Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ecumenical Advocacy Days in D.C.

I wasn't aware that this was going on this week. Via the Episcopal News Service:

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, made the plea: ''Each child is God's own beloved… How we treat each child is how we treat God... Every child needs and deserves health coverage.''

She addressed her words to the 1000-plus members of the faith community present in Washington, D.C., for Ecumenical Advocacy Days March 9-12.. ''God didn't make different classes of children and the U.S. should not continue its current inequitable treatment of children.''

This is the year that the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expires. Funded only through September, Congress must reauthorize the program, cut it or expand it. That reality helped keep participants focused on how to influence Congress.

''This is the time for action,'' declared Lindsey Wade, policy associate with the Children's Defense Fund, to those preparing arguments for the legislators they would visit the final day of the gathering.

Advocacy Days, now in its fifth year, drew the religious community to Washington to lobby for a range of human rights and justice issues. Several days of workshops and training preceded their descent on Capitol Hill.

More than 50 churches and faith-based organizations, including the National Council of Churches and Church World Service, sponsor Advocacy Days. The theme this year, ''And How Are the Children?'' aimed a spotlight at ending child poverty. Speakers addressed domestic and global issues: unaccompanied children crossing the border, fixing the No Child Left Behind program, effects of the Middle East conflict on the region's children; the impact of U.S. security policies on children; effects of debt on Africa's children; escalating violence in Burma and the Philippines and a dozen more.
Click here for the rest.