mark your calendars for saturdayApril 18th. There will be a half day Justice Conference held at Oakdale Park CRC sponsored by AJS and the Office of Social Justice. The focus of the conference is “Doing Justice in THIS Economy.” This is a regional conference to talk about the new-found opportunities and challenges for Christians seeking to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”

The plenary speaker is Jonathan Bradford who is the President of Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF), he will be speaking on “Finding Hope in the Foreclosure Crisis.” The workshop breakout sessions topics include: justice in local consumer choices, immigration, the US impact on developing countries, public schools, housing choices, global consumer choice, and global housing situation: AJS case study.

To register and find out more information visit or you can email Jill Van Beek with any questions (

Come hear Dr. Vandana Shiva this Thurs (12th) in Kalamazoo (at Western) at 7:00 PM

Bernhard Cneter East Ballroom

vandana-shiva1Dr. Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecologist, activist, editor and author of many books. In India she has established Navdanya, a movement for biodiversity conservation and farmers’ rights, and she is the Founding Director of Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, a network of researchers specialising in ecology, health and sustainability. She has established a school for sustainability Bija Vidyapeeth on the Navdanya Biodiversity Farm in Doon Valley. Her most recent books are Earth Democracy and Water Wars. She is on the Board of International Forum on Globalisation and World Future Council and she is the Vice President of global movement Slow Food International.

Dear Members of the Social Justice Committee,

Want to give students and faculty a tangible way to help eliminate poverty? As an intern with Partners Worldwide this semester through a business internship sponsored by Calvin, I am very excited to share our Run for Jobs campaign with the Calvin community. I thought the Social Justice Committee might want to be in on the ground level!

The idea is to talk to students and faculty who are either already interested or could be interested in running the 5k, 10k, or 25k for the 5/3 Riverbank Run in May. Partners Worldwide uses the Riverbank Run as a fundraising event to help raise awareness and funds to eliminate the cycle of poverty in developing countries through the creation of sustainable jobs.

It’s quite a simple concept. We want to offer runners the opportunity to run for Partners Worldwide in this race. By signing up, the runner commits to earn as close to $1,000 dollars as possible by talking to friends and family about what $1,000 can do for job creation in the developing world. In return, the runner will get a Partners Worldwide t-shirt for race-day and the satisfaction of using one of their passions to support others worldwide.

Here’s the really cool thing: 1 runner raising $1,000 dollars for the Riverbank Run creates 1 sustainable job in the developing world which transforms and empowers five lives. If this is something that SJC is interested in being a part of, please let me know. I can answer any questions you might have and provide you with additional important information.

Thanks for considering this opportunity!


Emily Keller


for too long, immigrants have been oppressed and marginalized in the United States. with the struggling economy, a war, and numerous other divisive issues, it is possible (but unacceptable) that immigration reform gets pushed to the side and off washington’s agenda for a few years.

let’s take action and not let this happen by lifting our voices to God in prayer alongside with our brothers and sisters from various faith communities in Grand Rapids. this monday, the 16th, at 7pm,  there is a prayer vigil at La Nueva Esperanza, just down Burton from Calvin. we’re going to meet at 6:30 outside the common’s annex by the ATM to carpool from Calvin.


we have a lot of power by lifting our voices on behalf of immigrants. let’s use it!

“When foreigners reside among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigners residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-34

gracia y paz,


As interim begins to wrap up, don’t forget the lineup of sweet events. Let me lay them out for you:

21st Century Nomads: Experience Human Migration

Human migration is becoming an increasingly important global issue. The International Students Association Committee (ISAC) has put together an event centered on this topic. Come to learn, discuss, and deepen your understanding in a series of simulation games, films and discussions.

Time: (1) 6:00pm (2) 6:45pm
Where: Beginning at Hiemenga Hall 314

STAND up for Darfur

The Social Justice Coalition and Calvin’s new STAND chapter ( will be hosting an even to raise awareness for the genocide in Darfur. The come-and-go event will feature the decorating of a refugee tent as a part of Tents of Hope ( We will also be holding a letter writing campaign to let our government officials know that our generation wants an end to this genocide NOW. Please come and join us in our efforts to find peace.

