Education not only shapes values and beliefs, but it also helps people grow and develop physically, The crippling effects of a successful and sustainable national healthcare system in the United States has long been a swinging pendulum of high expectations and abysmal failures. The skyrocketing costs of insurance and premiums, the unemployed without the means to matter to those with means, the costs of prescriptions required to keep one alive versus the cost of feeding one’s family, has led to a crisis of seemingly insurmountable proportions for the majority of persons in need of care within our country.
Panelists: Dr. Patrik Johansson, MD, MPH., Sister Carol Keehan, D.C., & Crystal N. Lewis, JD, MPH – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski
Dr. Patrik Johansson, MD, MPH., Director of NW HERON
Practitioner, Director, Rural Health Education Network, Advocate
Patrik Johansson, is an Associate Professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University. With Northwest Health Education and Research Outcomes Network (NW HERON), he uses his expertise in conducting community-based participatory research and teaching partnerships among academic institutions, primary care clinics and local health departments in rural settings. His research focuses on chronic disease prevention and management in rural and indigenous populations. Dr. Johansson’s work includes the development of rural interprofessional education models for health profession students rooted in community-oriented primary, geographic, racial, and ethnic disparities in health, and public health curriculums for students enrolled in rural pipeline programs.
He is currently conducting a pilot study in partnership with a primary care clinic affiliated with a critical access hospital and a local health department to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors through the deployment of an RN/community health worker team using mobile health technology. Dr. Johansson earned his medical degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Medicine; his master’s in public health at the Harvard School of Public Health; and his bachelor of art’s degree in international relations at Brown University.
Sister Carol Keehan
Sister, Health Access Proponent
Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul
Sister Carol Keehan is a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul. She has a BS in nursing magna cum laude and a Masters in healthcare finance from University of South Carolina. She has over 50 years experience in healthcare, first as a nurse and nurse manager and then 18 years as a hospital CEO in two hospitals and finally 14 years as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States. She retired from that position in June 2019.
She currently serves as the head of the health task force for the Vatican’s COVID-19 commission. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and played a central role in advancing the affordable care act. She has served on many boards in healthcare, education and insurance. She recently retired from the St. John’s board. She currently serves on eight other boards including Georgetown University and two international boards. She has received 11 honorary doctorates and many other awards.
Crystal N. Lewis, JD, MPH
Educator, Analyst, Author
Crystal N. Lewis, J.D., M.P.H., is a Public Health Law & Policy Analyst for the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity (IHJE) and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Saint Louis University’s School of Law. Crystal graduated in 2019 from St. Louis University but has several years of social justice and legal research experience; specific expertise includes policy surveillance and transdisciplinary collaboration.
Crystal is currently teaching a class on Health Equity, Policy, and Advocacy and working with the IHJE tracking declarations of racism as a public health crisis across the United States. Crystal has also recently published co-authors reports including Governmental Use of Racial Equity Tools to Address Systemic Racism and The Social Determinants of Health and Racism is a Public Health Crisis. Here’s How to Respond. The latter report was used to support the passage of Connecticut House Bill No. 6662, that declares racism as a public health crisis as well as cited in the American Psychological Association Resolution to Combat Racism and in the 2020 Health Equity report for Boone County, MO.
Education not only shapes values and beliefs, but it also helps people grow and develop physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Education empowers people to address the urgency of our time and to act. Lack of access to quality education is one of the root causes of poverty and economic hardship which in turn drive people to choose migration as a means of seeking job opportunities and improving their lives. However, individuals belonging to marginalized groups are often denied access to adequate education, resulting in significant differences in educational success and efficacy.
Panelists: Megan Dewane, Mary Elizabeth Grimes & Sister Mary Willette, SSND – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski
21 Day Challenge for Racial Equity & Social Justice
YWCA in St. Louis has resources for you to grow and learn about racial equity & social justice. Join the 21 day challenge to taking a stand against racism.
The Asset-Based Feedback Protocol
Providing timely feedback to students is so integral to teaching that we rarely stop to think about what makes it effective or ineffective, particularly for our students of color.
