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The Justpeace List: 116 Just Actions

A miscellaneous grab bag of ideas. Nobody could do all of this, but most of us could find a few things that would be practical. The list isn't exhaustive, nor is it in any particular order. Send your suggestions and I'll add them to the list.

1. Write letters to the editor of secular and religious publications.

2. Write letters to politicians.

3. Volunteer at a homeless shelter.

4. Live in a Catholic Worker house.

5. Invite a poor family to move in with you.

6. Accompany a friend to the welfare/food stamp office.

7. Start a cooperative business.

8. Patronize cooperative businesses and microenterprises.

9. Reuse and recycle.

10. Plant a garden.

11. Spend your money wisely and intentionally.

12. Patronize locally-owned businesses.

13. Keep your money in a credit union.

14. Adopt children.

15. Sponsor children and the elderly in the overseas missions.

16. Give food to a food bank or St. Vincent de Paul circle, or other program that feeds the poor.

17. Donate generously and sacrificially to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Operation Rice Bowl of Catholic Relief Services.

18. Shop at flea markets, swap meets, and garage sales.

19. Create jobs with just wages.

20. Help people start microenterprises.

21. Join a food co-op.

22. Keep extra food on hand.

23. Start a religious order.

24. Read the newspaper intentionally -- with open eyes, ears, spirit, mind.

25. Visit the sick.

26. Start a justice and peace commission at your church.

27. Visit those in prison and their families.

28. Plant trees.

29. Talk about justice and peace (a lot).

30. Learn about justice and peace. Study and pray over (lectio divina) the "social justice canon"of magisterial teachings.

31. Get involved with a mentoring program such as Big Brothers/Sisters, or an after school tutoring program (or start one).

32. Teach people to read.

33. Register voters.

34. Teach English as a second language.

35. Pick up trash in public places and dispose of it properly.

36. Kill your TV, or at least, grievously wound it (apologies for the violent language).

37. Teach logic and rhetoric and also (while you're at it) learn how to understand, interpret, and mediate modern mass communications, especially the nature and identification and purpose of propaganda, and then tell everyone everywhere what you have learned and how you learned it.

38. Ignore most advertising, or watch it "intentionally" for what it tells us about our communities.

39. Teach your children to ignore most advertising. Encourage them to teach their friends to ignore most advertising.

40. Practice the theological virtues (faith, hope, love), the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance), and the civic virtues (self-discipline, respect, cooperation, responsibility, honesty, motivation, friendship, courage, non-violence, work) so you eventually will get good at them. (Practice makes perfect. If you can't do perfect, do good. Then do better.)

41. Volunteer at a school, library, hospital, or agency/apostolate in service to the poor.

42. Tithe your time and your money (generously and sacrificially).

43. Give somebody without a car a ride.

44. Avoid sweatshop clothing and products.

45. Pray the Rosary for justice and peace.

46. Go to mass regularly and devoutly participate, receiving the Body and Blood of our Savior as spiritual sustenance, hearing the Real Presence of Christ in the proclamation of the Word, and fellowshiping with the Real Presence of Christ in the assembly gathered in that place.

47. Become a catechist of justice and peace.

48. Pray and publicly witness at abortuaries.

49. Pray and publicly witness in rich neighborhoods/business districts.

50. Give literature and information about justice and peace.

51. Pray with lectio divina over the Holy Scriptures relating to justice and peace.

52. Practice kindness everywhere.

53. Make your own bread and teach others how to do this.

54. Participate in your neighborhood association (or start one, if there isn't one.)

55. Move to a poor or working class neighborhood.

56. Give books to a library.

57. Donate stuff to thrift stores.

58. Run for political office.

59. Be involved with a political or issue campaign.

60. Start or join a political committee.

61. Make intelligent use of pre-evangelistic techniques and materials, i.e. advertising, bumper stickers, tracts, prayer cards, greeting cards, stickers, etc.)

62. Make friends with poor people; be a good neighbor to them.

63. Adopt voluntary poverty as a lifestyle. Reduce your hours at work so you make less money. Seek a certain indifference about material things and a humble gratefulness for the bounty of Creation.

