When asked, “What is the Twomey Center?,” The answer is often a recitation or our missions statement...a history lesson – “…started in 1947…” – and some words about Loyola’s commitment to social justice. That’s all good but it begs the question, “What do you actually do? What have you accomplished lately?”
It is a good question and we would like to share with you some of our current work and accomplishments.
Some recent accomplishments of Sr. Jane Remson, O. Carm., Director of Bread for rhe World Louisiana.
Accomplishments of Jane Remson’s work for the Twomey Center
Over the last 10 years Sr. Jane Remson has led Bread for the World New Orleans to become one of the most successful chapters of Bread for the World nationally. She also started, nurtured and developed the Global Network for Justice and created the Carmelite NGO and secured ECOSCO status at the United Nations. The creation of these new structures for research and advocacy has greatly increased the capacity for advocacy for the poor and human rights globally.
To accomplish the goal of continuing advocacy on hunger and poverty issues, Jane published the Bread for World Louisiana newsletter, providing research on critical issues of hunger and poverty and on legislative actions needed, such as, expanding the WIC program to cover more children and increasing access to Earned Income Tax Credits. She also took the lead on education and advocacy for the United Nations Millennium Goals (MDGs) that include strategies for reducing poverty, promoting gender equality, achieving universal education and sustainable development.
This year (2010) BFW is taking on reforming US Foreign Assistance that hasn’t been changed since it was started in 1964. Among the BFW recommendations is making assistance available to development and not just to support US business. Reforming Foreign Aid is another goal of her lobbying efforts.
One measure of national recognition of her work is that she was honored by being invited to attend President Obama’s State of the Union address in the US Capitol.
Jane reached out to Loyola Students involving three Loyola students in research on these issues as a part of their service-learning project. She also got two other Loyola students to do valuable research for the Global Network for Justice and the Carmelite NGO. She didn’t just give them an assignment and send them off. She gave them one on one assistance and mentoring with their assignments. Her students’ research is posted on the BFW web site.
Jane took human rights education into the schools and organized over a 1000 students to participate in the Annual Walk for the Hungry. Students created banners on the theme of ending hunger and raised $17,000 for Bread for the World this year.
Through the Global Network for Justice (GNJ) and Carmelite NGO, She focused on climate change, human trafficking and the modern slave trade. One of her students researched all the US laws on human trafficking and created a brochure on human trafficking explaining what it is, what’s against the law, and who to call for help. The local Taskforce on Human Trafficking is distributing it and educating the community about human rights abuses here in New Orleans.
As director of New Orleans Artist Against Hunger and Homelessness, Jane led in raising thousands of dollars that were distributed in the Greater New Orleans region to many organizations and hundreds of individuals needing assistance.
As the representative for the Carmelite NGO, she participates in the highest level of discussions open to NGOs at the UN. Her chosen areas of work are climate change, sustainable development, human trafficking and the international slave trade (a $217.8 billion dollar business in the sex trade alone).
Jane published the Carmelite NGO Bulletin with research and articles including:
• Trafficking of Children on the Rise: Criminal Industry Generating Billions Receives Little Attention
• Carmelites Fight Trafficking: Various Efforts Around the World Demonstrate Commitment to Fight this Billion Dollar Criminal Industry
• Copenhagen, a Small Step: NOW We Need a Big Step: Climate Change Has Serious Consequences for All Aspects of Life
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, she sponsored “A Time of Prayer ~ The Natural World, Manifestation and Experience of the Sacred” each day during the conference. She also created prayers and reflections for “A Day of Prayer” events on June 5, 2009 and 2010. June 5th is World Environment Day.
Ted Quant recent accomplishments
• Ted Quant served as moderator for the panel discussion “Defending the Right to Organize: Lawyers and Grassroots Labor Organizers Discuss Victories and Lessons from the Response to Hurricane Katrina” at the National Lawyers Guild conference in New Orleans (9/24-26). NLG lawyers and organizers with the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice discussed their work and challenges to the right to organize.
• Ted Quant spoke at the Peace is Power Giant Puppet Parade in celebration of the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21, 2010.
