Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ecumenical Advocacy Days For Global Peace With Justice Washington DC 2016

I had open expectations for EAD – Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2016 but wanted to meet and network with a diverse group of people who believe in the power of God and who want to make a difference in the world.

Friday morning began with a Amtrak ride from the Trenton Transit Center to Washington DC.  The Trenton Station and the train were in very good condition and I encourage people to experience them both.  I especially like the free WIFI access on the Amtrak train, a few hiccups but all in all no major issues.

Upon arrival we walked to our home for the next several days, the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Washington DC – Crystal City.  The hotel amenities include, a indoor pool, fitness facility with “free weights,” rotating roof top restaurant/bar “The Sky Dome,” multiple rooms that were used as break out/conference spaces and a lobby bar with local and regional craft beer selections.  The food was just OK in my opinion however I didn’t here anyone complain. 

The staff gets an A+ in my book!  Easily the most polite, friendly group of people I have experienced in a hotel of this size.  Later at our closing dinner event we met one of the “Key Leaders” of the hotel and heard a bit about the functionality of the hotel.  This Hilton is part of a growing number of national brands who are implementing policies to bring about social change.  The employees of this Hilton belong to a Union.  The food prepared “in house” is locally sourced and every employee is trained in “Sex Traffic” Awareness.  The commitment to this training is evident by the need for a key/card to access any of the floors with guest rooms. 

Friday nights opening ceremony included music and messages from:

I was especially moved by the “sermon” or keynote address by Rev. Dr. William Barber.  His message based upon Ezekiel 37 – The Valley of Dry Bones was filled with real life examples, humor and a challenge to the church to do God’s work.

Plenty of time was given throughout the conference to visit the numerous Vendors/Exhibitors sharing information about products, services and programs.

Saturday began bright and early with the Opening Policy Plenary: Racism, Class & Power” led by:
·      Ashindi Maxton, Independent Strategist in Democracy Reform, Racial Justice and Education
·      Sandy Sorenson, director of the Washington Office, Justice and Witness Ministries, The United Church of Christ

We also spent time in State Breakout Sessions where we received instructions and trainings for the Lobby Day

The Lunch Plenary: “The Cradle to Prison Pipeline” given by:
Marian Wright Edelman, Founder & President, Children’s Defense Fund was enlightening and motivating.

Later in the evening PC(USA) held an Open House for members to connect where I chatted with some Key Leaders from our denomination.

Sunday morning began with a Worship Service given by Rev. Amy Gopp, Vice President of External Relations, IMF World Health.  Her message dealing with Women’s issues nationally and globally particularly moved me as I thought about my pre-teen daughter and the world she and her generation will lead.

The International Plenary: “People Power and the World” followed with:
·      Moderator Rev. Traci Blackmon
·      Esam Boray, Human Rights Activist
·      Frances Bagotlo Laminero, Executive Director, InPeace, Philippines
·      Samantha Master #BlackLives Matter Movement Activist
·      Conrado Olivera, Director, Joining Hands Peru

Monday morning we were off to DC for the Lobby Day “Asks”

Have a listen to some conversations with my travelling group. 
Sam Bezilla, Anna Hill, Will Parker, Theodore Tel, Emily Yeh, John
Parker, Joyce MacKichan Walker.

Several images from the presentation of my traveling group to the congregation of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Trenton NJ.

A few images from our presentation to the congregation of Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton NJ