Site visits to mines in Ghana, Peru, and Columbia gave representatives a high-level overview of operations, including mining, processing and supporting infrastructure, and the management of health, safety and environmental aspects. They also provided an overview of stakeholder engagement activities including community consultation, complaints/grievance management, community development and actions take to minimise the mining operations environmental impacts; an opportunity to have open frank conversations about key challenges from a social and environmental perspective and the various efforts underway to address these issues. These visits also allowed an opportunity to understand local community characteristics, civil society organizations, community and local government leader perspectives regarding the positive and negative impact of mining on the community. These trips were organized by Mining and Faith Reflection Initiative (MFRI) at the invitation of various mines. In 2014, SRIC Executive Director, Anna Falkenberg, visited gold mines at the invitation of Newmont Mining and AngloGold Ashanti. This visit was specifically related to water issues and human rights in mining. In 2015, Anna Falkenberg visited the gold mines in Peru at the invitation of Newmont Mining. The purpose of the trip was to discuss issues relating to water, human rights and a land dispute. In 2017, Glencore and Cerrejon invited Anna Falkenberg and other MFRI representatives to visit their coal mines in Columbia. During this trip, issues discussed included water and human rights.
SRIC participated in the establishment of the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras (CJM), were workers and labor unions wrote a Code of Conduct for Maquiladoras. Such code of conduct outlined solutions for environmental contamination along the border, described adequate health and safety practices for workers, highlighted fair employment practices and standards of living and the impact of maquiladora factories among the communities where they were located. SRIC’s Executive Director traveled numerous times to the United States/Mexico border to document working conditions, environmental contamination and community issues that were negatively impacting the lives of those living and/or working in or near maquiladoras.
SRIC’s supports the work of the Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC), which centers on protecting the rights of those individuals detained in Family Detention Centers. IWC works tirelessly to push legislation aimed at ending deportations and close such facilities. Currently, these centers are administered as for-profit prisons that disregard humanitarian concerns. To contribute to IWC efforts, SRIC has been actively involved in multiple corporate engagements with organizations like the GEO Group Inc. and Core Civic, which own such detention facilities, as a way to improve the conditions of detainees.
SRIC hosted another tour of the Eagle Ford Shale development, as requested by our visiting ICCR CEO, Josh Zinner. Mr. Zinner wanted to see first-hand the impacts of corporate activity in this area. Sr. Elizabeth Riebschlaeger, a tireless advocate for social justice and an expert on everything related to shale development in Texas acted as guide during the trip. During the trip, activity in the area was very noticeable despite production slowdown: oil pump jacks, natural gas compressor stations, towers for new drilling operations, and streams of flame flaring from tall pipes. Big rigs carrying huge sections of pipe and other equipment still dominated the roads. Some impacts were apparent from an abandoned uranium mine to toxic spills, devastation from a Blowout explosion, the controversial open waste pit at Nordheim (now approved) as well as impacts on small communities—from boom growth to empty hotels and restaurants.
On April 6, 2016, SRIC hosted an educational event on “Local Presence-Global Impact—Make Your Money Matter” to address the question “Why don’t all banks drive sustainable prosperity?” The panel of experts included representatives from banks that practice and promote sustainable banking as a profitable and responsible business model. A Round Table discussion prior to the event was hosted by Global Alliance for Banking Values and Oblate Pastoral Investment to discuss Sustainable Banking. Attendees discussed how financial institutions can use finance to deliver sustainable, economic, social and environmental development.
SRIC had a successful campaign against Human Trafficking during Super Bowl XLV 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Working with Christian Brothers Investment Services, and Julie Tanner, SRIC focused on the hotels in the surrounding area of the Super Bowl because these are high-risk places for human trafficking to take place. SRIC created a spreadsheet of General Managers for the 38 hotels and their contact information and devised a phone script for what to ask the General Managers about their staff training: what to be aware of and how to report human trafficking. Next, SRIC gathered volunteers to make the phone calls to the hotel managers and created a form to record all of the results. Every volunteer kept an open line of communication to follow up with the hotels. A packet of information containing a phone script; fact sheet; statistics; research; ideas for hotels to train their employees and a follow-up form to keep in touch with managers and track their progress was later distributed. As a result of the national campaign, Delta Airlines, Carlson Hotels (Radisson), and the Hilton Hotels signed the End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) Code promising to do their part in the search for human trafficking in these companies.
Healthcare Access / Medicaid Expansion
SRIC hosted Sr. Simone Campbell with Network, a Catholic Social Justice Lobby in 2013. As part of Sr. Simone Campbell’s visit SRIC participated along with 400 others in a march and rally at the Texas Capitol promoting the expansion of Medicaid in Texas. After the rally large groups went inside the Capitol to speak to their representative about the moral imperative to expand healthcare coverage for all. Over 500 letters were delivered to the Governor.
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