November 11, 2017, Nogales, Arizona – Through the efforts of the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, a contingent of Adrian Dominican Sisters are in Nogales, Arizona, for the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) Convergence on the Border. The group arrived November 10 and are blogging about their experience.
By Sister Marilyn Winter, OP
November 13, 2017
Sunday, our final day at the wall, we learned of the history of the movement of SOA Watch and its move from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Nogales, Arizona. Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of the movement, spoke for a short time, encouraging the people present to be constant in their dedication to justice. He also talked about and the need to correct our immigration laws.
Other speakers gave praise to accomplishments over the decades, sang songs, and taught chants. Poets inspired us and challenged us to continue the work. The names of those who recently died while crossing the border were proclaimed to the crowd and the response of recognition was a chanted “Presente.”
The puppetistas (large puppets representing the story of and need for the witness and work being done by SOA Watch) walked through the assembled people talking about what they represented and encouraging response. The program concluded as the puppetistas from both sides of the border shook hands across the wall.
November 12, 2017
Saturday was a day of beauty, sadness, challenge and grace. We passed a Veteran’s Day parade on in the United States as we walked to the wall separating our country from Mexico. Judy, Anne Guinan, OP, and I went into Mexico as Pat Erickson, OP, Helen Sohn, OP, and Michelle Salalila, OP, all stayed on the U.S. side of the wall. We passed murals that served as sad reminders of crossings. Teachings during the afternoon were very informative and challenging in the content and presentation. We were able at the wall to speak to those on the other side of the wall, and witnessed exchanges being made between friends and family. It is amazing and gratifying to see the commitment of many young people involved and the passion for change, justice and openness to a world of diversity.
Left: From left, Nasim Chatha, Maha Hilal, and Todd Miller gave a presentation on “Prison Imperialism.” Right: One of several murals we passed while crossing the border to Mexico.
November 11, 2017
We gathered Friday evening across the street from a detention center. During a very moving and challenging Vigil we witnessed our support for those held in the detention center. A couple people talked about their journey and struggle, and group of Peace Poets led us in singing and reflection as the group waved light sticks. Then group then processed closer to the detention buildings, where the people could hear our chants.
Feature photo (top): From left, Adrian Dominican Sisters Helen Sohn, OP, Pat Erickson, OP, Anne Guinan, OP, Marilyn Winter, OP, and Michelle Salalila, OP, arriving at the Vigil across from the Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona November 10.
October 31, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Branch #3162 of Lenawee County, presented its 2017 Humanitarian Award to the Adrian Dominican Sisters October 22 during its 24th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet.
The theme for the evening was “NAACP: Steadfast and Immovable.”
Sister Elise D. García, OP, and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, accepted the award on behalf of the Congregation. Both are members of the Congregation’s General Council.
Sister Patricia spoke to the assembly of the work of Sisters and Associates in addressing their own white privilege and internalized racism. She noted the work of St. Dominic to bring about unity and community by preaching the truth and by living in right relationship with self, others, and God. “It is in that spirit of communion that we, your Adrian Dominican Sisters, humbly and gratefully accept this award,” Sister Patricia said.
The award was presented before a crowd of about 175 people, including a table of Adrian Dominican Sisters. The event included a keynote address by State Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Dist. 8) and a presentation by children.
“Every year at our banquet, we honor organizations or people who deserve recognition,” Jeanette Henagan, President of the Lenawee County NAACP, explained in an interview. “This year a member of our executive committee spoke about the Adrian Dominican Sisters and mentioned the different activities, causes, and issues that they address.”
Jeanette cited activities such as intervening on behalf of Dreamers – adults who came to the United States as children and who are seeking protection from deportation and a pathway to citizenship through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was recently rescinded by President Trump. She also noted that the Congregation has donated a building to Share the Warmth – a volunteer-organized shelter for local people who are homeless – and that individual Sisters are involved in a variety of peace and justice issues.
Jeanette noted that the Adrian Dominican Sisters is a longtime supporter of the Lenawee County branch of the NAACP, most recently by granting the NAACP use of the Weber Retreat & Conference Center for its local government candidates forum.
She encouraged Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates to continue their support for NAACP of Lenawee County and to “express their feelings and their stance regarding issues like immigration and racism.”
NAACP of Lenawee County is active in promoting voting rights, educating citizens, addressing complaints regarding discrimination, and organizing forums and meetings between law enforcement officers and the public.
Feature photo: Children offer a special presentation during the 24th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Lenawee County Branch.