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Dear Justice-Seeker,

This issue of MFSAVoices is jam-packed with resources and information. So much so that it won't all fit in your email message so be sure to click view entire message at the bottom of this email to view the entire issue. Our newsletters are designed to be used all month long. So take a quick glance and take note of important dates to add to your calendar but also come back in the following weeks to work your way through the action items. 

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We continue to see the urgency of our work to make broad systemic change. Change that honors the dignity and worth of all people, puts people over money, and honors the earth and all her inhabitants. COVID-19 continues to highlight the inequities in our society that has literal life or death consequences. Since 1907, MFSA has been shining a light on injustice and organizing to change it. 

You make our collective work possible by your witness for justice every day in your church, community, and Annual Conference. MFSA does not receive any financial support from the United Methodist Church's giving channels. 100% of our budget is funded through your membership dues and your generosity in giving.


Racial Audit Team Co-Moderator: Pat Stewart

Racial Audit Team Highlight

I have to confess that when I said yes to working with Sean as co-convener of the Audit Team, I did not know what to expect.  There are so many things I have learned.  MFSA, as an organization, has gone through many ups and downs since it was first started. The organization has survived because it has been willing to change as needed to meet the needs of persons who have been marginalized.  It has protested policies that overall helped one group maintain power and others feel powerless.  

In this difficult time period, we can no longer ignore the treatment of people who have been outside the circle of power in the world and in the Methodist church. I want to thank the board and program council for being willing to look within our policies, practices, and unintentional biases to see how we can do things differently.  By this, I mean, how can we be more inclusive?  How can we be more of a partner to our constituency groups? How can we learn to lead by sometimes following?


“Whose Land?” The doctrinal legitimization of theft of the people’s land.

The second webinar in the "Stealing the Earth" series will explore the ways that the Doctrine of Discovery is implicated and implemented in the seizure of indigenous lands.

October 13, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. EDT (10:00 a.m. PDT / 12:00 p.m. CDT / 6:00 p.m. West African Time


Black-Palestinian Solidarity

Check out the recording and resources from United Methodist for Kairos Response (UMKR) and MFSA's latest webinar "Black-Palestinian Solidarity."


New Bookstore

MFSA’s new bookstore provides curated book recommendations organized in lists based on justice issues including racial justice, LGBTQ+ justice, disability justice, theology of justice, interfaith, justice in the Holy Land, peace-building, and more! The bookstore is still developing and lists will be regularly updated with recommendations from webinars, partner organizations, and the community.

MFSA’s bookstore is hosted by BookShop, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. MFSA is part of the affiliate program, which pays a 10% commission on every sale, and gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores. Through this platform, customers can choose what local bookstore they want to support and that bookstore will receive the full profit on the order.


George Engelhardt (1943-2021)

Active member of the New York Annual Conference and member of MFSA, George Engelhardt passed away on August 20, 2021. He was the husband of Carolyn Hardin Engelhardt for over 53 years. During his life, George was pastor of Cheshire United Methodist Church for nearly 30 years, and District Superintendent of the Connecticut Central District of the New York Annual Conference for 8 years. He went on to become pastor of Easton United Methodist Church and taught courses at Yale Divinity School. George was an active member of MFSA during his life. We remember and celebrate George Engelhardt's life. Donations in his memory can be made to MFSA or Cheshire United Methodist Church's Mission Fund. 


Kimberlé Crenshaw on Teaching the Truth About Race in America

Across the United States, the issue of how to teach students about systemic racism in schools has become a hot topic. State legislatures and organizations around the country have tried to restrict education on racism, specifically Critical Race Theory. Scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw helped develop the theory as well as coined the term "intersectionality." American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) hosted her in August on their "At Liberty" podcast to shed some light on the true meaning of Critical Race Theory and why it has become so divisive in the country. Check out the episode as well as the ACLU's podcast library which explores questions around civil rights and civil liberties. 


Illegal Israeli Settlement [picture: Hazem Bader/AFP]

Apartheid Then and Now
by Eloise Cranke and Kathleen McQuillen
From Iowa MFSA

A recent webinar, sponsored by UMKR and MFSA compared apartheid in South Africa with ongoing events in Palestine. Similarities are striking. One of the speakers was Kelvin Sauls of Los Angeles, originally from South Africa. He clearly remembers the discrimination his family of nine experienced through displacement, shaping his life. In 2008 he became involved with Palestinians working for justice, easily relating his own experience of displacement to their restrictions to certain areas while not being permitted in others. He recalls an evening in a Palestinian village surrounded by Jewish Settlements, complete with noise and raw sewage dumped into it from the Settlements. He defines apartheid as ideologies/theologies of white systems of colonization—political, economic, and cultural, targeted to establish a white religious ruling class. His parting message: people must mobilize to resist this discrimination. Sandra Tamari, originally from Palestine, now effectively exiled due to her activism also spoke. Now living in St. Louis, she recognized a powerful analogy between South African apartheid and what’s happening in Palestine today, making a comparison to the Native American genocide in the US. She pointed out that privileged Jewish people are vaccinated and returning to normal while Palestinians are denied vaccines. She went on to compare South African pass laws/books with how Israel categorizes Palestinians, relegating where they can live and work. Her statistics are telling...


