Conference on Justice and Social Concerns

Feb. 22-26, 2021 | Sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies

The Conference on Justice and Social Concerns provides our campus community with the opportunity to engage with issues of social justice, faith, and personal and communal responsibility to the common good.

The 2021 Conference on Justice and Social Concerns, sponsored by the St. Mary’s University Center for Catholic Studies, is inspired by Fratelli Tutti: Encyclical Letter on Fraternity and Social Friendship by Pope Francis. Pope Francis’ third encyclical is centered on the major themes of service, charity, economic justice and political love, and is framed by his close friendship and experiences with the Grand Imam Ahmad al-Tayyeb of the Islamic university and mosque Al-Azhar in Egypt.

Each day of the Conference will feature pre-recorded presentations and panel discussions centering on the themes presented in Fratelli Tutti and linking them to the Marianist mission and charism. Panels will premiere on the University website each morning and are pre-recorded unless otherwise indicated. The Lin Lecture will be presented in real-time via Zoom and livestream.

Registration is required to gain access to daily Conference content.


Conference Themes


Monday, Feb. 22
Human Dignity

Tuesday, Feb. 23
Economic Justice

Wednesday, Feb. 24
Hunger Awareness

Thursday, Feb. 25
Diversity of Voices

Friday, Feb. 26
Social Action


We want to hear your stories.

Throughout the week of the 2021 Conference, you have heard stories of social justice in action. Now we want to hear from you. 

Tell your own story that illustrates your experience(s) with the themes of the week with a specific example from campus, home, family or friends. Provide how you think your experience connects with the themes from Fratelli Tutti, your values and those of the University, be they spiritual or academic. 

Submit your thoughts as an essay, a letter, an image, a poem or even a musical composition. To share with others about the help you received, please include in your submission an explanation of how you faced injustice and how you overcame it.  

Please send your story to centerforcatholicstudies@stmarytx.edu.  

All submissions will remain anonymous. Every story will be read and prayed about. You will be contacted if your story has been chosen to be shared with the community as part of the project. 

Watch for a save the date for Justice and Social Concerns in Action: Post-Conference Sharing. 


DAY 1

Monday, Feb. 22

Human Dignity, inspired by Fratelli Tutti, Chapter 2: “A Stranger on the Road” 

Monday’s panels will focus on the hidden faces of sex trafficking and prison inmates, reminding us that recognition of the intrinsic worth of every human being is always owed.  

Monday’s panels will focus on the hidden faces of sex trafficking and prison inmates, reminding us that recognition of the intrinsic worth of every human being is always owed.  

  • Welcome and Overview, Invocation
    I. Introduction


    Welcome and Overview
    Alicia Cordoba Tait, D.M.A., Beirne Director of the Center for Catholic Studies and Professor of Music, St. Mary’s University 

    Invocation
    Rev. Tim Eden, S.M., Vice President for Mission and Rector, St. Mary’s University 

    I. Introduction
    James Greenaway, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Charles H. Miller Sr., M.D., Chair in Human Dignity, St. Mary’s University 

  • II. Human Trafficking


    Part 1
    Interview with Karla Scott Solomon, Survivor Advocate and Outreach Specialist, victim and survivor of sex trafficking

    Part 2
    Presentation by Brenya Twumasi, J.D., Professor, University of Texas – San Antonio and Alamo Colleges, on forms of international trafficking 

Welcome and Overview 

Alicia Cordoba Tait, D.M.A.
Beirne Director of the Center for Catholic Studies and Professor of Music, St. Mary’s University 


Invocation 

Rev. Tim Eden, S.M.
Vice President for Mission and Rector, St. Mary’s University 


Panels 

Facilitated by James Greenaway, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Charles H. Miller Sr., M.D., Chair in Human Dignity, St. Mary’s University 

I. Introduction
by James Greenaway, Ph.D.

II. Human Trafficking
Interview with Karla Scott Solomon, Survivor Advocate and Outreach Specialist and victim and survivor of sex trafficking
Presentation by Brenya Twumasi, J.D., Professor, University of Texas – San Antonio and Alamo Colleges, on forms of international trafficking 

III. A Conversation on Prison Outreach
with Deacon Robert “Bob” Leibrecht, Director of Criminal Justice, Archdiocese of San Antonio; Justin Miller and Cody Brown, participants of Criminal Justice Ministry; and James Greenaway, Ph.D.

Program | Day 1

Human Dignity

What is human dignity?

Does human dignity exist?

Is human dignity explained by bodily attributes? (e.g., two arms, two legs, skin color, height, weight, age, etc.)

