To honor the Lasallian call to respond to the poor and overcome injustice, we at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory have introduced an annual school-wide theme centered on a topic of social concern. We hope that through the integration of this theme into the appropriate curricular areas and other school programming, students will not only develop the ability to understand deeply and think critically, but also become seekers of justice in a world that needs our compassion and action.
School Theme 2013-2014: Investing in the World’s Women
“In particular I wish to consider the essential issue of the dignity and rights of women, as seen in the light of the word of God… Unfortunately… we are heirs to a history which as conditioned us to a remarkable extent. In every time and place, this condition has been an obstacle to the progress of women. Women’s dignity has often been unacknowledged and their prerogatives misrepresented; they have often been relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude. This has prevented women from truly being themselves and it has resulted in a spiritual impoverishment of humanity… When it comes to setting women free from every kind of exploitation and domination, the Gospel contains an ever relevant message which goes back to the attitude of Jesus Christ himself… This is a matter of justice but also of necessity. Women will increasingly play a part in the solution of the serious problems of the future: leisure time, the quality of life, migration, social services, euthanasia, drugs, health care, the ecology, etc. In all these areas a greater presence of women in society will prove most valuable…” --Letter of Pope John Paul II to Women, 1995, #1, 3
This year will be our fifth year of engaging in a school-wide theme related to a social justice concern. During the 2013-2014 school year, we will explore the rights of women around the globe. In their 2009 book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn offer the following:
“Girls in poor countries are particularly undernourished, physically, and intellectually. If we educate and feed those girls and give them employment opportunities, then the world as a whole will gain a new infusion of human intelligence—and poor countries will garner citizens and leaders who are better equipped to address those countries’ challenges” (240).
Kristof and WuDunn focus much of their research on developing countries, but also state that “the United States and other Western countries are not immune” to the challenges facing women. In fact, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a pastoral letter addressing violence against women states,
“As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified. Violence in any form"—physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal"—is sinful; often, it is a crime as well. We have called for a moral revolution to replace a culture of violence.”
Over the course of next year, we aim to raise the awareness of our students to the plight of women around the globe and encourage them to seek hopeful solutions both internationally and in their own communities.
Our Essential Questions:
- Investing in the World’s Women: Why does it matter?
- What happens when a culture, society, organization, or government marginalizes, oppresses, and/or underutilizes the talents and abilities of half its population?
- Why is it so important for humanity that women gain greater rights? What are the barriers that keep this from happening?