, a product of a multi-year negotiation between union leaders, leaders of Catholic healthcare, and U.S. bishops.
- Strategic Planning Launched: On October 5, members of the strategic planning team for JSRI met for the first time in a planned eight-month process to help the Institute map out its future for the next three-five years. Members include staff, representatives of the faculty and staff of the university, and the wider community.
- On September 29, Dr Alex Mikulich and co-members of the leadership team of Louisiana Catholics Committed to Repeal the Death Penalty (LCCRDP) co-facilitated a workshop with Karen Clifton of Catholic Mobilizing Network To End the Use of the Death Penalty (CMN) for Life and Justice Committees of all Catholic dioceses of Louisiana. The meeting was held at the Diocese of Lafayette offices. LCCRDP and CMN proclaim the Church's unconditional pro-life teaching and its application to capital punishment and restorative justice.
- The September 27 edition of America magazine included extensive quotations from Fred Kammer, SJ, in an article entitled, "Stimulus Too Little, Too Late? U.S. Poverty in Record Surge." In Fr. Kammer's words, "The investment we made in our banking and our financial institutions is the kind of investment we ought to be making in poor America."
- The September 26 Times Picayune of New Orleans carried a letter to the editor by Dr. Susan Weishar entitled, "Demonizing students won't fix immigration" on the defeat of the DREAM Act in Congress, the opposition to which was led by Louisiana Senator David Vitter.
- From September 25-28, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, participated in the centennial celebration of Catholic Charities USA, beginning with the Eucharist and opening events on the campus of Catholic University of America where in 1910 four hundred veterans of local ministries to the poor and vulnerable gathered to form what was then called the National Conference of Catholic Charities. For his leadership of Catholic Charities USA from 1992 to 2001, Fr. Kammer was presented with the commemorative Centennial Medal of the organization.
- On September 11, JSRI presented its 2010 conference entitled Post-Katrina New Orleans: A Welcoming Community. See "JSRI Forums" for details.
2010 Conference: Post-Katrina New Orleans
- On September 9 and 10, Fred Kammer, SJ, twice presented a workshop entitled "Charity in Truth and the St. Vincent DePaul Society" at the national conference of the St. Vincent DePaul Society being held in New Orleans.
- From August 17-25, Fred Kammer, SJ made an outreach visit to organizations in Jacksonville, Gainesville, and Tallahassee, Florida.
- On August 10, Fred Kammer, SJ, met with the Florida Catholic Charities directors at their meeting in Pensacola.
- In August, Liturgical Press published Catholic Charities USA: 100 Years at the Intersection of Charity and Justice including a chapter by Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, entitled "Mission and Identity: How Who We Are Shapes What We Do and How We Do It.
- On August 2, Dr. Susan M. Weishar joined the staff as Migration Specialist/Fellow, succeeding Anna Alicia Chavez, who returned to her native Texas to work with Catholic Relief Services in San Antonio.