Is human dignity explained by psychological attributes? (e.g., mental health; IQ; conscious states like wakefulness, sleep, coma; absence of syndromes like Down’s Syndrome, etc.)

Does human dignity embrace but also transcend body and mind?


Sex Trafficking (two events)

What is the difference between sex trafficking and prostitution?

What is the difference between trafficking and sex trafficking?

Does slavery exist in our society today?

Why should anyone care about those being used, bought, sold, commodified, branded, and beaten for sex?

If San Antonio is a hub of this thriving, underworld industry, would that mean that San Antonio is also a market? (Where would the market be?)

If we don’t see the problem, can we wish it away?

What can be done within the capacity of an individual, a local community, an institution such as St. Mary’s University, a city, a state, a nation, an international community?


Prison Outreach

Should we “lock’em up” and throw away the key?

What is the value of prison outreach?

Do you think prison outreach could be transformative?

Does prison outreach communicate hope to the incarcerated?

Discussion Questions | Day 1

DAY 2

Tuesday, Feb. 23

Economic Justice, inspired by Fratelli Tutti, Chapter 5: “A Better Kind of Politics”

Tuesday’s sessions will reflect upon the work of Latino activists promoting economic justice in their communities since the 1960s.

  • Economic Justice


    Facilitated by Gerald E. Poyo, Ph.D., O’Connor Chair in the History of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest and Professor of History, St. Mary’s University

    I. Perspectives on Latino Economic Justice
    with Lindsey Passenger Wieck, Ph.D., Director of the Public History Graduate Program and Assistant Professor of History, St. Mary’s University; Gerald E. Poyo, Ph.D.; and Noel Andrés Poyo, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Community Development, U.S. Department of the Treasury

    II. Documenting Latino Economic Development as a Social Justice Practice
    with Lindsey Passenger Wieck, Ph.D.; Monica Limón, Special Assistant to the Executive Director, NALCAB; Victoria Villaseñor, NALCAB Graduate Fellow and Public History graduate student at St. Mary’s University; and Gerald E. Poyo, Ph.D.


Panels

Facilitated by Gerald E. Poyo, Ph.D., O’Connor Chair in the History of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest and Professor of History, St. Mary’s University

I. Perspectives on Latino Economic Justice
with Lindsey Passenger Wieck, Ph.D., Director of the Public History Graduate Program and Assistant Professor of History, St. Mary’s University; Gerald E. Poyo, Ph.D.; and Noel Andrés Poyo, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Community Development, U.S. Department of the Treasury

II. Documenting Latino Economic Development as a Social Justice Practice
with Lindsey Passenger Wieck, Ph.D.; Monica Limón, Special Assistant to the Executive Director, NALCAB; Victoria Villaseñor, NALCAB Graduate Fellow and Public History graduate student at St. Mary’s University; and Gerald E. Poyo, Ph.D.

Program | Day 2

Personal and Spiritual Reflection Questions

Have you ever thought of your spiritual life in light of struggles for economic development and justice?

How has your own and or an acquaintance’s experience with economic marginality affected the way you engage the world?

Have you or your family ever faced the forces of gentrification, the lack of affordable housing and inability to access needed social services? How did that make you feel? Did these experiences inspire you to think of the root causes or just look for ways to solve the immediate problem? Or both?


Classroom Questions

Do you think it is a coincidence that Pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti offers ideas about fighting economic injustice that are reflected in the historical trajectory of Latino civil rights and social justice movements? 

What do you think motivated and inspired young Latino activists in the 1960s and 1970s to believe they could transform their communities economically?

What challenges to you think the Latino economic development movements faced as they moved from scrappy, creative and improvised movements to being fully institutionalized, powerful, and established? 

Discussion Questions | Day 2

DAY 3

Wednesday, Feb. 24

Hunger Awareness, inspired by Fratelli Tutti, Chapter 1: “Dark Clouds Over a Closed World,” Chapter 6: “Dialogue and Friendship in Society,” Chapter 7: “Paths of Renewed Encounter,” and Chapter 8: “Religions at the Service of Fraternity in our World”

The presentation will emphasize the state of food insecurity on three Marianist campuses framed by three questions regarding hunger and food insecurity before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, formal and informal support for food-insecure students, and why hunger awareness is important to our communities.

