From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ABCUSA: ABW MINISTRIES ADDRESSES VIEQUES
28 Feb 2001 07:21:08
AMERICAN BAPTIST NEWS SERVICE
Office of Communication
American Baptist Churches USA
P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
Phone: (610)768-2077 / Fax: (610)768-2320
Richard W. Schramm, Director
ABW MINISTRIES ADOPTS STATEMENT ON
In response to ongoing crises on the Puerto Rican
island of Vieques, the Executive Committee of American
Baptist Women's Ministries, meeting recently in Richmond,
Va., adopted a statement urging all American Baptist
women to "pray for peace and justice" and contact
government leaders "until there is a complete
decontamination of the island."
The resolution supports residents' demands for
"clean water and air, removal of contaminants,
employment and economic justice" on Vieques, where a
longstanding U.S. Navy presence has been criticized by
many for causing environmental and other damage.
The Executive Committee was helped in its
deliberations by members Miriam Gutierrez and Terri
Simpkins. Both have visited Vieques and met with
residents there. Gutierrez, a native of Puerto Rico, held a
key role in organizing the silent protest march led by
religious leaders in San Juan in February 2000 that
included more than 80,000 participants. Simpkins,
western geographical coordinator, noted, "For two years
American Baptist women have been studying the theme,
'Pursue Peace.' We believe that God's call to care for this
world that He made, to care for all people...compels us to
pursue this action."
The committee's unanimously-adopted "Resolution
on Vieques" states in part:
"In obedience to the Gospel, and in response to
the continuing struggle for clean water and air, removal of
contaminants, employment and economic justice by the
residents of Puerto Rico for the island of Vieques, the
American Baptist Women's Ministries Executive Committee
urges all American Baptist women to pray for peace and
justice. Furthermore, we urge women to contact
President Bush and their congressional representatives to
support the removal of the U. S. Naval presence from the
island of Vieques. Due to environmental damage,
including contaminated water supplies, the destruction of
fishing grounds, coral reefs and mangrove trees, and an
abnormally high incidence of cancer, we will continue in
solidarity with these protests until there is a complete
decontamination of the island by the U. S. Navy."
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