Deculturalization and the Struggle for Equality
Joel Spring’s history of school polices imposed on dominated groups in the United States examines the concept of deculturalization―the use of schools to strip away family languages and cultures and replace them with those of the dominant group. The focus is on the education of dominated groups forced to become citizens in territories conquered by the U.S., including Native Americans, Enslaved Africans, Chinese, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Hawaiians.
For the Sake of All
A report on the health and well-being of African Americans in St. Louis and why it matters for everyone.
Hear from Jason Purnell, PhD, MPH, a principal researcher on the study.
Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction
This tool provides teachers an opportunity to examine their actions, beliefs, and values around teaching mathematics. The framework for deconstructing racism in mathematics offers essential characteristics of antiracist math educators and critical approaches to dismantling white supremacy in math classrooms by making visible the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture (Jones and Okun 2001; dismantling Racism 2016) with respect to math. Building on the framework, teachers engage with critical praxis in order to shift their instructional beliefs and practices towards antiracist math education. By centering antiracism, we model how to be antiracist math educators with accountability.
How to Be an Anti-Racist
The House Rules Committee released amended text for the Build Back Better Act. In addition to the $150 billion in proposed housing investments that were part of the draft released on October 28, the lIbram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.
Born and raised in Southeastern Wisconsin, Megan Dewane received bachelor’s degrees in English and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After working in the private sector for five years, she returned to UW-Madison to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming a teacher. She earned her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with licenses to teach English and English as a Second Language (ESL). Megan is currently teaching at a public high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, servicing predominantly students from low income backgrounds. Reinforced by her own classroom experience, she seeks opportunities to fight for education equity for all students.
Mary Elizabeth Grimes
Mary Elizabeth Grimes has been the president of Marian Middle School, St. Louis, Missouri, since December 2013. An effective leader with more than 20 years of experience, Mary Elizabeth has led both for-profits and nonprofits through successful growth and transition. Prior to her role at Marian, Mary Elizabeth served as State Director at the Greater Missouri Chapter of March of Dimes where she transformed the chapter into a sustainable and operationally efficient organization.
Mary Elizabeth received her bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College and an Executive MBA from Washington University. As president, she is responsible for staff oversight, financial management, fund development, strategic planning, and operations for the school. In December 2016, she received the Incarnate Word Leadership Award for exemplary leadership and for mentoring Marian girls.
Sister Mary Willette, SSND
Sister Mary Willette has spent most of her life in Catholic schools as a student, teacher, academic dean, and administrator. In 1968, Sister Mary professed vows as a School Sister of Notre Dame, a community with the charism of education. Guided and inspired by this charism, she learned that education gives young people the opportunity to develop to their full potential and a “power” to transform the world. Following years of ministry in the traditional Catholic schools, Sister Mary began service as principal of San Miguel Middle School of Minneapolis, a school designed to educate and empower inner city youth. After serving five years as coordinator at the Generalate of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Rome, Italy, Sister Mary returned to formal education at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis where she presently serves as coordinator of volunteers.
Sister Mary received her bachelor’s degree in religious education from Mount Mary in Milwaukee, a master’s degree in theology from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and her administrative licensure from the University of Saint Mary’s in Minneapolis.
For those who gaze at the sky at night instead of a ceiling or sleep on a pavement instead of a bed, housing, much less affordable housing, holds little meaning. The basic human need for shelter is often unattainable for those at the mercy of the elements, job layoffs, economic downturns, overcrowded projects. Affordable housing seeks to address—by means, medians and projections—how to determine eligibility of those who seek a place to live. But data cannot compute what needs to be done; it is right before our very eyes.
Panelists: Christie Adamson, Sister Barbara Busch, SC & Brendalee Connors – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski
Build Back Better Act
Last month, the House Rules Committee released amended text for the Build Back Better Act. In addition to the $150 billion in proposed housing investments that were part of the draft released on October 28, the legislation now contains a number of Enterprise’s key tax priorities, namely the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and the Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit.
National Low Income Housing Coalition
The Legislative Action Center provides information and tools for advocates to stay up-to-date and take action on federal affordable housing solutions before Congress. You will find the most urgent priorities for Congress at the top of this page followed by other bills supported by NLIHC. Each issue area (in blue) expands to provide relevant bills, a brief summary, factsheets and talking points, and a TAKE ACTION button. Each TAKE ACTION button will direct you to an email template and portal to contact your members of Congress about that particular legislation.
