Build Anew Series — Part 1


Welcome to our new Build Anew Series, with weekly posts covering the people, policies, and values at the heart of the issues we work on.
Virginia Schilder
September 21, 2023

This week, NETWORK is continuing our work for Thriving Communities with the launch of the Congress: Keep Your Promise! campaign. With this campaign, we call Congress to be accountable to the people and ensure that funding for urgent human needs — in other words, upholding human dignity — is included in upcoming legislation.  

This Congress: Keep Your Promise! campaign is rooted in NETWORK’s ongoing Build Anew agenda: our pathway for realizing a just and inclusive society. The agenda calls for federal policies that dismantle systemic racism, eliminate the wealth and income gap, improve the wellbeing of our communities, and allow all people to thrive — especially those most often left out: women, people of color, people on the economic margins, and those at the intersections of these identities.  

Because of this grounding, we’re launching the Build Anew Series to accompany our advocacy work over the rest of 2023 with human stories, policy facts, and reflections on the values that guide us in this work. As with all we do at NETWORK, Congress: Keep Your Promise! is informed first and foremost by encounter and relationships with people most directly impacted by these policies, along with policy data, and our roots in our tradition of Catholic Social Justice. This series will weave together those foundations and bring them into focus in our advocacy work this season.  

Join us each week as we’ll release a post here (and fun short videos…stay tuned!) going through each of our agenda issue areas and how they connect to both the Congress: Keep Your Promise! priorities and current legislation. We’ll explore why these priorities are important with real stories from people affected by these policies, as well as what our Catholic Social Justice Teaching has to say on these issues. If we want to create a more just world for all of us, we have to be able to envision what transformation could look like, and let our work be guided by facts, by our values, and above all, by the communities at the center of the issues (yet often at the margins of our society).  

At Tuesday’s webinar, we learned about the urgent Congress: Keep Your Promise! priorities: centering human needs in Appropriations legislation, expanding the Child Tax Credit, and allowing people returning from prison to access food assistance. We’ll dive deeper into each of these issues throughout this series, as well as issues like voting rights, housing, and health care. But first, check back next week for our second installation of the Build Anew Series, on immigration. 

We hope you’ll read along with us in the weeks ahead, and write us back to let us know what you think, or to share how you’re joining in the work to Build Anew.  

“Justice also demands that we strive for decent working conditions, adequate income, housing, education, and health care for all. Government at the national and local levels must be held accountable by all citizens for the essential services which all are entitled to receive.”  
Brothers and Sisters to Us (Pastoral Letter on Racism), U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1979.