Christian activists and advocates from all over are gathering in Washington DC this weekend, April 17 to 20, to educate one another on how to reform the justice system in the US.
This is the 13th annual ecumenical social justice gathering. This year’s theme is, “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation.” As usual, members of United Methodist Women are on hand to raise awareness on a topic overlooked by mainstream media and churches.
United Methodist Women are advocating on behalf of families held in detention. International families who ought to be granted refugee status in the US, instead, are held in detention centers. This family detention ignores international law and flouts the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In the Saturday morning session, Dr. Bill Medford, director of the civil and human rights of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, spoke directly to white people in churches who comprise 95 percent of the demographics of the United Methodist Church. “We have enormous privilege. And with that privilege comes enormous responsibility.” It is not enough to do good and return to our churches, “our liberal enclaves of religious thought,” he said.
Rather, Mr. Medford said, we must enter in to incarnational relationships, wherein we say to one another, ‘your struggles, hopes, dreams are my stuggles, hopes, dreams.’ And “I will walk with you for the rest of my life,” he said.
“Pray that our advocacy changes lives.”
Join the campaign. Members of United Methodist Women are putting the White House on notice to end the detention of families. Send a postcard to the White House or your elected official. Call for an end to these for-profit detention centers, places which criminalize the “least of these,” children seeking asylum.