July 07, 2017
Author: Christopher Cox
As people ask how things are going with The Human Thread, my most regular reply of late has been “trabajo de hormigas.” From Spanish, quite literally, it is “ant work.” The Chileans, among whom I most often heard it said, understand it to be meticulous work, slow work. Just as ants move small objects (although large in comparison to their bodies), the advancement of dignity, decent work, just wages, and workplace safety is slow in progress, but it has dramatic results in the lives of tens of millions around the globe.
Yesterday, it was announced that Cornell university cut ties with Nike. The result of a two-year campaign by students in Cornell Organization for Labor Action, this administration decision joins Cornell with Rutgers, Georgetown, UC Santa Barbara and Northeastern. This effort began when Nike refused to allow the Workers Rights Consortium to independently monitor its factories. It is pleasing to see Cornell University take these steps. Frankly, if other colleges and universities would stand by their values, the conditions for garment workers around the world will improve. For that matter, if we as consumers, demand better, more complete information and stand by our values, conditions will improve.
It is indeed slow, meticulous work, but we must savor the gradual growth of a movement in a genuine fashion makeover. We want a fashion makeover, not for some clothes that will be out of style in the fall, but for clothes made in justice. If we each do our part, we will achieve, together, a bold example of the “trabajo de hormigas.”
Perhaps it is worth sharing what is known as the Romero prayer.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw
*This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Card. John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled “The mystery of the Romero Prayer.” The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him. For more information, visit the USCCB.
July 07, 2017
Author: Christopher Cox
Pioneers in shareholder advocacy to be honored at ICCR’s annual event on September 28th.
NEW YORK, NY, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28TH, 2017 – The Governing Board of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) is pleased to announce that the winners of the ICCR 2017 Legacy Award are Sr. Patricia Daly, OP of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, NJ and Fr. Michael Crosby OFM Cap of the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order.
Sr. Pat has worked in corporate responsibility and socially responsible investing for 40 years. She serves as the Director Emeritus of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment after having served 23 years as Executive Director. Pat is also the Corporate Responsibility Representative for the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, NJ.
Over the years Pat has successfully negotiated with companies on issues of human rights, labor, ecological concerns, militarism, equality, health and tobacco, and international debt and capital flows. Pat has played a role in forcing General Electric to pay for the clean-up of the Hudson River, helped to integrate global warming and the impacts of climate change into the priorities of Corporate America, and along with Fr. Mike Crosby, is a founder of Campaign ExxonMobil, calling this oil giant to task on matters related to climate change.
Sr. Pat is valued not only for her wisdom and leadership on so many issues of concern for the ICCR community, but for the way she has actively mentored many in our ranks, helping to cultivate the next generation of ICCR leaders as well.
Fr. Michael Crosby was one of the earliest members of ICCR and has been active in socially responsible investing and corporate engagement since 1973. Until recently, Mike was the Executive Director of Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition in Milwaukee, an important ICCR member in the Midwest. Mike is credited with working to bring Catholic institutions into ICCR membership, and for four decades has been involved in engagements on many social and environmental concerns, most notably human rights in global supply chains, GHG emissions reductions and climate change and the health risks of tobacco.
Mike has been an active speaker, giving year-round workshops and retreats, and is an award-winning author. At ICCR, Mike is known for his passionate calls to action on the critical issues facing our planet and its people.
Said ICCR’s Board Chair Rev. Séamus Finn, “In honoring Fr. Mike Crosby OFM Cap and Sr. Patricia Daly OP, the ICCR community acknowledges the pioneering role that they have both played in bringing the vision of faith and the passion for justice into the cultures and operations of public corporations and the deliberations and decisions that are central to the investment process.”
Said ICCR’s CEO Josh Zinner, “We are thrilled to be honoring Pat and Mike with the ICCR Legacy Award. There could not possibly be two more deserving recipients as, since the very beginning, they have been there pushing companies to do the right thing on so many critical issues of environmental and social justice. They are both models for us all- kind-hearted, thoughtful, compassionate and full of strength. We are so grateful to both for all that they have given to ICCR.”
Both Sr. Pat and Fr. Mike will be honored at ICCR’s special event on Thursday, September 28th at the Riverside Church in New York City. To register for this event, please visit www.iccr.org.
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Celebrating its 46th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, NGOs and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $200 billion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability. www.iccr.org
July 07, 2017
Author: Christopher Cox
No longer wearing that fleece? Amid the various things we can do to reduce the environmental damage of the garment industry is to Get it to someone who needs it via St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army. The one thing that we should NEVER do: dispose of clothing and shoes in the garbage. Currently, only about 15% of clothing in the U.S. is donated or recycled. In the US alone, 12.8 million tons of clothing is sent to landfills each year (about 87 lbs of clothing per person every year). Clothing in landfills results in a myriad of harms. For instance, nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose. This must change, and here are some organizations that can help:
Blue Jeans Go Green, a program of Cotton Incorporated, upcycles denim donations into insulation, which it then gives away — but does not sell — to various entities, including many Habitat for Humanity chapters.
Brides dream of having the perfect dress and a beautiful gown is an essential part of every bride’s special day. From donations of gowns, Brides Across America gives a military or first responder bride a free wedding gown.
Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Gently used business attire can help disadvantaged women to succeed at work through Dress for Success. Find an affiliate location near you, and drop off your unneeded office wear.
Worn out athletic shoes can be given a new life as part of tracks, playgrounds, outdoor courts, or other places to play through the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program. They have locations around the country to gather the shoes.
This nonprofit program will distribute your gently worn shoes to people in need all over the world. Find local drop off locations on Soles 4 Souls, and you can also organize a shoe drive to increase your impact.
Use your fashion for good with Union & Fifth. Simply select which charity you would like to benefit, download a free shipping label, and clean out your closet. Union & Fifth will sell your clothes and send 75% of the sale price to your chosen charity.
Remember: ditch the dumpster and donate your goods to a worthy cause!