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OPSCC Justice Committee Honored

By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager

Sr. Ceil Lavan, OP
Sr. Ceil Lavan, OP

On October 13th, the Dominican Sisters in Committed Collaboration (OPSCC) Justice Committee was recognized at the First Friends of New Jersey & New York 2020 Beacon of Hope Awards Virtual Gala.

First Friends, an organization that advocates for the humane treatment of immigrant detainees and the elimination of immigration detention, presented the first-ever Faithful Friends Award to the OPSCC Justice Committee for their support of the Stamp Out Despair Campaign, among many efforts made by Sisters and Associates to support detainees.

Sr. Ceil Lavan, OP, Justice Promoter for the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, received the award on behalf of the OPSCC via Zoom.

OPSCC has been connected with First Friends for over a decade and has often supported them financially with contributions to pay bonds and detainees' legal defense.

Sr. Didi Madden, OP, a Sister of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt and OPSCC Promoter of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, commented, "First Friends is an organization that works with those we try to hide and dehumanize in our society. It is heartening to partner with them as we work for justice – easing suffering and fear and offering hope."

Another notable moment of the Beacon of Hope Awards Virtual Gala came during the keynote address from the Beacon of Hope Award Honoree, Dr. Elizabeth F. Cohen. Dr. Cohen, author of Illegal: How America's Lawless Immigration Regime Threatens Us All, and Professor at Syracuse University.

During her address, Dr. Cohen provided great insight on the history of immigration over the last 100 years, as well as factors that led to the present treatment of immigrants, and what we can do to support asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants.

To learn more about First Friends of New York & New Jersey visit,, and to learn about the OPSCC, visit


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