This Week: The Glass is More Than Half Empty

 

This week the glass is more than half empty for me!

After the devastation caused last week by natural disasters, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and by the student stabbings in the Bronx, I, like so many others, am deeply pained.

I spent a good part of this week working on how Catholic Charities of NY might be of support for the individuals and families suffering in Puerto Rico.  Some of my time was spent talking with elected officials and staff in Washington D.C., other time with nonprofit and business leaders. Both the sadness and resolve was intense. 
 
Particularly strong prayer and solidarity goes out to one of our NY Catholic Charities affiliates, the NY Foundling.  The destruction in Puerto Rico hits especially close to home for this agency that serves nearly 1,500 children through Head Start and Early Head Start programs at 42 locations throughout the island. I have spoken with them and heard the sadness, hurt and concern for “our families” and also the immediate response and action they are taking. We are committed to figuring out the best way to lend our support.  Fortunately, we have a well-established relationship with Catholic Charities – (Caritas) of Puerto Rico.  While suffering themselves, they are there on the ground and positioned to help. We have talked with them and are arranging help and support through a number of partnerships.

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Closing Riker’s Island and Prison Reform

JoAnne Page & Liza Jessie Peterson

On this week’s episode of JustLove, Monisgnor Sullivan speaks with two guests focused on the Closing of Riker’s Island and issues surrounding Prison Reform:

Calling into the studio, JoAnne Page, President CEO of The Fortune Society a New York City-based non-profit that advocates for and provides services to the formerly incarcerated. On the show Msgr. and JoAnne talk about recent discussions surrounding the closure of Riker’s Island – New York City’s 413 acre facility administered by the Department of Corrections where on any given day 9,500 people – the bulk of the city’s prisoners. They also discuss how feasible the plans to close Riker’s Island are, and what priorities should drive this initiative if it is truly to benefit and rehabilitate those behind bars.

Poet, Playwright, and Educator, Liza Jessie Peterson joins Monsignor in the Studio. Liza Jessie Peterson has dedicated over 15 years of her life to teaching creative writing and poetry to incarcerated youth, including those held on Riker’s Island; Liza is also the writer and performer of the one-woman play “The Peculiar Patriot” – which is now playing at the at the National Black Theatre in Harlem. The story  follows’ the protagonist – Betsy LaQuanda Ross – over a series of visits to incarcerated friends where she shares family milestones and neighborhood gossip while revealing a shrewd indictment of the criminal justice system. Msgr. Sullivan and Liza talked about her inspiration for writing and performing “The Peculiar Patriot” which sprung from her own experiences and observations from working in and around the prison system.

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Responding in Charity to Successive Storms

Kim Burgo & Fred Parrella

On this episode of JustLove Monsignor Sullivan will discuss both the recovery efforts taking place in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, as well in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. He will speak about the changing context of marriage and family.

Calling in to the studio is Kim Burgo Vice President for Disaster Response Operations for Catholic Charities USA. She will be talking about the impact that Hurricane Harvey has had on coastal Texas and its surrounding areas as well as the impact that Hurricane Irma has had on the Florida how Catholic Charities USA is helping local Catholic Charities agencies respond to the storms, and how listeners can help as well.

Joining in the studio is Fred Parrella,  a Professor of Moral Theology in the Department of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University. Msgr. Sullivan and Professor Parrella will be talking about the changing context of marriage and family.

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Recovering from the Storm and Persevering

On this week’s JustLove Monsignor Kevin Sullivan will be speaking with  Jesse Thompson about the Trump Administration’s decision on DACA  and what it means for Dreamers in the weeks and months to come.

 Jesse Thompson, Esq. is a Staff Attorney  in the  Immigration Legal Services Department of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Obama Administration era policy that shields young unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as minors from deportation. The show will focus on what those young people – referred to as Dreamers – can do now that the President has announced the end of the DACA policy, and what Catholic Charities is doing to assist them.

For more information on the topics covered, please visit CatholicCharitiesNy.org/SupportingImmigrants

Also on the show is Jennifer Carr Allmon, Executive Director of Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.  Jennifer oversees the day-to –day work of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, including providing technical and training assistance to Dioceses in review and preparation for the Legislative session. She joins Msgr. Sullivan on JustLove to talk about the impact that Hurricane Harvey has had on the city of Houston and the surrounding communities, and what they are doing to assist in that recovery.

For more information on Hurricane Harvey please visit Catholic Charities website

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Crossing Borders & Erecting Barriers

On this week’s episode of JustLove, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan speaks with three guests focused on unaccompanied minors and border security.

Catholic Charities New York’s Director of Refugee Resettlement Kelly Agnew-Barajas will be on the show. Msgr. and Kelly talk about what impact the Trump Administration’s termination of the program granting temporary legal residence to minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has had on youth from those countries 

Msgr. Sullivan and Caryn Ashare, Chief Program Officer of Catholic Guardian Services an affiliated agency of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York will be talking about Catholic Guardian Service’s work. Ashare will be focusing on how the agency provides assistance and support for unaccompanied minors left in their care.

Vanda Felbab-Brown, who is Senior Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence  at the  Brookings Institution and has written on the proposed wall that President Trump has advocated be built on the border with Mexico – will be speaking to Msgr. Sullivan about what she foresees as some of the consequences and potential outcomes of building a physical wall on the Mexican border.

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