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For immediate release CONTACT: Joe Cimperman, Global Cleveland, 216.215.6765
January 24, 2020 Michelle Carver, Global Cleveland, email@example.com
Connie Larkman, United Church of Christ, firstname.lastname@example.org
GLOBAL CLEVELAND AND UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST OPPOSE TRAVEL BAN EXPANSION, POLICIES SEPARATING CLEVELAND FAMILIES
Expanding the travel ban will keep our family, friends and neighbors from their loved ones.
WHAT: Press Conference on the third anniversary of the U.S. government travel ban.
Global Cleveland and the United Church of Christ (UCC) invite everyone to a press conference to hear first-hand the ban’s negative effects on our friends and neighbors.
President Trump said he plans to widen the existing ban. Reports indicate it may be expanded to include people who live in and hold passports of the following countries: Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. People are suffering already from not being able to see their loved ones from the countries included in the initial travel ban.
Global Cleveland and the UCC believe the U.S. should focus on building cross-cultural understanding and tolerance amongst countries and religions. Join us for an informative discussion and hear from our friends and neighbors about the daily impact a travel ban will have on their lives.
WHO: Speakers include:
The Rev. Bentley deBardalaben-Phillips, UCC Justice and Local Church Ministries
Joe Cimperman, President, Global Cleveland
Others to be announced
The United Church of Christ National Leadership
WHEN: Monday, January 27, 2020, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Amistad Chapel, UCC
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Hello all –
We’re back with Justice Updates! And what a week it’s been.
Events have unfolded at a rapid pace on the global stage. The past week rings with the echoes of previous (and ongoing) U.S. military conflicts. We’ve all been struck by déjà vu from the start of the Iraq war. Just sub in “imminent attack” for “WMDs” and you’re there. Here is a snapshot of some of the actions we’ve taken collectively:
- UCC Leadership issued a call to prayer and fasting for peace
- We issued a JPANet call for action, calling on UCC members to write to members of Congress, asking them to assert oversight and constitutional war powers. (with 4,240 actions taken to date by members)
- UCC/JWM signed a Faith statement on escalating violence with Iran
- Lots of prayer vigils have been happening: https://www.facebook.com/events/875725669497537/
- Mike is working on an ecumenical/interfaith project that will call for a season of prayer and collect names of churches & individuals.
Iran Conflict Background
On January 3rd, the U.S. assassinated Iranian Maj. General Qasem Soleimani by a Predator drone strike, sparking global outrage. Soleimani was the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s Quds force and is seen in Iran as a hero. The U.S. government viewed him as a terrorist and justified his killing on those grounds, citing a connecting to several recent attacks in Iraq, as well as an “imminent” threat of a larger attack they believe Soleimani was planning, however no evidence has been offered to justify that claim. Hundreds of thousands joined a funeral procession in the days following chanting slogans of support for their slain leader, and Iran has announced that it will no longer comply with the limits on nuclear fuel as negotiated in the 2015 nuclear agreement. Adding gasoline to the fire, President Trump tweeted out that if Iran retaliated, the US has targeted 52 Iranian sites as targets "some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture." Despite the public outrage at the threat of attacking cultural sites (which violates the Geneva Convention and is considered a war crime) the President doubled down on that threat.
On Tuesday January 7th, Iran responded by launching missiles at the Al-Asad Airbase last Tuesday night, and fortunately no causalities thanks to early warnings that were issued by Iran, but which has subsequently been shown to have caused the downing of a plane that killed all 176 people on board. These events all point to months of incidents and policies that have nearly brought the U.S. to the brink of war with Iran.
In Congress, the House passed a War Powers Resolution last Thursday that reasserts Congressional oversight and mandates that if no further Congressional action is taken, the administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran must cease within 30 days. Attention now turns to the Senate, but there is much debate as to which bill will garner enough support to pass or sidestep a Presidential veto. Senator Kaine may call up his War Powers Resolution as early as Wednesday, but other options are under consider as well such as S.J.Res.68, S.Con.Res.33, S.3159, as well as further actions in the house. Bumping up against potential Senate action is a pending Impeachment trial.
For the third straight day, Iranians took to the streets in protest of their government following the news that it shot down a Ukrainian plane last week that it took for a hostile aircraft.
Staff: Beka, Mike, Peter
This week the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has said she will send the articles of impeachment against the President to the Senate. This sets up an impeachment trial to begin, as soon as Wednesday (but will probably be the 21st). At this point there is no agreement on how the trial will be conducted, namely whether there will be witnesses, or new evidence. The Constitution gives the United States Senate the responsibility for trying impeachments, but does not address the standard of proof that is to be used in such trials. But before the trial really heats up, senators first need to iron out some logistical details. Chief Justice Roberts needs to be sworn in and deliver the oath to senators, who are expected to sign their names in an oath book. Then, the chamber has to debate and vote on a rules package to set the parameters for the trial. After that, both sides will likely be given a few days to submit trial briefs, followed by a chance to respond. So the real action — a.k.a. opening statements, written questions and a debate on witnesses — likely won’t come until after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (And for those wondering, Clinton’s trial did take a break for MLK day.)
Governor Abbot of Texas announced last week that he would not allow refugee resettlement in the state of Texas. Texas is the first state to say they will be using the authority granted by the Trump administration rule that allows states to stop resettling refugees. HHS manages the refugee resettlement program. This appalling decision has come under the ire of many religious groups, including the UCC. We have a Litany for Refugees and Asylum Seekers made available by the UCC, along with other resources holding a Refugee Justice Sunday worship service. Here is a link to a sample script for calling Gov. Abbott’s office and expressing support for refugees. The UCC participated in a vigil and celebration of refugees outside the of a courthouse in Maryland before preliminary arguments to issue an injunction to the EO allowing states to block resettlement. Evidence points to an expansion of the travel/Muslim ban in the Administration’s ongoing effort to erode immigration access in the U.S.
Staff: Katie, Amanda
Poverty and Mental Health
There are myriad benefits we know to raising the minimum wage, including: reducing income inequality, making it easier for workers to afford life’s necessities, including rent and food, and stimulating the economy because it follows that when people earn more, they have more to spend. Now we can add one benefit to the list: minimum wage increases might contribute to a lower suicide rate. A new study released this week and reported in the Washington Post demonstrates a correlation between an increase in the minimum wage and declining suicide rates among adults who are between 18 and 64 years old. We’ve lobbied hard this year for an increase in the Federal Minimum Wage, which has not increased in a decade.
Staff: Katie, Sarah
Several health provisions were included in the bill to fund the federal government passed in December. Notably, it didn’t include passage of legislation that addresses surprise billing or skyrocketing prescription drug prices. However, several taxes intended to help pay for the Affordable Care Act were repealed including the health insurance tax, Cadillac tax (a tax on high cost plans) and the Medical device tax. It is telling and foreboding that Congress was able to come together to move forward on benefits largely for businesses but not for individuals who are struggling with high health care costs.
I gave the message at my church on Sunday for World Communion Sunday. Since I just returned from a trip to Sri Lanka and India, I shared about that experience. I also dressed in an outfit I bought on the trip and decorated our table/altar with goodies from my trip. Here are some pics! I'll try and post the message at another time.
I bought the piece of fabric in Delhi for the church. It's hand embroidered and has sequins! The blue and white vase is from Jaipur, a famous pottery place. The plate in the center is also from Jaipur. My outfit is from Delhi.
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