Saturday, October 24, 2015

Social Justice, anyone?

Last weekend I went to a one-day conference of Pax Christi an international organization (also PaxChristiUSAwith several local chapters, including the Bay Area Pax Christi.  (Here is a link to the program.) The focus was Social Justice, and there was a very interesting panel to begin the day.  Here's more about the panel members:

I also went to an excellent workshop in the morning entitled "The Housing Crisis, a Catholic Perspective". It was presented by Tim Iglesia, JD, a professor at the University of San Francisco.  He not only gave a very informative and well-organized talk, but he followed it with a very helpful guide to becoming involved, entitled "Steps for Effective Advocacy", which I am already beginning to implement!  For more information on Affordable Housing Resources, go to  And Dr. Iglesias is available as a speaker around the Bay Area if you know of a group who would like to hear his presentation.

Lunch was catered by a local non-profit, Kitchen of Champions.  One of the workers did a short presentation on her experience and the organization.  The food was delicious (Foodies take note!) and I was very impressed by the presentation and the presenter.  I might just have to make my way down to the St. Vincent de Paul kitchen to sample more of their great food... and make a donation to the KofC!

In the afternoon I attended the workshop presented by Elizabeth Murray, entitled, "When Following the Principalities and Powers Becomes a Call to Conversion".  This was partly about Ms. Murray's own experience, but we also spent a good deal of time in the workshop sharing our own experiences of activism and devising ways to promote activism and social justice in our lives.  I left this workshop humbled by the hundreds of years of combined experience in activism among the attendees, and inspired to become more aware and involved, and to spread the word!  

At the end of the day, we gathered again to share our workshop experiences in small groups.  This was very helpful, as the limited one-day schedule permitted each person to attend (completely) at most two of the eleven workshops.  After we shared our experiences, we had one last consciousness-raising event: the awarding of the [I think annual] Pax Christi Northern California Peacemaker Award, and a short talk by the recipient of the award.  The recipient was Lorrain Franklin-Taylor, the founder of 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence, a wonderful organization formed to serve families who have been directly impacted by violence.  Ms. Franklin-Taylor told her own story about her twin sons being murdered, which you can find here.  I was, for the umpteenth time that day, speechless with admiration and humbled and energized by the words of a person who is now one of my heroes.  

I left with a renewed commitment to finding ways to become active in social justice efforts here in the Bay Area.  As a start, I am creating this post in hopes that my excitement about the Conference will be contagious and inspire others to become involved!