Lawful Assembly Podcast: As Maine Goes, So Goes the Nation

This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University’s College of Law, Refugee and Forced Migrations Studies Program and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  The podcast celebrates the cooperative work of Somali refugee farmers in Maine and elsewhere demonstrating the talents and gifts they bring to our nation.  The podcast also urges listeners to email their congressional Representative to vote for the Afghan Adjustment Act.

ACTION STEP:  We provide two links to offer background information and to email your congressional Representative to vote for the Afghan Adjustment Act.

  1. Refugee One recommends this link to email your Representative in support of the Afghan Adjustment Act:        https://humanrightsfirst.quorum.us/campaign/36088/

If you would like additional information about the proposed Act or the work of Refugee One, visit Refugee One’s website at: https://www.refugeeone.org/afghanistan.html

  1. The Pennsylvania Council of Churches also provides background information and a link to send an email to your Representative at: https://pachurchesadvocacy.org/pass-afghan-adjustment-act/

The information on Little Juba and the Agrarian Trust came from two articles.  Initially, this podcast was inspired by Katy Kelleher’s article, “Maine’s Somali Bantus Are Reenvisioning American Farming,” Down East:  https://downeast.com/features/maines-somali-bantus-are-reenvisioning-american-farming/  The article contains the specific information on percentage of farmland owned by white famers and non-white farmers, information on the Somali produce grown at Little Juba, and the Agrarian Trust.
The quote from the Somali farmer and the quote on percentage of farm ownership by white persons can be found in the story on the Somali refugees at Little Juba by Audrea Lim, “‘We’re trying to re-create the lives we had’: the Somali migrants who became Maine farmers,” The Guardian,February 25, 2021: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/25/somali-farmers-maine

For more information on the Agrarian Trust, see:  https://agrariantrust.org

Information on Portland, Maine’s services and hospitality to asylum seekers and refugees comes from Eric Russell, “We bring our dreams with us.  All of us,” Portland Press Herald, November 14, 2021:  https://www.pressherald.com/2021/11/14/we-bring-our-dreams-with-us-all-of-us/

The Center for American Progress Report contains the information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the quote on immigrants breathing “fresh life” into rural areas as well as the information about Arcola, Illinois including the statistics on the Hispanic population of Arcola.  It also provides the statistics regarding United States rural population from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:  “Revival and Opportunity, Immigrants in Rural American,” September 2, 2018:  https://www.americanprogress.org/article/revival-and-opportunity/

Information on the New Roots community farms sponsored by the International Rescue Committee can be found in “How refugee farmers are confronting food insecurity in the U.S.” October 14, 2021: https://www.rescue.org/article/how-refugee-farmers-are-confronting-food-insecurity-us

 

Episode 19: Expedite at What Cost?

This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University’s College of Law, Refugee and Forced Migrations Studies Program and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  The podcast requests listeners to file comments opposing DHS and DOJ proposed regulations governing Credible Fear Screening by Asylum Officers.

ACTION STEP: You can file comments opposing part of or all of the proposed regulations before 11:59 p.m. EDT, Tuesday October 19.  CLINIC, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., has provided a sample template that provides instructions and helpful arguments to prepare and then submit your comments.  https://uchastings.app.box.com/s/qxj0pz0e7ehn8a1yontxz7gwvddad3ng

If you are unable to meet this Tuesday’s deadline, please consider corresponding with the White House and your Senators and Representative to oppose these proposed regulations.  The template offers sample language you might find helpful in communicating with elected representatives.

These proposed regulations, in the alleged name of effectiveness, efficiency, and streamlining, may preclude many deserving asylum seekers from obtaining a full and fair hearing before an Immigration Judge, and therefore, be denied asylum and other remedies.  DHS and DOJ have invited members of the public to comment on the proposals.  The template above offers a relatively simple way to respond.  The template provides significant information and resources on the failings of the proposed regulations.  You can submit your comments and also view the proposed regulations and explanation at:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/08/20/2021-17779/procedures-for-credible-fear-screening-and-consideration-of-asylum-withholding-of-removal-and-cat#open-comment

You may find more information on the proposed regulations in a summary by the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at:   https://uchastings.app.box.com/s/651zlybechnqq4ktk5rllihkybih9mx0

Jeffrey Chase’s quote comes from his blog, “The Need for Full-Fledged Asylum Hearings,” October 6, 2021 at: https://www.jeffreyschase.com/blog/2021/10/6/the-need-for-full-fledged-asylum-hearings

