Village of Elm Grove - As millions of Wisconsinites get ready to cozy up for the holidays, it's important to remember that there are millions of other human beings out there who aren't able to do the same.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame are well aware of that fact and, in conjunction with International Human Rights Day, the Elm Grove Sisters will be hosting an opportunity to show support for fellow humans around the world.

"The School Sisters of Notre Dame are a women's religious group that have been in Elm Grove for a long, long time. One of their core beliefs is they believe in the dignity of each person," School Sisters of Notre Dame Director of Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Tim Dewane said. "Each person should be treated with respect and dignity and certain rights regardless of where they live."

Elm Grove's School Sisters of Notre Dame, 13105 Watertown Plank Road, will host a letter writing and signing campaign on behalf of human rights Friday, Dec. 9 from noon to 4 p.m.

"What the Sisters like to do is, in commemoration of International Human Rights Day, they like to take action on behalf of those whose dignity is under assault," Dewane said. "It has actually worked. There's a number of cases I know of that we have written on behalf of where the people have regained their freedom or a sense of justice."

International Human Rights Day is on Dec. 10.

Partnerships formed

The School Sisters of Notre Dame partner with international human rights groups to identify cases around the world of individuals who have been imprisoned or persecuted.

"They find out who you can write to on their behalf. The Sisters then write on behalf of these individuals," Dewane said. "These are issues that international human rights groups have identified."

Dewane gave special thanks to the Elm Grove Post Office for helping the Sisters in being able to get their letters to all corners of the globe.

"They are addressed to people who generally have an opportunity to have a say over the status of the situation," Dewane said. "One of the cases this year involves a peasant farmer in Peru who is having a real issue with a major corporation and some issues regarding land rights. The letters are being addressed to the Administer of Interior of Peru."

Broad effort

While faith is obviously a huge part of the lives of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Dewane noted that their annual letter-writing on behalf of human rights involves people from all over the globe and from many faith backgrounds.

Members of the public are encouraged to take part in helping to support human rights by stopping by to learn about this year's cases and either signing a letter written by one of the Sisters or writing one of their own.

"It's a very eye-opening exercise, but it's also an exercise in hope. Our lives are intertwined with people all around the world," Dewane said. "It's sometimes hard to feel connected to other people, but this exercise really does so in a meaningful way and it helps to give hope."

The School Sisters of Notre Dame will also host a reflection on human rights and human dignity from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 9.

For more information on the School Sisters of Notre Dame and their human rights letter writing/signing, go to www.ssnd.org.

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