Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, Christians mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.
This year’s theme was Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation. The conference brought together inspiring preachers and thought-provoking speakers, to encourage opportunities to network with leaders who share a passion for social justice.
We attended sessions on Immigrant Incarceration Bed Quotas, The Israeli Military Occupation of Palestine as Systematic Exploitation, Restorative Justice, Digital Advocacy Campaigns, Militarization of Police Departments, The Churches Response to Systems of Exploitation, Criminalization of Communities of Color: Race and Incarceration, Imprisoned in Gaza, Lockdown Indoctrinated (on how we have been taught to believe that the current incarceration policy, prison conditions and police techniques are normal), Grassroots Responses to the Mass Incarceration Crisis and How to Become a Welcoming Church to Returning Citizens.
On Monday we had meetings with staff members in Congresswomen DeLauro’s, Senator Murphy’s and Senator Blumenthal’s office, inviting them to:
Reform federal criminal justice and immigrant detention policies toward the goal of ending unfair, unnecessary, costly and racially biased mass incarceration:
Adopt criminal justice and sentencing reform policies that incorporate an end to mandatory minimum sentencing;
Eliminate the detention bed quota for immigrants and implement alternatives to immigrant detention.
Each of the staff members was well informed and was working on various aspects of criminal justice reforms. Their bosses were very supportive and were co-sponsors of reform legislation. Unfortunately, there is no broad based support in congress for comprehensive reform. While progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.
We welcome your questions and opportunities for a more in depth discussion of the sessions at EAD.
Art and Mary Hunt
Report from 2015 Ecumenical Advocacy Days