What Did Sojourners Activists Do in 2010?
Half a million messages. That's how many our most engaged Sojourners activists sent on behalf of important justice issues in 2010. Sometimes sending an email may seem useless, but when we join our voices together, we are loud, we are strong, and we are heard.
More than anything, we want our activists to know that we are grateful for you. Your e-activism in 2010, combined with our work in the media and on Capitol Hill, ensured that our nation's leaders heard from people of faith during some key policy fights.
It's been an important year. Here's a recap of what we did together:
We started the year praying and pushing for health-care reform. After months of negotiations, a bill passed that will put our nation on a better path to care for all people. We also urged President Obama to provide Temporary Protected Status to Haitian immigrants in the wake of that country's horrible earthquake -- and we won! Next, we tackled the exorbitant level of spending on the military budget. Despite top military officials' requests for lower spending, we lost that fight in 2010. (But we have plans for 2011!)
In the spring, we joined forces with more than 250,000 activists at the March for America to press for immigration reform. Our efforts sent a loud message to the president that he could not ignore immigration reform -- a message he continues to hear on a daily basis from the faith community. We countered the claims of Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, who accused Sojourners and Jim Wallis of promoting a "Marxist agenda." We sent Beck 50,000 letters saying that we believe biblical social justice is integral to Christianity. We also pushed back hard against big banks that were spending $1.4 million dollars a day lobbying against financial regulation, helping to pass legislation that addressed many of the causes of our economic meltdown.
After the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we all examined our own dependence on fossil fuels and urged Congress to pass clean energy and climate change legislation. Jim journeyed to the Gulf, and Sojourners joined After the Spill -- faith groups that pledged to stand with Gulf Coast residents to see clean-up, restoration, and reconciliation through to the end. So far, the Obama administration has incorporated many of our demands into their official response efforts, and we continue to lobby Congress to do the same.
As the weather started to turn cool, our advocacy heated up. We called for ratification of the nuclear START treaty, which passed in both the House and the Senate! We lobbied Congress to pass the immigrant DREAM Act to give undocumented youth a chance at a brighter future and saw it passed in the House! Though the bill did not pass in the Senate, we will continue to work for immigration reform. And we launched a Truth and Civility Honor Roll during the intense election season.
In between, we worked with you and partner organizations to support peace efforts in Sudan; stop human trafficking in our country and around the world; protest unjust immigration laws in Arizona; support migrant workers in Florida; and end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Through it all, we prayed for direction and wisdom and humility in our work and your voices helped us stay on track.
We come to the end of another year feeling grateful to be in partnership with so many Sojourners who have spent the year advocating with us on issues of faith and justice, and encouraged that grassroots activism makes a difference.
We have a BIG vision for 2011 and hope you'll continue with us each step of the way.
Elizabeth Denlinger Reaves is the deputy director of policy and organizing for Sojourners.