Case Manager, Educator
Christie Adamson has been working in homeless services for more than a decade in roles spanning from case management and street outreach to providing educational opportunities to the public about homelessness. She currently is the assistant director at Humility Homes and Services, Inc. in Davenport, Iowa, where she is responsible for the quality and management of nine homeless service programs serving several counties in Illinois and Iowa.
A graduate of Augustana College, Christie has received specialized training from OrgCode Consulting, a national leader in ending homelessness, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a national leader in permanent supportive housing. She believes homelessness is a reversible circumstance, and her goal is to end homelessness in the greater Quad Cities area.
Christie lives in Rock Island, Illinois, with her husband, Patrick, and daughter, Claire.
Sister Barbara Busch, SC
Sister of Charity, Barbara Busch has worked for more than 40 years to help low- and moderate-income Cincinnati residents shape their communities. She founded and currently is executive director of Working In Neighborhoods (WIN), a non-profit community revitalization organization. Through her leadership, WIN developed the WIN Economic Learning Campus in the heart of the South Cumminsville neighborhood in Cincinnati.
Sister Barbara has provided leadership training for grassroots neighbors to be able to speak with politicians, bank presidents and banking regulators to tell their story and present the needs of their communities. Since she founded WIN in 1978, the organization has built or rehabilitated and sold 168 homes to first-time homeowners; developed relationships with local and national lenders that have led to homeownership for more than 7,000 low-income families; and saved more than 1,500 families from foreclosure.
Housing Developer and Manager
Brendalee Connors, an associate of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the Chief Real Estate Officer of Metro West Housing Solutions (MWHS), where she has worked for 14 years. MWHS is an organization dedicated to providing affordable rental homes in Lakewood, Colorado. With 20+ years of experience in affordable housing, she brings valuable insight and expertise to managing the MWHS real estate portfolio, including housing development, compliance and asset management
A big-picture thinker, Brenda was instrumental in transitioning MWHS into providing property management at all its developments. Her passion and dedication for public service has defined her rich career that includes nonprofit, for-profit and governmental housing roles prior to joining MWHS.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Iowa State University, a Master of Pastoral Studies from Loyola University of New Orleans, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Colorado—Denver. She holds a Housing Development Finance Professional designation from the National Development Council, a Certified Housing Asset Management designation from the Consortium for Housing and Asset Management and is a licensed Colorado real estate broker. She is a member of the Strategic Housing Working Group of the Colorado Division of Housing and a frequent speaker at local and national housing conferences.
“Navigating the Road Ahead,” the final episode of “Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate,” aired on 3 p.m. CT on Wednesday, March 9, during Catholic Sisters Week. Host Charish Badzinski led a conversation with Sisters Sherri Coleman, FSM; LaDonna Manternach, BVM and Anna Marie Reha, SSND on how the intersectionality of racism, migration and climate affects a myriad of issues facing us today. The hour-long program focused on what has been gleaned from our series of conversations over the past 12 months and suggestions for continuing the conversation in 2022 and beyond.
Sister Sherri Coleman, FSM
Sister Sherri Coleman, FSM, has been a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary for 42 years. Her education includes undergraduate and master’s degrees in Communications from Saint Louis University. Prior to her election to FSM leadership in 2001, Sister Sherri spent over 15 years in hospital public relations. She is currently in the third year of a four-year leadership term.
Sister LaDonna Manternach, BVM
Sister LaDonna Manternach, BVM is president of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa, and a member of LCWR Region X. She entered the BVM congregation in 1984. Sister LaDonna received her master’s degree in music education and doctoral degree of musical arts in vocal performance, and much of her ministry as a BVM has been devoted to music—initially as an elementary school music teacher. Sister LaDonna served as music teacher, assistant professor of music, chair of the music department, and in campus/youth ministry at Clarke University in Dubuque. She has been a member of the BVM leadership team since 2016.