The $15 million-dollar contract with the GEO Group is cited in Rafael Bernal, “US Faces Daunting Task in Relationship with Haiti,” October 10, 2021 at:

https://thehill.com/latino/576036-us-faces-daunting-task-in-relationship-with-haiti

More information on how private for-profit detention corporations undermine our nation’s commitment to access to attorneys, due process, and commitments made to asylum seekers can be found at:    Statement of the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Hearing Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation & Operations Oversight of ICE Detention Facilities: Examining ICE Contractors’ Response to COVID-19 July 13, 2020, https://immigrantjustice.org/sites/default/files/content-type/commentary-item/documents/2020-07/NIJCStatement_HouseHomelandSecurityCommitteeHearing_2020-07-13.pdf

More information on tent courts and the difficulty attorneys face in meeting with clients to prepare cases can be found at, Mousin, Craig B., Health Inequity and Tent Court Injustice (February 1, 2021). AMA J Ethics. 2021;23(2):E132-139, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3777549

 

Lawful Assembly Episode 18: Fear of Freedom


This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University College of Law and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  The podcast contends that United States discrimination against Haitians over the last two centuries has created a moral obligation to Haiti and its residents.  Most recently, efforts to swiftly deport Haitians, contrary to the Refugee Act’s non-return requirement, reveals how efforts to restrict Haitian asylum-seekers over the last forty years has contributed to the continual denigration of asylum protections under the Refuge Act of 1980.

ACTION STEP:  The United Church of Christ offers you a way to promptly inform your representatives that deportations to Haiti must cease at:  https://p2a.co/MnT2c4m

A petition to stop Haitian deportations:

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-demand-that-the-biden-administration-halt-all-deportations-to-haiti?source=2021EndDeportationstoHaiti_NIJC&referrer=group-national-immigrant-justice-center&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=daa3e06b-7fb9-41d5-90db-1f488e4d0344&sl_tc=button

For additional information on the history of United States responses to Haiti and Haitian asylum seekers, Azadeh Erfani of  the National Immigrant Justice Center’s writes:  “President Biden, It is Past Time to Protect Haitian Asylum Seekers, at:  https://immigrantjustice.org/staff/blog/president-biden-it-past-time-protect-haitian-asylum-seekers

An American Immigration Council report on Haiti can be found at: Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, “Del Rio Migrant Camp Shows How Biden Administration Is Not Living Up to Its Promises” at:

https://immigrationimpact.com/2021/09/21/haitian-migrant-camp-biden-promises/#.YVSS8S1h1fE

See also, Raymond Joseph, former envoy of Haiti to Washington, “Haiti Cries Out: Where is President Biden, as My Countrymen Swelter Under a Bridge in Texas,” https://www.nysun.com/foreign/haiti-cries-out-where-is-president-biden-as-my/91660/

Former Justice Harry A. Blackmun’s quote from his dissent is at page 208 in Sale v. Haitian Centers Council, 509 U.S. 155, (1993).  His other quotes in the podcast are from his law review article, “The Supreme Court and the Law of Nations,” 104 Yale L.J. 39, 44 (1994). (https://www.jstor.org/stable/796983).

Professor Peniel Joseph’s quote can be found at: “This Is the Story of Haiti That Matters Most,” (August 20, 2021) at: https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/20/opinions/haiti-earthquake-flooding-assassination-revolution-joseph/index.html

Professor Annette Gordon-Reed’s quote can be found at:  “We Owe Haiti A Debt We Can’t Repay,” (July 21, 2021) at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/21/opinion/haiti-us-history.html

Vincent de Paul Heritage Week 2021

What Must Be Done to Confront Global Homelessness?
Wednesday, September 22 (11:30 am – 12:45 pm)
Student Center 120 A & B

Launching St. Vincent de Paul Heritage Week, faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend a special luncheon on September 22 discussing the questions: “What must be done to confront global homelessness?” How can we better see the problem and advocate for justice? What concrete steps can we take today as we seek a world where everyone has a stake in their community and a place to call home?

Following opening remarks by Fr. Memo Campuzano, C.M., the panel will feature leading experts from two Vincentian organizations at the forefront of the movement to engage with these questions—FamVin Homeless Alliance and Ruff Institute of Global Homelessness.

