Sister Simone Campbell of %22Nuns On The Bus%22.
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Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, an outspoken advocate for social justice has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our country's highest civilian honor.
Sr. Campbell is a Roman Catholic nun, lawyer, lobbyist, and former executive director of the NETWORK social justice lobby. President Biden said that Sister Simone and the 16 other medal recipients "embody the soul of the nation - hard work, perseverance, and faith. "
Sr. Simone addressed the Democratic National Conventions held in 2012 and in 2020.
She joined the Sisters of Social Service, an international Catholic religious congregation rooted in the Benedictine tradition, in 1964 and received the degree of Juris Doctor from the University of California Davis School of Law where she had been an editor of the UC Davis Law Review. In 1978 she founded the Community Law Center in Oakland, California, which she served for the next 18 years as its lead attorney.
Wikipedia notes, "As a part of her work with NETWORK Campbell wrote the "nuns' letter" supporting the (Affordable Care Act) reforms and asked leaders of women's religious orders to sign it. Sixty heads of religious orders and umbrella groups signed and the letter was sent to all members of Congress. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did not support the healthcare reforms. The letter contributed to the momentum in favor of the legislation. Campbell attended the signing ceremony for the law and received a hug of gratitude from President Obama."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did not support the Affordable Care Act, and Campbell received criticism for her support. She noted, "From my perspective, I don't think it's a good policy to outlaw abortion. I think, rather, let's focus on economic development for women and economic opportunity. That's what really makes the change."
Campbell led the Nuns on the Bus project, in which she and a small group of nuns made tours on a dedicated bus to highlight social issues. Her memoir, A nun on the bus: how all of us can create hope, change, and community" was published in 2014.
Campbell was targeted by Pope Benedict XVI in his investigation of American nuns for communist views; that investigation was ended by Pope Francis in 2015, according to wikipedia.
NETWORK's current Execuitve Director, Mary J. Novak, stated, "It is people like Sister Simone ... advocates for justice who enthusiastically participate in politics to advance the common good - who give me hope...As we witness rising tension and growing threats to our democracy, it is more important than ever to lobby for federal policies that dismantle systemic racism and create a country where all people can thrive."
Two minute video interview with Sr. Simone:
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