Human Rights Day – 2014 Hero- Sandra Steingraber

i Dec 11th by


“I’m not giving up on you!”

Are the final words I heard from Sandra Steingraber on my favorite listener supported radio station, WBAI 99.5 FM, out of New York City.  WBAI is also online, no commercials or corporate funding, just us listeners.

She is referring to what we need to do for the future of our earth and children, not give in to helplessness, and work with all our hearts and talents toward the better world that our best nature desires and knows is possible.  Her scientific background makes her totally credible.  Like it or not, we are each asked to join this primary work of our lifetime, the timebound struggle to  heal the earth before we hit a bomb after which everything is irreversibly changed.

Sandra is likened to Rachel Carson  in her scientific knowhow and passionate commitment.

She is an environmental warrior mother who just spent a time in jail for protest against fracking in the NY Fingerlakes.

The healing of the earth is a human rights commitment essential for survival of life in a livable form.

I googled to find her website and there found a second way to access the show under Media.

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Martyr Women – El Salvador – December 2,1980

i Dec 2nd by


Clockwise from bottom left: Sister Dorothy Kazel -Ursuline from Cleveland, Maura Clarke & Ita Ford -Maryknoll Sisters, Jean Donovan lay church worker.

Last night I watched the film, “Roses in Winter,” featuring the life of Jean Donovan, a lay church worker murdered with the three nuns on December 2, 1980. It reminded me of how much we have to be willing to give to fully follow Jesus in care for the poor.

Jean Donovan and Sisters Maura Clarke, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel were Americans serving the poor, particularly the refugees and children of murdered peasants. Jean explained in a letter to those who wanted her to return home, “They don’t shoot blue-eyed blonde Americans.” But they did.  Just weeks before she died she also wrote:  “The Peace Corps left today and my heart sank low. The danger is extreme and they were right to leave… Now I must assess my own position, because I am not up for suicide. Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could, except for the children, the poor, bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart could be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.” *

This tragedy has always been particularly close to me; Jean studied and worked in Cleveland, my hometown.  Dorothy Kazel was a Cleveland Ursuline, the order teaching in my high school, Beaumont.  Bill Ford, Ita’s brother, lived in Montclair and continually pushed for resolution to the case along with Ambassador Robert White who protested the cover-up here and in El Salvador.

Un earthing 4 victims

U.N. Ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick exonerated the government of El Salvador, claiming the nuns were political activists. And, while Google searches refer to the women’s generous giving of themselves, one painful reference reflects attitudes toward almost all working for peace by seeking justice and the poor. Those plainly following in the footsteps of Jesus are called “leftists”, “communists” “Marxists.”

We have since learned that the Salvadoran government was indeed responsible. Yet US military aid multiplied even after these murders, which were not prosecuted for many years. Fear of communism justified terrible violence just as fear of terrorism is justifying today’s perpetual war and violence.

This labeling is on-going. When Pope Francis spoke out against the extreme capitalism which hurts the poor, Rush Limbaugh referred to him as Marxist. I guess this means if you see the poor and the peasants brutally treated and try to change that or stand up for them you’re branded.   Trina Paulus

** The Life and Example of Jean Donovan by Rev. John Dear, 12/02/ 2005; accessed online December 9, 2006.  St. Peter Claver Church Parishioners for Peace & Justice      12/07/14 Issue 48

We create a Peace and Justice column for our parish bulletin each week. You can subscribe on my Contact page.  No copyright! Use as you wish.                                                                      

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Wear Orange On The 25th!

i Nov 24th by

The Mirabal Sisters – Las Mariposas

The Secretary General of the U.N.’s Campaign UNITE to End Violence Against Women has proclaimed the 25th of each month Orange Day. Among other actions, the Orange Day invites us to wear something orange to highlight its calls for the eradication of violence against women without reservation, equivocation or delay.

[This page is taken verbatim from the UN website:]  This year, the UNITE Campaign is extending Orange Day to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, starting November 25, International Day to End Violence Against Women, through December 10, Human Rights Day.

The date of November 25 was chosen to commemorate the Mirabal sisters, three political activists Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961) ordered brutally assassinated in 1960.

