By Naomi Yilma
Along with over 1,000 other concerned faith and non-faith advocates, I had the opportunity of participating in the first-ever virtual Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference. This year’s EAD took place from Sunday, April 18, to Wednesday, April 21, on the theme, “Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored,” and consisted of an opening session, two days of workshops, and one day devoted to congressional advocacy.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days “is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, and its recognized partners and allies, grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.”
A coalition of sponsoring organizations come together to set up the annual educational advocacy conference. Since 2003, EAD has mobilized more than 1,000 faith advocates annually to advocate on a variety of social justice issues. This year, the theme was climate justice with the conference centered on and led by the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts due to historic racial and colonial inequities.
As a sponsoring organization, the Church of the Brethren, through the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, has been active in the planning process. In addition to planning, director Nathan Hosler also led a workshop titled “Racial Justice in Palestine and Israel: Targeting, Detention, and Activism.” The workshop examined how nonviolent action to resist the control of land and resources is part of the global struggle for racial justice.
The final day of EAD is a lobby day when participants get the chance to take what they have learned in the various workshops and use it to present an “ask” to their congressional representatives. In line with the theme of climate justice, this year’s EAD participants asked their representatives to act urgently and decisively on climate justice by addressing the intersection of climate change, economic justice, gender justice, and racial equity. I had the opportunity to support fellow faith advocates as they prepared for their meetings.
For those seeking to engage with their representatives on Brethren values and ideals, EAD provides an opportunity to strengthen their voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of US domestic and international policy issues.
— Naomi Yilma is an associate at the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C., working through Brethren Volunteer Service.
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