Sister Anna Marie Reha, SSND
Sister Anna Marie Reha is a provincial councilor of the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province in St. Louis, Missouri. She entered the SSND in Mankato, Minnesota, and professed first vows in 1983. Sister Anna Marie received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and earned her Master of Divinity degree from Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Sister Anna Marie has ministered in formal education, served as a parish administrator in the Diocese of San Marcos, Guatemala, and was the diocesan director of Hispanic/Latino ministry in the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, until becoming a member of the provincial council leadership team in 2015.
Victims of crime often find forgiveness too raw to reach; the sense of injustice outweighing the act of turning one’s cheek. For the perpetrator, the sense of injustice is equally strong; living in a world beyond one’s control, where societal standards hold no applicable meaning. Restorative justice seeks to balance the judicial scales with an organized approach and open dialogue between the victim and the criminal in achieving resolution between the two and creating harmony within the community.
Panelists: Sister Kathleen Eggering, SSND & Sister Janet Ryan, OSF – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski
Catholic Mobilizing Network
Catholic Mobilizing Network is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the use of the death penalty, to transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and to build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practices. Through education, advocacy, and prayer, and based on the Gospel value that every human is created in the image and likeness of God, CMN expresses the fundamental belief that all those who have caused or been impacted by crime should be treated with dignity.
Braver Angels seeks to depolarize American politics. Our work is rooted in grassroots organizing. From the grassroots however, our volunteer leaders (supported by a small staff) leverage Braver Angels programs and unique organizing structure to impact community life and American institutions.
World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
The aim of the World Coalition is to strengthen the international dimension of the fight against the death penalty. Its objective is to obtain the universal abolition of the death penalty. To achieve its goal, the World Coalition advocates for a definitive end to death sentences and executions in those countries where the death penalty is in force. In some countries, it is seeking to obtain a reduction in the use of capital punishment as a first step towards abolition.
Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice
The Zehr Institute advocates for restorative justice as a social movement, and is also a convener of spaces where knowledge about restorative justice practices and programs can be shared among practitioners and learners, by facilitating conversations and cultivating connections through activities such as conferences, webinars and both in-person and online courses.
Sister Kathleen Eggering, SSND
Schoolteacher and Counselor, Chaplain
Sister Kathleen holds a master’s degree in school counseling and is a longtime advocate for youth, having spent more than 30 years in elementary education as a teacher and school counselor. After 12 years as a high school counselor, Sister Kathleen began ministering as a chaplain to incarcerated youth, whom she lovingly calls her “treasures.” She remains active in this ministry.
Sister Janet Ryan, OSF
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Sister Janet Ryan is a Clinton, Iowa, Franciscan ministering at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation on Chicago’s South Side. Her ministry is one of restorative justice and nonviolence. She also tutors high school students. Sister Janet enjoys biking the short distance from her home to her ministry and Lake Michigan.
Born in Texas, Jillian Palacios spent most of her life in St. Louis where she enjoyed a “normal upbringing,” she says today, until her mother’s drug addiction led to incarceration for nine years. Jillian and her sister were able to “beat the odds,” Jillian recalls, and she and her mother entered ‘Let’s Start,’ a program designed for drug addicted women and their children to amend their past and prepare them for reentry into society. The success of the program helped Jillian’s mother become a substance abuse counselor, while Jillian and her two children (ages 4 & 9) trusted God and moved back to Texas where they continue to flourish.
Unfortunately, Jillian was unable to join us during the live webinar.
Food security means having physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food at all times to meet dietary needs for a productive and healthy life. How does food insecurity lead to migration? What is the impact of climate change in food production and access? How is food security stratified across racial lines?
Panelists: Jamie Daugherty, Sister Richelle Friedman, PBVM – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski
Ashley grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in St. Louis and received her education in the Ladue School District. Shortly after graduating from high school, however, she had her first child and moved to public housing. While living there, she noticed the vast difference in resources and the lack of opportunities for those who lived in that setting. She has since moved away from public housing and has obtained a master’s degree in education.
During the pandemic, Ashley discovered a passion for urban farming. She says it has been very therapeutic and empowering for her, and it is her mission to share urban farming with others who look like her. Learning to grow your own food is a revolutionary act, she says.
Unfortunately, Ashley was unable to join us during the live webinar.
Jamie Daugherty, Ph.D., RD, CSSD
A dietitian for 17 years, Jamie brings many ingredients to the table. She spends her time in a few varied spaces within the food, nutrition and wellness realm—the kitchen, the classroom and outdoors, seeking new adventures around every corner.