  • Mark McGreevy OBE, Group CEO Depaul International and Founder – Institute of Global Homelessness at DePaul University
  • Lydia Stazen, Director, Ruff Institute of Global Homelessness
  • Yasmine Cajuste, Project Development Manager for FamVin Homeless Alliance

A vibrant Q&A will follow the panel. We hope you can join us for this discussion in honor of St. Vincent’s Feast Day as part of the St. Vincent de Paul Heritage Week!

Please register here.

St. Vincent de Paul Prayer Breakfast
Vincent: A Man of Possibility and Hope

Friday, September 24 (8:30 – 10:00 am)
Student Center 120 A & B

The St. Vincent de Paul Prayer Breakfast invites DePaul colleagues, students and friends to pause and reflect on St. Vincent, the namesake of our university and his rich legacy as it is lived out today.

During his lifetime, St. Vincent endured great hardship, and found ways of not only enduring but also overcoming challenges by finding hope and embracing possibility. Even when things seemed insurmountable, he found the strength to move forward. How? What can we learn from his legacy? Is it possible to find moments of goodness, joy, and even gratitude in difficult times?

Come join us for breakfast with keynote speaker Darryl Arrington, Assistant Vice President of DePaul’s Center for Access and Attainment, who will help us explore such questions.

Breakfast will begin at 8:30 am, with the keynote to follow. We hope you can join us!

Register here

Vinny Fest
Friday, September 24 (2pm – 4pm)
Lincoln Park Quad & St. Vincent’s Circle

Students, join us for Vinny Fest 2021, a DePaul tradition to honor and celebrate St. Vincent de Paul’s legacy with fun, games, photos with Vincent, free food, and more! Vinny Fest features student organizations, offices, and departments as they host engaging activities to celebrate our mission in action as a DePaul community. Follow @mmatmdepaul on our socials to stay up to date.

DeHub Link: https://cglink.me/2cC/r14404 | DeHub Partner Registration Link: https://cglink.me/2cC/s1110

Sunday Night Mass & BBQ
Sunday, September 26, 6pm
St. Vincent de Paul Parish

Join Catholic Campus Ministry and St. Vincent de Paul Parish for a (free) BBQ on the Parish Lawn (on Webster Ave.) to celebrate the Feast Day at 6pm, followed by a festive Sunday Night Mass at 8pm.

Whether you go to Mass weekly, once in a while, or have never been to a Catholic Mass, you are welcome here! Come celebrate!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/902946456973517

Feast Day Mass
Monday, September 27, 12:00 pm
Lincoln Park & Loop Campuses

For those wishing to attend Mass celebrating St. Vincent de Paul’s Feast Day, services will be held in the Loop on the 11th floor gallery, and in Lincoln Park in the St. Louise de Marillac chapel.

Feast Day Lunch
Monday, September 27, 12:45 pm
Lincoln Park & Loop Campuses

Celebrate our namesake’s Feast Day with a celebratory lunch at 12:45 pm. Everyone is welcome!
–In the Loop, join us on the 11th floor terrace in the DePaul Center. RSVP here for the Loop lunch.
–For the lunch in Lincoln Park, no need to register, just come to Catholic Campus Ministry.

Division of Mission and Ministry – Welcome Days


The Division of Mission and Ministry, in an effort to reach out and engage with sophomore students, that did not have an introduction to campus as freshmen, have created a series of events to help them meet, reflect, and heal.   The events will range from playful and contemplative to fun and engaging, encouraging the students new to DePaul’s campus to explore it and their own thoughts. Here is the lineup of events:   

Pause DePaul
Monday, September 13 – Friday, September 17 | 11 am – 5 pm
Interfaith Sacred Space: (Student Center 1st floor, inside St. Louise Chapel doors)

How are you, really? Take a moment to pause and reflect in the Interfaith Sacred Space as we begin a new school year. Reflection writing walls will be set up all week to provide a space for the DePaul community to connect with themselves and others through a shared reflection space.

DePaul Community Ritual of Healing & Connection
Monday, September 20 | 2:30 – 3:30 pm
Location: St. Vincent’s Circle with 314AB as rain location

As part of Mission and Ministry Welcome days, we invite you to gather as a community for dialogue and ritual that will acknowledge where we’ve been, consider where we are today, and look forward with hope.  As we start this academic year, join us for this moment of reflection and connection.

Self-Guided Ritual of Healing & Connection
Monday, September 20 – Wednesday, September 23 | 9 am – 5 pm
Location: St. Vincent’s Circle

As an extension of Monday’s guided healing ritual, a self-guided ritual of letting negativity sink away and lifting up our hopes and prayers for the year to come will be available for the DePaul Community from Monday to Wednesday. Look for the healing water!

