November 10, 2014
The U.S. is at a threshold. After decades of “tough on crime” policies, the nation is rethinking how crime and justice should be approached. Followers of Christ are called to be agents of reconciliation, part of God’s work to bring all people and creation to God. What are we doing at this threshold moment?
This issue of the Washington Memo newsletter focuses on the rise of mass incarceration and current bills pending in the U.S. Congress that would make our criminal justice system more restorative.
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Haiti: In a groundbreaking court hearing in the United Nations (U.N.) cholera case, a judge in New York heard oral arguments on whether the U.N. can claim immunity and avoid taking responsibility for Haitian cholera victims seeking justice. The judge will decide if the claims are legitimate, which could lead to further litigation. Read more.
Colombia: Conscientious objector Jhonatan Vargas was detained by the Colombian army in early September and released a few weeks later. He was finally given his military passbook and official documents that indicate he is a registered conscientious objector and his case has been closed. We are grateful for a rather quick resolution and thankful to all those who sent emails to military officials on his behalf.
Gaza: International donors met October 12 to pledge support for the rebuilding of Gaza after this past summer’s conflict. The U.S. has pledged $414 million in assistance to Palestinians thus far. Reconstruction aid is sorely needed, but most importantly, the underlying causes of violence must be addressed, including the lifting of the Gaza blockade. Take action.
- November 10: Immigration webinar – Post-election analysis
- November 24: “Fooling the Sun, Not Fooling the Rain: Housing & Shelter in Haiti 5 Years After the Earthquake” in Washington, D.C. Coordinated by the MCC U.S. Washington Office, MCC Haiti advocacy staff, and Church World Service.
- December 4: “Jesus weeps: An introduction to the Israel-Palestine conflict,” featuring Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach as one of the speakers. Watch and discuss the webinar with your Sunday School class or small group. Sponsored by the Peace and Justice Support Network, Mennonite Church USA, and Mennonite Mission Network.
- January 23, 2015: Deadline for submitting essays for the annual MCC U.S. Washington Office high school essay contest.
- April 17-20, 2015: Plan now to attend the 2015 Ecumenical Advocacy Days National Gathering in Washington D.C. The theme will be “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration & Systems of Exploitation.” Register here.
- Building strong health systems must be a priority (global health)
- You don’t have rights here (immigration)
- Haiti doesn’t need another occupation
- Syria and Iraq – Money, power and the roots of war
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- Washington Memo newsletter Fall/Winter 2014: “Agents of reconciliation: U.S. criminal justice policy“
- Letter from MCC U.S. to President Obama on Iraq and Syria
On October 15, MCC staff from various locations in the U.S. participated in an advocacy day in Washington, D.C. Staff visited 12 congressional offices to discuss migration from Central American and other immigration issues.
Tammy Alexander traveled to Gainesville, Florida, on October 23-25 where she moderated a panel on nonviolent action and immigration reform at Immigration Reform and Beyond? The 5th Conference on Immigration to the U.S. South and spoke at Emmanuel Mennonite Church.
On November 6, the Messiah College peace club visted the Washington Office to learn more about our work and discuss various issues.