Growing up in the Midwest led Jamie to want to continually explore other parts of the globe, while providing opportunities to build meaningful relationships with food and nutrition. She received a bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University and a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
After realizing she did not know anything about food, which was discouraging when meeting with patients and clients, she went back to school to learn how to cook and received a certificate in culinary arts from Boston University. She also holds a master’s degree in nutrition and physical performance from St. Louis University and a doctoral degree in higher education and student affairs leadership from the University of Northern Colorado. Her dissertation was on students’ experience with food insecurity and campus food pantries.
Currently she is an assistant professor at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri, where she developed an on-campus food pantry.
Sister Richelle Friedman, PBVM
Sister Richelle is the director of public policy for the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) in Washington, D.C. CHN is an alliance of national organizations working together to promote public policies that address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable populations.
Sister Richelle has more than 30 years of legislative experience on a wide range of issues that include food, healthcare, housing, labor, immigration, taxes and the federal budget. Before working at CHN, she worked at the Children’s Defense Fund, McAuley Institute and NETWORK as a policy analyst and lobbyist. Previously she was a secondary and junior high teacher.She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, and a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University in Chicago. She is a passionate advocate and has extensive experience in public speaking and participating in panels and webinars.
What does economic justice mean to you – as a woman in the workforce, as an immigrant without health care, as a mother with many mouths to feed. For those in our society whose avenues of opportunity in seeking economic justice are limited by the status quo between the haves and the have-nots.
Panelists: Jake Barnett, Elizabeth Garlow, Kim Lamberty – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski
Fair Trade Federation
Learn more about fair trade and find fair trade companies in your area. The Fair Trade Federation is a trade association of fair trade enterprises fully committed to equitable and sustainable trading partnerships. We strengthen and support our members in order to grow the global movement of trade that values the health of the planet, and the labor, dignity, and equality of all people.
Our faith, our ethics, our accompaniment of the poor and marginalized, and our Catholic Social Tradition has been the inspiration to pioneer new strategies to move our money in the direction of more mission-aligned and equitable futures. We have made important strides, and still, have so far to go. To carve new paths toward bold and concrete action, we need a new kind of consciousness.
Are you looking to go deeper? Join the Investing ini Livable Futures Workshop January 10 – February 18, 2022. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about tax policy and its relationship to social and economic justice.
Learn more about the Solidarity Economy by subscribing to the Ownership Matters newsletter.
Impact Investment Advisor
As the director of Sustainable Investment Stewardship (SIS) for Wespath and its subsidiaries’ investment programs, Jake leads Wespath’s shareholder advocacy and engagement efforts. Specifically, the SIS team focuses on engagement efforts that align with the values of The United Methodist Church and support the transition to a sustainable global economy. Previously, Jake was an institutional consultant at Morgan Stanley’s Graystone Consulting where he focused on engagement with faith-based and impact-oriented institutional investors.
Jake co-chairs the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative, serves on the Climate Crisis Leadership Group for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and serves on the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Stewardship Advisory Committee.
Jake received his bachelor’s degree in economics, international studies and political science from Ohio Wesleyan University. He also holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation.
Elizabeth Garlow is a fellow on faith and finance at the New America Foundation and co-founder of the Francesco Collaborative, a network of investors, entrepreneurs and changemakers drawing upon Catholic social teaching to transform the economy.
Previously, Garlow helped lead impact investing for Lumina Foundation, where she invested in early stage ventures focused on designing new and more equitable education and work pathways. She previously served as a policy advisor with the Obama administration’s Community Solutions Task Force, where she managed the president’s Promise Zones initiative. She resides in Detroit, where she previously co-founded and led Michigan Corps, which launched the nation’s first statewide Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Garlow is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and holds an MPA from Princeton University. In 2019, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Dominical School of Philosophy and Theology for her work in impact investing and with the Economy of Communion and various initiatives to build a new moral economy.
