Feature of the Month:
Haiti: Relief, Recovery and Justice
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti is the result of natural causes, but there is nothing natural about the current crisis. To put this in perspective, in 1989 a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the San Francisco area killing sixty-three people as a result. The death toll in Haiti's earthquake, on the other hand, could cause up to 150,000 deaths. Poverty and debilitated institutions are the root causes of Haiti's disaster. This is a human made tragedy that could have been prevented.
The Obama administration has pledged remarkable support and many of us have donated toward the relief efforts. While this must continue, long-term needs also have to be addressed. Further, it is necessary to examine how our governments and institutions perpetuate policies that victimize the world's most marginalized peoples. God calls us to witness to policy-makers, by sharing a vision for justice, peace and dignity for all peoples and encouraging policy decisions which ensure life rather than death.
Here are some additional resources:
1. Mennonite Central Committee's response in Haiti
2. "Don't Point Guns at Haitians"
3. Haiti's Un-Natural Disaster
- February 26-27, 2010: MCC Great Lakes Annual Meeting (Evanston, IL). Saturday Workshop, "Pursuing Peace in Congo" - Mary Stata, MCC Washington Office
- March 4-7, 2010: Mennonite Health Assembly (Norfolk, VA). Saturday Plenary, "The Ebb and Flow of Health Care Reform" - Tammy Alexander, MCC Washington Office
- March 19-21, 2010: Beyond Borders Immigration Conference (Bluffton, OH)
- March 19 - 22, 2010: Ecumenical Advocacy Days: A Place to Call Home: Immigrants, Refugees, and Displaced Peoples (Washington, DC)
- March 21, 2010: Immigration Rally: Breaking Bread with America's Families: Setting the Table for Immigration Reform (Washington, DC)
- April 16-19: Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia
The loss of the 60-seat Democratic super-majority in the Senate has stalled health care reform efforts. The MCC Washington Office is encouraging our supporters to call their Representative and urge them to vote to pass the Senate health care bill and then improve it with follow-on legislation. Read the action alert. Read more on our blog.
25 Senators recently signed on to a "Dear Colleague" letter requesting funds for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) to be included in a jobs bill. The request mirrors the House "Jobs for Main Street Act" that allocated $1 billion to capitalize the NHTF coupled with $65 million for Section 8 vouchers attached to specific properties. The Senate bill will be introduced this week.
In December, Congress issued a directive requiring the State Department to work with other countries and entities to monitor preparations for Uganda's elections. It was included in Uganda's section of the FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, the annual piece of legislation that allocates funding for foreign assistance programs. The State Department has to report back to Congress when it completes this task.
Action Alert Update
On January 14 , we asked you to contact President Obama and urge him to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians currently in the U.S. On January 15, TPS was granted! For questions, see this fact sheet or contact email@example.com.
MCC Washington Office invites congregations and individuals to participate in its Abundant Life: Economic Justice for All Campaign. Over the next year, the Washington Office will focus on specific areas of U.S. policy in which we see potential for taking steps toward greater justice. In this time of economic crisis, please consider taking one or more of the following Sundays to pray, reflect and act for economic justice for all.
April 25, 2010 - Let Justice Roll Down: Trade for the Common Good
Resources and information are available at washington.mcc.org/life or by calling 202-544-6564.
Check out the Winter 2009-2010 Washington Memo: Secure Dwelling Places: A home for everyone
Click here to view additional resources on U.S. housing.
Zach Montoya recently ended his internship at the office. Julie Kauffman, a George Washington University student, began an internship that will focus on organizing "Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia". Ken Nafziger, an Eastern Mennonite University professor, started a sabbatical at the Washington Office through our Pastor in Residence Program. Ken will spend the spring semester developing worship resources and working on a variety of other projects.