JPANet November 2007 Newsletter
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
2008: Claiming a New Vision of Security
March 7-10, 2008
Please save the date for the sixth annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference. Our theme, 2008: Claiming a New Vision of Security, will guide and inspire this gathering of over 1,000 religious advocates. Experts will train participants on advocacy and policy issues, and on Monday, the conference will conclude with lobby visits on Capitol Hill. This year’s event will be held at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center and will feature speakers such as Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, President Elect of the National Council of Churches and Dr. Lisa Schirch, Professor of Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. Also invited are all of the top democratic and republican candidates of the 2008 presidential race for a town hall meeting where YOU can see how they stack up on the issues that matter to you most.
No Child Left Behind Act Reauthorization Delayed
Leaders of Senate and House committees preparing for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act announced in the first week of November that that chasms of disagreement under the surface of the conversation will make it impossible to bring the reauthorization of the federal education law to the floor of Congress in 2007. Thank you for your advocacy, for in this instance, Congressional inaction reflects growing pressure by many advocates including those in faith communities who have insisted that Congress transform NCLB’s test-and-punish philosophy and instead recapture the original federal education goal: to expand and equalize educational opportunity. It will be important to broaden and deepen the conversation in the months ahead and for people of faith to continue to advocate to Congress. You can track this important debate and find alerts for action on our FIXING No Child Left Behind webpage.
The DREAM Act
The DREAM Act finally made it to the floor of the Senate in late October and sadly failed, by a close vote of 52-44. This is the law that, if passed, would grant some children, brought at a young age to this country by undocumented parents, the right to qualify for college entrance, college scholarships, military service, and a path toward citizenship. When this bill finally came to the Senate floor after being introduced year after year since 2001, its bipartisan sponsors hoped it would make a space in this country for the roughly 65,000 high school graduates who face this situation each year, children who are likely to have grown up here and who in many cases have no familiarity with another country to which they could return. Learn more on our UCC public education pages.
Fair Trade and the 2008 Elections
If you live in an early caucus/primary state (especially IA, NH, SC or NV) and you’re interested in Fair Trade/Sustainable Development for the developing world, then take a look at the following project:
Organizers in Iowa and New Hampshire are asking questions of the Presidential hopefuls at their events, and doing other educational work to inform the voting public and the candidates themselves about fair trade policy. The group is advocating a policy that benefits workers, family farmers, and the environment in the US, and helps the cause of democratic development and poverty relief in the developing world. If you are interested in this getting linked up with this project, please contact James Ploeser at email@example.com. He’s in Iowa, but is the point person coordinating efforts with other states as well.