Where at DePaul is _______?
Monday, September 13 – Thursday, September 30

Want to get to know the people who work with students in Mission and Ministry? You’ll have to find us first! From Monday, September 20 to Thursday, September 30, 2021, we’ll be scattered around campus with prizes and fun. Follow Mission & Ministry on Instagram (or any of our amazing program accounts) to get clues and get to know our staff team. We’ll feature staff from Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care, Vincentian Service and Formation, and Catholic Campus Ministry. See you around! If you spot us, that is.  

Vincentians in Action Instagram
Catholic Campus Ministry Instagram
Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care Instagram 

Episode 17: Leave the Campsite Cleaner

This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University College of Law and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  The podcast celebrates the decision by Dynegy Midwest Generation to enter into a settlement agreement with the State of Illinois to remove 3.3 million cubic yards of coal ash from its current location adjacent to the Middle Fork of the Vermillion River.  Illinois’s only National Scenic River, the Middle Fork, offers one of the most diverse habitats for animals and plants in Illinois, but remains threatened by erosion of the river bank near the coal ash pits.  The coal ash will now be removed, in part, through successful collaboration from environmental groups and citizen advocacy, including:

Eco-Justice Collaborative, (https://ecojusticecollaborative.org/),

PrairieRiversNetworks (https://prairierivers.org/dynegy-vermilion-middle-fork/)

EarthJustice’s coal ash program (https://earthjustice.org/about/offices/coal).

You may also find photos of the river and its exposed river bank on those websites.  You may also help ensure implementation of the settlement agreement.  You can find action steps and options on their respective websites.

The United Nations has established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to assess the science related to climate change.  On August 6, 2021, it issued its most recent report including the findings mentioned in the beginning of the podcast.  You can find this report at:  https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-i/

For an example of a current lawful assembly engaged in protecting water against an oil pipeline, all are invited to join the Treaty People Walk for Water.  Starting on August 7, water protectors are walking from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the Minnesota State Capitol Building by August 25.  For more information, see:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/16nD-olTOZndvdIi8KIRAW0i-tYAXWUcRfa9nSHir0fI/edit or you may find more information about the Indigenous Environmental Network at:     https://www.ienearth.org/?fbclid=IwAR1nr1jQM0dBW82GY8UvXSp8Gnmr9pfKmFIvA9PjGy5dL7MXiXgIzfzpqyk

Our Solidarity with Haiti

Dear members of the DePaul Community,

While most of humanity continues to be focused on seeking solutions for problems due to the pandemic, the Haitian people are immersed in yet another unsustainable crisis.

The situation of the Haitian people today is truly overwhelming given a generalized situation of violence, widespread anarchy, the assassination of its President a month ago, the horror of widespread kidnappings, food insecurity, and more.  And today, the Haitian people are submerged in yet another natural disaster due to the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that has killed 1,300 people (a death toll expected to increase) and left thousands injured or homeless and seeking basic support with very little infrastructure to serve them.

We cannot be indifferent to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti.  I call for all of us at DePaul to be aware of and to recognize the pain and suffering of our neighbors there, and to extend our care to faculty, staff and students from Haiti.  We must not turn from the desperate situation of the Haitian people due to the many issues they are facing.  This is a reality that impacts all Haitians, but particularly affects Haiti’s poorest people, whose dignity is constantly assailed from every direction.

I invite you to engage in chains of solidarity and to generously contribute to mitigate in any way possible the pain of the Haitian people. For those seeking a place to donate, I recommend donations be contributed to a fund for Haiti at Catholic Relief Services.  CRS has a strong presence on-the-ground in Haiti and many local partners there who should be able to direct assistance to those most in need.

For those who don’t know, members of the worldwide Vincentian Family are also active in Haiti. I have communicated with multiple Family members who are glad to hear of our concern but have related that they do not have a campaign available for direct contributions to their work.  If that changes, I will let you know.  They do ask for prayers for Haiti and told me that, among others impacted, there is a group of Vincentian Youth who have had two members die and probably all of whom have lost their homes and belongings.

Please be mindful.  Please be generous.  Please attend to members of our DePaul community from Haiti or with strong ties there. And please support Haiti as you can. There are many areas of the world in need of support and contributions, but Haiti is certainly the nation most in need in our hemisphere.

