For faith advocates working for justice, trying to bring the voices and concerns of the most vulnerable to the center of public policy decision-making, this last year has felt like an advocacy marathon. And what a marathon you have been running in 2019! During the past year, you helped to send 60,000 email messages to legislators and over 2,300 Tweets. You have prayed, marched, witnessed, and acted for justice in countless ways. In 2019, members of the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network have countered the narrative of fear, exclusion, and scarcity on issues ranging from refugee admissions, gun violence prevention, climate justice, voting rights, nutrition assistance, reproductive health care, gender-based violence, trade agreements, increased militarization, and violence and armed conflict in regions around the world. You have made a difference, made your voices heard, and we give thanks for your partnership!
Taking stock of our efforts, it may be hard to feel as though the arc of the universe is bending even just a little bit more toward justice. I have been holding in my heart the words of actress and activist America Ferrera, spoken in a recent interview with Krista Tippett: “What if the darkness of these times is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb, and a new world is waiting to be birthed and we are called to breathe and push?”
A pivotal election year is just around the corner in 2020. If you are like me, you may already be feeling the weight of what the year might hold for justice advocacy. Truly the hopes and fears of all the years feel present in this time. In addition to the “default” responses to fear and despair – fight, freeze, and flight – I invite us to a fourth possibility – to flock. To remember the power of community and realize the power of our collective voices and prayers. And I hope you will invite others to join the “flock” of the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network and the UCC Our Faith, Our Vote, Our Voice 2020 campaign.
Heartfelt thanks to each of you for your faithful witness for justice throughout the year. We will be taking a pause in our weekly action alert messaging for the next two weeks, returning in January with new ways to connect our efforts and lift our voices for justice. May you find moments and spaces of restoration and replenishment this Advent season.
Continued courage in the struggle,
The UCC DC Office
Sandy, Mike, Katie, Madison, Jessi, and Suanne