Today, we present our ELCA Advocacy Update for the month of June. Please read below for important information on ELCA Advocacy efforts in Washington, across the country and throughout the world. To read the full version of the update and for more information on advocacy efforts from our Lutheran State Advocacy offices, visit our blog!
ELCA Advocacy, Washington D.C.
JUNE 21, PRAY. FAST. ACT.: On Thursday, June 21, we join with The Episcopal Church
in our monthly commitment to #PrayFastAct. This month our focus is on disaster
preparedness. The United States and its territories are facing extreme weather
patterns more frequently. In the past year, fires, floods and hurricanes have
displaced millions of people, destroyed homes and other structures and led to deaths.
Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands continue to face many challenges in the
wake of Hurricane Maria, including infrastructure damage, a plummeting economy,
loss of jobs, closure of schools, cuts in peoples’ pensions and other factors
that have contributed to a mental health crisis.
ELCA congregations and organizations are among many groups that
work tirelessly to help Americans when disaster strikes, but their efforts are
often hampered by bureaucracy, which delays getting valuable assistance to
those who most need it. The federal government must work to streamline the
process for getting aid to those who need it and invest in disaster
preparedness to minimize the effects of emergencies and major disasters.
HUMAN RIGHTS: The House of Representatives has
passed the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill includes an amendment
that imposes new financial and visa sanctions on Myanmar military
officials. The amendment also limits U.S. military-to-military assistance
to the Myanmar military until it makes progress on human rights and
perpetrators of the current crisis are held accountable.
MIGRATION AND AMMPARO: A Health and Human Services (HHS) official
testified that the department does not know the whereabouts of approximately 1,400
children who had been in their custody. The children were released to sponsors
and the HHS could not contact them in follow-up calls. HHS has the child-welfare
expertise to screen children for trafficking. It is important to provide the
department the resources needed to follow up with sponsors. Interested
advocates can learn more by reading "Explaining policies separating children and families" on the
ELCA Advocacy blog.
CREATION CARE: ELCA Advocacy participated in the
international meeting to prepare for the December U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP24). This meeting, held in Bonn, Germany, May 1-May 10 was
designed to produce a strong foundation for the development of a robust
rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement at COP24. An additional
meeting to build on this work will be held in September in Bangkok.
Critical issues discussed included climate finance and raising the commitments
of parties to the Paris Agreement in reducing greenhouse gases to minimize the
global temperature increase to less than two degrees Celsius. The first Talanoa Dialogue was successfully held at this meeting. The dialogue
is a means of facilitating the negotiations and involves
sharing ideas, skills and experiences through storytelling in which
participants build trust and advance knowledge through empathy and
advocates can learn more about the Bonn meeting and the Talanoa Dialogue process on the ELCA Advocacy blog.
ELCA Advocacy and
The Lutheran World Federation are organizing concurrent Talanoa Dialogue
sessions to be held as an affiliate event during the Global Climate Action
Summit in September in California. Session 1 covers just transition
(transitioning to energy sources derived from renewable energy in a manner
that creates resilient communities while leaving no one behind). Session 2 addresses the livelihood of people dealing
with disasters caused by the increased intensity and frequency of severe
weather patterns and storms.
Invited participants include
representatives from vulnerable regions in the world that are most endangered by
FARM BILL: The House of Representatives rejected a
version of the 2018 Farm Bill last month on a 198-213 vote. While the proposed
bill positively addressed ELCA priorities in international food aid and U.S.
agriculture, many faith leaders voiced over concerns over cuts and added work barriers to the SNAP food
assistance program. The House has planned another scheduled vote on June 22nd,
and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced plans to make the
Farm Bill a top Senate priority in the later summer. Advocates can take action
now on faith priorities in the Farm Bill at the ELCA Action Center.
Lutheran Office for World Community
CHALLENGES FACING MIGRANTS: Marking the start of the May negotiations toward a U.N. Global Compact
for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the ELCA and The Lutheran World
Federation (LWF) offered an event on May 14, “Grassroots Perspectives on
Migrants’ Lived Realities in Different Contexts.” The presenters discussed the
challenges migrants face during their journey, as well as when they return to
their home countries.
Raquec Cum (photo, third from right) is program director of Asociación Pop No’j
(“weaving knowledge and wisdom” in the Mayan K’iche’ language), a non-profit
Guatemalan organization. She reported on the causes of migration from Honduras,
El Salvador and Guatemala, and the politics of detention and deportation.
Asociación Pop No’j works on the return and reintegration of child and
adolescent migrants back to their communities of origin.
Katrine Ringhus (far right), advocacy director with
LWF–World Service in Colombia, reported on work on the nation’s border with
Venezuela and on the Pacific coast. LWF offers risk management and human rights
assistance to people contending with illegal access routes, inadequate shelter,
malnutrition, endemic disease, trafficking, extortion and violence.
Rados Djurović (second from left) is executive director
of the Asylum Protection Center in Belgrade, Serbia, a non-profit serving asylum
seekers, refugees and migrants. He outlined the legal, psychological and
integration and inclusion support offered to migrants while advocating for
improving the system and fighting prejudice and xenophobia.
panel was made possible by a grant from ELCA Global Mission. Also participating
were the Rev. Cindy Halmarson (far left), ELCA Global Mission area director for
Europe, the Middle East and North Africa; and Alaide Vilchis Ibarra (second from the
right), ELCA Advocacy program director for migration policy, who also provided
interpretation. The compact under negotiation is expected to be adopted at a U.N.
conference in December.
Lutheran state advocacy efforts across the country
Find out all about the vast and incredibly important work and top priorities of Lutheran state advocacy networks across the country by visiting the ELCA Advocacy Blog.
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