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    1. American Airlines Drops Nearly Every Change And Reservation Fee

      themeetingmagazines.com   November 20, 2020

      Contributed by Sherri Smith

      American Airlines is giving customers complete flexibility when they travel on American.


      “We are committed to making travel easier for our customers who fly on American,” said American’s Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja. “By eliminating change fees, we’re giving customers more flexibility no matter when or where they plan to travel.”

      No more change fees

      Effective immediately, American will eliminate change fees for First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy and Main Cabin (except Basic Economy) tickets for all long-haul international flying when travel originates in North or South America. This new policy matches American’s previous announcement to get rid of change fees on most domestic and short-haul international flying.

      As a reminder, American allows customers to keep the full value of eligible tickets if they change their travel plans prior to their scheduled travel. Although customers will have to pay the fare difference for a new flight, customers will not lose their ticket value if the new flight is less expensive.

      Customer-friendly initiatives

      Customers will no longer pay a service charge when booking a ticket through reservations. The service charge had been waived during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but will be eliminated going forward.

      American is dedicated to providing customers flexibility during this uncertain time. Recently, the airline removed reinstatement fees on award tickets and began offering customers free same-day standby on earlier flights. And AAdvantage® members who have achieved Elite status now receive the benefits, such as upgrades, Preferred and Main Cabin Extra seating and same day flight changes, that they have earned no matter what ticket they purchase.

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      Recent Entries

      Code Switch from NPR is my favorite podcast on race. This week, they dropped one of the best episodes I've heard from them, The White Elephants in the Room, which looks at LatinX demographic, not as monolithic but as heterogeneous as it actually is. They also talked to the director of the PRRI (Public Religion Research Inst) about white evangelicals. Although white evangelicals have held strong as 1/4 American voters, they are aging; this will continue to be a voting bloc to watch with influence on race, religion, and other issue of American culture.

    2. Colleagues:  As you prepare to make choices for the time of Open Enrollment I wanted to HIGHLIGHT an opportunity that you might consider.  The Staff Gift Opportunities is a way for you to make a contribution to one of the various ministries that we engage in as the national setting.  You can make a one-time gift or a recurring gift.  You also have the freedom to designate where you would like your gift to go:  The Annual Fund, Racial Justice Ministries, Environmental Justice Ministries, Immigration, Overdose and Drug Use Ministries - or give a gift to the Covenanted Ministries:  OGMP/JWM/LCM/WCM.  This is a great way for us to go the extra mile to support our common work.  Thank you!



    3. Hello all –

      There are 12 days left until Election Day (which really should be a Federal holiday! We’re working on that!) (interested about the next important election dates after election day? Click here)!  We’re working hard on getting resources out to folks to continue to get out the vote! Vote Early Day is October 24. More than 51 million people have voted early, either in person or by mail, as of Friday morning, according to the US Elections Project- this is great news! The Our Faith Our Vote campaign is coordinating to help people prepare for election night by cautioning patience in tallying the results. We are also sharing resources and de-escalation and peace building trainings being offered.  Please keep sending people to the Our Faith Our Vote 2020 website because that is where we’ll keep adding resources. The key message is to not inflame heightened tensions, but to make sure every vote counts, prepare for different election scenarios, and be careful to not spread disinformation. To celebrate the UCC and voting, please also share your pictures with #theUCCVotes, download the resource here, and the pictures are uploaded here. UCC News shared additional resources in protecting free and fair elections as well as a statement signed by the National Officers. Some uplifting opportunities here: In the midst of it all networks of community organizers all over the US are collaborating on streaming opportunities to engage in generative and healing spaces, respite from the chaos that is this election season, and community with value aligned organizers and change agents for BIPOC community organizers- please share appropriately with your networks. Shine on the Vote is organizing community gatherings of light to protect democracy. The issues covered below are a reminder of why we vote matters, and the people we elect to leadership positions matters.
      Staff: DC Office

      Here are some other priorities we’re working on:

      Supreme Court
      The vote to confirm Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court has been
      scheduled for Monday, which will happen after a rare weekend session. The breakneck speed of her confirmation process has been shocking, especially when juxtaposed with the sloth-like (no disrespect to sloths) manner in which they’ve considered COVID relief legislation. Her nomination passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously.  This is because Democrats boycotted the vote, instead putting pictures of constituents who are at risk of losing health insurance should Judge Barrett be confirmed, because she has supported dismantling the Affordable Care Act. An important fact to remember is that Medicaid expansion under the ACA has helped narrow long standing disparities in health coverage and access to care for people of color, and reversing that would have a detrimental impact on the efforts to reduce those disparities. We issued an action alert for Senators to oppose the nomination and instead focus on passing COVID relief. A statement from the national officers asks the Senate to not move forward with the nomination, noting that, “during her time on the bench, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg exemplified a federal judiciary that is of and for the people; that is fair, independent, and qualified; and that is committed to upholding constitutional rights for everyone. We now ask the Senate to follow her powerful example by putting the health and security of our nation and its people first and wait until after the inauguration to consider a nominee for the Supreme Court.”
      Staff: Sandy, Katie

