On Wednesday, March 19, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens will join a delegation of more than 1,000 individuals from all the Roman Catholic dioceses in the state of New York at the day-long Catholics at the Capitol event, their annual public policy day in Albany, to advocate for important legislative issues that affect our community.
Organized by the New York State Catholic Conference, NYSCC, for more than 25 years, the advocacy efforts serve as an opportunity to learn about and encourage support for critical issues that affect New Yorkers and influence public policy decisions. Catholic Charities senior managers and staff will gather at the State Capitol in Albany to meet with policymakers, legislators and elected government officials to discuss the issues that matter to the communities and neighbors we serve in Brooklyn and Queens.
“By attending this day at the Capitol, we are able to impact those policies and systemic issues that keep people in poverty,” remarked Nina Valmonte, CCBQ’s Director of Parish and Community Services. “As an agency, we are committed to not only attending to the concrete needs of our constituents, but also to larger issues of justice that impact them.”
On Thursday, March 13, in advance of the Catholics At the Capitol trip, CCBQ Parish and Community Services hosted a two-hour training session to educate staff and representatives going to Albany . In-house experts educated our representatives on the important policy issues, and their impact on our constituents, so they may be prepared to meet with their local representatives. You can view photos from the training session here.
The five issues selected by the NYSCC this year, and for which our CCQB representatives will be advocating, are:
Preserving Catholic Schools
Funding for Vulnerable New Yorkers
Humane Treatment for Incarcerated Individuals
Justice for Farmworkers.
During the training session, those attending the March 19 event were given an overview and introduction to the New York State Catholic Conference Public Policy Forum as well as an overview of the logistics of the day, including transportation information. Community Project Directors and other Catholic Charities staff will go over the issues. In closing, Community Project Director Patrick Callaghan will go over advocacy tips for those attendees.
“Pope Paul VI has said that the rule of love which applies to the neediest around us now applies to all people around the world. As members of society we owe it to ourselves to let our voices be heard, particularly to those who can make a change,” remarked Sheldon Peters, one of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Community Project Directors and the training day coordinator.
The Catholics at the Capitol meetings begin at 9 a.m. for the first round of legislative meetings at the Capitol’s Legislative Office Building and State Capitol. At 10:30 a.m., attendees will go to a presentation on “Faithful Citizenship and the ‘Power of One.’ The morning session concludes with lunch and the afternoon session begins with a prayer rally hosted by the Knights of Columbus in the convention hall. The Rosary prayer rally will be led by State Deputy Carmine Musumeci and the New York State Knights of Columbus. The afternoon concludes with a Rosary Procession to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where Cardinal Timothy Dolan will lead mass.
The NYSCC represents the Bishops of the state in working with government to shape laws and policies that pursue social justice, respect for life and the common good. The NYSCC provides a unified voice for the eight dioceses of the state to speak on such issues as education, marriage, health care, poverty, abortion, euthanasia, social services, criminal justice and the environment. The principles of Catholic social teaching are applied to critical issues of the day and encourage citizen involvement in the legislative process.
More detailed information on the five issues for the 2014 Catholics at the Capitol event can be found by clicking here.