Human Rights

Why Domincans and Human Rights?

“The focus on human rights touches and unifies every aspect of our work to respect and defend the inherent dignity and freedom of each and every person which is at the heart of the Good News that Jesus, the Incarnate Word, came to preach”  From the final statement of the Salamanca International Congress of the Order of Preachers, September 2016


Our commitments to Human Rights

Consistent Ethic of Life

We believe in the interconnection of all life which is at the heart of a consistent ethic of life. We commit to the protection of the whole of life on Earth. Our commitment fundamentally requires a conversion of heart and compels us to address any injustice that diminishes the community of life. We reverence the sacredness of life and address injustice in a spirit of respect, compassion, and solidarity.

This stance is a corporate (“embodied” and incarnate) decision to protect the common good. It calls us to look at all issues through the lens of how our actions might sustain and support life in all its interconnectedness so that the community of life might flourish. It commits us—and publicly witnesses to our commitment—to look at issues, makes decisions, and act out of the Gospel value that “all may have life and have it more abundantly.” (Gospel of John 10:10)

Opposition to Human Trafficking

Building on our Consistent Ethic of Life stance that “we reverence the sacredness of life and address injustice in a spirit of respect, compassion and solidarity,” we, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, oppose the trafficking of all persons, especially that of women and children. We will continue to educate ourselves. We will support those efforts that work toward ending this unconscionable abuse. (Adopted October 2104)

Dismantling Racism

Our commitment to dismantling racism within our own institutions began in 1993 and has been reaffirmed at every General Chapter since then in the following ways:

1993: The Chapter mandates that we provide for a community study of racism and for experiences of direct contact with people of diverse cultures.
2001: The Chapter mandates that we engage in opportunities to understand our racial biases and to embrace cultural diversity in our congregation, our church, and our world.
2005: We commit ourselves to being on the path to becoming an anti-racist congregation and authorizing the anti-racism team to help us get there by leading us through training and analysis.
2009: Recognizing that the use of power has an impact on individuals and relationships, we choose to spend our energies and resources to promote relationships based on the Gospel values of respect and mutuality.

Nuclear Disarmament

The Dominican Sisters of Springfield call upon the United States government to lead the way for the global abolition of nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction by adopting a plan to lock down, reduce and eliminate such weapons. We call for the immediate development, adoption and implementation of a plan that will ensure there will be no new development of nuclear weapons, no materials generated for nuclear weapons and no testing of nuclear weapons. We will work with all people of goodwill until there is no chance that a nuclear weapon or other weapon of mass destruction can come into the hands of anyone wishing to do harm. (Adopted June 2011)

Moratorium on Planting Genetically Modified Organisms

We support a moratorium on the planting of genetically engineered crops pending environmental and human safety studies. Until such time as this technology is proven safe, all foods containing genetically engineered ingredients should be labeled. (Adopted June 2004)

Opposition to the War against Iraq

We, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, as sisters to Dominican women and men in Iraq and as members of the human family, regret that our government has decided to renew a war against the people of Iraq. We oppose this decision. We pledge to redouble our personal efforts toward peace and invite all people of good will to join us. To all those who will suffer the consequences of this violence at home and abroad: Iraqi civilians, American and Iraqi combatants, children, immigrants and refugees, the homeless and hungry, the jobless and working poor, we offer the only thing we have to give – our prayer for God’s protection.  (Adopted March 2003)

Previously, in June 2000, we registered our opposition to economic sanctions against Iraq that had been in place since 1990: We, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, stand in solidarity with the people in Iraq. We urge our government to end the bombing and the sanctions that harm innocent people. We further urge our government to replace these actions with creative diplomatic solutions. 

Abolition of the Death Penalty

We, the Springfield Dominicans, recognize and respect the dignity of all persons and seek to end all forms of violence in our lives and in our world. We therefore seek the abolition of the death penalty.  (Adopted June 1999)

Addendum:  On March 9, 2011, Illinois became the 16th state to abolish the death penalty. Governor Pat Quinn noted, “It is impossible to devise a system that is consistent, that is free of discrimination on the basis of race, geography or economic circumstance, and that always gets it right.”

Closing the School of the Americas

We, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, join our voice in calling for the closing of the U.S. School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, because it continues to perpetuate violence against our Latin American sisters and brothers. (Since 2011 it has been known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHISC.) (Adopted August 1996)

Housing Justice in Springfield, Ill.

We the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, support a just, peaceful, and amicable implementation of scattered-site housing in Springfield. (Adopted November 1994)