• Designed and facilitated staff development workshop for the staff of New Orleans Outreach. 9/17/10
• Ted Quant gave speech to the opening plenary session of the Turning the Tide on criminalization of immigrants at the 3-day conference of organizer from around the country who came together to strategize on stopping the wave of criminalization laws sweeping the country. Quant also gave the closing remarks at the conference. The conference was convened by National Day Labor Organizations Network. 9/9-11/2010.
• Ted Quant and Al Alcazar designed and conducted diversity training for Loyola International Student Orientation. 8/28/2010
• Ted Quant designed and presented 2-hour diversity orientation workshop for the in coming Loyola Law School class of 2013 &14. 8/21/2010
• Ted Quant and Al Alcazar designed and conducted a 4-day conflict resolution workshop for teachers in the Sumter Co. Alabama School System to implement conflict resolution programs in all the schools in the system using the proven practice curricula developed by Educators for Social Responsibility. 7/6-7-8-9/2010 and follow-up training on 8/5/2010
• Ted Quant and Al Alcazar advised Loyola Human Resources on redesign of the diversity orientation for newly hired Loyola staff.
• Ted Quant provided youth leadership training for Kids Rethinking Schools students, 4/17, 5/12, 6/21-28-29/2010; and served as Elder Advisor for the program.
• Participated in and spoke at May Day Rally for Immigration Reform. 5/1/2010
• Designed and facilitated The 45th Anniversary Bridge Crossing Jubilee Education Summit entitled, Education: The Bridge out of Poverty. The event was held at Wallace Community College in Selma. Alabama. Wrote the final report on the summit. 3/6-7-8/2010
• Ted Quant and Al Alcazar provided on-going staff development and conflict resolution training for teachers and students at Priestley Charter School, including conducting conflict resolution classes every Friday in February and March, doing presentations at staff meetings and conducted a 2-day workshop for teachers 4/6-7/10.
• Ted Quant and Al Alcazar provided student leadership development training for the student counsel at the Math and Science School during the months of January, February and March 2010.
• Conducted a dialogue-training workshop for members of Puentes Black and Brown Committee. 2/25/2010
• Teacher and parent workshop 2/18/2010 and provided parent training for a diverse parental involvement team at Einstein Charter School. 1/14/10 and other dates.
• Ted Quant designed and facilitated a workshop specifically tailored for the staff of Loyola’s Institutional Advancement on confronting challenges of prejudice and racism that come up in their work. The workshop was about skills and strategies for confronting prejudice (modeling the values of the university) and preserving relationships. 2/2/10
• Ted Quant presented on panel at Puentes LatiNola conference. 8/20/2010. The presentation covered 3 principles of Catholic Social teaching on immigration, the context of global economic crisis and the commonality in the history of US labor, black migrations, and the anti-immigrant politics of current immigration struggle. (eg. from “fugitive slaves” -- the criminalized term for African people escaping from slavery, to the criminalization of immigrants today as “illegal Aliens.” The speech ended with a call for organizing in a manner consistent with our values - builds unity and solidarity, and fights for human rights for all.
• Serve on the Community Advisory Committee for Louisiana School Improvement Grant (LASIG) 2009-2010
• Ted Quant provided School Leadership Development and Team Building for school leadership and parental involvement teams for the Plaquemines Parish School System. 10/13/09 and Dr. Michael Kane provided leadership training on 5/25-26/09
• Ted Quant and Dr. Lance Hill designed and delivered a train-the-trainer workshop for facilitators and trainers who do diversity, human relations, anti-oppression, restorative justice work. The training was on “Reflective Evaluation” of the work. 8/24/09
• Ted Quant and Dr. Lance Hill, director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research, designed and delivered workshop on “Building Ethnic Group Trust.” Organizations that sent members to the workshop included: Jewish Student Association (JSA), Muslim Student Association (MSA), Black Student Union (BSU), Loyola Asian Student Organization (LASO), Bridging the Gap (BTG), International Student Association (ISA).
• Provided training for Americorps volunteers and college students serving in Operation Reach youth leadership camps, youth philanthropy and entrepreneurial programs. 5/25/2010 Ted Quant is also a founding member and chair of Operation Reach’s board.
