The Ethics Institute was established in 1987 by Sister Siena Finley, RSM, and a group of community professionals and leaders from the Wyoming Valley who wished to foster more dialogue on ethical issues affecting the region. It is an institution directed by regional leaders and educators who are committed to the discussion of ethical issues both theoretical and practical. The institute encourages responsible ethical action through informed rational deliberation, and it facilitates this process in the academic community as well as in the community at large through special workshops and forums. The institute also bestows the Sister Siena Finley Ethics Award upon a person or organization that has demonstrated exemplary ethical behavior in their personal, civic and/or professional life during its annual dinner.
STATEMENT FROM THE BOARD OF THE NE PA ETHICS INSTITUTE CONCERNING THE CURRENT RELIANCE ON VIOLENCE IN AMERICA AND ITS USE IN THE TARGETING OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR
Mother Teresa diagnosed the world’s ills in this way: we’ve just 'forgotten that we belong to each other.'... I suspect that were kinship our goal, we would no longer be promoting justice—we would be celebrating it.
-- Fr. Gregory Boyle, SJ (founder, Homeboy Industries, Los Angeles)
We, the Board of the NE PA Ethics Institute recognize that people of good will cannot be silent when their fellow Americans are coping with heart-breaking grief resulting from the unwarranted use of violence, especially against persons of color.
Consequently, we express our solidarity with members of the African- American community and all citizens who have been hurt and/or killed through the violence of the socially-cancerous bigotry still infecting our cherished institutions.
Words alone cannot effect change unless individually and collectively the good people of the United States open their hearts to the reality of racial injustice and the use of violence as a strategy to resolve our problems.
Neurosurgeon James R. Doty, MD in his book, INTO THE MAGIC SHOP... writes:
Research shows the heart to be an organ of intelligence with its own profound influence not only from our brain but on our brain, our reasoning, our choices...the heart not only thinks for itself but sends out signals to the rest of the body...
We all need to look to our hearts for guidance as to how each of us might respond peacefully and ethically to the prejudices we hold within ourselves and the systematic racism still alive in our beloved country. If we "let our heart speak," we might find what national treasure and advocate for social justice Maya Angelou experienced:
I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
As a Board committed to promoting awareness of the ethical implications of individual actions and public policy, we commit ourselves to addressing prejudice, discrimination, and the unjust use of violence in our future programming. We call upon all who cherish the heart of what it really means to be "the land of the free" and the home of the brave."
May we have the courage to listen to our hearts and to listen to the heartbreak of our sisters and brothers.
Peace and All Good.
James M. Calderone, Director
On behalf of the NE PA Ethics Institute Board
Letter from Director of Ethics Institute:
Cherishing human life and believing in the inherent dignity of every individual are values found in most, perhaps all, serious ethical frameworks worldwide. In addition, these two values are ordinarily ranked at or near the top by societies which consider themselves to be humane.
As Members of the Board of the NE PA Ethics Institute at Misericordia University, we affirm the primacy of these values, and we object strongly to the current policies which have been and continue to be implemented by United States government agencies responsible for working with people seeking asylum at our southern border.
In particular, the detention of asylum seekers, the separation of families, the lack of a structure for a swift unification of families, and the use of national policy to further political goals at the expense of creating long-lasting human harm are all unacceptable for a nation which upholds human rights.
We urge all to express their concerns to our representatives about a national environment where policies and practices subordinate human dignity and human welfare and elevate an unhealthy fear and a retaliatory defensiveness in the “promotion of national security.” Disrespect of the values that we as Americans hold as ideals, such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” should never be tolerated, especially in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.
We hope that the powerful phrases (from Emma Lazarus’ 1903 poem, “The New Colossus”) which are written on a plaque at the foundation of our Statue of Liberty are still written deep in the heart of every American:
…Bring me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, and the tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Dr. James M. Calderone, Director
On Behalf of THE BOARD MEMBERS OF THE NE PA ETHICS INSTITUTE AT MISERICORDIA UNIVERSITY