The triennial Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women convened yesterday in Orlando, Florida. Office of Public Witness Director J. Herbert Nelson and Fellow Blair Moorhead are among the nearly 2,000 participants at the Gathering, which is exploring the theme "River of Hope." As participants in the Gathering learn about a range of peace and justice issues - from providing access to clean water to ending violence against women - the Office of Public Witness has teamed up with Presbyterian Women to provide immediate advocacy opportunities in the interactive PW Live exhibit.
As the members of Presbyterian Women learn about and take action on important issues of peace and justice, we invite you to add your voice to theirs by taking action now on these important issues:
- Speak Out for Peace in the Sudan: Despite the secession of South Sudan from the north, President Omar al-Bashir continues to terrorize the Sudanese people, bombing villages and blockading humanitarian aid from entering targeted areas. The military attacks have displaced civilians, preventing crop production and placing 500,000 people at the risk of starvation. The Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012 (H.R. 4169) seeks to end Bashir’s campaign of violence and help the Sudanese people. The law would increase engagement with other stakeholders with influence in Sudan; provide assistance to afflicted areas in the country; create tough sanctions to target any person or entity that assists in any way with the exercise of serious human rights violations, including interfering with humanitarian aid, permitting impunity, or providing money, goods or military equipment to the government of Sudan; and would create benchmarks for ending sanctions should the Sudanese government choose to end the violence against its own people and seek peace. Take action now to urge your Representative to support HR 4169.
- Water for the World: The need for adequate drinking water and sanitation remains great. Eighty percent of sickness in the developing world, and the deaths of 4,500 children daily, trace back to contaminated water and inadequate sanitation. Diarrheal dehydration caused by these diseases kills more children than AIDS, malaria and TB combined. In 2005, Congress passed the Water for the Poor Act, which made safe drinking water and sanitation official U.S. foreign policy priorities. To build on this success, a bipartisan group of leaders in the House has introduced the Water for the World Act of 2012 (HR3658). This new legislation would place high-level water leadership at USAID and the State Department, ensure that a significant portion of field personnel have water and sanitation experience, and set a goal of bringing sustainable, safe drinking water and sanitation to 100 million people over the next six years. Contact your Representative urging him or her to co-sponsor the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act.
The Office of Public Witness invites you to stand with Presbyterian Women as they advocate for these important peace and justice issues by taking action today, and to join us in praying for the participants and leaders at the Churchwide Gathering.
Look for more opportunities to join the Presbyterian Women in advocacy on Saturday!