October 2013

October 17, 2013

Dear Columban Friend,

I am Scott Wright and I am the new director at the CCAO. On a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, I stayed at the Columban Mission Center in El Paso, TX and met with the pastoral team visiting children in detention. I also had the chance during my visit to the border to meet with many women held who had been trafficked through a dozen countries before crossing the border and being detained after asking for political asylum on their journey to freedom. They came from all continents of the world, and from countries where Columbans work among the poor.

To see the world anew, from the eyes of these women and children, is to hear the call to mission and solidarity. We invite you to hear their cry in the short pieces that follow. Through our Columban partners and interns you will meet children in detention along the U.S. – Mexico border, young girls who are deprived of an education in Africa and Latin America, young girls and women from Asian countries where Columbans work who experience the violence of human trafficking, and women and children who are the first to be impacted by human greed in countries like Burma where precious metals are valued over human life.

We hope you will see something else, as well. And that is the dignity and courage of these women and children, the compassion and solidarity of the Columban lay missionaries, sisters and priests who accompany them in their struggle for life and for justice. And we hope you will join with us in changing despair to hope for “the least among us.”

Thank you for your advocacy and support!

Scott Wright

Director Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

The Plight of Migrant Children

By Luis Enrique Jacquez

Five-year-old migrant child from El Salvador entered the US by himself. He drew this plane saying it reminded him of God because if he had God in his heart, God would be the plane to take him to his mother. This is just one of many stories that Luis Jacquez, a Columban friend and social work student in El Paso, shares in this essay on the thousands of unaccompanied youth who enter each year hoping to reunite with their family. Read the untold stories of the migrant journey here.

Ask Congress to Oppose the SAFE Act

The CCAO is joining our partners in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition to send a letter a day to Congress from national faith-based organizations expressing our opposition to the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (SAFE Act). The SAFE Act works against the efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform to bring our immigrant brothers and sisters out of the shadows. It would criminalize all undocumented immigrants as well as individuals and organizations that assist them. Read more and call your Representative today to say NO to the SAFE Act here.

The Value of a Girl’s Education

By Jane Ngugi, Economic Justice Intern

A girl’s education is an issue of justice. As girls are empowered and educated, her opportunities increase. Read about the ways a girl’s life can change and the ways Columbans are contributing to the efforts to close the gender gap where Columbans serve. Learn more

Human Trafficking Still Going Strong in the Asia-Pacific

By Elizabeth Nye, Former Columban Intern and CVUSA
Human trafficking remains an immense problem around the world. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for domestic servants or childhood brides and prostitutes. Columbans have made efforts to combat human trafficking and assist victims of trafficking. This problem remains particularly challenging in the Asia-Pacific. Learn more.

Burmese Rubies: A pretty Gem with a Dirty Secret

By Tongxin (Lucy) Lu, CCAO Peace and Conflict Resolution Intern

What is the price of a ruby? A child’s life? A woman’s dignity? Read this article to learn about the human rights abuses in Burma’s ruby mines. Read More.

PS: Read more about women, children and youth in this month’s Columban Mission magazine.

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