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Justice Prayers - April 5, 2023

"On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, ... The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name." - Zechariah 14: 8-9

Almost half of human rights defenders killed last year were in Colombia

Colombia was the deadliest country in the world for human rights defenders in 2022, accounting for 186 killings – or 46% – of the global total registered last year, according to the latest report from the international human rights group Front Line Defenders. Front Line Defenders found that killings of rights defenders across the globe increased in 2022, with a total of 401 deaths across 26 different countries, compared with 358 deaths in 38 countries registered in 2021.

In 2021, Colombia also topped Front Line Defenders’ charts registering 138 rights defenders killed. “In a grim milestone, for the first time we saw more than 400 targeted killings of human rights defenders in 2022. While Latin America remained the deadliest region in the world for human rights defenders, we also saw a more dangerous landscape for defenders in the context of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” said Olive Moore, interim director of Front Line Defenders. Across the different human rights sectors, defenders working on the protection of land, environmental and Indigenous people’s rights were the most frequently targeted.

Lord, God, we pray for the departed and we cry out for justice in their names, in their honor, in their memory. We rebuke those who have committed these acts of violence, and pray they might be brought to account, in Jesus’ name. For peace in Colombia, and all places where human rights defenders work and are at risk, we pray for safety and bravery.

Canada migrant death toll at 8, after 2 more bodies found

The bodies of two more migrants who died trying to cross from Canada into the United States, were found Friday, bringing the death toll to eight, including two children, police in the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne said. The bodies of six people, described as members of two families of Romanian and Indian descent, were found Thursday in a marshy area of the St. Lawrence River, which forms the Canada-U.S. border. Akwesasne Mohawk Police Chief Shawn Dulude said authorities were still looking for a man, identified as Casey Oakes, 30, who was last seen Wednesday operating a boat that was found next to the bodies. The territory is known for being a transit point for the trafficking of humans and contraband because of its location. And in February, police in Akwesasne reported an increase in human smuggling into the Mohawk territory.

Migration continues to be a deadly path towards freedom, God. We need systemic solutions that make it safer to move from one place to another, Lord, but right now we are failing miserably. How many lives must be lost - how many nameless, faceless individuals must we become numb to before we decide to act? 

Canada’s C$80B response to U.S. clean energy push

The Canadian government has unveiled its answer to the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act with a federal budget that offers billions of dollars for investment in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is announcing C$80 billion in tax credits for clean technology over the next decade, including C$25 billion for investments in clean electricity. “Our friends and partners around the world — chief among them, the United States — are investing heavily to build clean economies and the net-zero industries of tomorrow,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday, as she presented the budget in the Canadian Parliament. The budget unveils two new refundable tax credits, including the 15 percent credit for non-emitting electricity generation. The Liberal government has promised Canada will achieve a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, while demand for clean electricity is projected to double by 2050. The government is also announcing a 30 percent tax credit on manufacturing equipment for renewable and nuclear energy projects, zero-emission vehicles and critical mineral extraction and recycling, expected to cost C$11 billion between now and 2035.

We celebrate when dollars are committed to the clean energy transition, Lord, and with this announcement, we are grateful for all this will mean for Canadian communities: cleaner air, cleaner homes, and a more vibrant future. But, Lord, we pray that the demand for materials to electrify in one part of the world - a push for sustainability - doesn’t lead to destruction elsewhere as workers dig for precious metals that destroy their homes. Lord, we pray for robust, long-term solutions to our ecological health.

Several states ravaged by deadly tornadoes could see more twisters this week after violent storms kill 32 people

Parts of the Midwest and South devastated by catastrophic tornadoes will have almost no time to recover before another round of dangerous storms takes aim at hard-hit areas.

At least 32 people were killed after an onslaught of tornado-spawning storms Friday obliterated houses, ripped roofs off buildings, wiped out power and prompted governors to announce disaster declarations. At least 50 confirmed tornadoes touched down in several states in the South and Midwest. Now, some of those same areas ravaged by twisters – including central Arkansas, eastern Iowa and northern Illinois – will see another round of storms Tuesday threatening more tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds. Some areas in the South already saw high winds Monday afternoon, with nearly 20 storm reports across southern Georgia, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. There were two tornado reports in southeastern Alabama and two hail reports in southwestern Georgia, while high winds impacted regions in all three states – including Decatur, Georgia, which reported a powerful wind gust of 79 mph.

Send the helpers, O Lord - the cooks, construction workers, counselors, and organizers who can help walk alongside these communities as they recover. Clear the way for government to provide as much funding as is needed, and be a comfort, God, to all those who so desperately need your warm embrace.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

This is Hunting Park Small Group Study Guide Available!

Trees. Solar panels. Education. These are some of the ways people of faith are fighting the effects of climate change. That’s why we created a new documentary series, This is Hunting Park. Learn how people of faith in one Philadelphia neighborhood are coming together to make a difference. Watch the films and download the study guide here.

Advocate for Reconciliation in Indigenous Education

Canadians join us in asking members of Parliament and Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu to continue Canada’s commitment to reconciliation and fully implement TRC Calls to Action 7-10 for Indigenous education.

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