It is easy to become paralyzed by the enormity of suffering across the globe and our God-given call to do something about that suffering. We fail to act not because we don’t care but because we don’t know the best way to effect change. BFJN’s goal is to empower Christians to take action toward a more just world by first becoming aware of the extent of poverty and oppression faced by our local and global neighbors and then transforming our own lives in response.
There are many ways to fight injustice, and each individual should be guided by personal convictions in choosing where to devote his or her resources. But these decisions can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming to make. In order to offer opportunities for action and interaction, this year the Boston Faith & Justice Network is focusing on two selected case study issues connected to deep suffering in the world. With the community of like-minded participants in our network, we intend to learn more about these issues, engage with them, wrestle with them, and use our resources to be part of the solution. Through learning, acting, and giving together, we hope to equip ourselves as a community of Christ-followers to be agents of generosity, grace, and reconciliation wherever we are called.
Rejecting slavery in the products we buy:
Forced labor—a form of modern-day slavery—is still prevalent in the supply chains of common products that we regularly use. This reality means that money from some of our purchases support companies that participate in enslavement of children and adults. But we can choose what we spend our money on. We can refuse, to the best of our ability, to buy products that are made with forced labor at any stage.
Chocolate is one industry with a history of brutality. Most mainstream chocolate companies—including Nestlé, Hershey, and Mars, among many others— source cocoa from West Africa, where children as young as seven are sold to work in in cocoa fields. Since chocolate is a luxury item, we can opt not to buy it, or to find alternative producers who buy their cocoa from farmers who do not use slaves. But we can also go further with personal lifestyle changes, advocacy, and giving.
Ending Extreme poverty in 2030:
The number of people living in extreme poverty–$1.25 per person per day—was cut in half from 1990 to 2010. Although some have attributed this success largely to rapid economic growth in some of the world’s largest countries, there are thousands of organizations around the world that have been working to empower the poorest people across the globe through education, health care, relief, and development.
About 800 million people across the globe still struggle with severely low incomes, and some of these organizations are coming together with the UN, the World Bank, and government aid agencies to call for the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030. We intend to join with other supporting organizations to add our voices and resources to achieve this goal.