Dr. Kim Lamberty has been developing and managing faith-based justice, peace, cross-cultural, and community service programs for over 25 years. She is currently director of justice, peace and integrity of creation at the Society of the Sacred Heart United States — Canada Province. She is also founder and president of Just Haiti, a fair trade coffee company that focuses on economic justice for vulnerable small scale farmers, and co-owner of Conscious Coffees (with her brother), another fair trade coffee company.
Kim specializes in root causes of poverty, especially relating to economic justice and consumption. She has accompanied vulnerable communities and human rights workers in Haiti, Colombia, Palestine, Guatemala, the U.S.-Mexico border, among others.
She holds master’s degrees from Columbia University and Washington Theological Union, and a Doctor of Ministry degree, in cross-cultural ministry, from Catholic Theological Union.
Gun violence has become a global human rights and public health issue that threatens the basic right to life. Gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of color, women and other marginalized groups in society. Armed violence and climate change are two of the root causes forcing millions of migrants and refugees to flee their homes and communities.
What are some reasonable measures that can be taken that would have immediate security implications? How do we address the underlying contributors to gun violence? How do we create a culture of gun safety?
Panelists: Sister Donna Liette, CPPS, Leslie Washington, Kim Westerman – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski
Learn how adults can take action to prevent child gun deaths and injuries.
Community Justice for Youth Institute
The mission of the Community Justice for Youth Institute is to build community capacity to resolve youth violence and conflict, help survivors of violence heal, and support families impacted by violent crime through restorative justice training, technical assistance, and advocacy.
Find research, reports and calls to action on a wide array of issues related to gun violence.
Giffords Law Center Annual Gun Law Scorecard
See how your state stacks up to others in regards to gun safety laws.
Moms Demand Action
Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. We pass stronger gun laws and work to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. We also work in our own communities and with business leaders to encourage a culture of responsible gun ownership. We know that gun violence is preventable, and we’re committed to doing what it takes to keep families safe.
National Organization for Victim Assistance
Find resources for victims and survivors of crime and crisis.
Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation works to build relationships among youth and families impacted by violence and/or conflict; create safe spaces where people can experience radical hospitality, hope, and healing; and promote a restorative justice approach to conflict and build a sense of community.
Sister Donna Liette, CPPS
Sister Donna Liette, CPPS is a Sister of the Precious Blood. She currently holds the position of restorative justice practitioner and director of the women’s programs at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation. Sister received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Dayton and holds a Master of Arts in Education and Supervision from New York University and a master’s degree from Loyola University Chicago in Pastoral Counseling. She spent much of her career in the field of education, both in elementary schools and in the Education Department of St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana. Following many years in education, Sister Donna took on the challenge of creating and directing a residential home in Ohio for women who were leaving prison. In 2010, she joined the staff at the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation. She has been trained as a peacemaking circle trainer and has offered this restorative practice in Cook County Juvenile Detention Center as well as places throughout the States and in Nicaragua and Chile. Currently, Sister offers hospitality and support services to families, particularly mothers, who have lost children to violence or incarceration.
Leslie Washington is a national trainer with Everytown for Gun Safety, and survivor fellow, state survivor lead and volunteer with Moms Demand Action for gun sense. She joined the grassroots movement in 2014 while in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Leslie’s cousin Reginald died by gun suicide and her cousin Keith was murdered in December of 2015; his murder remains unsolved. A survivor of domestic violence, Leslie’s ex-husband threatened her with a firearm when she left him after nine years of domestic abuse. Today, Leslie serves as a strong advocate for survivors and those impacted by gun violence, as well as gives voice for those trapped in abusive domestic situations, too fearful to speak up lest they or their family will be harmed.
Kim Westerman is a gun violence prevention activist from St. Louis, Missouri. For the past five years, she has been an active volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the nation’s largest grassroots movement to end gun violence. She currently serves as the leader of the St. Louis group for Moms Demand Action, coordinating local efforts and volunteers and serves on their national anti-racism steering committee. Kim works full-time as the congregational communications director for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and serves as vice-chair of the board of Communicators for Women Religious. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Truman State University and a Master’s of Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her free time, Kim can be found baking, camping with her husband, and walking her two rescue dogs.
How can we help those we cannot see? How does one empower those who are in chains? Human trafficking, as far-reaching and insidious as a global pandemic, knows no boundaries—whether by online home invasions or physical coercions dressed as dreams.
