Disciples News Service

Mass incarceration the focus of 2015 Ecumenical Advocacy Days

Editor’s note: Mass incarceration is also the subject of one of the justice track workshops at the 2015 General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, July 18-22.

The worldwide issues of mass incarceration, exploitation and forced labor will be addressed at the 13th Annual National Gathering of Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, to be held April 17-20, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

More than 1,000 Christian advocates are expected to meet under the theme “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation.”

Their goal: to build the movement to shake the foundations of human exploitation, including a prison-industrial system that incarcerates millions of people in the United States and abroad.

“CWS is pleased to join with many of its member communions and other people of faith to lift our voices in opposition to the injustices of mass incarceration and human exploitation both in the United States and in many areas of the world where we work,”   said the Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service, a major sponsor of the annual gathering..

The U.S. makes up only five percent of the world’s population yet holds nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners.  Still, “imprisonment” is a worldwide problem and takes various forms, as everywhere people around the world remain trapped in detention centers, prisons, factories and drug wars that bind and dehumanize individuals for political or economic profit.

“As people of faith,” said Doug Grace, Director of Ecumenical Advocacy Days and CWS staff, “we are reminded that Jesus’ radical message was one of liberation for all and restoration of right relationships. A world that incarcerates so many and allows some to profit from the exploitation of slave, trafficked and forced labor remains far from the ‘beloved community’ which we are all called to seek.”

Ecumenical Advocacy Days will include prayer, worship, advocacy training, networking and mobilization to face the reality of mass incarceration and corporate exploitation, and call for national policies that bring liberation both to the prisoner and to a world in need of restoration – all culminating with EAD’s Congressional Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. CWS Washington Office staff help organize the annual EAD gathering. This year CWS staff from Latin America will lead a workshop on mass incarceration in Latin America.

Conference venue is the Doubletree Hotel, Crystal City, Washington, D.C. Visit http://advocacydays.org/2015-breaking-the-chains/ for more information and to register.