Cabrini University Hosts “The Art + Effect Poster Contest”

This past fall, Cabrini University sponsored its first poster contest for high school students. The contest was titled “The Art + Effect Poster Contest” and students submitted “conceptual posters using traditional media or computer-generated graphics that highlighted the theme of equality.” This theme was chosen because of Cabrini’s recent emphasis on advocating for universal humans rights and dignity.

Jeanne Komp, Associate Professor of Graphic Design, stated “the contest and exhibition allows us to share our social justice mission with the greater community. The topic of equality has been especially timely in America. With all the media coverage, we felt that this social topic would be one in which high school students could relate to the most.” There were a total of 59 submissions from seven high schools spanning across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. From these 59 submissions, 20 contest winners were chosen to be featured on Cabrini’s campus.

Click here to view photos from “The Art + Effect Poster Contest.” To read more about Cabrini’s poster contest, view Cabrini media.

Seattle University Law Students Fight for Human Rights while Learning

Seattle University Law School is helping to shape the next generation of legal advocates through the school’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), directed by law professor Thomas Antkowiak. Antkowiak’s past work includes overseeing a “socket of IHRC cases involving torture, wrongful conviction, arbitrary detention and protection of industrial lands.” Most recently IHRC helped to free Nestora Salgado-Gracia in the highly publicized case. Salgado is a grandmother with ties to Renton, Washington “who had been arbitrarily imprisoned in Mexico for three years while being denied due process. Salgado was arrested in 2013 after leading a legally permitted indigenous police force to defend local residents against drug cartels in her hometown of Olinala, Mexico.” Salgado praised Antkowiak during her visit to thank IHRC for helping her to win her freedom, as well as being her support and back-up for her case.

Antkowiak’s students also expressed similar praise as expressed by Salgado. Law students reported that working and learning in IHRC allowed for a clinical experience that offered opportunities for critical work that has incredible social value. Antkowiak said that serving as IHRC director is “his dream job, one that combines three of his professional passions-working on cases he cares about, engaging with students and conducting research. Seattle U’s Jesuit Catholic mission offers fertile ground for each of these efforts.”

To read more about IHRC and Antkowiak, visit Seattle news.

Fairfield University Students Advocate for Human Rights in Iran

At Fairfield University, students in the course Politics of Humanitarian Action, taught by Dr. Janie Leatherman, partnered with Scholars at Risk (SAR), an international network of higher education institutions and associations dedicated to protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom around the world, to advocate for human rights in Iran. Specifically, the students worked on the case of Dr. Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, a retired Iranian chemistry professor imprisoned in Tehran since June 2015. According to verdict records, Rafiee, who had a history of social and peace activism, was arrested without warrant and sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading propaganda against the system by giving interviews to media who are against the state.” Fairfield students traveled to New York City to meet with the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights on Iran, and subsequently visited the United Nations. The students wrote a 50-page background report for SAR on Dr. Rafiee’s case and avenues for advocacy in relation to several key stakeholders.

In September 2016, Dr. Rafiee was released on medical furlough due to poor health and was allowed to recuperate at home, without guards.

“SAR is so grateful to Professor Leatherman and her students for their research and advocacy on this case,” said Clare Farne Robinson, Scholars at Risk Advocacy Director. “Their efforts were instrumental in moving Dr. Rafiee’s case forward, and specifically led to inclusion of Professor Rafiee in a recent report by UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran. But beyond that, and perhaps most important, they provided much-needed hope to his family.”

Working for human rights reflects Fairfield’s Catholic commitment to defending the dignity of the human person. The course, Politics of Humanitarian Action, provides a way to enact this commitment and serves as the launch course of a new minor in Humanitarian Action. The minor, as envisioned, provides opportunities to students for service learning and experiential learning, connecting theory learned in the classroom with the realities of the world.  Read more about the Fairfield students’ work here.

Vatican to Host Youth Symposium on Human Trafficking

It is well known that one of Pope Francis’ areas of of passionate interest is ending human trafficking and sex trafficking. According to National Catholic Reporter, he has declared human trafficking to be “a crime against humanity” and “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.” This cry against the crime that is human trafficking has been echoed by young people across the globe and is evidenced in the upcoming Youth Symposium.

On November 7-8, the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences will host the “Real Love Chases Away Fear, Greed and Slavery” Youth Symposium. The Academy has issued an invitation for young people all over the world to participate in raising awareness on the issue of human trafficking and global slavery. It is a continuation of last November’s workshop on Young People Against Prostitution and Human Trafficking and seeks to “create a handbook to be distributed among young people throughout the world, explaining the different forms of modern slavery and how youth can play a significant role in the global efforts to end it”.

Commencement Speakers focus on Social Justice

As ACCU member colleges and universities prepare for graduation, commencement speakers prepare inspiring addresses. This year, Catholic colleges and universities have invited a diverse range of commencement speakers, from craft brewers to the first lady of the Republic of Ghana. Below you’ll find a list of colleges and universities that invited speakers engaged in social justice issues.

Cabrini College: The Rev. Daniel Groody, immigration advocate and professor at the University of Notre Dame

College of the Holy Cross: Bryan A. Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative,  nonprofit organization providing legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners denied fair and just treatment in the legal system

Emmanuel College and Seton Hall University: Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and pro-life advocate

Gonzaga University and University of San Diego: The Rev. Greg Boyle, Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries, which provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women

Marquette University: Sister Margaret O’Neill, founder of El Centro Arte Para la Paz, which develops and promotes a culture of peace through the arts, creativity, imagination and cultural exchange

Misericordia University: Sister Eileen M. Campbell, former head of the Mercy Volunteer Corps, which invites women and men to service with people who are economically poor or marginalized

Rosemont College of the Holy Child Jesus: Sister Ann M. Durst, founder of Casa Cornelia Law Center, a public interest law firm providing quality pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations

Saint Mary’s College: Sister Rosemary Connelly, executive director of Misericordia Home in Chicago, which provides a home for  600 children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities

Saint Michael’s College: Bernard Lafayette, civil rights activist

Saint Vincent College: Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services

Trocaire College: Myron Glick, founder of Jericho Road Community Health Center, a culturally sensitive medical home, especially for refugee and low-income community members

University of Saint Thomas: Mark Crea, president of Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit

Walsh University: The Rev. Walter S. Moss, project director for the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, a partnership of law enforcement, social service agencies, and the community to reduce gun violence in the City of Youngstown, Ohio

Xavier University: Kevin Fleming, Liberia Peace Corps director

For a more comprehensive list of commencement speakers at Catholic colleges and universities, see what Crux has compiled.