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NETWORK Statement on the First 2024 Presidential Debate

For Immediate Release: June 28, 2024

WASHINGTON—Following the debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, the leadership of NETWORK Advocates for Catholic Social Justice offer the following statements:

NETWORK Deputy Executive Director & Chief Equity Officer Joan F. Neal said:

“This election year is ultimately about our commitment to democracy, the promise it holds, and the freedom it offers to all people. Although imperfect, it is the ideal that has animated our country from the beginning and for which many people have given their lives.

“But today, some people in our politics make a mockery of this sacred vision by diminishing the basic functions of our system and working to exclude or discourage as many people as possible from participating in it. As the presidential debate reminds us, investing in democracy to promote the freedom and well-being of all people is the only way to have an inclusive, multi-racial, multi-faith, equitable society.

“And the ‘good news’ is that we, the people, have the power to safeguard our freedoms – to ensure that democracy prevails, that advancements in protecting our climate continue, that access to affordable healthcare is available to all, that our children and families have greater economic security through the Child Tax Credit, student loan forgiveness, and other policies that make it possible for everyone to thrive. It is crucial that we all participate in our political process and use our vote to ensure these freedoms endure.”

NETWORK Executive Director Mary J. Novak said:

“At NETWORK, we believe community depends on people’s freedom to care for themselves and their families, their freedom to be healthy, their freedom from harm, and other basic freedoms that we enjoy living in a democracy. We need a future in which all people flourish in freedom in our growing pluralistic, multi-racial, inclusive democracy – regardless of where we live, how we worship, or the color of our skin. The tradition of expanding freedom has played out over the life of this country. And so let us work together to build our country anew and work for a future where everyone thrives, no exceptions.”

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Founded by Catholic Sisters in 1972, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, NETWORK is an inclusive, national, Catholic advocacy organization open to all who share our values, working to achieve equity and justice for everyone. Grounded in Gospel values and the Catholic social justice tradition, NETWORK transforms our society by shaping federal policies that achieve racial, economic, and social justice; serve the common good; and honor the dignity of all.

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