Panels

Facilitated by Janet Armitage, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Sociology and Associate Professor of Sociology, St. Mary’s University

I. Introduction
by the Rev. Anthony “Tony” Pogorelc, M.Div., Ph.D., Sociology Scholar in Residence, St. Mary’s University

II. Student Stories
with speakers Sue Nash, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology, St. Mary’s University; Jeanne Holcomb, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology and Interim Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at the University of Dayton; Diana Cuy Castellanos, Ph.D., RD, LD, Assistant Professor and Research Coordinator in Dietetics and Nutrition, University of Dayton; Lorin Ramocki, DNP, RN, Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator and Academic Partnership Coordinator, the School of Nursing and Health Professions, Chaminade University; and Allison Jerome, Dean of Students, Chaminade University; Brother Edward Brink, S.M., Vice President for Mission and Rector, Chaminade University

III. Closing Marianist Prayer and Final Thoughts
with Brother Thomas “Tom” Giardino, S.M., Executive Director,  Association of Marianist Universities

Program | Day 3

Have you, or your family, experienced food and/or housing insecurity changes since the emergence and community spread of the COVID-19 pandemic?

What can the campus community do to be more responsive to students, staff, and/or full time and adjunct faculty who experience food and/or housing insecurity?

Food insecurity has disproportionate impacts on several groups of students — first-generation, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community members, LGBTQ+ and those of nontraditional ages. How can campus and community engagement respond with awareness of these intersectionalities?

The Good Samaritan isn’t just a parable, it’s a way of life. Pope Francis prayed to allow Mary to guide us as we walk along the path of the Good Samaritan, the path “of generous love toward others.” What actions can you take to walk the path of the good Samaritan on your Marianist campus?

Article 25 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.” These rights are not achieved by all, evidenced by the worrying levels of malnourishment, uneven food distribution and widespread food inequality (D’Odorico et al. 2019). What are the causes of food inequality and what are possible local to global solutions to food inequality? Is the current state of food insecurity and food inequality a violation of human rights that must be redressed by local, national, and global communities?

Discussion Questions | Day 3

Interactive and Simulation Tools


Videos, Media Stories and Scholarly Literature


College Campus Action and Resources


San Antonio Network of Food Pantries/Fridges

  • Aeris’ Free Food Pantry
    7626 Buckboard Street
    San Antonio, Texas 78227

  • The Harlandale Sunshine Pantry
    935 Drury Lane
    San Antonio, Texas 78221

  • Free Little Pantry SA
    1802 E. Commerce
    San Antonio, Texas 78203

  • HOPE Pantry
    9831 Menard Circle
    San Antonio, Texas 78245

  • Jovita Idár Little Pantry and Fridge
    1527 San Francisco
    San Antonio, Texas 78201

  • Little Free Library and Pantry at the Esparanza Center
    816 S. Colorado
    San Antonio, Texas 78207

  • Little Free Pantry Monte Vista
    126 E. Norwood Court
    San Antonio, Texas 78216

  • Little Free Pantry of Sterling Oaks
    Intersection of Silent Oaks and Peaceful Meadows
    San Antonio, Texas 78250

  • Local Community Fridge SA
    1316 Austin Street
    San Antonio, Texas 78208

  • Los Jardines Community Pantry
    149 Jesse Avenue
    San Antonio, TX 78237

  • Lytle Food Pantries/Fridges: Lytle Methodist Church, Grace Bible Church, Spanish Church Resurrection Baptist Church

  • Mt. Olive Little Free Pantry
    3200 West Loop 1604
    San Antonio, Texas 78245

  • Nopalitos Pantry
    426 Rigsby
    San Antonio, Texas 78210

  • Pantry at Villa Coronado
    1719 San Casimiro
    San Antonio, Texas 78214

  • Reconciliation Little Library and Pantry
    8900 Starcrest
    San Antonio, Texas 78217

  • West Side Community Pantry
    Corner of W. Houston and N. Hamilton
    San Antonio, Texas 78207

Resources
  • Lin Great Speakers Lecture
    A Conversation on Race, Equality and Equity

    Wednesday, Feb. 24
    7 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom

    Inspired by Fratelli Tutti, Chapter 1: “Dark Clouds Over a Closed World”

    The livestreamed lecture will provide insight into the concepts of race, equality and equity. Panelists will discuss systemic barriers impacting underrepresented groups and strategies on how to overcome these challenges and how Catholic universities can reflect anti-racist institutions. Panelists include Jonathan Butler, Esq., Equity Manager, the City of San Antonio; Christopher Whitt, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion,  Creighton University; Tiffany Galvin Green, Ph.D., Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, John Caroll University.


DAY 4

Thursday, Feb. 25

Diversity of Voices, inspired by Fratelli Tutti, Chapter 6: “Dialogue and Friendship in Society”

Thursday will feature two panels focused on issues of race and racism. One will focus on events specific to San Antonio and the surrounding region. The other will discuss the general natures of race and racism, with experts whose research focuses on the ways in which active forms of ignorance and indifference contribute to maintaining systems of racism. Members of both panels will address what higher education institutions can do moving forward.

