Social Justice in a COVID-19 Environment
Over forty parishioners, from across Camberwell, Balwyn, Deepdene and Surrey Hills Wattle Park gathered last Thursday evening (6 August) to embark on a three week journey of reflection and social justice response planning in relation to COVID-19. Sr Angela Reed RSM PhD, the current Head of Mercy Global Action, the justice arm of Mercy International Association, led the group through the first evening of personal reflection on what it has been like to live through the global pandemic to this point.
The Zoom meeting was lively and instructive as Angela gave input on a process and framework that will be used to build up our parishes’ social justice response to COVID. The Zoom format allowed for participants to break into small groups where a great deal of sharing of experiences and stories from around the parish, and further afield were shared. Themes such as displacement, grief and loss, a spotlight on the vulnerable, the impact on children as well as the aged were some themes that emerged. There were also positive aspects of the COVID experience that emerged such as a greater awareness of the natural environment and appreciation of nature, reconnecting with friends old and new, near and far and a deep appreciation for the simple things in life. The themes will be further analysed by our learning group prior to the next gathering.
The series continues next week when participants will gather again to reflect on the themes that emerged during night one. These themes will then be examined in light of Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel. Angela will assist in bringing a critical socio-political analysis to the issues and lead the group in deciding which themes and issues align with our parish values and capacity to respond.
The group will meet each Thursday for the next two weeks and then on Thursday, 27 August we hope to launch our new Social Justice Network.
More about Sr Angela
Based in New York in close proximity to the United Nations, Sr. Angela advocates on behalf of the Mercy World. Working to transform oppressive systems that marginalize those rendered poor, issues of concern include water, migration and homelessness.
Sr Angela is a graduate of RMIT University’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, in Melbourne, Australia where she completed her PhD on Human Trafficking. While living in the Philippines, her research focused on giving voice to Filipino women who had been trafficked for sexual exploitation. Prior to her research, Sr. Angela Reed was a part time lecturer for the Master of Social Work courses at RMIT University and coordinator at “Mercy Care” a women’s safe house in Melbourne, Australia where she encountered many women and children who were experiencing violence and abuse. Over the years she has integrated her professional background in education, social work and theology to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to research, service provision and public advocacy. Her primary research interest is on gendered violence and in particular human trafficking.