Mercy & Justice Round-Up: October Edition

oct m&j

What is it like for families to attempt to navigate the special education system in NYC public schools? How can our willingness to be proximate to the poor lead to healthier communities? Is a set of activities what God means by “do justice”? You’ll find articles, talks, and resources that speak to these questions and more in this month’s Mercy & Justice Round-Up.

As always, this is a collection of content that got us thinking lately and includes a range of perspectives— some we agree with, others we might not. We hope you’ll read, listen, learn and love better with us.

  • "For Jesus, doing justice was not a set of activities; it was an ontology. It was a way of being all the time." In this Q Ideas talk, Krish Kandiah, author of God is Stranger, speaks of what could happen if Christians took seriously the call of Jesus in James 1:27 to visit orphans and widows in their distress—which constitutes the kind of worship God wants.
  • Bryan Stevenson talks about the formula for a healthier community—and starts by saying that to make a difference, we have to get proximate to the poor and vulnerable. He says, "
I absolutely believe that when we isolate ourselves, when we allow ourselves to be shielded and disconnected from those who are vulnerable and disfavored, we sustain and contribute to these problems."
  • Nearly 50,000 NYC students with disabilities didn’t get the specialized instruction they were entitled to during the 2016-17 school year. In a New York Times article titled, “At 12, He Reads at a First-Grade Level: How New York Failed T.J.,” you can follow the story of T.J. and his family as they struggle to navigate the confusing special education system. His story is emblematic of the many children with disabilities who fall further behind each year.
  • “The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail” explores the underground sex economy in Flushing, Queens—mainly through the story of Song Yang, a woman who died last November following a police raid. Her story is tragic, but not uncommon. As the authors put it, “Emotionally manipulated by their bosses, ashamed of what they do, afraid to trust, the women rarely confide in the police or even their lawyers about their circumstances.”
  • The author of this New York Daily News article lives once a week as an overnight volunteer at a NYC homeless shelter—and writes about the lack of freedom afforded to people staying in shelters. “For people living in New York City homeless shelters,” he writes, “the choice is between having the freedom to do what they want or having a warm and dry place to get a few hours of sleep each night."