Panelists: Bailey, Angela M. Aufdemberge, Sister Ann Oestreich, IHM – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski
National Human Trafficking Hotline
If you or someone you know needs assistance, call or text the anonymous National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Call: 1-888-373-7888 | Text: “BeFree” to 233733
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
As the nation’s nonprofit clearinghouse and comprehensive reporting center for all issues related to the prevention of and recovery from child victimization, NCMEC leads the fight against abduction, abuse, and exploitation – because every child deserves a safe childhood.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
Polaris responds to sex and labor trafficking as they happen, learn from that response, and share that learning. They use what they learned to pilot big, new ideas for slowly, carefully, finally, dismantling big, old systems that make trafficking possible.
Slavery Footprint Made in a Free World
Use this resource to discover how you are unconsciously supporting human trafficking.
US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking
U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) is a collaborative, faith-based national network that offers education, supports access to survivor services, and engages in advocacy to eradicate modern-day slavery. They work to inform the public, prevent this assault on human dignity, and assist survivors to live fulfilling lives. Members include 100+ congregations of Catholic Sisters, coalitions working against human trafficking and individuals who share the mission.
Vista Maria is a place of healing for survivors of human trafficking. They provide a full continuum of care to address the unique needs of young trafficking survivors — from our residential services, to health and wellness, and foster care when appropriate.
A former client of Vista Maria, a nonprofit serving vulnerable children and families in Michigan, Bailey is now a 22-year-old advocate for young people. Bailey was one of the first young women in Vista Maria’s WINGS program, which helps human trafficking survivors. She then moved to Vista Maria’s Shepherd Hall Transitional Living program to learn independent living skills and work on her relationship with her grandparents.
Now a graduate of Michigan’s Women Who Weld program, Bailey is a full-time welder who lives independently in her own home and reports a strong connection with her grandparents. She credits Vista Maria with helping her by providing never-ending support. “They have always been there for me—helping me find my first job and being there emotionally when I found that college wasn’t for me,” she says.
Angela M. Aufdemberge
Angela Aufdemberge is president and CEO of Vista Maria, the oldest, longest standing nonprofit serving vulnerable children and families in Michigan.
Under her leadership, Vista Maria has experienced accelerated growth and expansion. She is the driving force behind the successful development of a continuum of care for children up to age 24. One of the most significant expansions is the addition of trauma informed emergency, stabilization and reintegration programming for adolescent survivors of human trafficking.
As an advocate for children, Angela regularly provides briefings on sexual exploitation, aging out of ‘the system’ and other barriers youth face. A recent Eugene Miller Fellow, Angela studied best practices as well as the need to improve legislation to disrupt patterns of sexual exploitation.
Aufdemberge serves as board chair of InSight Youth and Family Connections and executive leader of the Child Welfare Partnership Council for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Sister Ann Oestrich, IHM
Sister, Educator, Justice Advocate
Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Sister Ann Oestreich, IHM, a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, Michigan, has served in education, communications and social justice ministries. She was executive director of the Center for Justice in Buffalo, New York, and the justice coordinator for the Sisters of the Holy Cross in South Bend, Indiana. She also served as communications director for the Monroe IHM Congregation and national coordinator of the National Catholic Sisters Project. She now works with A Nun’s Life Ministry as a podcast consultant and content developer.
Sister Ann has extensive board experience, including service on the boards of the Africa Faith and Justice Network, Jubilee USA Network and the charitable trust board of the Sisters of Mercy, Detroit Regional Community. She currently serves on the boards of directors for Friends in Solidarity and Sisters Rising Worldwide, and as board president of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking. Sister Ann also is the North American representative on the Talitha Kum International Coordination Committee.
How do we deal with our country’s racist history and the long-term consequences? How do we support racial justice today and work to become an anti-racist society? And how does racial justice intersect with the critical issues of migration and climate we also face? Join us as our next episode of “Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate”—airing live at 3 p.m. Central on Wednesday, June 9—addresses these issues and more. Our three panelists, Emily Lazor; Sister Patricia Rogers, OP; and Sister Mary Lou Specha, PBVM, will bring diverse perspectives and personal experiences to the table as they engage with host Charish Badzinski in lively and eye-opening conversation. Registration is free and open to the public.
