Advocacy News + Updates
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Things to be thankful for:
The last couple of Thanksgivings, my husband and our two daughters, Josie and Grace (who are now 18 and 20) have started a new tradition for our big dinner. We threw over turkey, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes and instead had a “Favorite Things” dinner. Everybody in the family, including the dogs, gets to have their favorite thing on the menu. Last year, we had macaroni and cheese, crab Norfolk, homemade whoopee pies, and—my favorite—Pacific Lime Mold, an appalling lime-pineapple-cottage cheese concoction from the 1950’s that my Mom used to make and only I eat today.
I’ve been thinking of favorite things a lot these days. We have so much to be grateful for in the past year.
Here’s my short list–in addition to Pacific Lime Mold, of course!
My favorite legislation is S.553, the End Modern Slavery Initiative. This bill, if enacted, will be a game changer for the fight to end modern-day slavery. It creates a grant-making institution that will be funded by both the U.S. Government and private donors, as well as other foreign governments. It prioritizes the rescue and restoration of actual slaves, and will channel resources to selected focus countries. We’re tremendously grateful for our champion, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, for introducing the bill and moving it through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
My favorite day at IJM was September 22, when 300 anti-slavery advocates from across the United States joined IJM staff for a day of lobby meetings on Capitol Hill, in support of The End Modern Slavery Initiative.
My favorite grassroots movement of the past year is the “No Retrocedemos” (“No Turning Back”) campaign that IJM’s Guatemala Office carried out, in collaboration with other Christian organizations and churches in Guatemala. Some 16,000 Guatemalans signed an appeal to all of the candidates running for president, asking them to commit to using all the powers of the presidency to combat sexual violence. Eight of the 14 presidential candidates made the commitment, including president-elect Jimmy Morales.
My favorite policy change of the year happened in Thailand, when the government granted local districts the authority to act on citizenship petitions from Hill Tribe families. IJM provides legal assistance to Hill Tribe members to gain citizenship, which will allow them to travel, work, go to school and participate in the life of their country. IJM’s field office director in Chiang Mai, Khem Saksakunmongkhon, has been advocating for this decentralization for many years, because it will reduce the log jam at the national level. Thanks to this decision, Khem and the team were able to get Thai citizenship for 400-plus Hill Tribe children on a single day!
And my favorite colleagues are–everybody at IJM. I’m so lucky to be here, and especially thankful for the Government Relations and Advocacy team. Thank you, Jesus, for them. Thank you Eileen, Erica, Tim, Clara, Seth, Rene, Kate and Opa for a terrific year.