64. Help students apply for college/job training and help them navigate the financial aid process.

65. Help students with their homework. Provide educational opportunities.

66. Give fish as necessary, but also teach fishing. Help provide fishing gear and tackle, and build fish ponds.

67. Give a pregnant unmarried mother a home in your own home. Treat her as though she was your own daughter.

68. Avoid economic reductionism.

69. Support political initiatives that protect a place for the economic activity of poor people, such as allowing vending/food sales at highway rest stops, public stadium parking lots, sidewalks, lawns of public buildings, also deregulation of personal transportation for hire (so that poor people can operate cabs, jitneys and buses); home businesses, food delivery, garment-making, crafts, and other microenterprise endeavors. Necessary reforms include regulatory/zoning/tax relief, loan funds/access to credit, an end to urban policies that destroy poor and working class neighborhoods, hiring people who live in poor neighborhoods to work on community development initiatives in their neighborhoods.

70. Support affordable housing: oppose redevelopment and tax increment financing schemes, support Single Room Occupancy hotels, enact affordable housing building codes that allow for alternative (and less expensive) construction methods such as straw bale, rammed earth, COB, oppose fake privatization schemes that benefit corporate interests and destroy housing for the poor.

71. Participate in the campaign to close the School of the Americas and support the demilitarization of our relationships with Latin America.

72. Produce a public access cable show on Catholic justice and peace.

73. Make or fund a Catholic social justice video.

74. Give away cassette tapes on Catholic social justice issues.

75. Start or participate in a justice monitoring/witnessing project.

76. Don't give your kids toy guns.

77. Learn, practice, and teach non-violent conflict resolution alternatives.

78. Don't abuse children.

79. Start a Catholic Worker house.

80. Start a Catholic social justice publication, e-zine, or website.

81. Don't borrow money unless it is absolutely necessary or an emergency, and if you do have to take out a loan, do so with a credit union.

82. Learn to sew and teach others.

83. During Lent, limit your food budget to the typical food stamp allotment for a family the size of yours. Alternatively, do this all during the year as a sign of solidarity and simple living.

84. Abstain from meat every Friday, dedicate this as a day of penance and reparation for the sins against social justice of our societies and communities.

85. Teach people how to cook tasty, frugal, and nutritious meals. Prepare such food for your family and share it with others.

86. Be prepared for emergencies.

87. Avoid the television news except during immediate crises.

88. Eat with poor people, often, and listen carefully to what they have to say. If you aren't poor, and don't live in a poor neighborhood, and perhaps are in a situation where you don't actually meet very many poor people, go out of your way to meet, talk with, listen to, and fellowship with poor people. Be friends and good neighbors with many poor people.

89. Don't buy new cars.

90. Compost.

91. Don't waste energy.

92. Be frugal, avoid consumerism.

93. Support ballot access for minor parties.

94. Take in stray cats and dogs.

95. Buy direct from farmers and craftspeople.

96. Join an intentional cooperative community. (Or start one.)

97. Invite people not of your race/ethnic group/class to dinner often, and accept their invitations to visit them in their homes and neighborhoods.

98. Encourage your catechists, priests, and bishops to provide proper formation in social justice.

99. Run for a political party office.

100. Be a willing listener to people in distress.

101. Adopt a welfare family, or encourage your parish to do so.

102. Create yard and neighborhood shrines.

103. Speak at government meetings.

104. Listen to and learn from elders. If you are an elder, share your wisdom and experience.

105. Call in to talk radio programs and discuss issues from the perspective of justice and peace.

106. Donate books on Catholic social justice to libraries, also, subscriptions to magazines.

107. Smile at people you meet and leave them with a blessing of peace.

108. Drive kindly.

109. Make candles so people can light them.

110. Support universal means testing for all government entitlements.

111. Oppose Aid to Dependent Corporations and Welfare for the Rich.

112. Support debt forgiveness for poor countries.

113. Welcome legal and illegal immigrants with hospitality.

114. Include global concerns in your participation in justice and peace.

115. Support payment of just wages.

116. Help the Church be just in its actions and relationships.

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