Gina Ciliberto 2-19-2021

Sr. Dianna Ortiz. Photo: Johnny Zokovitch

On Feb. 19, Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU died of cancer at age 62. Ortiz is known for her international anti-torture activism following her own kidnapping and torture in Guatemala in 1989.

Jenna Barnett 2-19-2021

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

It’s hard to be far away when tragedy hits close to home. (Well, maybe not for Ted Cruz.)

Marleny Almendarez, 38, with her niece Madelyne Hernandez, 3, and two boys, Aaron Hall, 11, and Matthew Hall, 14, outside their home in Dallas on Feb. 18, 2021. The family spent two nights at a mobile warming station to avoid the cold temperatures. Photo: Ben Torres for The Texas Tribune

Neighborhoods across the state — some lined with million dollar homes, others by more modest dwellings — went cold and dark for days as Texas struggled to keep the power on during a dangerous winter storm. But while the catastrophe wrought by unprecedented weather was shared by millions left shivering in their own homes, the suffering was not equally spread.

Gina Ciliberto 2-16-2021

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song airs on PBS on Feb. 16 & 17. Image via screengrab.

On Feb. 16, PBS will air the first episode of a new, four-hour, two-part series, The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song. Hosted and written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is also the documentary’s executive producer, the series traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, beginning with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and culminating in the present day.

Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash

Lent is always a solemn period of penance, reflection, and prayer, but this year that reflection is different. Though vaccinations are on the rise, the virus has killed nearly 500,000 people in America and forced many more into isolation. For many Christians, Lent in 2021 has also taken on a new significance beyond the requirements of social distancing.

Mitchell Atencio 2-12-2021

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., on May 8, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“The law guarantees Smith the right to practice his faith free from unnecessary interference, including at the moment the State puts him to death,” wrote Justice Elena Kagan.

Betsy Shirley 2-12-2021

Stories about folks responding creatively to whatever is trapping them.

Madison Muller 2-12-2021

Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Southeast Washington is the first faith-based vaccination partner in DC Health’s “Faith in the Vaccine” initiative. Photo by Madison Muller for Sojourners.

Senior citizens braved the winter weather on Thursday morning for their COVID-19 vaccine appointments at Pennsylvania Baptist Church in Southeast Washington, D.C. By the end of the day, 100 Washingtonians would be vaccinated at the church.

Mitchell Atencio 2-11-2021

On Wednesday night, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed a district court’s decision and ruled that the state of Alabama must allow Willie B. Smith III’s pastor to be in the execution chamber during Smith’s execution.

Priyadarshini Sen 2-09-2021

Women make rosaries at Vilma Antony’s home in Koonammavu. Photo courtesy Rinton Ravi Jose.

Turning beads into elegant rosaries isn’t merely Vilma Antony’s sustenance. It’s her spiritual calling.

It has been over a month since a mob of violent protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol under the false belief that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. Since then, Joe Biden has been inaugurated as the country’s 46th president. The country is, ostensibly, moving forward. And yet, the fractures exposed by the election and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have not been fixed.

Mitchell Atencio 2-05-2021

Willie B. Smith III.

On Feb. 11, the state of Alabama intends to execute Willie B. Smith III without his pastor by his side — which Smith alleges is a violation of his religious freedom.

Gina Ciliberto 2-05-2021

The Virginia State Capitol, the seat of state government of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is pictured in Richmond, Va., Feb. 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jay Paul

Lawmakers in Virginia voted on Friday to abolish the death penalty. The Democratic-led House of Delegates voted 57-41 Friday, after the Senate passed the measure earlier this week. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said he would sign the repeal into law.

Madison Muller 2-03-2021

Nadine Seiler admires the fence she has been protecting since Oct. 27. Many of the signs on the fence she has had to repair with tape, plastic wrap, or zip ties after they were vandalized by pro-Trump supporters during various demonstrations since October. “The fence is like my baby, I guard it like a guard dog,” Seiler said. Photo: Madison Muller

Nadine Seiler began protesting then-President Donald Trump in 2017 with one simple sign: a pink piece of paper with the word “RESIST” written across it in black ink. Until late January, that same sign hung among hundreds of others on what community members call “the Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence” in Washington, D.C., near the White House.

Gina Ciliberto 2-01-2021

A sign advocating nuclear disarmament outside the White House on July 4, 2009. Image: Frontpage / Shutterstock.com

On Jan. 27, former California Gov. Jerry Brown — now executive chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — spoke passionately to fellow global leaders, scientists, and public figures at the Doomsday Clock virtual news conference. “It’s time to eliminate nuclear weapons, not build more of them,” he said.

Jenna Barnett 1-29-2021

For instance: "What does it mean to look at oneself through the gaze of one's own history?"

Curtis Yee 1-27-2021

After graduating during the Great Recession, which also coincided with his divorce, Derek Williams struggled to build his fledgling private practice and make ends meet. He told Sojourners there were times when he was unable to pay for simple necessities, let alone meet his regular student loan payments.

Ruth E. Berggren, one of the San Antonio leaders who signed an interfaith pledge to publicly support the COVID-19 vaccine, recieves her vaccine. Photo courtesy of Ruth E. Berggren.

When Rev. Ann Helmke, who leads San Antonio’s Faith-Based Initiative, invited Kemp to sign an interfaith pledge to publicly take the COVID-19 vaccine, he was quick to say yes. Part of the pledge involves sharing a selfie of the vaccination process on social media. “The importance of people of faith speaking to their congregations, their constituency, their area of influence, cannot be overstated,” said Kemp, who received his first vaccine dose on Dec. 18 and shared a photo of it on Facebook.

Mitchell Atencio 1-26-2021

A banner welcoming immigrants and refugees on the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Church in Atlanta, Ga., on Jan. 22, 2019.  Cari Rubin Photography / Shutterstock.com

Members of Congress, led by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), wrote President Joe Biden a letter asking him to ensure those taking sanctuary in houses of worship would be protected from deportation. They also asked the Biden-Harris administration to lift the deportation orders against all people living in sanctuary.

Lexi McMenamin 1-25-2021

The Parler app on the screen of smartphone. Ascannio / Shutterstock.com

Parler was removed by app stores and its web server, Amazon. But getting rid of Parler is like cutting one head off a hydra: Since Parler’s suspension, MeWe and Rumble have seen massive gains.