St. Ignatius Parish Portland, Oregon. World Café on Social Justice Issues for The Year of Discernment SUMMARY REPORT

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1 St. Ignatius Parish Portland, Oregon World Café on Social Justice Issues for The Year of Discernment SUMMARY REPORT This is a final report of the St. Ignatius parish World Café event, September 13, 2014, which served to initiate our Year of Discernment. This summary is compiled from the facilitators notes recorded as responses from participants on the four social justice issues to be examined this year: Human Trafficking, Immigration, Economic Justice and Ecological Justice. Participants were asked to use the initial two steps of the Ignatian model for discernment - context and personal experience for this facilitated conversation. They were specifically instructed not to discuss problems or their solutions related to the issues, however they read a short vision statement specific to the social justice issue and were provided examples of the context of the issue for South East Portland. These compiled responses, therefore, reflect the participants personal understanding and experiences of context (an objective and subjective understanding of the social justice issue in relation to themselves, their parish and/or neighborhood community) and their personal experience (personal encounters with this social justice issue.) Participants were then asked to reflect on their personal values along with our Jesuit parish values with respect to the issue discussed. Finally, in light of the context, the experiences shared, and expressed values, participants were encouraged to ask big questions which will help inform a platform for future events. It is hoped that these big questions will remain with the participants and that they will have the power to become a source of on-going reflection during this Year of Discernment. 1

2 World café: Human Trafficking as Social Justice Issue Context Associated with immigration issues Portland is a port city making it an access point Cargo full of illegals discovered (reported in news) Domestic violence, drug and alcohol use, mental illness, pornography, joblessness are all issues prevalent in Portland that could leave one vulnerable to human trafficking 82 nd Avenue: place for prostitutes Number of illegals working on farms in and outside Multnomah County St. Ignatius, only Jesuit parish in Portland, located on Powell Blvd not far from 82 nd Ave Experience Pimp was shown on nightly news exploding in a Beaverton court, appearing selfrighteous and cocky about his situation Daughter of one couple is a sergeant with the Beaverton police and has talked about inadequate laws governing human trafficking. Traffickers are knowledgeable about these laws. Intimidation and power are tools of the trafficker Not aware of programs available to help victims We should avoid buying cheap clothing because that clothing has probably been made by a victim of human trafficking in another country such as China, or India Persons addicted to drugs or alcohol in our parish are particularly vulnerable to trafficking Catholic Charities and Albertina Kerr are places where women in distress can be helped in Portland One woman attended a human trafficking conference in Seattle and discovered there are many groups dedicated to anti-trafficking and assisting survivors Some have seen young girls on 82 nd street talking to older men who drive up to where they are standing, engage in a conversation, and observe the young women getting into the cars One person worked in safe havens for trafficked Moravian girls, ages in Europe, who were unable to leave prostitution due to coercion by their pimps Someone worked with women who had been sexually abused and was very familiar with their physical, mental, and spiritual problems associated with abuse, coercion, and violence Values Respect for all people; respect for human life Strong support for women Welcoming the marginalized Having open arms; support for families who have had a child trafficked Being transparent 2

3 Feeling disdain for perpetrators Valuing the human person in light of the unconditional love of God Human dignity is a gift to all of us from God Human slavery is intrinsically evil ( Pope John Paul) Big Questions What is human trafficking in all its dimensions? It s difficult to understand the breadth, depth, and complexity of so many issues. How do we (parish) become the place where people can feel safe? How do we deal with addiction issues? How will we approach this as a parish? How could we open ourselves as a parish to listen and then give refuge? Given that human trafficking is prevalent in southeast Portland, how can we begin to approach the issue? What could I possibly do involving myself in such a complicated issue? How do we protect the vulnerable in our community? How do we make our parish aware of the impact of this in our neighborhoods? How do we make people unafraid to talk about these issues? How do we address this complex issue given the major role of organized crime? How do we educate people to recognize those being trafficked? What are the signs of a person being trafficked? What would a trafficked person look like given all the associated violence? In what ways are Oregon s anti-trafficking laws deficient in comparison to Washington and California? How can we correct this? What actions can we take? How can we partner with other agencies involved in working with survivors? Why is there no central advocacy for victims in this city given the many agencies at work to help trafficked victims? How do we make this happen? World café: Immigration as Social Justice Issue Context St. Ignatius Parish has many families who have immigrated from many countries Immigrants often treated like felons without rights Many immigrants in parish but are not participating in leadership positions Illegals work for very low wages, lower than anyone else Need a clear pathway to citizenship Immigrants are required to learn English as a second language due to language barrier Immigrants need work and decent wages just like everyone else Information from media: some are not happy with how immigration/immigrants portrayed; nothing about welcoming them to our city, state 3

