MGA Presents During the Young Mercy Leaders Pilgrimage: Discovering the Tools for a Future of Justice and Mercy
On July 14, 2021, the Mercy Global Action team joined the Young Mercy Leaders Pilgrimage to unpack complex systems through Mercy and Justice.
Cecilie Kern, Global Policy and Research Advocate, discussed the three key documents that guide our work for justice throughout the Mercy world --Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement. These documents were published in order to articulate a global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that people can enjoy peace and prosperity.
In order to address the challenges in our world today, we understand the need to lead collectively, collaboratively, with compassion, and with care. We need to identify common goals, share resources and our various strengths and talents, and work in partnership in order to tackle the global challenges of our time.
But where do we begin?
Angela Reed rsm, Head of Mercy Global Action, emphasized that Justice and Advocacy go hand in hand with Mercy. To live a life of Mercy is to live a life of justice and compassion, always striving to be as authentic as we can be. The Mercy Justice Advocacy Approach is a tool developed to assist us in crafting an advocacy response. It is a bottom-up approach and often we see only the action at the top ofthe pyramid; however, to be truly effective advocates we have to do all the groundwork first.
Prior to any advocacy, we must first: encounter the current injustices in our world which encapsulates both earth and people; undergo our own self reflection, take the time to understand how we situate ourselves in this ever changing world; use critical thinking to analyze the appropriate tools to use in our justice work and how vital it is to advocate with those oppressed rather than for those oppressed; and lastly, build up relationships and networks of like-minded individuals because we know we are stronger together.
Colleen Swain, Leadership Development and Advocacy Associate, honed in on specific advocacy responses conducted by Mercy Global Action on issues of human trafficking, climate change and the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. She featured the strategic ways that Mercy Global Action has used the Mercy Justice Advocacy Approach to construct policy recommendations to individuals, faith-leaders, governments and more.
Questions posed during the session included:
- Pope Francis speaks of an "integral ecology" that combines environmental (138-140), economic (141), social (142), and cultural (143) ecologies. What does that mean? How does it work?
- What is the biggest challenge for your own advocacy? Which part of the Mercy Justice Advocacy Model is the most challenging for you?
- Which key issue are you most passionate about? What steps are you taking to address this issue?
- Which SDG matters the most to you?
Following the reflection questions, participants were dispersed into breakout rooms to create an advocacy campaign based on an assigned Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Campaigns included: the creation of media resources on gender equality, development of a musical on ending hunger, global surveys on health and wellbeing, promotional videos and interviews to raise awareness of issues of water scarcity, advancement of SDG curriculum throughout Mercy schools and more.
The session ended with upcoming Mercy Global Action Advocacy and a challenge to Young Mercy Leaders to continue to seek the root causes of global issues, think critically, and pursue ways to dismantle unjust systems.