Spanish Jesuits are offering the chance to make a difference in the world with their online social justice platform.
– What is ViSIbles.org?
Set up in 2017, ViSIbles.org – a play on the Spanish words for “visible” and for “yes” – is the name of the community that gives Church organisations working for change in society the chance to raise awareness around their causes and to invite citizens to act on them.
As the website – available in Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque and English – itself explains, the wealth of work undertaken by Church groups on behalf of the marginalised and vulnerable too often doesn’t filter into the public square and become a lever “to rally the public and influence decision-makers”.
ViSIbles.org aims to fill that gap and to provide Church organisations with the necessary tools to carry out the entire change process of “serving, reflecting, raising awareness and defending” a cause.
– How does it work?
The Spanish Jesuits’ social advocacy community is directed both at Church social justice groups – as a tool to gain support to drive change – and at Catholics in the pews – who can participate in and drive awareness around the social issues at the heart of their faith.
People of other faiths or of none at all are of course invited to get involved, too.
Organisations can apply to promote their work, with the information they provide being vetted by platform organisers to ensure full coherence with Catholic Church social doctrine and compatibility with external standards of corporate responsibility and transparency.
Once a group has been approved to publish on the platform, it has access to a suite of tools to document and disseminate their work, not only on the website itself but also through social networks and email campaigns.
Groups channel their work into a “cause”, which ViSIbles.org defines as a “social reality that needs to be transformed in order to achieve a greater justice” and on which “the public’s participation is key in driving change”.
Using the “see – judge – act” methodology, organisations describe what is happening with their cause, outline why it is important, provide calls to action and inform on any subsequent progress on the issue.
Catholics and citizens can then become involved in the cause including through signing their names to petitions and the like, attending demonstrations, undergoing training on an issue or praying for change.
– What kinds of causes are on ViSIbles.org?
The “causes” section of the ViSIbles.org website is divided into “current events”, “documents” and “let’s celebrate” categories, as well as topics such as migration, at-risk youth, international cooperation, ecology and environment, fair economy and poverty reduction, inequality, democracy and human rights.
An example of one particular cause currently trending on the platform is that of a petition for an immediate closure of Spain’s immigration detention centres, which has as of this Saturday attracted more than 2,000 signatures in support.
Other causes currently making headlines on ViSIbles.org include appeals to better the conditions of domestic workers (over 2,600 signatures in support), to police to provide appointments in immigration offices and thereby save migrants from bureaucratic limbo (over 1,200 signatures) and to town halls to ensure their technology is socially and environmentally-responsible (over 3,000 signatures).
Those are just a few of the social justice issues on which the Spanish Jesuits are inviting Catholics and others to say “yes” to change on, and in that way contribute to promoting “causes that change the world”.