4 Experience Someone in parish has worked for 10 yrs with immigrants & the many associated bureaucracies No personal contact or knowledge but know immigrant situation is horrendous Feels pain when hearing of unaccompanied minors showing up at the border and sent back to their country of origin Colleagues at work full of gratitude to be here but live in fear; vulnerable to abuse but can t report it because they d risk their life Redirect immigrants in construction work to union and non-union work Some people in process of finding out more information or being with groups who are concerned Some undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows; language barriers exist preventing them from accessing needed resources and keeping them isolated Report of a personal experience of being separated from family in another country Catholic Charities work with new refugees daily Agriculture is experiencing a shortage in labor force Values Richness of diversity; appreciate diversity of our parish Cross cultural experiences from faith perspective: discuss & see Jesus through another culture is rich; adds new dimension to my faith life Open to all; we are a melting pot Religious freedom Dignity of every human being All are equal in the sight of God All have human rights to be recognized Big Questions How do we recognize and celebrate diversity? How do we getter better information around the topic of diversity? (media is negative & false) How can people of different ethnic groups in our parish become part of our parish leadership teams? What is the balance between documented workers and fairness? Why can t the government foster better work or working conditions in other countries of origin? Is socialism helpful? World café: Economic Justice as Social Justice Issue 4

5 Context Lots of Latino day laborers (males) on Stark and MLK; one person works with lawyers to help them get paid when employers refuse Minimum wages lead to lots of debt and therefore limits choices Connections between immigration and vulnerability to exploitation including working less than part-time so employer doesn t have to pay benefits Income disparity between women and men Low income employees are less likely to bring complaints against employer who doesn t pay minimum wage Equality of education starts with very young Many can t afford adequate housing; can t afford a safe place to live Getting laid off because too expensive labor Cash for work means no taxes, Social Security, even for legal workers Who in parish is employable & can t find job to pay livable wage Neighbors to be seen as Jesus would see them Are people paid livable wage in our parish? Does parish value staff enough to pay livable wage? High unemployment/underemployment rate for yo (wage theft) Young people stay in jobs that do not pay living wage in order to HAVE a job instead of doing what they ve been prepared for because of no jobs in that field Must do what you can to pay back college loans Parish does reach out to homeless at Christmas, but this is not enough Experience A person works with St. Vincent de Paul and sees (good/bad) low income housing Most of us are able to afford justice Receiving help from the government (welfare) but working Adjunct faculty at PSU (lost wage opportunity of part time work) as a stay-at-home mom Many recent grads have no jobs because there are no jobs in their field of expertise or interest Elderly neighbors on fixed income have to meet rising property taxes; often have to sell homes Bankruptcy lawyer works with people too poor to file for bankruptcy K-Mart will schedule employees minimum hours thereby preventing employees from qualifying for health insurance; they have to live on credit which leads to debt Health is often tied to income: better health for wealthier individuals Students that graduate from St. Ignatius School often go to public schools because cannot afford to go to private Catholic high schools One parishioner, single mother, had trouble paying tuition at LaSalle; her parish assisted her 5

6 Another parishioner reports losing his job, unable to get food stamps, but was able to qualify for gov t assistance One parishioner shared experience of being a mentor/payee for individual with Aspergers who frequently got into trouble for crimes; he was arrested and placed in debtor s prison Values We want to do something in supporting people who don t have the ability to advocate for themselves We have to learn how to help We are in relationship with the poor; we are a church of the poor and for the poor Poverty is an issue of race and class Police fish in poor neighborhoods, seemingly looking to arrest someone poor and frequently of color Big Questions What is economic justice? What can we do about massive income disparity? Is disengagement a major contributor to economic injustice? How should we decide on fair wages? How should we decide on the tax code? How should we decide on the cost of war? How should we decide on proactive health care? Is there a policy in our parish about wages/retirement for women religious? To what extent are we implicated? How are we helping neighbors who are retired? What happens when an employer does not pay minimum wage? How can we assist individuals find housing? Could the parish build something similar to McDonald s House? How are we serving undocumented workers who are prone to economic injustice? Can the parish encourage entrepreneurship in order to help co- create small businesses? Can the parish provide information about laws that help small businesses with micro-loans? How can the parish work with those poor who have mental illness? How do we work toward structural change? The new Jesuit Provincial wants us to be a poor church for the poor so how do I change my lifestyle in order to be in solidarity? Pope John Paul II said no absolute right to private property, so maybe we need to re-think private property at St. Ignatius? How can we best take care of our own house before we attempt to take care of others? Maybe some businesses should not be in business if they can t pay their employees a living wage? What about loan forgiveness? 6

