May 6, 2019
Syria: Rebuilding the ruined cities
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff who have visited Homs, Aleppo and other Syrian cities report mile after mile of destroyed buildings. Before the war, these cities were hubs of activity, bustling commercial centers and home to millions of people.
MCC has been present in Syria since 1991, building relationships and, in recent years, providing emergency relief and support for peace programs. As we walk alongside the people of Syria, we hear their longing for peace and to return home.
To help Syria move toward peace, the U.S. should end its military involvement, address root causes of insecurity, support diplomatic efforts, and provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. Read more in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of our newsletter.
Letter to President Trump on Syria
DR Congo: On April 3, President Felix Tshisekedi met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and discussed U.S.–DR Congo relations, as well as a response to the escalating humanitarian crises, including the Ebola outbreak. Read more and take action.
Environment: The Climate Action Now Act, H.R. 9, passed the House 231 to 190 on May 2. The bill aims to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord and meet commitments for reducing U.S. emissions made under the agreement. It is not expected to pass the Senate.
Immigration: The Trump administration has requested $4.5 billion in supplemental funding (most for increased enforcement) and announced policies to expand detention and charge fees for asylum seekers. Another new policy being considered would deport some undocumented immigrants without a court hearing. The Dream and Promise Act may come up for a vote in the House later this month. April immigration update.
Palestine and Israel: On April 30, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) introduced a bill to prohibit U.S. taxpayer funds from supporting the military detention of children in any country, including Israel. Learn more about H.R. 2407 by visiting the No Way to Treat a Child website or joining a webinar on May 7 at 8 pm Eastern.
Peacebuilding through advocacy and diplomacy (North Korea)
July 2: Welcoming immigrants in 2019: Tangible ways to put your faith into action (Kansas City)
- Organizer: Tammy Alexander | Cost: $30
- In this all-day seminar prior to MennoCon19, participants will hear tangible ways that individuals and churches can walk with immigrant communities to help meet needs and advocate for greater justice. Register online by May 31. (Already registered for convention? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this event.)
July 2-6: Mennonite Church USA Convention, Kansas City, Mo.
- MCC U.S. Washington staff will be leading seminars on immigration, Palestine and Israel, and advocacy.
We have had lots of changes in our office this month!
Thank you to our two spring interns, Jessica Carey and Megan Eaton, who made many contributions to our office over the past few months.
We also said farewell to Charissa Zehr, who has taken a job elsewhere. For nearly five years, Charissa provided excellent leadership to our work on Latin America and Asia policy. If you know someone who would be interested in filling this role, the application deadline is May 8.
On April 29, we welcomed John-Michael Cotignola-Pickens, who will be the Criminal Justice Education and Advocacy Coordinator for MCC U.S. Before taking this role, John-Michael was the Advocacy Programs Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Council of Churches.
Back in early April, our staff participated in Ecumenical Advocacy Days. We were delighted to have a good showing of Mennonites from several congregations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Rachelle spoke at Bethel Mennonite Church in West Liberty, Ohio, on April 28. She and John-Michael also met with a class from Dock Mennonite Academy in Washington, D.C. on April 30.
And on April 30-May 1, Ry Siggelkow, pastor of Faith Mennonite Church in Minneapolis, and Gordon Smith, pastor at Mennonite Community Church in Fresno, Calif., joined other faith leaders in an annual fly-in event calling for increased foreign assistance.
Participants at an Anabaptist gathering at Ecumenical Advocacy Days. MCC photo.