December 2017 Agitator

Here is the December Catholic Agitator

In This Issue:

      • Slow But Steady – Christmas 2017 Appeal by Jeff Dietrich
      • Fighting For Skid Row Toilets, A Matter Of Dignity by Matt Harper
      • Racism And The Lost Cause – Letter To The Editor by Richard Nester
      • Better Know a Volunteer by Sarah Fuller and Theo Kayser
      • At LMU LACW Protest the Air Force ROTC Program by Matt Harper
      • Knowing I Was Loved by Mary Ann O’Connor
      • A Motley Gang Of Holy Daredevils by Marc Gulaya
      • Practicing Compassion by Kaleb Haven
      • Faith And Justice by Iris Vazquez Howard
      • The Demands of Skid Row by Lilian Vasquez

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St. Paul High School 2017 Walk For Hunger

On Sunday, December 3, St. Paul High School, in Santa Fe Springs, had their 45th Annual March For Hunger, which benefits the LACW. The walk begins at Salazar Park in East L.A. and ends at Santa Monica Beach, a 26+ mile journey. The LACW and a few kitchen volunteers greeted the walkers and gave them key chains five miles into the walk. Eight LACW community members and volunteers also joined on the walk on a gorgeous, sunny, 72 degree day (lower right photo). We thank all students, faculty, parents, and alumni for walking to help feed our guests at the “Hippie Kitchen.” We wish you many blessings and a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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Memorial for U.S. Church Women Martyred in El Salvador

Join the LACW community for a memorial service on Saturday, December 2, 7pm at Mount St. Marys College Doheny Campus in Chapel (near building 15), 10 Chester Place, Los Angeles, CA 90007, Phone: 626-345-1666, to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the four U.S. churchwomen martyred in El Salvador.

The four women — (pictured from top left) Sister Ita Ford, M.M., Sister Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U., lay missioner Jean Donovan, and Sister Maura Clarke, M.M, were, on Dec. 2, 1980, abducted, raped, shot and killed by Salvadoran national guardsmen trained at the U.S. School of the Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, GA. The murders were part of a brutal pattern of attacks by death squads and members of the Salvadoran Armed Forces against persons working with El Salvador’s poor and war refugees.

The women were killed nine months after the assassination, in March 1980, of El Salvador Archbishop Oscar Romero, also killed by graduates of the SOA with U.S. taxpayer money.

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LACW Protests Air Force ROTC Program At Loyola Marymount University

On Thursday, November 16, the 28th anniversary of the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter, at the University of El Salvador by U.S. trained Salvadoran troops, at all Jesuit Universities across the U.S. there were protests against the ROTC programs at each university.

The LACW had a presence at Loyola Marymount University – Los Angeles. We began outside a campus chapel by praying the Rosary for an end of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Program at LMU. We then proceeded to the main entrance for a vigil and few short talks explaining our purpose and inviting others to join us. There we were greeted by a small group of counter demonstrators in favor of the military and ROTC Program. We then went inside to the area outside the AF-ROTC offices. Then proceeded to the President’s office, where we were denied a meeting with LMU President Snyder, but his spokesperson agreed to accept a symbolic cardboard sword (representing St. Ignatius sword that he laid down and rejected his military career that he may follow the nonviolent Christ) and a flyer calling Mr. Snyder to end the ROTC program since it is am absolute contradiction to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith. See more photos HERE.

There were no arrests or confrontations with the counter demonstrators, although we did engage in conversations.

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Upcoming Holiday Schedule

Please note that Hospitality Kitchen (aka Hippie Kitchen) is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23. However, we will be open on Saturday, November 25.

Further, the kitchen will also be closed on Saturday, December 23, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, reopen on Tuesday, December 26. We will also be closed on New Years Eve and New Years Day (reopen on Tuesday, January 2).

Also, we do not accept volunteers working for school service requirements or other forms of community service hours beginning the week after Thanksgiving until the week after Christmas. We do not have space to accommodate the many people who wish to volunteer during this time period.

Thank you. Happy holidays. May your holiday season be safe and filled with many blessings and much joy, happiness, and love.

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Sunday, November 19 is World Day Of The Poor and World Toilet Day


This LINK details Pope Francis’ call for a “World Day of the Poor” as an opportunity to grow in mercy and charity, and in shaping attitudes toward the poor and needy.

This LINK explains the United Nations “World Toilet Day” as a time to take action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Today, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste.

Both of these significant issues–poverty and severe lack of sanitation–affect most of the folks who eat at our soup kitchen. We applaud Pope Francis for challenging each of us to look at our attitude toward the poor and homeless in our midst, and around the world. We must ask ourselves, What does it say about this, the wealthiest society in human history, who also believes itself a “Christian” society, yet also believes it acceptable that millions of its citizens are forced to live on the streets of our cities and towns, often without sufficient sanitation? How tragic that we reject God’s mandate in Deuteronomy 15:4 that, “There should be no one of you in need.” And Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31-46 that whatever we do or fail to do to the least among us we also do to Him.