• Training and mentoring for the American Friends Service Corps youth leadership outreach worker and community organizer doing anti-violence work with youth. 2010
• Counselor and trainer for the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement. On-going since 1986.
• Served on the search and selection committee for Independent Police Monitor, reading all resumes, composing questions, interviewing finalist and making the recommendations to the Inspector General. 5/2010. Quant also served on the original task force that made the recommendation to establish an Independent Police Monitor (IPM) in New Orleans. Worked with advocates and testified before city council for the passage of the ordinance making the IPM a part of the Office of Inspector General.
• Facilitated mayoral community forum for the New Orleans Workers Center and other sponsoring organizations on poverty, housing, and worker issues. 1/23/10
• Work with a coalition of organizations on the passing of a local ordinance making wage theft a crime in New Orleans. Quant’s participation included facilitating planning meetings, contributing to the writing of the ordinance, participating in meetings with Councilman Arnie Fielkow, demonstrations, getting petitions signed, and testifying before the city council on the ordinance. 2009 -2010 (on going)
• Provide ongoing volunteer service and financial support for the Gulf South Photography Project, created by photographer Jim Belfon to teach children how to be professional photographers. The children learn photo-journalism and how to set up and run a photo booth at events where real customers pay for their service. They also do volunteer portraits for senior citizens in senior citizen centers. (on-going)
• Organized and led the facilitation team that planned and facilitated a community forum to plan a campaign strategy to pass a First Source ordinance in New Orleans so local workers would be the first source of recovery jobs in construction and other work rebuilding our city. I also testified for the ordinance.
• Designed and conducted workshops for Pyramid Community Parent Resource Center, including one to prepare parents of children with disabilities to testify before a federal monitor on problems with New Orleans Public Schools’ services to families of children with disabilities.
• Designed and facilitated the Kwanza program for the New Orleans Association of Black Social Workers, including creating an interactive play about youth violence and the community’s role in perpetuating it and strategies and actions to stop it. 12/28/09
• Pulled together a focus group of facilitators at the request of retired judge Calvin Johnson to help him conceptualize processes for spearheading change in the Metropolitan Human Service District. The facilitators helped him think through various ideas and processes to get in-put and buy-in from his staff on the new initiatives he wanted to implement. 9/22/09
• Made presentation on social justice to volunteers with the St. Joseph the Worker Program who will spend a year of service in several organizations in New Orleans. 8/7/09
Conflict Resolution and Anti-violence Training and Other Services to Public Schools (Ted Quant and Al Alcazar)
• Met with school administrators and designed training for Prevention Education Teams in 17 schools.
• Conducted workshops for the Orleans Parish School System – Staff Professional Development Day for Positive Behavior Support staff.
• Provided weekly coaching and conflict resolution training for teachers and students at Priestley Charter High School and Math and Science Charter High School
• Taught all the teachers at the Intercultural Charter School to teach the Resolving Conflict Creatively curriculum to the students in their classes and provided feedback and staff development for implementation. Al Alcazar is the board chair of this charter school.
• Provided diversity training for teachers at Intercultural Charter School.
Service on boards:
Board of Institute for Mental Hygiene, Board Chair
Boggs National Center for Community Literacy, Advisory Board Chair
Ruby Bridges Charter School curriculum planning task force member.
Operation Reach, founding member and board chair.
Kids Rethinking Schools Elder Advisors committee and youth trainer
Community Advisory Board for Marketumbrella.org
Board member for New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice
Community Advisory Committee for Louisiana School Improvement Grant (LASIG)
Report on accomplishments of Al Alcazar
• Al Alcazar worked on the goal of continuing our “urban partnerships” and community involvement. He coordinated an action research project for the Central City Partnership Youth Committee – Youth Think Tank. This year long conversation with African American males who had experienced violence in their lives resulted in a powerful report that Al wrote “on the root causes of violent crime and conflict in the Central City neighborhood from the perspective of African American young men in the area.” It is a wonderful piece of work, “in their own words,” that should be studied by anyone who wants to understand their reality from their perspective. It is also significant that the DA’s office and the Landrieu administration have asked Al to play a key role in the next phase (III) of the project when funds become available.
