Michelle and I just finished watching Bread and Roses, a 2000 film portraying the struggle of Maya, a Mexican immigrant who learns the value of solidarity as she organizes her coworkers to unionize under the Justice for Janitors movement. In 2001 I marched together not only with fellow members of the Catholic Community at UCSD but also with the men and women who cleaned our dorms, kept the campus presentable, and labored under conditions not unlike those depicted in Bread and Roses.
Last night our JustFaith group hosted St. Thomas More’s stations of the cross for the third Friday of Lent. I had designed this Way of the Cross to focus on the motto of JustFaith, which happens also to be the motto of our bishop: "You have been told what the Lord requires of you: only to act justly and love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). So humbly we walked the fourteen stations, commemorating the suffering of Christ who bore in himself the suffering of those who still suffer as a result of injustice we allow to perpetuate by our own sins. My fellow JustFaith participants prepared excellent reflections for each of the stations, focusing on one of the themes of Catholic Social Teaching and inviting us to share in the suffering of those whose Way of the Cross is taking place in our midst.
It was quite coincidental that Bread and Roses came to the top of our behemoth Netflix queue at this same time, but it really serves as a powerful reminder of our prophetic call to stand with those who picketed the streets of Los Angeles and the campuses of the University of California, saying “¿Qué queremos? ¡Justicia! ¿Quando? ¡Ahora!” (“What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”)