Thank you,

Fr. Guillermo Campuzano, CM
Vice President of Mission and Ministry

Lawful Assembly Episode 16: Posterity


This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University College of Law and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  This podcast argues that the Preamble to the Constitution invites you to add your voice to protecting and expanding voting rights to ensure the nation’s promise of equality for all.  Since the Civil War, our nation has amended the United States Constitution at least once every fifty years to expand voting rights to persons previously excluded.  The summer of 2021 marks fifty years since the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18.  Today, however, we face, renewed efforts to restrict voting rights through reluctance in Congress or state legislation making it more difficult to register and vote.  It is time to assemble with others to protect and expand voting rights through local and national action.

You can read the Constitution at: https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/

Citations to Professor Akhil Amar are from his book, America’s Constitution, A Biography, (Random House, NY, 2005), (states waiving restrictions, thus expanding the number of persons eligible to participate in the state ratification process of the Constitution: 7) (no amendment has restricted voting rights: 19) (union not a league or confederacy: 33) (immigrant signers of the Declaration of Independence and members of the First Congress and First Supreme Court: 164).  Information on the efforts to repeal state anti-black laws in the 19th Century can be found in Kate Masur, Until Justice Be Done, America’s First Civil Rights Movement, From the Revolution to Reconstruction, (W.W. Norton & Company, N.Y., 2021) (black laws defined: 16-19) (William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, 237-238).  For more information on Group Action for Peace, see: Robert Armbruster, “‘Working Within the System’ Youths Press for Registration,” (The Record, August 24, 1970).

To find additional information on the Helen C. Peirce School for International Studies, see:  http://peirce.cps.edu

For information on one historical assembly to protect the rights of freed black Chicagoans prior to the Civil War, see Craig B. Mousin, “A Clear View from the Prairie: Harold Washington and the People of Illinois Respond to Federal Encroachment of Human Rights,” 29 S. Ill. L. J. 285 (Fall, 2004/Winter, 2005), 209-304.  https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2997657

For a current example of urging Congress to provide the DACA students with a path to citizenship, over 500 college and university Presidents and Chancellors recently called upon Congress to legislate a “permanent roadmap to citizenship for undocumented youth and students.” see: https://www.presidentsalliance.org/press/statement-hanen-daca-decision-2021/

In addition to DACA recipients, John Washington on Lationo USA reports about a proposed New York City bill that would expand the right to vote in municipal elections to non-citizen residents.  You can find his story at: https://www.latinousa.org/2021/07/30/immigrantvoters/

#Preamble #moreperfectunion #ourposterity #votingrights #USConstitution #DREAMERS #DACA

Lawful Assembly – Episode 15: Home

This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University College of Law and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  This podcast links the loss of homes felt by many of the freed slaves after the Civil War, including George Floyd’s great-great grandfather, with the loss of home many refugees face when forced to flee their nations due to state sanctioned violence and the consequences of the breakdown of the rule of law.  We face challenges both at our borders, but also when we contribute to the conditions that force families to flee their homes.  We need to address ways to provide the rule of law and justice for all.  The story of George Floyd’s family history and the loss of his great-great grandfather’s 500 acres comes from Toluse Olorunnipa and Griff Witte, “Born with two strikes, How systemic racism shaped Floyd’s life and hobbled his ambition,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/national/george-floyd-america/systemic-racism/

Senn High School, located in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, is one of the most diverse high schools in the nation.  Its students and their families speak over 80 languages and claim over 60 nations as their birth homes.  Congratulate its graduates and learn more about our neighborhood high school at:  https://www.sennhs.org

Frederick Douglass’ call for simple justice comes from David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass Prophet of Freedom, (N.Y., 2018), 558-59.

Rev. Garrison   Frazier and the black leaders’ activism in Savannah, Georgia comes from Eric Foner, Reconstruction, America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877, (N.Y., 1988), 70.