• Al Alcazar conducted a multi-phased Conflict Resolution training to faculty, staff, and students at Priestley, Science and Math, and Warren Easton high schools. This work continued throughout the academic year. Al studied the Health curriculum used by the school to align and infused our conflict resolution curriculum into the health class and provided direct instruction to students and mentoring and training to the teachers.
• Provided youth leadership training in conflict resolution and peer mediation for public school, including Priestly, the Math and Science Schools and the Intercultural Charter School where Al also serves as board chair.
• Al Alcazar taught key conflict resolution skills to a total of 130 students in four sections (2 sections per semester) of Intro to World Religions.
• Gave a presentation on global peace at the Student Peace Conference on campus.
• Introduced music as a psycho-social development aid to the students in the Pre-college Incubation Experience for Majoring in Math and the Natural Sciences (PRIEMMANS) program. Loyola’s Music Therapy Department arranged to have music student interns teach the classes.
• Al Alcazar published 5 excellent issues of the Blueprint for Social Justice, some of which are being used in other schools in addition to his use of them in Loyola courses. He used Blueprint for Social Justice articles (Globalization, Work in Africa, Healthcare, Community Development) for Loyola courses. He assisted in the redesign of the Blueprint web page and increased subscriptions by 50 this year.
• Worked with Dr. Josefa Salmon of the Dept. of Languages and Culture to bring Bolivian Political Science scholar Dr. Luis Tapia to Loyola to teach a course this spring.
• Worked with Professor Lisa Martin in addressing culture-based conflicts faced by some Latina students with their roommates in the residence halls.
• Al Alcazar mediated a conflict between a Jewish student and a (Catholic) university staff.
• Worked with Dr. Uriel Quesada of Loyola’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center to bring the Costa Rican Calypso musician Manuel Monestel to our campus.
• Gave the homily for the interfaith service sponsored by Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist students of Loyola at the Audubon Park.
• Gave a talk at the (Jewish) Passover Seder meal on campus.
• Elected as Chairperson of the Latin American Studies Committee in the Department of Language and Culture.
• Serves as a committee member of the Carnegie Community Engagement Committee.
• Provided the Filipino cultural contacts and resources to Loyola’s International Education Center and gave the keynote address.
• Performed the administrative tasks for hosting the Loyola Reading Program offered by the Institute of Reading Development from California.
• Provided an one-day workshop on diversity for the Jewish Volunteer group (AVODAH) as orientation to their work in New Orleans
• Serves as board president (final year of a three-year commitment) of the Intercultural Charter School in New Orleans East and this year secured a commitment from Paul Vallas (RSD School Superintendent) with the help of Congressman Cao to fund ($25 million) the permanent building of the ICS school.
• Mediated and resolved a conflict between two factions in the New Orleans community resulting from a multi-million dollar felony committed by a member of one of the factions.
• Serves as vice-president on the board of Turning Point Partners that offers an alternative program for first-time youth offenders.
• Serves as mentor to Filipino teachers employed in the public school system in neighboring parishes.
• Serves as diversity issues advisor/mentor to Our Lady of Prompt Succour parish in Chalmette.
• Volunteer translator for non-English speaking Filipinos in federal courts.
• Gathered donations for the Jesuit and Catholic Refugee Services as these organizations respond to the earthquake survivors in Haiti.
Al also did all the work of administering and managing the Pre-college Incubation Experience for Majoring in Math and the Natural Sciences (PRIEMMANS), including:
• Interviewed parents and recruited seven new students (total of 25) for the program.
• Recruited and hired math and science (certified) instructors including Loyola students as associate instructors for the intensive five-week PRIEMMANS summer session.
• Aligned the curriculum to enhance students’ performance in the ACT and GEE exams.
• Conducted 80 hours of tutoring on Saturdays for students in the fall and spring semesters.
• Recruited Loyola students and two LSU medical students as tutors for program participants
• Assisted five graduating (from high school) PRIEMMANS students with their college application process. All five have been accepted to their respective colleges: two to Loyola, one to Dillard, one to SLU and one to SUNO.
• Cooked lunches for the Saturday sessions to save on food money.
• Wrote two grants: Sisters of St. Joseph ($3,000) and Motorola ($50,000). The former was funded and we are awaiting a decision.