7 How does the business owner get to know his/her employee? How do we promote relationship between business owners and employees? How do we humanize the poor and encourage them to confront issues pertaining to the poor, to all employees, without fearing for their job? How do we recognize our own culpability and responsibility toward the poverty of others? World café: Ecological Justice as Social Justice Issue Context Coal Trains Carbon emissions Tri-Met funding public transportation Consumption reduction Pollution of the Willamette River Reservoirs on Mt. Tabor Manage storm runoff on our parking lots Disconnecting downspouts Dependency on natural gas Solar wind industry Farmers Markets LED lights Experienced everyday by those shopping for healthy food Concern over the destruction and degradation of the land Wildlife disappearing What we throw away is taken from the poor Obvious signs of climate change Concern for next generation who have to live here Displacement of people; what we consume affects people far away Gift of created world Need to preserve natural resources; need for good, unbiased science Role of neocotinoids Need for an adult model of stewardship Experience Water conservation efforts in our homes Education on how to experience beauty of nature and its vulnerability No one wants to live near a superfund site The everyday ordeal of knowing what to buy to eat that is healthy Conserving energy and using alternative energy 7

8 Investigating toxins in shellfish and tuna Watershed and restoration experience Need for repair and reusing rather than buying new Shopping wisely: no Nestle conglomerate purchasing Learning from Scouts about low impact use in the environment Christian principles applied to consumerism Knowledge of military dumping at sea Water scarcity; depletion of aquifers Fracking effects on the environment Interest in bottled water Values Care for finite resources Prudent use of resources Appreciation of the complexity of our environment as organic and is a system Educate ourselves and our children Awareness that we are the problem (not them attitude) Respect for sustainable consumption Acknowledgement of shared habitat with other creatures Connectivity with all of creation Responsible participation Dignity extended to all of creation Intrinsic goodness in God s work Innovation as value Sustainable action Stewardship Sober about simplicity of lifestyle Awareness of what endangers health Big Questions How can we promote solar power in our community? What ideas do we have for reducing our consumption as a parish community? With whom can we partner? What ideas do we have for purchasing as a parish? How do we sensitize people to the natural woodland area of our neighborhood? How can we bring about a conversion of spirit in our parishioners that calls for respect for the earth through our liturgical calendar of worship? 8

9 How do we educate parishioners about climate change and the various tools/methods available to live more simply by reducing our own household energy, water use and transportation footprint? How do we have a conversion from convenience living to simple living? How can we bring people s attention to the climate change problem? By bringing it into our neighborhood. Couldn t we use videography and creative graphics to show what our neighborhood tree canopy/biological state looks like now and contrast it with what it will look like yrs from now if subjected to extreme drought and heat over time. What constitutes use and abuse in our extraction of resources? Is the internet helping us grapple with the problem? How much is enough (consumption levels)? Does the concept property detract from the true value of the land? How do we create good, renewable energy? How are we contributing to the global crisis? And what can we do to change our unhealthy lifestyles? How do we know what is safe? Even things that seem safe like vaccinations? What are we doing at home that affects life in other countries? How do we educate in a way that is appreciated? EVALUATION of St. Ignatius Parish WORLD CAFÉ September Briefly, how was your experience as a facilitator? Did you feel prepared for the experience? --It went really well! I m really impressed with my fellow parishioners. Obviously I didn t quite understand where to fit in the values (sorry), but it went well. I suggest a little more time for the facilitators to synthesize things. --It was good but it was rushed. --I liked the facilitation experience. It seemed to go well though the time frame was much too short to capture information for the summary. I felt prepared though I spent some time going over the materails a couple of times prior to the experience. Do you feel the conversations you facilitated accomplished the goal of an intentional, caring, and directed conversation in which all could participate on their chosen level? --Pretty much! --A few people didn t participate or write anything. At points, I was also a little concerned about literacy/english, trying to find someone to read the context slips. --I felt all the participants were listening, showing care and concern for each speaker. There were no arguments or put downs. People seemed very, very sensitive to the topics. 9

10 What suggestions do you have to help us improve our World Café facilitator experience and/or the experience of the participants? --None; it went well --Need some time to pull notes together for the report out. Sorry its so disorganized. --Fewer topics or longer time frame. The five minute segments were not long enough even though the entire time was a total of 15 minutes. Certainly time at the end for facilitators to pull together materials for summary reports was much too short. I suggest at least 10 minutes for that task; people could get up and walk around a little too. A 2 to 3 minute report is a good time frame. Any other comments or suggestions? --The World Café ambiance, food, décor, and process were absolutely wonderful. The organization, training, and presenting were terrific! Thank you! --The timing of this seems really bad for young adults with small children. Is there any way we can publicize this better? --I m passing along a comment from a participant who suggested we should have invited people from one of the morning Masses and the Contemplative Mass since so many young people attend that in order to get a better feel of what the entire parish is thinking at the beginning of the discernment process. I m not sure how that could have been done. There was so much energy put into this one that I m not sure anyone of the planning committee would have had the energy or time. 10

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