      COVID relief legislation
      As predicted, fall is bringing
      an increase in COVID cases, and absent a federal effort to enforce social distancing and PPE guidelines and coordinate a national testing and tracing model, this will likely continue.  COVID relief is something of a political hot potato.  The Senate has largely ignored calls for robust relief, leaving important provisions that help folks, like eviction protection, nutrition assistance and importantly money for state and local governments to expire and run out.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Wednesday that a deal on a coronavirus relief package may not come together before the Nov. 3 elections.  The White House has been negotiating with the House, but the Senate, a blackhole from which no legislation save judicial nominees escapes from, has not engaged in meaningful talks. Our office at the UCC has joined with other advocates in meeting with leadership in both the House and the Senate to drive home the point that they should be working to support vulnerable communities, and not using COVID relief as a tool to gain political points.
      Staff: Katie

      The lasting impact of family separation (which is still happening) haunts our nation, and many many families.  In 2017 under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy as families were separated and ever since then efforts have been made to reunite these families.  According to court filings made public this week
      parents of at least 545 children cannot be found. The scale of abuse heaped upon the immigrant families who have come to the U.S. cannot be overstated. Every effort must be made to reunite families, and hold the officials responsible for the atrocity accountable.  An action alert is available here.  In refugee news, the administration belatedly consulted with Congress on the refugee admissions number and set another new low, with plans to resettle only 15,000 refugees in 2021.
      Staff: Katie, Noel

      United Nations
      On Saturday, the United Nations will
      commemorate its 75th anniversary, the day in which the UN charter went into force.  October 24th each year is United Nations Day and this year it comes amidst a multitude of global crises.   For the occasion of the 75th anniversary, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called again for a global ceasefire in response to the pandemic and the conflicts raging around the world, particularly between Armenian/Azerbaijan, to which the National Council of Churches also issued this statement on September 30th.  
      Staff:  Mike and Beka

      Nuclear Disarmament
      We learned on Friday of a shameful effort by the U.S. to undermine
      efforts toward nuclear abolition and maintain the nuclear weapons status quo.  According to a letter obtained by the AP, the U.S. has sent letters to the signatories of the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) urging them to withdraw their support. The pact is close to receiving the 50 ratifications needed for it to enter into force.  The undermining of this nuclear treaty comes at a time in which the Trump administration was hoping to land a major foreign policy victory by extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between Russia and the U.S.  However, prospects of renewing this treaty before it expires in February are dimming as both sides claim they are far off from an agreement.  Russia has offered to extend the existing treaty a year, but that is viewed as a non-starter by the U.S.
      Staff: Mike

      Middle East and Human Rights
      It was reported this week that the
      U.S. is weighing labeling leading human rights groups ‘anti-Semitic’ in response to their work for Palestinian rights.  The groups named include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam, all organizations which the UCC has worked with on various human rights efforts. The designation has been pushed for by Elan Carr, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, and has the support of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo despite opposition by other senior State Department staff.  This week also saw the signing of a declaration between the U.S. and Israel, affirming U.S. commitment to Israel’s military ‘qualitative military edge’.  All this comes at a time when threats and violence have increased during the annual Palestinian olive harvest, a critical economic, social, and theological part of life, as documented in this recent WCC webinar

      Tensions with Iran also took a dangerous turn this week as the U.S. Director of National Intelligence accused both Iran and Russia of meddling in our election. The Iranian regime was particularly accused of supporting spoofed emails sent from the white supremacist group the “Proud Boys” to democratic voters threatening violence if they did not vote for Trump.  Although foreign meddling in our election is concerning, it is important to note that no votes were changed.  Given the history of U.S./Iranian provocation that almost led to war in January, it is important we not overreact with further incitement. We do not need an October surprise to take attention away from homegrown threats to our election or the critical issues at stake.     
      Staff:  Peter, Mike, and Beka

      Please let us know if you have any questions about any of the above items! And lets go VOTE!

      ~The DC Office


    4. John Dorhauer
      Latest Entry

      I was asked to share my prayer. This is not exactly how it came out, but it is as close as my feeble mind and memory can get to it. 


      Let us breathe deeply, and as we do so remind ourselves of the God who in love created us; the son who showed us what love embodied looks like; and their spirit, who dwells within us. 


      Let us pray. 


      O holy spirit of the living God and the risen Christ, we are your body. We are the United Church of Christ, the body of Christ, your hands and your feet and your voice here on Earth. 


      We live in a world divided, being torn apart by division and strife, where the red side and the blue side refuse to acknowledge the inherent goodness in all. 


      You have called us to choose love. We are the preachers and proclaimers of your gospel of love and extravagant welcome. We are agents of a transformative love that can heal deep wounds and resolve fierce divisions. 


      Help us to come together and live out our calling. 


      Help us to unite in a commitment to show love to the world and to the nation. 


      Help us to remain faithful to our calling to exercise our full capacity to preach this gospel of redeeming and transformative love to the ends of the Earth. 


      We cannot know the outcomes ahead of us, but we can commit to our call to love no matter what. Inspire and embolden us as agents of your healing love. 


      This is our humble prayer and we offer it in your most holy name. 



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