When: On Friday, January 23
Time: 5:30-8 pm (come and go as you’d like)
Where: Forum at the Devos Center

IJM at Calvin

BHT is hosting a lecture with Austin Graff. Austin is a recent Calvin grad who currently works for International Justice Mission, or IJM ( He will be speaking about modern-day slavery and sex-trafficking and the work of IJM. His coworker, Sharon Cohn Wu will give the lecture on Tuesday for The January Series.

When: Monday, January 26
Time: 8:00 pm
Where: BHT basement

If You’re Interested In Leadership

If you think you might be interested in either helping with the coordination of our weekly SJC meetings or organizing a project next semester, please let us know. We will be having a leadership “meeting” (ethiopian potluck of sorts?), and would love to include you! Feel free to e-mail me (, and I can keep you up with the discussion and details.

When: Thursday, January 29th
Time: Dinner time? (I’ll let you know)
Where: 111 Fitzhugh Avenue, 49506 (right off the #6 bus line)

I think that’s all for now. E-mail me with ANY questions.

Peace and Warmth,

P.S. In solidarity with our vegan friends from Students for Compassionate Living, don’t forget wakeup weekend events ( Word is, the potluck will be divine and the panel discussion, solid.

“Likewise, for those of us who are in position to do something to combat human slavery, however small our contribution, neutrality is a sin” … -Inspector General Joseph E. Schmitz, Department of Defense

Lets engage with the following quotation through panel discussions, videos, stories from Calvin students and alumni, and trafficking organizations December 1st – 5th

Monday:  Information Table  9-3pm in Johnny’s

  • Fair Trade Sale in the Library Lobby – sale of handcrafted items from Women at Risk

Tuesday: Information Table  9-3pm in Johnny’s

  •  Fair Trade Sale in the Library Lobby – sale of handcrafted items from Women at Risk
  •  “Not For Sale” video, 7pm in the Commons Lecture Hall 

Not For Sale is a documentary based off the organization started by David Batstone’s book, Not 4 Sale. Learn more about the organization and how to get involved here:

Wednesday:Trafficking Panel, 7pm in the Commons Lecture Hall

  • Kelly Froehlich is a  representative from an organization called Stop Child Trafficking Now. They are currently organizing a walk in new york city for the fall of 2009. For more information about the organization, what they are doing, and child trafficking, go to their webiste:
  • Becky McDonald is the president and founder of Women at Risk International, an organization based out of Grand Rapids that partners with organizations within a country to protect women and children from slavery, abuse, the effects of HIV/AIDS, and more. They have a strong emphasis on anti-trafficking efforts, especially in the sex trade.  Their mission statement: “Women At Risk, International unites and educates women to create circles of protection and hope around women at risk through culturally sensitive, value-added intervention projects.”For more information both on women at risk in the world and her organization, go here

Thursday: BBC Trafficking Documentary (focuses on child slavery), 7pm in the Meeter Center

Friday: Call and Response” video, Celebration Cinema North (time to be determined)

  • Call and Response: CALL+RESPONSE is a first of its kind feature documentary film that reveals the world’s 27 million dirtiest secrets: there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. CALL+RESPONSE goes deep undercover where slavery is thriving from the child brothels of Cambodia to the slave brick kilns of rural India to reveal that in 2007, Slave Traders made more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined. 

The film is showing friday , to learn more go here:

Monday, December 8th: Benefit Improv Show, 9pm in the Gezon cost $2 

So we have this incredible event coming up.


Hope College will be performing the play “On the Edge of the Knife: Rape as a Tactic of War Against Women in the DRC.” The event will be held on Sunday December 7th, at 3:00 on the Chapel Undercroft.

The group has received permission from Amnesty International to use the stories of women who have experienced rape and violence because of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These women have experienced horrible brutality. One of the purposes of this event is to raise awareness for their situation.

Another purpose is to raise support for the work done by Doctor Mukwege, the founder of Panzi Hospital in the DRC. Doctor Mukwege focuses on caring for these women who have experienced sexual violence, repairing fistulas and urogenital tracts, and advocating upon their behalf worldwide. While the event is free, we are encouraging people to consider giving a donation of $10.

Recently, the DRC has appeared in news headlines quite frequently. Violence has escalated, there is concern for the increasing number of child soldiers, and vulnerability of the the growing population of displaced people.

Along with SJC, the International Health and Development club, InterVarsity Mission Fellowship, and Sexual Assault Prevention Team will be cosponsoring the event.

