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Scroll down the page to see the webinar video.

Influencing Elected Leaders and Holding Them Accountable: POWER OF THE PEOPLE

Advocating with government leaders for justice in Israel/Palestine can seem like a daunting task, but we do have the power to enact political change.

The United Methodist Book of Resolutions states: “The attempt to influence...public policy at all levels of government is often the most effective means...to keep before humanity the ideal of a society in which power and order are made to serve the ends of justice and freedom for all people.” (UMC Book of Resolutions, #5012)

In this July webinar, we will learn valuable tools to connect with decision makers in government and methods to maximize our impact, along with the top current issues in the movement for Palestinian rights.

The U.S. Congress will be on recess in the month of August, a key time for constituents to meet with legislators, in both face-to-face and virtual meetings. And, with congressional elections coming up this fall, many incumbent and new candidates will be speaking at town hall meetings before November.

Legislators often say they don’t hear enough from constituents who are advocating for Palestinian rights and freedom. Working together - and with our many justice partners - we can change that!

Join us to hear from three seasoned activists who will share their years of practical experience in political advocacy.

AIMEE HONG serves as the Special Executive Director of Education and Engagement at the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) in Washington DC. As the director of the UM Seminar Program, Aimee designs seminars on issues of justice and peace that include visits to legislative offices. Growing up in the church, Aimee has had a lifelong interest in the intersection of personal faith and social justice, but felt the church was silent on how to engage in social justice. Since her graduation from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and before coming to GBCS, Aimee served as a local pastor and an education director where she actively incorporated justice and peace into faith formation and curriculum.

KYLE CRISTOFALO is Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Relations at Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). He holds a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Messiah College, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Kyle was first introduced to Middle East advocacy work during a semester abroad in Cairo, Egypt. After graduating from college, he spent 10 months serving with the Mennonite Central Committee in Palestine, at Bethlehem Bible College. Most recently, Kyle served as the Program Assistant for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on Legislation (FCNL) where he helped coordinate lobbying work on Middle East policy and trained grassroots advocates in how to lobby their Congressional representatives.

PAT MINOR, a member of UMKR’s Steering Committee and an experienced political activist, will moderate this webinar and will also share her experience in the practice of "bird-dogging" candidates. Pat holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Iowa and has been advocating for Palestinian rights since she returned from her first trip to the region in 2005. She is an organizer in Iowans for Palestine, a political advocacy group that works to educate legislators, candidates, and voters about Palestinian rights.


Watch the video below.

Below the video, see information and resources shared in the webinar.

Resources        Webinar



Information and Resources Shared in the Webinar


TAKE ACTION
Issues and legislation raised in the webinar

Stop the Ethnic Cleansing of Masafer Yatta:
A collection of Palestinian villages is threatened with the largest expulsion of Palestinians in over 50 years.
Take action here:
https://umkr.salsalabs.org/masaferyatta

Stand with the Six:
Let Congress know you oppose the label of terrorists being used to smear 6 excellent Palestinian human rights and service organizations.
Take action here:
https://umkr.salsalabs.org/alert-hres751standwiththe6/index.html

Support HR 2590, The Palestinian Children and Families Act
Encourage your Rep to support it and your Senators to introduce companion legislation. Take action here:
https://umkr.salsalabs.org/congresshr2590/index.html

RESOURCES

UMKR has collected recommended resources for political action created by our partners in the movement for Palestinian rights, including resources from our speakers' organizations: GBCS and CMEP.
See those resources and the top issues and campaigns that UMKR is addressing:
https://www.kairosresponse.org/political_action.html

Contact Speakers:
Kyle Cristofalo:
kyle@cmep.org
Aimee Hong:
ahong@umcjustice.org

CMEP is presenting an advocacy event in August, in preparation for August/Sept meetings with Congressional legislators:
https://cmep.org/event/webinar-understanding-hr-2590/

“What is Public Narrative: Self, Us & Now” Marshall Ganz (2009)
https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/30760283/Public-Narrative-Worksheet-Fall-2013-.pdf

A letter from 17 Christian Faith groups in support of the NDAA Amendment regarding Shireen Abu Akleh, signed by the UMC General Board of Church and Society:
https://cmep.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Christian-Faith-Orgs-support-Carson-NDAA-Amendment-re-Shireen-Abu-Akleh-.pdf

Some legislation discussed in the webinar:
HR 2590 - Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2590
H.Res.1123 - Recognizing the Nakba and Palestinian refugees' rights:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-resolution/1123?s=1&r=15
H.Res.751 - Condemning the repressive designation by the Government of Israel of six prominent Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as terrorist organizations:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-resolution/751

CONGRESSIONAL LETTERS ON MASAFER YATTA
https://bush.house.gov/media/press-releases/bush-leads-14-colleagues-in-urging-state-department-to-intervene-to-prevent-israels-forced-displacement-of-over-1000-palestinians-in-masafer-yatta

https://stansbury.house.gov/media/press-releases/ahead-biden-visit-israel-stansbury-merkley-19-senators-and-62-representatives

https://price.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/house-members-call-increased-diplomatic-engagement-dangerous-flashpoints

CONGRESSIONAL LETTERS ON THE KILLING OF SHIREEN ABU AKLEH
https://www.vanhollen.senate.gov/news/press-releases/van-hollen-and-23-senate-colleagues-call-for-direct-us-involvement-in-the-investigation-of-shooting-death-of-american-journalist-shireen-abu-akleh

https://pascrell.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=5116

https://www.ossoff.senate.gov/press-releases/sens-ossoff-romney-demand-accountability-for-killing-of-american-journalist-in-west-bank/

https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/chair/release/senators-menendez-booker-pen-letter-to-potus-on-investigations-into-death-of-nj-resident-palestinian-american-journalist-shireen-abu-akleh

https://www.vanhollen.senate.gov/news/press-releases/van-hollen-leahy-murphy-durbin-press-administration-for-answers-on-us-review-into-death-of-american-journalist-shireen-abu-akleh
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