Here in Los Angeles we have more than 51,000 homeless people, including approximately 4,000 who live on the streets of Skid Row in unconscionable subhuman conditions due to a severe lack of sanitation facilities. The City and County of Los Angeles have failed miserably to meet the standards set by the United Nations Policy For Refugee Camps. According to a recent report, refugee camps in Syria have better sanitation conditions than on Skid Row. The study requires 164 toilets and hand washing stations be installed by year’s end to meet these standards. If this is not bad enough, Governor Brown recently declared a state of emergency because of the Hepatitis A outbreak. Toilets and hand washing stations are essential to help combat and defeat this critical health crisis.

Both, our faith and the United Nations, call us to act. This is a great time to contact L.A. city officials–Councilman Jose Huizar’s office at 213-473-7014 and Mayor Eric Garcetii’s office at 213-978-0600 to demand that the 164 portable toilets and hand washing stations immediately be placed on the streets of Skid Row. This health crisis cannot and must not continue any longer.

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LACW Participates In Refuse Fascism Rally And March

On Saturday, November 4, LACW community members Mike Wisniewski, Maria Teresa Kamel and Alexandria Addesso (Top left Photo) participated in the Refuse Fascism Rally and March beginning at Pershing Square in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. This event was part of a multi-city national protest against the fascist Trump regime. There were approximately 800 people in attendance along with a group of approximately 50 pro-Trump supporters. There was no violence between the two groups. See more photos HERE (click on photos for high resolution viewing). See Los Angeles Times story HERE.

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A Baptism is Celebrated at the Wednesday Evening Liturgy

On Wednesday, November 1, at our weekly 6pm Liturgy, our longtime friend and fellow resister, Fr. Chris Ponnet, baptized former community members Alecia Stuchlik and Eddie Pilolla’s two children, Hazel and Jesse. It was a joyous occasion with community members Jesse and Martha Lewis as witnesses/godparents.

In the top left photo is the Pilolla family, including Eddie’s mom. Top right is Hazel being baptized. Lower left is Jesse being baptized. Lower right is Alecia singing a song she wrote dedicated to their children. It was an honor to have Ed and Alecia decide to have their children baptized at the LACW. Our prayer is for Hazel and Jesse to grow in God’s love and be guided by the Spirit throughout their lives.

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Día de los Muertos — Day of the Dead 2017

The LACW celebrates the Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) on November 1 & 2 (All Saints and All Souls Day in the Catholic tradition) to remember, honor, and celebrate the lives of family, friends, and mentors who have gone before us. The altar usually stays up until just before Thanksgiving. The top left photo is our altar for 2017, top right photo is house guest Alberto’s wall display, bottom left and right are figures on the altar (double click on photos to view in high resolution).

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Happy Halloween–At The Hippie Kitchen

Some LACW community members came to work today dressed for the occasion. Alex Addesso, Matt Harper, Ann Boden, Susan Dietrich, Megan Ramsey, Sarah Fuller and Kaleb Havens.

May this All Hallows Eve be joyful and safe for everyone. May you also have a pleasant All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

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L.A. City Hall Toilet Action Day

On Wednesday, October 25, the LACW along with LA CAN, Black Lives Matter LA, and others, gathered on the steps of L.A. City Hall to protest the lack of toilets and hand-washing stations on Skid Row to help combat the Hepatitis A outbreak. While there was a press conference and rally on the outside, and the dumping of collected used disposable hand towels in the portico area, several men and women went inside and occupied 4th floor restroom stalls for more than four hours, placing signs on each stall door (see below). There were no arrests. This LINK is to the L.A. Times coverage. See this LINK for a short video. And this LINK and this LINK for more press coverage.

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City Hall Toilet Action

A few LACW community members hit the streets on Skid Row today and collected a trash bag of used disposable towel wipes that we handed out as well as signatures on a toilet, all of which will be used in our city hall toilet action this Wednesday, October 25, at 10am. We have also collected a few trash bags full of used disposable wipes on kitchen serving days, which all combined, will be used in this action. We ask and encourage anyone who can join us on Wednesday to please contact us at 323-267-8789 or at by Tuesday evening or show up at city hall, at First and Main, Wednesday morning at 9:45am.

This nonviolent action is in response to the Hepatitis “A” outbreak on Skid Row and the lack of concern by city officials to provide portable toilets and hand-washing stations as recommended by a recent study, which found that toilets on Skid Row are less accessible than in Syrian refugee camps. The study recommended that 107 portable toilets and hand-washing stations be installed in the 50 square block area on the eastern edge of downtown known as Skid Row, which has a homeless population of approximately 4000 people. Again, if you can afford the time, please join us. As an added note, Governor Brown recently DECLARED a state of emergency over the Hepatitis A outbreak in which 19 people have already died.

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