President McGuire announced that Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, will be the keynote speaker at Trinity’s Winter Graduation on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. “Sr. Simone is truly a global hero for social justice,” said President McGuire. “She has led the ‘Nuns on the Bus’ touring the country to advocate for policies protecting the rights of the poor and disenfranchised, standing up for justice in government policies and programs, calling for more attention to peacebuilding and less investment in war. Sr. Simone’s message to our graduates comes at a critical time in our nation’s struggle to achieve equality of opportunity for all people. The ongoing debates over healthcare, education, foreign policy and domestic issues across the spectrum of political and social perspectives demand the best engagement of Trinity’s graduates.”
Sr. Simone Campbell has served as executive director of NETWORK since 2004. She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare and economic justice. Around the country, she is a noted speaker and educator on these public policy issues.
During the 2010 congressional debate about healthcare reform, she wrote the famous “nuns’ letter” supporting the reform bill and got 59 leaders of Catholic sisters, including LCWR, to sign on. This action was cited by many as critically important in passing the Affordable Care Act. She was thanked by President Obama and invited to the ceremony celebrating its being signed into law.
In 2012, she was also instrumental in organizing the “Nuns on the Bus” tour of nine states to oppose the “Ryan Budget” approved by the House of Representatives. This budget would decimate programs meant to help people in need. “Nuns on the Bus” received an avalanche of attention across the nation from religious communities, elected officials and the media. In May and June 2013, she led a new cross-country “Nuns on the Bus” trip, focused on comprehensive immigration reform.
Campbell has often been featured in the national and international media, including recent appearances on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She has received numerous awards, including the “Defender of Democracy Award” from the international Parliamentarians for Global Action and “Health Care Heroes Award” from Families USA. In addition, she has been the keynote or featured speaker at numerous large gatherings, including the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Prior to coming to NETWORK, Campbell served as the executive director of JERICHO, the California interfaith public policy organization that works like NETWORK to protect the interests of people living in poverty. She also participated in a delegation of religious leaders to Iraq in December 2002, just prior to the war, and was later (while at NETWORK) part of a Catholic Relief Services delegation to Lebanon and Syria to study the Iraqi refugee situation there.
Before JERICHO, Campbell served as the general director of her religious community, the Sisters of Social Service. She was the leader of her sisters in the United States, Mexico, Taiwan and the Philippines. In this capacity, she negotiated with government and religious leaders in each of these countries.
In 1978, Campbell founded and served for 18 years as the lead attorney for the Community Law Center in Oakland, California. She served the family law and probate needs of the working poor of her county
A Catholic leader in the global movement for justice and peace, NETWORK educates, lobbies and organizes for economic and social transformation. NETWORK was founded at Trinity 42 years ago: A group of religious women met on Trinity’s campus in 1971 to discuss the critical importance of giving witness through action for policies that expanded educational opportunity, extended healthcare support to those in need, improved the social system for all citizens, immigration reform, peacebuilding and nuclear nonproliferation. Sr. Mary Hayes ’57, professor of history at Trinity, and many other Sisters of Notre Dame were involved in that first meeting and so many of the subsequent action initiatives. Read more about the history and achievements of NETWORK.