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General Assembly 2014 Event 435
The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary.
We are honored to have as our Ware Lecturer this year Sister Simone Campbell. Sister Simone is one of America’s most articulate and effective advocates for compassionate public policy.
Sister Simone is a religious leader, an attorney and a poet who has been a passionate spokesperson for immigration reform, economic justice and health care for all.
Two years ago she was instrumental in organizing the “Nuns on the Bus” tour as a way of drawing attention to the effects of the “Ryan Budget” on people in need. Last year she led a cross country “Nuns on the Bus” tour focused on comprehensive immigration reform.
I am proud and happy to say that we Unitarian Universalists have been partners in her efforts. I recall picking her up at Logan Airport in Boston last year as she arrived to speak at a UU Mass Action event. I was so excited that I took a wrong turn getting out of the airport.
Her involvement in social justice work goes back to the 1970s. In her long career she has been a leader in her religious order, Sisters of Social Service. And this year marks her Jubilee celebration - 50 years of inspired and spiritual justice work.
Her efforts have received much media attention, including appearances on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She was invited to speak at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
But now, Sister Simone, you have finally hit the big time! Now you join the distinguished list of Ware Lecturers at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly.
It is an honor and a joy to have you with us.
Please join me in welcoming Sister Simone Campbell as our Ware Lecture for 2014.
A full transcript of this talk will be available by the end of July.
Sister Simone Campbell is the National Coordinator of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare and economic justice. Around the country, she is a noted speaker and educator on these public policy issues.
During the 2010 congressional debate about healthcare reform, she wrote the famous “nuns’ letter” supporting the reform bill and got 59 leaders of Catholic Sisters, including LCWR, to sign on. This action was cited by many as critically important in passing the Affordable Care Act. She was thanked by President Obama and invited to the ceremony celebrating its being signed into law.
In 2012, she was also instrumental in organizing the “Nuns on the Bus” tour of nine states to oppose the “Ryan Budget” approved by the House of Representatives. This budget would decimate programs meant to help people in need. “Nuns on the Bus” received an avalanche of attention across the nation from religious communities, elected officials and the media.
She recently led a new cross-country Nuns on the Bus trip (May 28 through June 18, 2013), focused on comprehensive immigration reform.
Sr. Simone has often been featured in the national and international media, including recent appearances on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
She has received numerous awards, including the "Defender of Democracy Award" from the international Parliamentarians for Global Action and "Health Care Heroes Award" from Families USA. In addition, she has been the keynote or featured speaker at numerous large gatherings, including the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Sr. Simone has also served as the Executive Director of JERICHO, the California interfaith public policy organization that works to protect the interests of people living in poverty. Simone also participated in a delegation of religious leaders to Iraq in December 2002, just prior to the war, and was later part of a Catholic Relief Services delegation to Lebanon and Syria to study the Iraqi refugee situation there.
Before JERICHO, she served as the general director of her religious community, the Sisters of Social Service. She was the leader of her Sisters in the United States, Mexico, Taiwan and the Philippines. In this capacity, she negotiated with government and religious leaders in each of these countries.
In 1978, Sr. Simone founded and served for 18 years as the lead attorney for the Community Law Center in Oakland, California. She served the family law and probate needs of the working poor of her county.
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Last updated on Saturday, June 28, 2014.
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