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Pope to Visit Notoriously Violent Bolivia Prison in SA Trip

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Pope Francis gives his speech in the Synod hall on the occasion of the closing ceremony of the IV Scholas Occurrentes World Educational Congress, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Francis gives his speech in the Synod hall on the occasion of the closing ceremony of the IV Scholas Occurrentes World Educational Congress, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will visit a notoriously violent prison in Bolivia, a flood-prone shanty town in Paraguay and a home for the elderly in Ecuador during his July 5-12 visit to South America.

The Vatican on Friday released the itinerary for Francis’ second visit to his home continent, a three-nation whirlwind tour featuring 22 speeches that will likely focus on some of the key concerns of his pontificate.

He will meet with heads of state and religious leaders of each country, and participate in a world meeting of popular movements in Bolivia.

When Francis met with the grassroots groups last year at the Vatican, he delivered an off-the-cuff, mini-encyclical on the rights of the poor, the injustices of unemployment, and the need for environmental protection — issues he’ll likely raise again on his home turf.

Francis arrives in Quito, Ecuador on July 5 and the following day flies to Guayaquil to celebrate Mass and meet with the community of his Jesuit order. He’ll meet with students, priests and residents at a home for the elderly in Ecuador before flying to La Paz, Bolivia.

He’ll spend only a few hours in Bolivia’s high-altitude capital before traveling onto to Santa Cruz in the eastern lowlands July 8.

One of the highlights of the trip will be his July 10 visit to the Palmasola maximum-security prison outside Santa Cruz, where a battle among inmate gangs in 2013 left 30 people dead. As in many Latin American prisons, inmates largely control the inside of Palmasola, which teems with some 3,500 prisoners, more than four in five still awaiting trial.

Francis has met with prisoners on most of his foreign trips and recently celebrated Mass for inmates at Rome’s main prison. He has denounced the death penalty as “inadmissible” and life terms as a “hidden death penalty.”

Francis arrives in Paraguay on the afternoon of July 10 and visits a children’s hospital before traveling to the Banado Norte shanty on the banks of the Rio Paraguay. The area floods each year but the municipal lands still attract the poorest of Bolivians.

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Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Events

Moving from Pain, Trauma and Crisis Is Never Easy but Is Possible.

For more information, call 510 688-7437.

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Depiction of a woman with a distorted face; Photo courtesy of Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona via Unsplash

Join Pastor Phyllis Scott in her 5th annual yoke breaking, life changing conference,”

“Moving from Pain to Purpose; “The Journey from Violence to Victory.”

The conference will be held Sept. 23-25 on Zoom.

Guest Speakers:

  • Day 1, “Still I Rise”

Lisa Carlisle, ACBH Child and Youth Systems of Care Director

Tianna Hicks, Da Bigger Picture Foundation and the mother of Pittsburgh Steeler Najee Harris

  • Day 2, “My Secret”

Carolyn Russell, executive director, A Safe Place

Rev. Michele Raiford, E. V. E. International Ministries LLC, CEO

  • Day 3, “I am More than a Conqueror

Annabella Guerrero, communications director, Love Never Fails

Chief LeRonne Armstrong, Oakland Police Department

Zoom Meeting ID 853 2091 1800 No password required

Please register at https://paintopurposeviolencetovictory.eventbrite.com

For more information, call 510 688-7437.

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Activism

Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Statement on Afghanistan Crisis

The people of Afghanistan are facing a terrible tragedy. It is crucial that we ensure the safe evacuation of Americans and allies, including our Afghan allies. That must be our top priority. This is an untenable and dire situation, and we have a moral obligation to protect Afghans seeking refuge.

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Apache attack helicopter in approach, Sep 2020, Photo courtesy of Andre Klimke via Unsplash

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released the following statement on the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan on August 16:

“The people of Afghanistan are facing a terrible tragedy. It is crucial that we ensure the safe evacuation of Americans and allies, including our Afghan allies. That must be our top priority. This is an untenable and dire situation, and we have a moral obligation to protect Afghans seeking refuge.

“We should expedite Special Immigrant Visas and support all in Afghanistan —U.S. Citizens, women, journalists, civil servants and activists, and allies of U.S. troops—who need safe passage. This includes working with surrounding countries to encourage the welcoming of Afghan refugees across their borders.

“As Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, I stand ready and committed to use my position to provide any and all support and investment in humanitarian relief and ensure the safe resettlement of the Afghan people.

“We must also remain intensely focused on investing in the safety and security of Afghan women and girls. An entire generation of Afghan women and girls have now seen the potential for a life of freedom and opportunity. The international community must continue to prioritize their rights and protection.

“Our courageous men and women in the armed services did exactly what they were asked to do. I pray for their return and the return of those still there defending the lives of Americans and Afghans on the ground in Kabul. We must get clear answers for how we got here and how to avoid repeating our mistakes.

“President Biden correctly laid out (Monday) what has been clear for 20 years: there has never, and will never be, a U.S. military solution in Afghanistan.”

  U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee’s press office is the source of this report.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Commentary

Community Responds to OPD Chief’s Call for Help in Stopping Violence

Oakland Chief of Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong has reached out to the community asking for support, and rightfully so.  For this is not just an Oakland Police Department fight but our fight.    

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stop gun violence sign photo courtesy Chip Vincent via Unsplash

Seventy-five.

That’s the number of homicides that have occurred so far this year here in Oakland.  There have also been at least 300 acts of violence injuries perpetrated against the citizens of Oakland, many of them gun related.

Oakland Chief of Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong has reached out to the community asking for support, and rightfully so.  For this is not just an Oakland Police Department fight but our fight.

Those 75 families who lost loved ones to senseless acts of reckless violence are families from our communities. They’re our neighbors, our co-workers, and our friends.

The word of God reminds us to “Love our Neighbor as we love ourselves.” The Bible compels us to want the best and do the best for one another.

What would you want if one of your family members were one of those 75 who had been shot and killed in the streets of Oakland? What would you want?

The answer is simple.

You would want someone to care!  To shout with outrage and do something to end this cycle of violence!

On July 27, a group of community activists met with Armstrong to discuss how they could come together organizing in a city-wide community coalition to bring holistic ideas to create a wrap-around approach to combating violence. Those ideas include a) mental wellness, b) community chaplaincy, c) ask the formerly incarcerated to mentor and encourage youth in crisis, d) job development, e) entrepreneurship opportunities, and – last but not least — address our ever-growing homeless issues.

For more information on how you can be a good neighbor, please call 510-688-7437

All for the Peace — “Shalom” — of our Great City.

Pastor Scott is the president of Pastors of Oakland and leader of Tree of Life Empowerment Ministries.

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