The North American Dominican Justice Promoters gathered for our annual planning meeting from July 7 – July 9, 2020 via ZOOM. Thirty-four promoters, including sisters, friars, and laity from the U.S. and Canada, came together to strengthen our solidarity in the work.
The theme of this year’s conference was, The Common Good in the Covid-19 World: The Work of Promoting Justice. The group discussed the critical work needed in this historic year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the anti-racism movement. We acknowledged that these events exposed the inequities that exist in our world. Inequities that for many years have grounded our work for justice. We realized the importance of participating in a movement that works to change these inequities and provides a vision of a just world.
Our keynote speaker was Marie Dennis, Senior Advisor and former Co-President of Pax Christi International. She also serves on the Vatican Commission for confronting the Covid-19 pandemic. Marie Dennis presented a view or our world that was both devastating and hopeful. She challenged the promoters (us) to refresh our call to non-violence as core to our work for justice and peace. Marie stated:
We actually may be awakening to the possibility of a long term global shift away from the many expressions of violence that have been plaguing our world toward nonviolence, just peace, integral human development and respect for the inherent worth and dignity of the create world. The COVID-19 pandemic is pointing to our deepest calling as a human family: to nurture a world of mercy, compassion, justice and care for one another and the earth rooted in the universal ethic of nonviolence.
We were joined by the International Dominican promoters from Rome, Michael Deebs and Cecilia Espenilla, who connected us to the situation and needs of the broader Dominican family. Dusty Farnan, our representative at the UN, shared ways that we can participate in the UN thus, connecting us with collaborative movements around the world.
We recognized that
the Black Lives Matter movement calls us to actively work against racism and
re-affirmed the importance of our collective and solidarity efforts as a
We reiterated our work of integral ecology, adapted from the writings of Pope Francis, to explore issues in the context of four key dimensions: social, Earth and environment, cultural, and economic conditions. It moves us to open our eyes to see our work interwoven among all that is happening in our world.
As we ended our time, we hope to gather together more often this year, since zoom worked so well, in order to see ways that we could work more collaboratively and to understand more fully the spirituality of nonviolence. We know that is it only through non-violence that our world can make the shift from one of violence and inequities to one that seeks the fullness of life for all.
Brendan Curran, OP
Reg McKillip, OP
North American Dominican Co-promoters of Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation