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To: Senate Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader Pelosi

Tell Congress to Stop Violence Against Children and Families

Our children and families are targets.

The Co-Chairs of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, along with poor people, advocates, as well as denominational and national faith leaders are fighting back to protect children from detention facilities, cuts to food stamps and the gutting of children's health insurance. We have issued a letter to congressional leaders, strongly calling on them to cease policy violence against children and to conduct a hearing to address this moral emergency. Right now the current administration is seeking to violate legal limits for detaining children while Congress debates funding food stamps. Protect our children! Sign today!

Why is this important?

Dear Senate Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader Pelosi,

We are religious and moral leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. This summer, the Campaign launched the most expansive wave of nonviolent civil disobedience in the 21st century. In more than 40 states and Washington, D.C., thousands of people participated in this season of moral resistance, calling attention to the ongoing War on the Poor.

This war, fueled by policies passed and endorsed from the state house to the congress to the White House, is especially violent towards our children.

To address this pressing moral failure, we invite you to convene a hearing in September to focus on the policy violence against our children.

We refuse to let our faith be used as a justification for policies that harm the most vulnerable in our society. We cannot tear families apart, nor can we jail them together. Children must be released to their families and families must be allowed to proceed through the asylum process outside of a jail cell. We must preserve foundational programs to children’s health and well-being such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). And all children deserve a quality public education free from fear of being pushed out and locked up.

Anything less is a modern day form of violence and abuse against children.

Our Campaign is made up of mothers in Flint whose children still cannot drink or bathe in clean water; fathers who fear police violence against their young boys; undocumented parents whose children have been taken away from them; indigenous communities whose next generations live and play in contaminated lands; youth who have lived in homes where their heat was turned off during the winter; low-wage workers who have skipped meals to feed their children; homeless teenagers abused by the juvenile justice system; veterans sent off to war that perpetuates violence against school children in countries halfway around the world, while their own families struggle to make ends meet; parents who have lost custody of their children because they could not afford to pay their water bills.

These are not just isolated communities and individual stories, according to our research, there are 140 million poor and low-income individuals in this country; 43% of all American children live below the minimum income level necessary to meet basic family needs. There are nearly 14 million families who cannot afford water and at least 4 million families with children who are exposed to high levels of lead. LGBTQ youth represent up to 40% of the homeless youth population. At the US/Mexico border, there are 550 children who are still not reunited with their families. In states across the country, children are being starved and abandoned by pervasive policy decisions that cut vital programs. And around the world, women and children account for 68% of the rising civilian deaths from our wars.

The Talmud reminds us “By the breath of children God sustains the world” (Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 119b). “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” Jesus said, warning elsewhere that “if anyone causes one of these little ones who trust me to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Like the prophets before him, Jesus insisted that children matter because they bear the image of God.

For far too long, cynical political operatives have exploited our faith communities’ concern for children by claiming to be “pro-life” while supporting policies that harm children. From the border to the dining room table, children are being harmed by policies that put them last, placing boulders in their path.

The violence perpetrated against children in these times is a moral emergency. We implore Congress to convene a hearing about this violence against our children. Somebody has been hurting our children and it has gone on far too long and we won’t be silent anymore.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Rev. Traci D Blackmon
Executive Minister, Justice & Local Church Ministries
The United Church of Christ

Colin Christopher
Director, Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances
Islamic Society of North America

Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray
President, Unitarian Universalist Association

Imam Khalid Griggs
Imam, Community Mosque of Winston-Salem
Vice President, ICNA Civic Engagement and Social Justice
Islamic Circle of North America

Rev. Jimmie Hawkins
Director, Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Bishop W. Darin Moore
Chair of the National Council of Churches
President of the Board of Bishops of the AME Zion Church

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
Executive Director, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins
National Council of Churches, Truth and Racial Justice Initiative

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Red Letter Christians

Rev. Dr. Anika T. Whitfield
Arkansas, Tri-Chair

Rev. Eddie Anderson
Kait Ziegler
California, Tri-Chairs

Dr. Chanda Jackson-Short
Delaware, Tri-Chair

David Borger Germann
Iowa, Tri-Chair

Rabbi Alana Suskin
Maryland, Tri-Chair

Krystal Rose
Michigan, Tri-Chair

Borja Gutiérrez
Rev. Ann Keeler Evans
Nijmie Zakkiyyah Dzurinko
Pennsylvania, Tri-Chairs

Rev. Charles H. Rhodes
Kerry Taylor
South Carolina, Tri-Chairs

Martin Hurley
Tennessee, Tri-Chair

Sherilyn Samuel
Texas, Tri-Chair



2018-09-20 13:40:17 -0400

5,000 signatures reached

2018-09-19 11:35:08 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2018-09-19 11:19:41 -0400

500 signatures reached

2018-09-07 06:37:53 -0400

100 signatures reached

2018-09-06 16:09:06 -0400

50 signatures reached

2018-09-06 14:27:50 -0400

25 signatures reached

2018-09-06 12:11:56 -0400

10 signatures reached