JPANet: November Newsletter
November 2016 – Justice and Peace Action Newsletter
Getting to the Root of It
The 2016 election cycle has stirred heated rhetoric and passion, exposed sharp divides, and reopened painful wounds for many communities. This month, Sandy Sorensen, Director of our UCC Washington Office, asks – Could this post-election time be an opportunity to share stories and heal our nation in a real way; to move beyond polite, “watered-down civility” and begin the process of reweaving the threads of our common life?
After the Election: What’s Next?
The 2016 election cycle has stirred heated rhetoric and passion, exposed sharp divides, and reopened painful wounds for many communities. One story in particular comes to my mind again and again as I think about where we go from here. A friend of mine was catching up with her grandchild over dinner one day after school when she asked my friend, “Grandma, what are we going to do on Election Day? Are we going to hide?” For me, these words of a child are a glimpse into the toll this election season has taken on our individual and collective psyches. They present a spiritual challenge for us all.
As people of faith, what shall we say to this? (Read more.)
Vote Faithfully Sunday – November 6, 2016
We invite you to join with our Ecumenical partners in observing the Sunday before Election Day as “Vote Faithfully Sunday.” This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and uplift every voice in our community, reflect on our commitment to the common good and prepare to cast our ballots. Download the Vote Faithfully toolkit and learn more about how you can support your congregation by getting out the vote!
The Final Push to Stop the TPP
The UCC has worked with faith, environment, labor, and health groups to oppose the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement). With both presidential candidates opposing the deal, many TPP supporters believe the “lame duck” session of Congress (during November and December this year, after the election but before the new Congress starts in January) provides the best opportunity to get the bill passed. We who oppose it must engage in a final showdown to defeat it. There are several ways to engage this month. Your participation is critically important.
- Join an Interfaith Webinar to learn more about the TPP on November 14th.
- Take action through national call in days set for November 15-17th. (Stay tuned – we’ll email info out closer to the date.)
- Participate in a Rally Against The TPP in DC on November 17th or attend the Rock Against the TPP concert on November 30th.
World AIDS Day – December 1, 2016
World AIDS Day is an important occasion for building awareness and stepping-up our responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in our own communities and around the world. The importance of the whole church engaging in HIV response has never been more critical. As never before, there is a path to ending the epidemic in our lifetime. As you plan for this global observance, please use our resources, adapting them according to the needs of your particular context.
Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath
In December 2016 we will mark the 4th anniversary of the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. This past year has offered no respite from the continuing toll of gun violence, including the June Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, yet more shootings in schools and workplaces, and the thousands upon thousands of lives lost every day to gun violence in our homes and city streets. Despite a courageous witness in the House of Representatives this summer led by Rep. John Lewis calling Congress to action for meaningful gun violence prevention, Congress recessed for the fall campaign having taken no action to end gun violence. More than ever, your witness is needed as part of the Faiths United Against Gun Violence December Sabbath.
Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the United States – a day to bring awareness to the world-wide crisis also known as modern day slavery. You and your congregation are invited to observe this day as a way to raise awareness about human trafficking and kick off a year full of justice advocacy and faithful witness.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2017 – Confronting Chaos, Forging Community
Join us in Washington, DC on April 21-24, 2017 for the Ecumenical Advocacy Days: Confronting Chaos, Forging Community. Together we will grapple with the intersectionality of racism, materialism, and militarism, and learn more about the impact they have around the world, in our communities, and in our own lives. Through prayer, worship, advocacy training, and networking with other Christians, we will face the current manifestations of these ‘triplets’ and together advocate for change in public policy that better reflects the Beloved Community about which Dr. King spoke. Learn more.
Justice in Action
Trouble voting? Election Protection can help!
The nonpartisan Election Protection coalition was formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. We are proud to partner with them in working to make sure every person is able to excise their right to vote. If you encounter problems at the polls they are here to help. Spread the word by promoting the Election Protection hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE. Learn more and download a bulletin insert to share with your congregation.
Support the Water Protectors of Standing Rock
In a letter to the Attorney General, Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II outlined ways to counter the militarized response to the water protectors of Standing Rock who have opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline. This week people of faith from around the country are joining in prayer and action. Stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors:
- Read our Clergy Call to Action.
- Take Action. Send an online letter to President Obama.
- Make your commitment part of your faith practice. Preach with Standing Rock, pray with Standing Rock, and act with Standing Rock. Wherever you are, join in solidarity with the persecuted and the jailed.
Take the Pledge: Vote with a Heart for Climate and Creation
Interfaith Power and Light has offered a way for you to make a pledge to vote with concern for the climate and God’s creation in mind and then share that pledge with the presidential candidates. Check out the pledge.
A Post-Election Season of Healing
As of November 9th, we will need a nationwide season of healing and listening, lasting from Election Day until Inauguration Day and beyond. O.C. Inc.’s 34th annual Parker Lecture challenged us to think about, not only the context of the stories we see in the media, but also to stop vilifying others even when it comes to the political candidates who we do not support. Read Cheryl Leanza’s new post on medium challenging all of us to eschew hate and see the humanity in each other.
Can you help advance a “Peace Tax?”
At the UCC’s Sixteenth General Synod, churches passed a resolution in support of a “Peace Tax Fund.” The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund continues to work toward this goal and is seeking a volunteer in each congressional district to communicate with their representative about the Peace Tax Fund Bill and urge for its passage. Time commitment is two to four hours a month. To learn more go to www.peacetaxfund.org. To sign up, call 1-888-PEACE-TAX or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Witness for Justice
Looking for up-to-date social justice commentary? Check out Witness for Justice, a weekly editorial opinion column written by the staff of Justice and Witness Ministries.