A momentous occasion for peace
After more than five decades of war in the longest-running armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have reached a peace agreement. Coming shortly after the unprecedented bilateral ceasefire agreement, the steps of goodwill have culminated in a final accord that is soon to be signed by the parties and voted on by the Colombian people.
MCC has supported churches and church partners in Colombia for decades in the pursuit of peace. It is with joy that we stand with them to mark this important event. This accord is not the end of the story, and many risks lay ahead. From Washington, we will continue to monitor the implementation of the accords, including U.S. cooperation with Colombia, to help ensure a just peace for all Colombians.
Photo: Churches and schools participating in a peace march in Soacha, outside of Bogota, Colombia at the beginning of the peace talks. (MCC photo/Nathan Toews)
High school essay contest
The annual MCC U.S. Washington Office high school essay contest has begun! Students who attend Mennonite, Brethren in Christ, or other Anabaptist churches or schools are eligible to enter and win prizes of up to $1,000. Topics this year include gun violence in the U.S., Colombia, and immigration. The deadline for submitting essays in January 27, 2017.
Criminal justice reform: On August 18, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would be phasing out all of its contracts with private prisons in the near future. The policy change will not affect people incarcerated in state prisons that are privately-run.
Haiti: MCC welcomes the acknowledgement from the office of the U.N. Secretary General of the U.N.’s role in Haiti's cholera outbreak, admitting the need to respond adequately. While many scientifically proven reports have demonstrated that waste mismanagement on the part of the U.N. caused the epidemic in Haiti, it has taken almost six years for the U.N. to publicly acknowledge it. Read more.
Immigrant detention: On August 29, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson announced a review of the use of private immigration detention facilities to evaluate whether this practice should be eliminated. A written report of the evaluation is due no later than November 30, 2016. DHS press release | Raices statement
September 21: Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria
October 13: Webinar on Kairos Palestine with Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac (sign up online)
On August 31, MCC Central States released a statement on the adverse impacts of the Dakota Access Pipeline on indigenous communities and the environment.
Worship and advocacy materials are available as part of the Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria.
On July 29-30, Tammy Alexander attended the Mennonite Brethren National Biennial Gathering in Denver, Colorado, and co-led a workshop on immigration.
Tammy participated in a border learning tour in Tucson, Arizona, with other MCC staff August 10-13. On August 14, Tammy spoke at Hebron Mennonite Church in Hagerstown, Maryland.
From July 25 through August 26, Rachelle enjoyed a time of study leave. Thanks to Tammy and the other staff for making this possible.
Jacob Greaser and Alek Ball completed their internships in our office in August. We are grateful for their work and wish them all the best.
We are delighted to welcome our new fall interns: Zoe Parakuo is a student at Eastern Mennonite University and will be working on domestic policy issues. Shalonda Spencer is a graduate student from Jackson State University who will be working on foreign policy.