Office of Social Justice News | October 2018

Submit public comments to the Federal Register & Oppose Changes to the Public Charge!

The Trump administration has announced that immigrants in the United States who legally use public benefits such as food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under a new “Public Charge” ruling. The move could force poor immigrants who rely on public assistance for food and shelter to make a difficult choice between continuing to access programs their families need, and risking the loss of their legal immigration status. Submit a public comment & oppose this ruling!



Refugee Resettlement

The official U.S. refugee administration reiterated that they will set the goal for refugee resettlement at 30,000: an all-time low. Contact your elected officials expressing your disappointment that the administration has set the lowest refugee admissions goal in the history of the resettlement program, and urge them, at the very least, to ensure this goal is met.


Whose land do you live on?

Thanksgiving has just passed in Canada, and Columbus Day (or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in some areas) in the United States. With these holidays often come quaint stories of the “discovery” of North America—but these stories leave out the terrible impacts of colonization on Indigenous peoples. Take this opportunity to educate yourself about whose Indigenous territory you live on:
United States »
Canada »


The Idolatry of White Supremacy

“Like the idolatrous leanings of ancient Israel, white supremacy is a distorted theological vision that chooses isolation and protectionism over seeking the unity in diversity of God’s people, control over grace, and idolatry over relationship.”

—Rev. Reggie Smith

Read more »


Finding the We: God’s Grace can Transform Environmental Racism

“Environmental racism happens in nearly every community. In your own community, look no further than the locations of bus depots, landfills, superfund sites, and coal plants to find that, more often than not, they are located in communities of color.” Read more »


Religious symbols ban in Quebec

François Legault, the premier-designate of Quebec, says he will invoke the notwithstanding clause to work around the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so that his government can ban people in positions of authority in the province from wearing religious symbols. The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) leader said on Tuesday the plan would prevent public servants, including teachers, police officers and judges, from wearing religious garments such as the Muslim hijab and Jewish kippah while performing their public functions. It is widely believed that the religious symbols ban is part of a package of policies meant to protect Quebec’s francophone identity. The package of policies also includes a cut in immigration quotas and language and values tests for new arrivals. Read more »


Restorative Justice Conference

This Saturday, Rev. Dominique Gilliard will be at Calvin College’s Restorative Justice Conference to join others in talking about Restorative Justice and hoped-for changes to the U.S. criminal justice system. His book, Rethinking Incarceration, is a great one for church and small-groups to study and learn more about this critical issue. Register today »


New series: The Land We Stand On

One of the most-requested topics for Do Justice in our readers’ survey last fall was territory acknowledgement. And here it is! Starting October 15, we have posts coming from Sylvia Keesmaat, Rebecca Warren, Audrey Hughey, Janina and Silas Krabbe, and Sam Cooper.

“Land is sacred. As Reformed Christians who know that all of life is sacred, this shouldn’t be news to us. And yet, we’ve too often fallen for the lies of our culture. This is our Father’s world. So let’s return to the land together, to the treaties. We are made from the dirt of a garden, after all!” Read more »


Sermon for Disability Awareness Sunday (October 21)

“Perhaps you live out “Yes, I can” through identifying a child’s needs and informing their Sunday School teachers, communicating and clarifying information on the accommodations made or needed for physical accessibility so all might know and understand, supporting the voice of a person with a disability who is advocating for the opportunity to offer leadership (on committees, in worship, etc.), or networking so that people with and without disabilities are known in your congregation.” Read more »

Find more disability week resources here.

—From our partners at Disability Concerns

Myth-busting about refugee claimants (Canada)

Media reports are swirling with contradictory stories about who immigrants and refugees are, why they’ve come to Canada, and what our response should be. But the Bible’s call is clear.

Welcoming refugee claimants at Canada’s borders is not only a legal requirement, it’s a faithful response to our Christian calling to love our neighbours from all around the world. Cut through the political spin and learn the facts about refugees and immigrants in Canada.
Get the factsheet from the Centre for Public Dialogue »

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In Case You Missed It

  • U.S. immigration policy - Our friend Matt Soerens broke down three of the biggest changes that have happened in U.S. immigration policy in the last few years. This video is easy to understand, and important to share.
  • The Story behind the Abuse Overture - Bev Sterk, author of Synod 2018’s abuse overture, wrote on Do Justice recently about the movement of the Spirit in her life and the overture process.
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