It will be a great opportunity for us to be more aware of these women’s situation and encourage dialogue around these issues, particularly in light of the recent occurrences in the DRC.

Feel free to e-mail Rebecca Garofano ( with questions.

A group of us just visited West Virginia to see mountain top removal for coal.  It’s a pretty devastating procedure.  Mountain tops are literally blown off and coal is extracted.  Excess mountain is discarded into nearby valleys, polluting water sources and causing really sad health and environmental problems.  In one community we visited 98% of the people had to have their gall batters removed!  Natural landscapes on the mountain are also never the same.  Check out more at

What is Mountaintop Removal?

Mountaintop removal is a relatively new type of coal mining that began in Appalachia in the 1970s as an extension of conventional strip mining techniques. Primarily, mountaintop removal is occurring in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Coal companies in Appalachia are increasingly using this method because it allows for almost complete recovery of coal seams while reducing the number of workers required to a fraction of what conventional methods require.

The US Environmental Protection Agency defines mountaintop removal as follows:

“Mountaintop removal/valley fill is a mining practice where the tops of mountains are removed, exposing the seams of coal. Mountaintop removal can involve removing 500 feet or more of the summit to get at buried seams of coal. The earth from the mountaintop is then dumped in the neighboring valleys.”

There are 6 main components of the mountaintop removal process:

CLEARING — Before mining can begin, all topsoil and vegetation must be removed. Because coal companies frequently are responding to short-term fluctuations in the price of coal, these trees are often not even used comercially in the rush to get the coal, but instead are burned or sometimes illegally dumped into valley fills.

BLASTING — Many Appalachian coal seams lie deep below the surface of the mountains. Accessing these seams through surface mining can require the removal of 500-800 feet or more of elevation. Blowing up this much mountain is accomplished by using millions of pounds of explosives.
DIGGING — Coal and debris is removed by using this piece of machinery, called a dragline. A dragline stands 22 stories high and can hold 24 compact cars in its bucket. These machines can cost up to $100 million, but are favored by coal companies because they displace the need for hundreds of jobs. .

DUMPING WASTE — The waste from the mining operation, also known as overburden or spoil, is dumped into nearby valleys, burying streams. According to an EPA environmental impact statement, more than 1,000 miles of Appalachian streams were permitted to be buried as of 2001.

PROCESSING — The coal is washed and treated before it is loaded on trains. The excess water left over from this process is called coal slurry or sludge and is stored in open coal impoundments. Coal sludge is a mix of water, coal dust, clay and toxic chemicals such as arsenic mercury, lead, copper, and chromium. Impoundments are held in place by mining debris, making them very unstable. .

RECLAMATION — While reclamation efforts such as stabilization and revegetation are required for mountaintop removal sites, in practice, state agencies that regulate mining are generous with granting waivers to coal companies. Most sites receive little more than a spraying of exotic grass seed, but even the best reclamation provides no comfort to nearby families and communities whose drinking water supplies have been polluted and whose homes will be threatened by floods for the hundred or thousands of years it will require to re-grow a forest on the mined site.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  —Proverbs 31:8-9Two of the Murdered Land Rights Workers


Land Rights Murders in San Pedro Sula

Three community leaders from the greater San Pedro Sula area (northern Honduras) who collaborated with the AJS-supported Land Rights Project have been murdered in a period of just two weeks.
 Ubense Aguilar (pictured, left) was shot to death on the morning of October 14 outside a small business he owns. Elías Murcia (pictured, right) was shot to death in front of his home on the afternoon of October 9. Fredis Osorto Reyes was shot to death near his home on October 2.

Evidence thus far indicates that all three killings were ordered by illegitimate “landowners” who saw their business going down the drain as the land they were illegally selling was being expropriated and titled by the government in response to the advocacy of these community leaders. 

Two other community leaders from Cofradía have been killed in recent years in murders apparently motivated by land disputes, and at least four more community leaders from the area with whom the Land Rights Project has worked closely in advocating for the correct implementation of the Property Law currently fear for their lives.

We believe that negligence and undue delays by the Property Institute have greatly contributed to the atmosphere of impunity that emboldens illegitimate landowners to carry out these violent acts. (The Property Institute is the Honduran government institution in charge of implementing the Property Law; it receives major funding from the World Bank.)

What YOU can do:

visit the AJS Website and CALL, WRITE, PRAY & SPREAD THE WORD.