Standing for Justice
By AJ Keith, Communications Intern
“Advocacy” is the word that best describes the ministries of Ohio Nuns on the Bus, but it is also a word that is almost always accompanied by the word “action,” just as Sequoia Powers-Griffin has accompanied the Nuns on the Bus mission for years. In response to the harsh political climate of the times, Sequoia has made it her personal mission to stand with the Sisters for justice each day.
A former Sister of the Precious Blood, Sequoia has always exercised her passion for both her faith and social justice. Sequoia has been steadily involved with the Nuns on the Bus and their ministries of advocacy for many years. This movement encourages local Catholic Sisters in Ohio to congregate on a bus tour to promote their central values of solidarity, justice and the common good. The Nuns on the Bus movement responds to the issues of the times by focusing on issues like immigration, climate change, healthcare and federal budgeting. For Sequoia, it was the perfect opportunity to exercise her passion for social justice. “We create an advocacy for the poor and the disenfranchised people of the country,” Sequoia says.
Since its creation, Ohio Nuns on the Bus has illustrated how budgetary biases can result in the “safety net” of poorer communities being eradicated, leaving the vulnerable communities of the United States even more vulnerable. These communities oftentimes include immigrants that face an unjust persecution. She says, “Immigration is a huge issue which is why we highlighted it here in our area. People think it’s just at the border, but we have immigrants [in Ohio] that are being picked up and detained right off the street.” In order to establish this advocacy and make their convictions known, Nuns on the Bus members make calls to their senators and state representatives and urge them to consider certain issues that are within the power of these officials to make significant change. Additionally, they have hosted rallies throughout the state to help these lacking communities.
Helping these communities has always been the focus of the Sisters of Charity, which makes their attendance in this movement unsurprising and dutiful. Sequoia’s time with the Sisters has introduced her to women that she holds in high esteem, such as Sisters Jean Miller and Nancy Bramlage. The Sisters of Charity’s avid participation in the Ohio Nuns on the Bus has always been attributed to their dedication to their charism statement which urges them to “risk a caring response.” Sequoia has seen these Sisters practice their charism with their utmost participation and dedication, honoring their commitment to live the Gospel values.
Sequoia has been advocating the mission of Nuns on the Bus since she was invited, but she continues to be inspired by the company that she keeps. She says, “It’s been wonderful to be a part of this group because I made friends that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise and met some really admirable women. It has enriched me to be a part of this group and it has enriched me in my social justice work.” Sequoia will continue to offer her services to the Nuns on the Bus movement and stand with the Sisters to fight for justice.