March 4, 2014
Tammy Alexander reflects on the recent protest of faith leaders and immigrants in front of the White House on President’s Day.
MCC Photo/Agnes Chen
“Herminia Gallego Lopez [pictured above] from Phoenix cried during the White House protest as she talked about her 20-year-old daughter who has been in detention for five months. Pilar Molina, whose husband was taken and detained as he left the grocery store they own in Norristown, Pennsylvania, said, ‘I have two young daughters that ask me every night when is daddy coming home.’ For Lopez, Molina, and millions of others, we are falling far short of God’s vision.”
Read the latest PeaceSigns article here.
March 4, 2014
The Research and Advocacy program of JUSTAPAZ [the Christian Center for Justice, Peace, and Nonviolent Action] and CEDECOL [the Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia] have just released the eighth edition of A Prophetic Call, an annual report that documents human rights violations against Protestant and evangelical church members, leaders and pastors in Colombia. This report brings to life and provides a record and analysis of the abuses that Colombians within the church face due to the ongoing armed conflict in the country.
This year’s report summarizing violations for 2012 includes 42 cases mostly involving displacements and threats, being conducted by neo-paramilitary and by FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] the largest guerrilla group in the country. These stories are collected by trained regional teams, and then categorized and entered into a central database, where they can be subjected to statistical analysis. The research and advocacy program that documents these stories also runs peacebuilding training for churches, spiritual accompaniment for victims, legal aid, and political advocacy.
A Prophetic Call provides a national contextual analysis of Colombia, the cases documented, as well as a quantitative analysis of the demographics of victims, their locations, the identity of the perpetrators, and the most frequent types of violations. The report shares formal statements, experiences, and peacebuilding proposals from Protestant and evangelical churches.
Finally, the report recommends a number of action points. This year’s recommendations include:
- That the Colombian government give priority to social programs and reduce military spending
- That the United States government continue to redirect military aid towards socio-economic aid and peace initiatives
- That new anti-narcotics policies be adopted that reduce coercive strategies in favor of a renewed focus on addiction, demand for drugs, and arms trafficking
- That new methods be developed for comprehensive protection that include nonviolent strategies
It is important to share these stories that are being recorded and shed light on our brothers and sisters sufferings. As the report explains, “Historical memory has been a key element in helping Christians to better understand their faith and social responsibilities as bearers of hope.”
Read the Full Report Here.
Take action for peace in Colombia and participate in the Days of Prayer and Action.
February 28, 2014
An analysis of the new U.S. farm bill by Patricia Kisare in the latest Third Way Cafe.
The farm bill, which Congress is required to reauthorize every five years, is the main instrument through which the U.S. government directs its international food aid programs. Earlier this month, Congress passed a new farm bill, which included two major provisions that will make international food aid programs more efficient.
Learn more here.
Mennonite Central Committee works with small scale farmers such as Nyiransabimana Seraphine, pictured above, to improve their food production.
February 25, 2014
Faith leaders and immigrants protest at the White House, calling for a halt to deportations. Agnes Chen/MCC
Action: Send a letter to the White House urging President Obama to end deportations.
Background: Each day, approximately 1100 immigrants are deported from the U.S. Many of those deported leave daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, and sisters and brothers behind. Later this month or in early March, we will reach two million deportations under President Obama’s watch.
February 25, 2014
Agnes Chen writes about the recent passing of the Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410) through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
From drug possession to sexual assault, the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach of mandatory minimum sentences does not serve justice to all the complexities involved in a harm or crime. It is time to call on Congress to remove all mandatory minimum sentences, to render justice where it is due but also compassion where it is needed.
Read the latest Third Way Cafe article here.
February 25, 2014
Theo Sitther reflects on Haiti’s history in the latest Third Way Cafe.
Haiti faces a deeply rooted problem, which pre-dates the 2010 earthquake, of systemic economic injustice and inequality. Decades of economic policies, largely imposed by the international community, have crippled Haiti’s ability to build a society that thrives and prospers.
Read the article here.
February 6, 2014
Independent armed groups continue to cause grave suffering in eastern Congo. In the latest Mennonite World Review, Patricia Kisare writes about the current conflict and how it is influenced by U.S. public policy.
Mennonite Central Committee advocates for programs that encourage armed groups to disarm and be reintegrated into the mainstream society. In Congo, MCC supports a program of the Church of Christ in Congo, which helps FDLR members to do just that. Despite their effectiveness, such programs receive little funding, compared to the money available for military operations.