  • I. Issues of Race and Racism in San Antonio and the Surrounding Region


    Facilitated by Eric Chelstrom, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. Mary’s University, and Benjamin “Josh” Doty, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, Literature and Language, St. Mary’s University

    I. Issues of Race and Racism in San Antonio and the Surrounding Region
    with Deborah Omowale Jarmon, Executive Director, the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum; Sarah Zenaida Gould, Ph.D., Interim Executive Director, Mexican American Civil Rights Institute; Margaret Cantú-Sanchez, Ph.D., Instructor of English, St. Mary’s University; Rick Sperling; Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of Latin American/U.S. Latino Studies Program, St. Mary’s University

  • II. General Natures of Race and Racism


    Facilitated by Eric Chelstrom, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. Mary’s University, and Benjamin “Josh” Doty, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, Literature and Language, St. Mary’s University

    II. General Natures of Race and Racism
    with Gisela Reyes, St. Mary’s University alumna and Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University; José Medina, Ph.D., Walter Dill Scott Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University; Charles Mills, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center, CUNY

Panels

Facilitated by Eric Chelstrom, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. Mary’s University, and Benjamin “Josh” Doty, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, Literature and Language, St. Mary’s University

I. Issues of Race and Racism in San Antonio and the Surrounding Region
with Deborah Omowale Jarmon, Executive Director, the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum; Sarah Zenaida Gould, Ph.D., Interim Executive Director, Mexican American Civil Rights Institute; Margaret Cantú-Sanchez, Ph.D., Instructor of English, St. Mary’s University; Rick Sperling; Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of Latin American/U.S. Latino Studies Program, St. Mary’s University

II. General Natures of Race and Racism
with Gisela Reyes, St. Mary’s University alumna and Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University; José Medina, Ph.D., Walter Dill Scott Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University; Charles Mills, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center, CUNY

Program | Day 4

Take a few minutes to reflect on the discussion and how it affected you. Take stock of how things made you feel. What was your general feeling listening to the discussion? Were there parts that you reacted to more strongly than others? If so, what are those parts? Once cataloged, ask yourself what those reactions might reveal to you, and why you may have reacted as you did. How do you think other people reacted to various parts of the discussion, why? Talk about these and how they help us appreciate the depth to which racism shapes our experiences of the world, all of us. What other examples, beyond the panel, can you speak to about how we tend to react to things differently in relation to race?

What connections do you see between the two panels? Do any of the philosophical notions of racism in the Race and Racisms panel sound familiar? In what ways?

What did you learn about race and racism in San Antonio from the panel focused on San Antonio? Did the panel give you a different perspective on our city?

Pope Francis notes in Fratelli Tutti that “If we want to encounter and help one another, we have to dialogue,” and both of these panels take the form of conversations. In what ways might “persistent and courageous dialogue,” as the Pope puts it, serve to create a more just world?

In the Race in San Antonio panel, the panelists discussed how the histories of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) is in important ways unlike those of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Where HBCUs have traditionally discussed race in campus affairs and had broad representation of minorities in faculty and administration, the same is not often the case for HSIs. To what extent has your experience with StMU been informed by its being a Hispanic Serving Institution? Can you point to ways in which the institution does well in that capacity, places where it falls short of living up to that promise? What efforts should the university and members of its community take to do better in and around embracing both its own history and in doing justice to the lives of people? In your experience, does the university or people within the university tend to place more emphasis on marketability than on what Dr. Medina (in the Race and Racisms panel) calls activism? How might the University’s priorities be judged in relation to imbalances in where and how it chooses to spend its resources?  

Discussion Questions | Day 4

DAY 5

Friday, Feb. 26

Social Action, inspired by Fratelli Tutti and Marianist social justice and charity

The final day of the Conference will look at various ways in which the Marianist Charism, with its focus on social justice, promotes the ideals as laid out in Fratelli Tutti, particularly through the work of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative (MSJC).

  • Social Action


    I. Introduction

    Facilitated by Larry Hufford, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and International Relations, St. Mary’s University

    II. Panelists

    III. Benediction
    Rev. William Meyer, S.M., Assistant Vice President for Mission, St. Mary’s University

Panelists

Facilitated by Larry Hufford, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and International Relations, St. Mary’s University


Benediction

Rev. William Meyer, S.M., Assistant Vice President for Mission, St. Mary’s University

Program | Day 5

How does the mission and work of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative (MSJC) reflect on the words of Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti?

To what extent does the MSJC’s understanding of “social justice” and “social charity” resemble Pope Francis’ in Fratelli Tutti?

Discussion Questions | Day 5
Back to top