Did you know that last year almost 1,500 Colombians* were violently forced from their homes each day? It's no wonder that Colombia now has more internally displaced persons than any other country in the world, even more than Sudan.
Yet despite this reality, a top Colombian official recently claimed that Colombia is making so much progress that the country is now in a "post-conflict" phase.
We have to make sure our communities, congressional reps., and President Obama know the truth and understand that we need a change of direction–and heart–in U.S. policy towards Colombia.
Join us in calling for a new Colombia policy and bringing attention to the plight of Colombia's internally displaced by participating in Days of Prayer and Action on April 19th and 20th!
Here's what you and your community can do:
- Ask your church to pray for peace in Colombia on Sunday, April 19th. Witness for Peace, a longtime LAWG partner, has put together a Faith Community Action Packet that has all the resources you'll need to hold a meaningful prayer service. If your faith leader agrees to set aside time for Colombia, send Travis an email at email@example.com with the name and location of your church so he can post it to the list on www.peaceincolombia.org.
- Host a doll-making party in March. On April 20th, people in a half-dozen cities will creatively and publicly present 4,000 paper cut-out dolls to their congressional reps. Each doll represents 1,000 of Colombia's four million internally displaced persons. Check out an easy-to-follow guide for hosting a doll-making party. If there's an action planned in your city, your dolls should be used there; if not, you can send them to Travis and he'll make sure they are presented to State Department officials in Washington, DC.
- Send the "Change Colombia Can Believe In" postcard to President Obama. The postcards can be used either for the Day of Prayer or the Day of Action. It's a quick and easy way to get our message of change through to President Obama. Email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org to request postcards for your church, doll-making party, or action on April 20th.
- Participate in the Day of Action on Monday, April 20th. Find out if there's an action planned in your city and get involved; if there isn't, it's not too late to start planning. Contact Travis at email@example.com to find out how to get the ball rolling.
Last year, more than 300 churches and thousands of activists across the United States showed their solidarity with Colombia by participating in Days of Prayer and Action. This year, with Colombia's churches and victims of violence still under threat, we must stand by them again as they call for peace, justice, and basic human rights.
Now is also a good time to schedule a meeting with your congressional reps. while their home on recess April 6th through 17th. You can find your representative's contact information at www.house.gov and your senators' at www.senate.gov. If you're participating in Days of Prayer and Action, this would also be the perfect time to present the dolls representing Colombia's displaced to your congressional reps.
Don't miss these opportunities to educate your communities, congressional reps, and President Obama and together we will achieve change Colombia can believe in!
Fore more information on Days of Prayer and Action, please visit our website or www.peaceincolombia.org.
*According to CODHES (Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento), 270,675 people–approximately 1,483 per day–were displaced in the first six months of 2008.