Facts and Figures

  • Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime.
  • Between 500,000 to 2 million people are trafficked annually into situations including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude, according to estimates. Women and girls account for about 80 per cent of the detected victims
  • It is estimated that more than 130 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM/C, mainly in Africa and some Middle Eastern countries.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion is for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.

Why This International Day?

  • Violence against women is a human rights violation
  • Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women
  • Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security
  • Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential
  • Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic. Up to 70 per cent of women
    experience violence in their lifetime.
[The Montclair Public Library’s choice for the “Big Read” this year is a fictionalized account of the Mirabal sisters’ heroic struggle and the violence against them—In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez. The sisters were called Las Mariposas, the butterflies.]

St. Peter Claver Church Parishioners for Peace & Justice                                                                                 11/23/14 Issue 46

Trina’s note:  I read this terrific book, and above is this week’s Peace and Justice weekly page for our parish.  Anyone can subscribe just let me know from my website.  Comes every week without copyright so all can use.  Thanks!

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Meeting Julia Alvarez – “In the Time of the Butterflies”

i Oct 27th by

In The Time of the Butterflies: a novel by Julia Alvarez -- click for book summary

Seeing my older blog posts shared on this site suggests I need to get busy and share some fresher ones. So let me get started tonight!

Today, October 27, our new website went live! Tomorrow eHope is launched. We celebrate this but also those who communicate ideas thru stories.  Tonight, meet Julia Alvarez.

I just returned from the exciting climax to a program called “The Big Read”, sponsored by my town of Montclair New Jersey’s public library, Julia Alvarez, the author of “In the Time of the Butterflies” made an appearance. No, she was not with us physically, but she was surely with us. It was a direct, interactive conversation with an excellent virtual presentation on a large screen for at least 100 people. What an encouragement about the power of the story she expressed, as well is the power of virtual media done well!

Several months ago, someone who saw the big sign up in front of our library with the butterfly motif told me I needed to find out what this was about. They knew I raise Monarchs and other butterflies. (Sadly, hardly any in the past 2 years arrived from their winter in Mexico to lay eggs on my milkweed.)

I found out that this Big Read was not about butterflies, but about 3 human “Mariposas”; sisters who were murdered for their efforts to rid the Dominican Republic of the dictator Trujillo. From a true story virtually no one knew about, including me, to the sisters being celebrated by an official United Nations Day on November 25 commemorating them and focusing world attention against violence to women is quite a reach. That’s the power of story!

Here is a quote from Julia’s website celebrating Dede, the sister who survived and was forever asked the question, “Why didn’t they kill you, too?” as she received guests of all kinds from all places.

” Every day we can ask ourselves a version of the question the schoolchildren would ask her: Why am I alive today in this world? How can I serve? What can I contribute to see that justice is served? To ensure that every girl and boy in the world gets the opportunity to live a decent life? Each day that we provide our answer to these questions, the Mariposas are alive.”

Julia Alvarez was raised in the Dominican Republic and now lives in the US. There’s lots more that could be said, but I resolve to do more blogs, and probably keep them shorter then my lengthy tendency. So enough for tonight.

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Asmaa Mahfouz & the Video that Helped Spark the Egyptian Uprising

i Sep 26th by
The role of Egyptian women in this revolution and on the media which reported it seems extraordinary. It totally confounds the stereotypes we have of women in that part of the world. Veiled completely, partially veiled, headscarves, no veils at all – the women were there and in some places seemed to be leading.

It was remarkable to witness this and to hear them tell that there was no sexual harassment at all, amid that incredible gathering of thousands and even millions who stood side-by-side in Liberation, Tahrir, Square, for 18, long 24-hour days.

Tonight I looked up on Google to attempt to find the video I found most moving, the one that seemed to spark this vast revolution to free a people oppressed for so long.

May we each have a share of her courage, and stand up for what we believe!

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Gratitude from NJ to Texas and vice versa in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy!

i Nov 8th by

A delightful New Jersey – Texas encounter this morning on the corner of Elm Street and Elmwood Avenue!

Finally a crew came to deal with a tree that blocked the street and corner since Sandy. The residents of the corner apartment building and some further toward Bloomfield Avenue were without power for 10 days and it is very cold. (I have been very blessed, only a few hours out of power!)

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