October 4, 2016

A vote for dignity

By Jeff Bialik, Catholic Charities Executive Director

As Catholics, we are called to bring Christ’s love to our neighbors and to bear witness to the dignity of all human life.
In 1996, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ statement “A Catholic Framework for Economic Life” called Catholics to “work for greater economic justice in the face of persistent poverty.” The bishops wrote that “all people have a right to life and a right to secure the basic necessities of life,” and that, “society has a moral obligation, including governmental action where necessary, to ensure opportunity, to meet basic human needs, and to pursue justice in economic life.”
At Catholic Charities, we are working every day on your behalf to ensure that economic justice extends across all generations, especially for children and seniors. This upcoming election, we have the opportunity to exercise our moral obligation and make a positive difference in the lives of the men, women and children that need our help. Catholic Charities rarely endorsees ballot initiatives; however this year, our board of directors felt it was imperative that we use our voice to advocate for the most vulnerable and needy among us.
San Francisco County
Proposition I, the Dignity Fund, is critical for our seniors and adults with disabilities. By 2030, 30 percent of San Franciscans will be senior citizens. The Dignity Fund, on the November 2016 ballot for the City and County of San Francisco, does not increase taxes, and would allocate existing taxes to stabilize funding in support of services for seniors, veterans, adults with disabilities and adults living with chronic and life-threatening health conditions. The Dignity Fund will grow with the city’s discretionary revenues, and any unspent funds will roll over to the next year.
More than 1,000 seniors age with dignity each year through Catholic Charities Aging Support Services. Proposition I will ensure our city remains a welcoming home for aging adults, caregivers and the agencies providing much needed services in San Francisco.
Marin County
Measure A, also known as Marin Strong Start, will secure a stable source of funding to ensure access to preschool, quality health and wellness services, affordable children’s and after-school academic support to meet the needs of children in Marin County. We know firsthand how important this funding is for all children in Marin. A full two-thirds of the kids Catholic Charities serves at our Canal Family Support Kids Club in San Rafael are not reading at grade level. We, as the Catholic community, must come together to vote in favor of this vital funding that will truly make a difference in the lives of the children we serve.
I ask you to prayerfully consider voting “yes” on Proposition I in San Francisco and Measure A in Marin.
Please continue to pray for the work we do at Catholic Charities for aging adults, adults with disabilities and children from low-income families. On behalf of the Catholic Charities board of directors and our clients and staff, thank you for your prayers and consideration. The deadline to register to vote in California is Oct. 24.
For more information, visit CatholicCharitiesSF.org; SFDignityFund.org;MarinStrongStart.org.
Bialik is executive director of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

From October 6, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.