 

Action Steps:

Information about the Community Renewal Society’s Juneteenth film screening of “Crawford: The Man the South Forgot,” can be found at:   https://www.communityrenewalsociety.org/events/juneteenth-film-amp-discussion   You can find some of the current programs CRS sponsors to seek simple justice toda at: https://www.communityrenewalsociety.org/platform?sectionscroll=just-economy

Information on the National Immigrant Justice center and the “We Are Home” campaign,  can be found at:  https://immigrantjustice.org/press-releases/civil-rights-groups-send-letter-dhs-secretary-calling-meaningful-opportunity-return

Information of the proposed Berta Caceres Human Rights Act of 2021can be found at:

https://soaw.org/BertaAct2021

 

 

Louise-Style Creative Solutions to Organizing, Mutual Aid, Community, Self-Care, and Action

From the devastation of COVID-19 to the manifestations of deeply rooted white supremacy and other hardships, the challenges we faced in 2020 have sparked a movement among communities to create social change. During a year of tragedy and refuge inside our homes, we have had to be innovative in efforts. Some of us have been introduced to the ideas of community activism for the first time. I found it surprising that a strict lockdown did not stop thousands from protesting in support of Black Lives Matter, serving meals for their community, and redistributing their wealth to folks in need when a large majority are experiencing personal financial hardship and when a need for individualistic decisions seemed to be at an all-time high. I can admit there were points throughout the pandemic that I was heavily concerned with my needs and my needs only, which can still be super important when our day-to-days drastically change. It would make sense for humanity to value individualism rather than collective good at a time like this, so it was magical and hopeful to see so many come together to selflessly fight for the betterment of our fellow humans—especially when our methods and practices have had to adapt to pandemic protocol in order to emphasize safety and health. This brings me to a question: have we had to radically transform the way we show up for justice, or perhaps are we going back to the roots of social change and directly serving the needs of the people?

Louise was all about throwing out the old plan when it no longer worked and creating a new one to adapt to the needs of the people. She understood the change happening around her and knew that there was no use in sticking to tradition if it was no longer making any progress. However, she also knew she couldn’t do this alone. This was a woman who was very self-aware and who had a clear sense of her strengths. Therefore, she was able to find the right people to fill in where support was needed. Louise founded the Daughters of Charity and devoted her time to building strong caretakers and activists out of women with a variety of skills that wouldn’t have been recognized or used to their potential otherwise. I can only imagine the deliverables assigned to the Daughters—perhaps sewing garments for folks in need of clean clothes, or serving warm food to those without, among other necessities that fit both her seventeenth century and our twenty-first.

It is an unfortunate truth that many members of our own communities lack the same basic human needs we visualize when we think of the people Louise and her Daughters served. We must remember that these harsh realities are not so far removed from us as we may think (know that when I use “we” language, I am speaking on behalf of folks who hold privileged racial and class identities like myself). The pandemic has cost people their jobs, daycare, and partnerships, as well as putting an enormous strain on our spirits. We need each other, and we need each other quick. Many folks in need are not in the position to wait for an annual fundraiser to count their donations, or for a kitchen to serve their holiday meal with their once-a-year volunteers. We are witnessing the importance of mutual aid as a form of direct action, a tool I think Louise probably used but with different language to describe it. Redistributing our resources and applying our unique gifts are valuable steps to becoming an agent of social change in our current world.

When I try to imagine what my service looks like, I remember that skills I wouldn’t think translate into social justice work actually have the potential to come in handy. Louise and her mentees had skills that were looked down upon by the men of that era. It was unlikely that many women would be taken seriously in activist movements of the time because our patriarchal society only saw them as mothers. Louise truly opened the doors for women to step into themselves as change agents and to use their talents for justice without having to change or try to be like men. While I believe we have advanced beyond this gendered way of labeling our skills and achievements, I honor the sentiment that talents from all backgrounds of work and experience can be useful in a social movement. The student activist groups I’ve seen in the last few months feature leaders from varying majors, departments, and life experiences. Everyone has something special to bring to the table.

As I’m nearing my college graduation in a few weeks, I’m reflecting on all the coursework and hands-on experience I’ve had centered upon social justice and identity politics and understanding and meeting the needs of a community. I’m also witnessing the ever-present realities of oppression and injustice in our society. It is easy to get bogged down by the doom and become overwhelmed by it all. When thinking back to Louise and her work, I remember that she experienced doubts about what her purpose in the movement was as well. She was a woman of many hats, as we like to say, and while she is known for wearing her leadership hat, she also was not afraid to rely on her Daughters and lean on them for support. She could not have done the work on her own. When a community is hurting, it is not the job of a sole individual to heal it—how could one person have all the answers? I believe there is power in community and collaboration, filling in the gaps, and leaning on each other for support. The needs of the collective are best met through the collective.


Written by: Grace Jacques, DePaul Class of 2021

For the entire Louise Week Lineup including our daily events and 6-day virtual pilgrimage visit: