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News from the Field

Learn from people on the forefront of justice work. Find out more about global and local injustices, the work being done to combat them, and the restored relationships that result.

A Lot of Hope, and a Dash of Crazy

My heart was racing. The chairs, which had been placed in a large circle, were moved to the side of the town hall we were meeting in. Once they were cleared away, we took our places in two lines facing each other. I found myself across from my opponent – a sweet-faced woman with shoulder length grey hair who smiled at me kindly. We introduced ourselves, shook hands. Still shaky with nervous energy, I turned my attention to the Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation leader who was facilitating the activity.

The Town that Immigration Built

This is Chinatown in Washington DC. Settlements like these sprung up around the US in the late 1800’s. Pioneering men from China left everything behind—property, employment, etc—for attractive offers to work in America. The idea was: get established, send for their families, and live the American dream like so many other immigrants.

Wanted: Political Will for Reconciliation in Indigenous Education

Sound bites and political theatre: federal budgets and major policy announcements can often look like nothing more than political posturing. In response we might trot out the clichés: the devil is in the details…the proof is in the pudding…show me the money! But as our friends at Citizens for Public Justice often remind us, values are at the root of budgets and public policy. When government promises for First Nation Control of First Nation Education are made – as in the Feb. 10 Budget and the Prime Minister and AFN National Chief Atleo’s announcement on Feb.

Renewal Through Refugees

I fought for and agree with those restorations, but the very particular way in which the cuts remain in effect for privately sponsored refugees is a way of saying, “we want to control the way you participate in sponsorship and we are going to hurt you this way.” It might seem to outside observers that this change impacts only a small group of refugees, but that is not true.

Infrastructure for Peace

I was talking to two old friends during a recent visit to Mampuján, the Colombian community I lived in for two years, when a horn honked down the street. Ana Felicia sat up with a start, yelled something about her garbage and ran out the door, leaving me confused.

Rethinking Punishment

Early in my career as prison chaplain, a prison guard patted me on the back and said, “It’s ok for you to care about them ‘preach,’ but it’s my job to put the boots to them!” The statement, perhaps tongue in cheek, reflects a persistent belief that prisons, the last door of the justice system, must “put the boots to,” or deliver the pain of punishment to, lawbreakers.

New Short Term Missions Think Tank

This can be a source of dissonance for mission trip sending churches because, in some sense, they know Ver Beek is right. Church councils may have even carefully broached the issue prior to ever reading the research—asking that uncomfortable question, “What if, instead of spending $830 per volunteer on plane tickets for 12 people we just send the $10,000 straight to the people who need relief?”

Slaves in your Neighbourhood--Part 2

hands folded

Over the last year, I have been contemplating the relationship between awareness and action, and I am not convinced that they are the same thing; you can be aware that slavery is still occurring around the world, but what action are you taking to alleviate or eliminate it? Yet awareness and action can often intersect as awareness prompts a desire to act. For example, awareness can lead to action by taking the Slavery Footprint quiz.

Slaves in your Neighbourhood

slaves

What images come to your mind when you think of the words “slavery” or “abolitionist”? Chains? William Wilberforce? Amazing Grace? The Underground Railroad?

The Mess

The Mess is a ministry that provides opportunities to create art and relationships with those who struggle with issues of brokenness. The Mess, which is supported in part by Diaconal Ministries Canada, walks alongside people, giving hope and empowering healthier life choices.

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