Panelists: Emily Lazor, Patricia Rogers, OP, Mary Lou Specha, PBVM – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski
Center for Racial Justice in Education
The Center for Racial Justice in Education’s mission is to train and empower educators to dismantle patterns of racism and injustice in our schools and communities. At the Center for Racial Justice in Education, we envision a world where all young people learn and thrive in racially equitable, liberating, and empowering educational spaces.
Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training
Crossroads’ mission is to equip institutions with shared language, frameworks, practices and tools that will assist them in:diagnosing how their institutions are structured to uphold white supremacy culture and systemic racism and deploying strategies aimed at animating antiracist ways of being that result in racially equitable institutional culture and practices.
Eliminating Racism & Claiming/Celebrating Equality
The mission of ERACCE is to eliminate systemic racism and build antiracist multicultural diversity within Michigan institutions by providing education, networking, technical assistance, and supportive resources to the region.
The Disconnect in How We Tell History
“There are people still alive today who loved who were raised by, who knew, who were in community with people who had been born into chattel slavery. And I think when you realize our proximity to that, you gain a different understanding of how the idea that what our society and what our country looks like today would not be impacted by that is both morally and intellectually disingenuous.”
Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the Internet.
The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America
In his new book, The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America, the scholar and public health researcher illuminates the process of “spatial racism,” a force that has bound oppression up with the geography that African Americans occupy, and the public health effects of this historical trauma
Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep
Born and raised in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Emily Lazor has been a lifelong advocate in the pursuit of racial justice within the Catholic Church and its teachings. With an education in Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America and a Master’s in Education from Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Teaching Fellows program, Emily began teaching in Jackson, Mississippi, where she soon discovered her passion for teaching high school-age students and helping them to realize their developing social awareness.
Growing up biracial with very different personal experiences in both Asian-American and white arenas, Emily has felt especially drawn to work that helps hold white Catholics accountable and committed to the Church’s call to racial justice.
Currently teaching AP Seminar and AP Research at Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep, Emily works with predominantly first-generation Mexican-American students as they pursue academic research around topics related to the common good and social justice.
Patricia Rogers, OP
Executive Director, Dominican Center for Women, Inc.
Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa
Sister Patricia Rogers, OP, Executive Director of the Dominican Center for Women in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is dedicated to resident-led community development, providing support to the Amani residents in the critical areas of safety, housing, economic development, education and family well-being.
In her senior year of high school, Sister Patricia was one of ten students to integrate the all-white Northside High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas. While a layperson teaching in a predominantly Black Catholic high school in Chicago, she prayed for God’s intervention for a Sister of color to join the white Sisters; God called her to fill the void. Her call to religious life led Sister Patricia to the Motherhouse of the Sinsinawa Dominicans in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin; she then served in the cities of Milwaukee, Tuskegee and Montgomery, St. Louis and New Orleans.
Upon Sister Patricia’s return to Milwaukee, she was co-chair for ARTT (the Sinsinawa Antiracism Transformational Team) for five years. Today, she serves on the leadership team of COLE (Coalition on Lead Emergency), which helps in creating a sustainable lead-safe environment in Milwaukee.
Mary Lou Specha, PBVM
Executive Director, Hotel Hope New Orleans
Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sister Mary Lou Specha, a member of the Sisters Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary congregation, has been in New Orleans since 2008. A leader in the nonprofit and civic community, Sister Mary Lou was previously Executive Director of Café Reconcile, a nonprofit organization committed to interrupting the cycle of generational poverty and violence in New Orleans. Presently, she is Executive Director of Hotel Hope, an organization serving the most vulnerable in the community: women. Whatever the societal or economic barriers– homelessness, abuse, incarceration, poverty, behavioral health issues, lack of education or jobs – Hotel Hope’s programs and services are designed to promote and provide equal opportunities and a path to self-sufficiency in the lives of all women and their families.
Sister Mary Lou has served on the Police Community Advisory Board to help reduce crime, address issues of bias-based policing and improve interaction between the NOPD and citizens. She lives in Central City, an economically challenged neighborhood in New Orleans, where she is committed to neighborhood revitalization and diligent in addressing systemic racism and racial injustice in her ministry and daily interactions.