Advent and Advocacy: A Year of Activism in Review
Advent is with us again, calling us to reflect and review, and the Sojourners policy team wants to thank you for walking with us in 2009. As we compiled this year-end policy and outreach review, we were inspired and thankful for all we have achieved together.
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Together we prayed, wrote letters, participated in teleconferences, advocated to Congress, debated the issues, and sought wisdom in tough circumstances.
We worked to engage people of faith all across the country to address issues including poverty, hunger, climate change, health care, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, nuclear weapons, workers' rights, abortion reduction, the economy, immigration reform, and recovering from the economic recession.
Brand-New Year: Prayer and Pledge for Real Change
We kick-started the year with a campaign to President Obama offering our prayers and pledging to hold him accountable to a new kind of politics and achieving four goals: poverty reduction, ending U.S. wars, protecting our environment, and pursuing a consistent ethic of life in all policies.
These goals and pledge formed a blueprint for the weeks and months to follow.
Mobilizing to End Poverty
Despite tough economic times, thousands of activists convened in D.C. in April to network, worship, and mobilize against domestic and international poverty. The three-day event culminated in a powerful lobby day on Capitol Hill where people of faith urged Congress to commit to reduce poverty by half in the next 10 years, fully fund the foreign assistance budget, and support health-care reform.
Our focus aiding those caught in poverty intensified throughout the year as the recession deepened and recovery packages were focused on huge corporations and the middle class, while "poverty" was still a politically incorrect term.
On the leadership level, we convened a bipartisan taskforce of policy experts for a Poverty Forum, who used their common Christian faith as a foundation for working together on developing a set of policy proposals for poverty reduction. The message to Congress: "If we can do it, so can you."
Health Care is a Moral Issue
One of the largest policy debates in recent history -- health-care reform -- claimed much attention in 2009 due to the key role accessing care plays for the most vulnerable in society. We knew the debate would be heated, so from the beginning we used our voices to call for reform to embody our best moral values.
For almost six months we have worked for affordable and accessible coverage for all people. We equipped faith leaders with easy-to-understand resource guides and partnered with other faith groups to host teleconferences on the proposals. We launched a "Tell the Truth" campaign targeting the worst offenders in the media, who were filling our airwaves with half-truths, slanders, and fear-laced language.
And, for the past two months, we have worked tirelessly to convene our friends on both sides of the table to find compromise on the debate about abortion-related amendments to reform legislation. In all of the details, it was easy to get discouraged -- but access to health care is a goal worth fighting for. Stay tuned