Advocacy News

The Word from Lansing Column: Public Transportation and Communities in Need

Between October 2014 and September 2015, the Michigan Department of Transportation offered almost 89 million public transit rides, including 4.3 million rides for elderly passengers and 8.4 million rides for passengers with disabilities. In each county across Michigan, offering alternative transportation options helps keep individuals connected to the community and the services they need, especially those who are most vulnerable. Research has shown that without adequate transportation access, low-income patients and those with disabilities are more likely to have difficulty accessing health care. This month’s The Word from Lansing column for Catholic newspapers highlights the importance of public transportation and its ability to connect individuals to health care and employment, among other aspects. The column also mentions the economic benefits public transit can have for households. According to the American Public Transit Association, households who regularly use public transportation can save more than $8,000/year on average. Michigan Catholic Conference covered this topic in more depth in its July FOCUS called Transportation, Community, and the Common Good. Read more…

Fortnight for Freedom Draws Attention to Witnesses of Faith

Religious freedom has been a cornerstone value throughout America’s history. Pope Francis recognized in his 2015 visit to the United States that “freedom remains one of America’s most prized possessions” and must be preserved and defended “from everything that would threaten or compromise it.” Over the last several years, dioceses around the United States have highlighted the importance of defending religious freedom through a two-week period of special events called the Fortnight for Freedom. This year, the Fortnight begins with Mass in Baltimore on June 21—the vigil of the feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—and ends with a closing Mass in DC on July 4. These events will be televised nationwide on EWTN and the CatholicTV Network. The theme of this year’s event is “Witnesses to Freedom,” which highlights men and women of faith who have lived out their faith in the public realm, including the Little Sisters of the Poor. Read more…

New FOCUS Highlights Importance of Transportation

Individuals across the state rely on transportation daily to find opportunities and services, as well as to stay connected with others. Unfortunately, a lack of transit access can have a detrimental impact on one’s ability to access these goods, including employment, health care services, healthy food, and education, which are essential to the dignity of the human person. Low-income residents, the elderly, and the disabled can especially struggle without a variety of quality transportation options available to them. As a result, community discussions about the needs of residents benefit from input about public transportation infrastructure and route decisions, including input from those on the margins of society. Michigan Catholic Conference’s latest informational publication, FOCUS, explores the importance of vibrant transit systems, with emphasis on its impact for marginalized populations, the environment, and community growth. Read more…

The Word from Lansing Column: Standing Up Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

In May, Pope Francis asked Catholics to join with him in prayer for the dignity of women to be respected in all aspects of life. He also urged individuals to condemn sexual violence against women. Unfortunately, too many in Michigan struggle against sexual and domestic violence in their lives, both women and men. In 2014, the Michigan State Police reported 3,016 victims of sexual assault, with women accounting for 97% of the victims, and 91,147 victims of domestic violence, with women accounting for 71% of the victims. This month’s column for Catholic newspapers, The Word from Lansing, focuses on recent bipartisan legislative actions to address sexual assault and domestic violence. These measures, supported throughout the legislative process by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC), have the tools to assist victims, better protecting their privacy and holding those who commit such offenses accountable for their actions. Read more…

Photo credit CNS photo/Lisa Johnston, St. Louis Review

The Word from Lansing Special Edition: Just Governance: A Lesson in Loving Our Neighbors

Each month, Michigan Catholic Conference’s President and CEO Paul Long writes a column for Catholic newspapers about a current issue of interest to Catholics across the state. This month’s The Word from Lansing, however, is a special edition piece, written by another MCC staff member who recently traveled to Panchgani, India. While there, she participated in a forum on just governance and working with the marginalized, as well as visited a local convent and school run by the Catholic Daughters of the Cross. This month’s piece is about her experiences in Panchgani and the importance of listening to and loving one’s neighbor. During this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has continued to highlight ways to listen to the needs of those who are vulnerable or ignored in society, and he has called for all people of goodwill be an example of mercy and love to those in the community around them. Read more…

Photo credit Stenzin Tenzin, Initiatives of Change

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