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2022 Ecumenical Advocacy Days Push to Advance Civil and Human Rights (Church & Society)

May 4, 2022

This is a two-part series highlighting the Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) Conference that took place April 25 – 27, 2022.

Over the course of three days, more than 500 people of faith gathered virtually to learn, pray, worship and advocate for civil and human rights. The EAD virtual conference included two plenaries: One on the U.S. issue of voting rights and one addressing global human rights.

On the final day, EAD conference members conducted 32 Senator visits across 23 states advocating for voting rights and human rights. They called for the passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, a comprehensive voting rights bill that would protect and expand access to the ballot. In addition, EAD participants lifted up the SAFEGUARD ACT, a bill calling for more transparency in U.S. arms sales exports.

Also, during this year’s conference, the EAD raised funds for the Black Voters Matter Capacity-Building Institute and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.

Theological and Biblical Grounding

Untie the Tied

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity UCC of Chicago, preached during opening worship. Rev. Moss concentrated his message on the time Jesus entered Jerusalem according to the Gospel of Luke and instructed disciples to go and “untie the colt.”

Moss used the motif of the colt to describe those in our society who are “tied up” and locked down in society. He noted that we too are instructed to enter the city and “untie” persons and ideas that have been tied down and tied up by those in power.

Repentance, Restitution and Reconciliation

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner called on participants to live out their Christian identity that is centrally about uplifting the least of these. “The fierce urgency of now is not just about restoring human and civil rights,” said Skinner. “But it is about restoring our faith.”

Addressing injustice as part of “neighbor love,” is something that cannot be overcome alone, but rather through the power of God’s redeeming love working in and through our “surrendered lives.”

Skinner called for “repentance, restitution, and reconciliation” as Christian practice in response to “land theft, human enslavement, continued oppression of minority communities, marginalization of women of color and white Christian nationalism.”