The Dominican Justice Promoters of North America met in Adrian, Michigan Oct. 21-22. Thirty-one promoters gathered arriving from California, Washington State, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York and other parts of the United States. International Justice Promoters Toni Harris, OP and Carlos Rodriguez, OP, served as our two main speakers and invited the promoters to deepen their commitment to preaching justice through the Gospel and Dominican tradition.
Facilitated by Eileen Gannon, OP (Sparkill), the group focused their conversation and reflections on five areas:
- Renewing our commitment to justice as key in the Dominican Mission of preaching and to continue to be creative in our ways of identifying justice issues to the larger Dominican Family;
- Examining the current Dominican justice agenda and to add or delete issues;
- Networking with other Justice Promoters so that collaboration and sharing of ideas and projects can be shared;
- Finding ways to communicate our justice message in light of the multiple emails many of us receive each day so that they are clear, well-written and focused; and
- Promoting participation in the upcoming 500th Anniversary of the Dominicans in the Western Hemisphere.
An important reflection for the group was the way we communicate in a polarized world as well as focusing our commitment to justice as we continue to be inundated with multiple emails on so many issues. Teresa Houlihan, OP (Grand Rapids) provided a reflection on the difficulty of coming together in our world of politics and religion with the tensions of those who see the world in only one way. She urged us to listen with openness to those who have differing opinions entering into civil discourse.
Two professional communicators, Elise Garcia, OP (Adrian) and Karen Clay (Peace) offered insight into how we can practically make our modes of communication more clear and less cluttered. An ad hoc committee was set up to develop a communications plan for the promoters.
Contributions from three other Dominicans provided significant input to our conversation. Pat Daly, OP (Caldwell), executive director of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investments, offered the group ways in which our networks can be enhanced by jointly promoting the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). Margaret Mayce, OP (Amityville) the representative NGO at the United Nations in New York for the Dominican Family, provided us with an update of her current commitments at the UN and invited the group to further their engagement with the UN. Reg McKillip, OP (Sinsinawa) who is on the Institute Justice Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas offered practical ways in which we can enhance our voices by collaborating on issues, particularly as the upcoming presidential election moves forward.
The main discussion of the group focused on ways in which promoters can be more intentional and focused on fewer justice topics so that the Dominican Family in North America can rally around the issues that are most important in the current political climate. There are now five areas of consensus, which are:
- Peace and Human Security
- Economic Injustice
- Care of Creation
These areas are in accord with the International Dominican Justice Agenda set forth in 2006. The group realized that there would be special issues for congregations or regions, and these issues are certainly a focus for particular groups. However, the group decided to make a stronger connection with the international efforts of the Dominican Family throughout the world and find ways to make our view of the world broader by understanding the needs of our brothers and sisters in other regions such as Africa and Asia.
The promoters left the meeting with a number of tasks, but the ongoing reality of promoting justice in our world is the focus of our energy and hope as we realize our generation of Dominicans is on an important journey of living the life of truth and justice in our world today in the great tradition of Antonio Montesinos, Dominic, and Catherine.
Submitted by Chuck Dahm, OP, and Lucianne Siers, OP , Co-Promoters of Justice for North America
View more photos from the meeting (link to Picasa album)