Sojourners Magazine: July 2014
MICHELLE ALEXANDER’S The New Jim Crow, published in 2010, changed the way Americans understand racialized incarceration in the U.S. If W.E.B. DuBois made clear that the “color line” was the issue of the 20th century, then Alexander is teaching us that mass incarceration is the color line’s insidious 21st century version. Growing awareness, however, is leading to changed policies and restored lives for thousands. In this issue, Alexander lays out the challenges she sees ahead.
To succeed, justice movements such as the one Alexander describes must be based in deep-rooted ethical and theological principles, such as those that make up Catholic social teaching. In the decades since the 1891 encyclical “On the Condition of Labor,” this body of doctrine relating to the church and the world provides insights into specific issues that Christians face today. Tom Allio, a longtime social action director in Ohio, reviews the principles of Catholic social teaching and the ways that Pope Francis has renewed them.
Franciscan Brother Robert Lentz, a classically trained iconographer, has spent many years in a studio in suburban Maryland painting his prayers. We think you’ll recognize his art, even if you didn’t know his name. In these pages you’ll find a peek into his studio as well as the story of the spiritual journey that informs his artistic vocation.
Finally, we look at the creative work being done by four young activists in the country’s heartland, who model how to be rooted and engaged in the places where we live, wherever that may be.