Next gathering May 10 at 6:30 pm  • Quaker Meetinghouse • 3387 Walnut Grove        

Pax Christi, the Peace of Christ, strives to create a world that reflects this peace by witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence. Although the majority of members are Roman Catholic, Pax Christi is open to all people who want to work for peace in the spirit of the nonviolent Jesus.

Pax Christi Memphis meets the second Tuesday of every month at the Quaker Meetinghouse located at 3387 Walnut Grove, Memphis, TN 38111. Additional parking is available on Prescott, or in the Kroger Parking lot across the street.

For more information, or if you need a ride to our meeting, call Janice Vanderhaar at 362-9364, or Terry Hash 849-0983

Building peace, economic & interracial justice through a spirituality of nonviolence

Poverty wages to be addressed by Fight for $15 movement representative

Jayanni Webster, a local leader in the Fight for $15 movement to improve low wages and working conditions for workers, will explain the goals and activities of the movement at Pax Christi’s gathering this Tuesday evening at 7 pm at 3387 Walnut Grove.
She is a 2012 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Jayanni is a native Memphian and currently serves as the communications and community organizer for the Memphis campaign.

For the past four years the United States has witnessed the growth of a movement to address poverty wages and unfair working conditions. This movement has been led primarily by workers of color in the fast food industry and home care and child care fields. Beginning in New York City, the Fight for $15 (and a union) Campaign for America’s working families has won a raise for 11 million workers across dozens of industries since its 2012 inception. Memphis fast food workers, inspired by watching thousands of people fight for economic justice, organized themselves in August 2013 under the banner of Memphis $15.

Memphis Home care workers joined about a year later.

While corporate giants like McDonald’s make billions of dollars each year, everyday people live in poverty. Even though there are many important arguments for raising the minimum wage, one overlooked fact is that a living wage is in service of a peaceful society. They believe poverty itself is violence. When millions go without the basic necessities in life, poverty is not just interconnected with violence, it is violence personified.

The working-poor and their allies use non-violent direct action, lobbying, and community organizing in order to disrupt the status quo and bring about economic and social change. Fight for $15 is many things, but it is also a peace mission that addresses individual acts of violence and also systemic violence produced by social institutions. Memphis workers in the Fight for $15 will join Pax Christi Memphis to talk about the campaign for $15/hr and union rights, share their personal stories of struggle and connect their fight to the type of broader change it will take to build a more peaceful society. 

Local poverty and Faithful Budget Campaign topics of discussion at March meeting
Terry Hash and her daughter Christine presented an eye opening look at poverty in the Memphis area and beyond at our March gathering. Armed with surprising facts and a wealth of data, the pair highlighted the struggle that thousands of our neighbors endure to navigate current economic conditions.

Christine, Manager of Social Enterprises and Community Engagement for Catholic Charities of West Tennessee, told the group that Memphis has the highest level of childhood poverty in the nation. She presented statistics reflecting the typical expenses for families of various sizes living in the Memphis metropolitan area, and showed the wide disparity in wages between the working poor and their more affluent suburban counterparts.

Memphis has a poverty rate of 29.8%. Child poverty is 46.9%, while poverty rates for people over age 65 are lowest at 14.5%. Poverty rates for African-Americans are 34.4%  and 45.5% of Latinos are also considered poor, while the poverty rate among non-Hispanic whites is 13.5% according to her information.
Christine highlighted a number of programs and initiatives  with which she is involved through Social Enterprises of Catholic Charities. Clients in these programs are paid a fair wage, taught valuable job skills and work on interpersonal skills  while building a work history that may help them transition into other employment.
Terry Hash, Pax Christi member and CRS Fair Trade Ambassador, followed with additional information on the US Economy and the Federal Budget. She presented pie charts documenting tax revenue and federal spending, providing a visual representation of where our tax dollars are budgeted.

In looking at the 2017 budget, Terry noted that the Pentagon budget is more than ten times that of the $52.7 billion budget proposed for diplomacy and international aid under the State Department.

Her figures also showed that in the decades since 1983, only upper-income families have made gains in wealth, and graphs showed that corporate taxes have lowered significantly (10.8% in 2015) while taxes on individuals and families represents 46.5% of total Federal Revenue.

Terry also provided her listeners with a document from the Faithful Budget Campaign, that consisted of a message to political leaders that included a statement, said to be rooted in sacred texts: Act with mercy and justice by serving the common good, robustly funding support for poor and vulnerable people, both a home and abroad, and exercising proper care and keeping of the earth.

The Faithful Budget Campaign is supported by a number of churches and faith based organizations, including Pax Christi USA. More information is available at

Pax Christi helps sponsor Conference
Pax Christi Memphis was proud to be among the sponsors of the 2016 Gandhi King Conference held at the UofM April 8th and 9th. Pictured here is Commercial Appeal Columnist David Waters (left) who moderated a discussion with Rev. F. Willis Johnson of Ferguson, MO and Rev. Mike Kinman provost of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis. Several Pax Christi members attended the conference.

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