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Ecumenical Advocay Days 2009

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Join LAWG in Washington, DC March 13-16 for the 7th Annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days!

*All workshops will be held at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel, 5000 Seminary Road in Alexandria, VA.

At Advocacy Days, you and other participants from across the country will hear inspirational social and political visions directly from Latin America advocates and learn what you can do to influence the new president and Congress early on. crln_group_capitol.preview

Register for Ecumenical Advocacy Days today!

The Latin America track will explore new ways to take advantage of the openings for positive change in U.S. policy towards the region at an exciting moment for U.S. foreign policy. In a plenary session and workshops aimed
at newcomers and seasoned activists alike, we will explore issues such as indigenous people and climate change; the challenges facing Afro-descendants; the regional refugee crisis; ending the ban on travel to Cuba; creating a just U.S. policy toward Colombia; and promoting an environmentally-friendly, and community friendly, border policy.

Workshops on Latin America include:

  • Winds of Change? What to Expect from the Obama Administration on U.S. Policy towards Latin America
    10:45am-12:15pm, Saturday, March 14

    We don’t yet know if there will be winds of change or mere breezes of change in U.S. policy towards Latin America. But we know what we want. Come discuss with U.S. and Latin American activists our predictions and hopes for change. Speakers: Adam Isacson, Center for International Policy and a Representative of the Red Latinoamericana contra la Injusticia de las Industrias Extractiva.

  • Connecting with Churches in Cuba to End the Ban on Travel
    4:30-6pm on Saturday, March 14

    This is a year of possibilities for seriously impacting U.S.-Cuba policy; let's not let this opportunity pass us by. With new legislation to end the travel ban in Congress, the end of our failed policy is on the horizon. The faith community has been active in reminding our government of our faith partners in Cuba; we want to be able to visit them and have them visit us. Join us to learn how you can participate in our renewed campaign to end this outrageous policy. Speakers: Mavis Anderson and Paulo Gusmao, Latin America Working Group; Geoff Thale, Washington Office on Latin America; Marty Shupack, Church World Service.

  • Indigenous Peoples’ Vision and Criteria for Constructing a New Paradigm in Response to Global Climate Change
    4:30-6pm on Saturday, March 14

    Some of the world’s most important remaining forests and areas of highest biodiversity are on indigenous territories. For those concerned about mitigating the effects of climate change and biodiversity conservation, collaborating with indigenous peoples and organizations offers a tremendous opportunity to design appropriate projects and effectively implement them. However, collaborative working relationships between indigenous and conservation organizations have seldom achieved long-term success. And while indigenous organizations have attempted to establish partnerships with global institutions, governments, and international non-government organizations, they are only rarely engaged in the development of climate policy and other conservation programs in their territories and forests. This panel presents indigenous concerns related to climate change and demands effective participation in fora and decision-making processes. Speakers: Juanita Cabrera-Lopez, Assistant Director Amazon Alliance, USA/Maya Mam and Jairo Valencia.

  • Colombia for Activists
    2-3:30pm on Sunday, March 15

    It's time to seize the political moment to change U.S. policy to Colombia. Many of you have been active in supporting human rights and peace in Colombia, and now's your chance to make headway. Come get updated about the policy opportunities and strategize with others committed to building a just U.S. policy. Long-time organizers and newcomers welcome! Speakers/conversation facilitators: Lisa Haugaard and Travis Wheeler, Latin America Working Group.

  • Afro-descendants and U.S. Policy towards Latin America
    2-3:30pm on Sunday, March 15

    In Latin America, Afro-descendants comprise over 150 million people, yet over half the poor. The exclusionary practices perpetuated by racial discrimination have serious social, political, and economic consequences. Instead of excluding Afro-descendants, their knowledge and contributions must be at the center of the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the policies and activities that directly affect their lives and regions. Join us for a lively discussion about the policy changes and solidarity work needed to pave the way and learn from activists who have made significant advances in demanding rights and recognition for their communities! Speakers: Nnenna Ozobia, TransAfrica Forum and Ángela Díaz, Intercultural Education Specialist and Member of the Afro-Venezuelan Network.

  • Promoting a Border Policy that Values All of Creation
    3:45-5:15pm on Sunday, March 15

    Border walls have divided families, scarred wilderness areas, and led to thousands of migrant deaths. In this new political moment, how are environmental activists and people of faith working together to halt the construction of these divisive and destructive walls? What can we do to pressure our elected officials to support humane, environment-friendly border policies that value ALL of creation? Come add your voice to this crucial dialogue and learn what you can do to bring real change to the borderlands. Speakers: Michael Degnan, Sierra Club and Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee.

  • Colombian Refugees: The Regionalization of Colombia's Humanitarian Crisis
    3:45-5:15pm on Sunday, March 15

    Colombia is home to 4 million internally displaced people, one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world. The needs of the 4 million Colombian citizens who live within the country’s borders are well known within the Colombia advocacy community. Less acknowledged and recognized, but just as urgent, are the humanitarian assistance and security concerns that face Colombian refugees who live in the neighboring countries in the region. Often having faced multiple displacements at home, Colombian refugees then find themselves marginalized, vulnerable, and at risk abroad. What is the U.S. policy toward this refugee population? How can U.S. policy change to improve the lives of this forgotten refugee population? Speakers: Shaina Aber, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and Jessica Eby, Church World Service.

Don't wait to register.

Once you've decided to join us in Washington, email Travis at twheeler@lawg.org to let us know you're coming.

It's a moment of hope and opportunity, but changing U.S. foreign policy has never been easy. To achieve real change, we now have to show up and advocate passionately for our values and the issues we care about. So please join us at Advocacy Days and we will take the first step together!