Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown Hosts Dialogue to Promote Investment in Low-Income Families

Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life hosted an online dialogue exploring how members of the Catholic faith can increase their efforts to help people experiencing poverty around the world on Jan. 16. 

Kim Daniels, director of the initiative and member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, moderated “Promoting a Consistent Ethic of Life: Investing in Low-Income Children and Families.” Patrick Brown, Kerry Robinson (CAS ’88), Barbara Williams-Skinner and Sr. Norma Pimental, M.J., joined Daniels to discuss the issues of low-income communities and how the Church can take steps to alleviate these problems. 

Daniels said members of the Catholic faith are called to advocate for and advance the common good of God among the most vulnerable, such as residents of low-income communities. 

“This is a test of our faith and humanity and an inescapable challenge. We are called to create an authentic culture of life, one that defends the inviolable dignity of all human beings, to pursue dialogue and resist ideological approaches and to stand in solidarity with the vulnerable, consistently and effectively defending human life and dignity in these violent and divisive times,” Daniels said. 

The conversation occurred just hours after Congress introduced an expansion to the child tax credit, a bipartisan agreement that would provide 16 million children from struggling families with financial relief. 

Brown, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who works with the Life and Family Initiative, said the agreement is significant since it allocates the aid package per child in a family rather than per family. 

“It’s a technical difference but it actually leads to hundreds of dollars more over the course of the year,” Brown said. “That’s more money in their pocket to help deal with diapers, groceries and childcare.”

Michael Scime/The Hoya | Georgetown’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life hosted “Promoting a Consistent Ethic of Life: Investing in Low-Income Children and Families”, featuring Kerry Robinson (CAS ’88), Kim Daniels, Patrick Brown and Sr. Norma Pimental, M.J., on Jan. 16.

Williams-Skinner, the CEO of Skinner Leadership Institute, co-convener of the National African American Clergy Network, co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Prayer Breakfast and a leader in the Circle of Protection, said the Congressional announcement is a step in the right direction, but that continued action is needed to assist low-income families going forward. 

“I am hopefully optimistic that this small group of bipartisan members will be able to impact the whole. I am hopeful, but that is not enough. We have to reach out, right now, all of us. If you have contacts on the Republican side, you should be reaching out to those people and likewise those of us who are Democrats should be doing the same with senators and others,” Williams-Skinner said. 

Pimental, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said coordination among various groups looking to help the impoverished is a key component of making a tangible impact. 

“I can call the director at the port of entry and say ‘there’s a family and,’ or ‘this just happened yesterday, there was a mother who was in labor pains on the bridge and she needed to get to the other side so that we could help her correctly.’ And so I could actually call the head of the port of entry and say ‘Help us move this lady to the proper place,’” Pimental said. 

Pimental emphasized the importance of joining forces with one’s peers for the common good. 

“It is what we can do together collectively. Together we can respond to what we see before us every single day. It’s not just myself, not just Catholic Charities; it is everybody,” she said. 

Kerry Robinson, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, echoed Pimental’s remarks and said empathy is essential for people to regard themselves as part of a tight-knit community with the less fortunate.

“We must see people as humans, members of this human family, just like you and me, who are in need. And the only way we are going to get there is to allow ourselves, as Pope Francis enjoins us to do, to encounter and accompany others, people who are different from us,” Robinson said.  

Robinson added that passively supporting initiatives that address the problems facing low-income families is not enough, and that taking action is crucial.

“Using our voices, using our platforms, using our leaderships and using our networks to corral people to enact just, humane policies is absolutely critical so that we can create those very conditions that allow humankind to flourish,” she said. “If one is suffering, we are all suffering.”

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