Harvest of Justice

Every year the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) recognizes a Harvest of Justice season between Labor Day and World Food Day (Sept. 6-Oct. 16, 2021). During this season, NFWM provides resources to help faith communities learn about the issues affecting farm workers. This year the theme is "Farm Workers and Food Justice." Farm workers are 400 times more likely to experience food insecurity than the general public despite upholding the agricultural industry. National Farm Worker Ministry provides a library of programs, videos, social media tools, presentations, printables, and resources from previous years' Harvest of Justice seasons. Celebrate Harvest of Justice and join National Farm Worker Ministry in taking action for farm workers today!


Communities for Sheriff Accountability

Communities for Sheriff Accountability is a coalition of organizers and faith leaders who work toward a world without mass incarceration. Their alliance of organizers represent communities across the country and centers the leadership of communities who have experienced harm from their sheriff's office. They recognize that sheriffs play key roles in mass incarceration, mass deportation, and white supremacy. The majority of sheriffs are white men with a growing number who have ties to white supremacist groups and far-right militias. Sheriffs serve as the bridge to mass incarceration and deportation. Communities for Sheriff Accountability imagine a world where public safety protects the public based on policies of dignity and respect. Check out their full platform and learn more about their work in calling sheriffs toward justice. 


Now's the Time for Action

Here are a few ways you can seek justice and work for broad systemic change:

  1. Contact your members of Congress and tell them to stop the use of Title 42 policy to deny Haitian migrants' rights to seek asylum, restore asylum protections, and stop all deportation flights and expulsions to Haiti.
  2. Urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor HR 2590: Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. 
  3. Call your representatives and Senators and tell them to pass the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act. 
  4. Sign "A Call to Truth Telling and Repentance" statement and observe A Day of Truth and Repentance on October 6, 2021. 
  5. Join the #WelcomeWithDignity movement by signing the pledge to reimagine the way our country and our communities treat people seeking safety.
  6. Contact your Senators and Representatives to pass common sense legislation that saves the lives of farm workers like the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act.
  7. Call on U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken to demand Israel stops all plans of illegal expulsions and forced displacement of Palestinians homes and families in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
  8. In solidarity, join workers demanding $15/hr and tell McDonald’s to raise wages now.
  9. Check out what military acquired by your local law enforcement, and sign the petition to demanding more police transparency.
  10. Contact your elected officials and demand Congress cut funding for ICE and CBP and defund hate.
  11. Tell your Member of Congress to support the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All (AAIA) Act, an act that can help bridge the digital divide that disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx, Indigenous, rural, or low-income people.
  12. Write to the leadership of the township of Fairfield, CT to contact Sturm Ruger, the largest firearm manufacturer in the United States with headquarters in Fairfield, and demand the company suspend weapon and bullet sales to Israel.
  13. Tell President Biden and Vice President Harris to hold Israel accountable to its obligations as an occupying power and insist that Israel provide COVID-19 vaccines equally and fairly to Palestinians living under its occupation.
  14. Contact your elected officials to take an intersectional response to the incidents of AAPI hate and to center the needs of those most impacted, Asian American women and elders.
  15. Check the State Voting Bills Tracker to find out if your state lawmakers have introduced one of the 253 bills aimed at suppressing voting rights, and contact your state lawmakers to demand they support voting rights.
  16. Sign the petition and tell Congress to abolish the federal death penalty.
  17. Has your country signed on to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons?  Contact your elected officials to support the end of nuclear weapons in the world.
  18. Check out the BDS Toolkit and learn what economic actions you can take to fight along the side of Palestinians and their struggle.
  19. Manufacturing in an illegal Israeli settlement is a war crime.  Tell General Mills to stop making Pillsbury products on stolen Palestinian land by signing the petition, sending an email to the CEO, and #BoycottPillsbury.
  20. Write a letter and join the grassroots organizing for the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants.
  21. Sign the petition and join Palestinian Cry for Hope: a Call to Decisive Action, a global movement set by Kairos Response that "rouses churches to action and awakens civil society to the reality of Palestinian suffering."
  22. Take free online university courses on systemic racism.
  23. Host a virtual Card Writing Party to write and mail letters to immigrants in detention via The Casa Mariposa Detention Visitation Program.
  24. Call your legislators (202-224-3121) and advocate for permanent federal paid sick leave, expanded unemployment benefits, SNAP increases, and a moratorium on evictions, utility shut-offs, and payments. 

In Case You Missed It

  1. Access the latest webinar and resources from MFSA and UMKR's webinar "Black-Palestinian Solidarity"
  2. Watch the first webinar in the Stealing the Earth series: "What is the Doctrine of Discovery?
  3. Watch the recording of MFSA and Association of Ministers with Disabilities's webinar "Disability and Youth"

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Methodist Federation for Social Action
23 East Adams Ave
Detroit, Michigan 48226
(313) 965-5422 ext 121

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