From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
[UMNS-ALL-NEWS] UMNS# 259-Young adults explore social justice in nation's capital
Mon, 23 Jun 2008 16:56:50 -0500
Young adults explore social justice in nation's capital
>Jun. 23, 2008
NOTE: Photographs are available at http://umns.umc.org.
>By Kathy L. Gilbert*
WASHINGTON (UMNS)-Juliana Abe, a native of Côte d'Ivoire, is exploring a different culture and country while she works for the rights of Africans and African-American people around the world.
She is also enjoying getting to know her new "family" - The United Methodist Church.
Abe is one of 12 young people participating in the United Methodist Board of Church and Society's Ethnic Young Adults Summer Internship in the nation's capital. Young adults passionate about social justice and active in the denomination are selected annually from the church's five ethnic caucuses to participate in the summer intern program.
The 700,000-member Côte d'Ivoire church was formally received as a United Methodist annual (regional) conference at the 2008 General Conference, the denomination's lawmaking body, held in Fort Worth, Texas, April 23-May 2.
"We have different ways of worshipping in my country," Abe says. "We have very big choirs, lots of instruments, drums. ... African people like to dance during the service. It is not the same here in Washington."
>Brothers and sisters
Abe is working at TransAfrica Forum, an African-American human rights and social justice advocacy organization that promotes diversity and equality in the foreign policy arena, according to its Web site. All the young adults in the intern program are placed in nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations in Washington, for two months.
"We are all different but we are all brothers and sisters in Christ," she said. Abe is a doctorate student at the University of Abidjan in Cocody, Côte d'Ivoire, and is active in the Cocody United Methodist Church.
Included in this year's slate of interns are young adults from Gambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Philippines. "This is the most international group we have had," said the Rev. Neal Christie, executive at the board. Christie oversees the interns and was an intern himself for the social action agency in 1984.
Jose Carlo G. dePano, a recent graduate from the University of the Philippines, said he is interested in seeing how problems are addressed in the United States so he can help his country gain social equality. He is active in The United Methodist Church in the Philippines.
"In the Philippines the government says we have equality, the government says we are in a democratic country, but there are a lot of political killings, a lot of poverty issues that are not resolved," he says. "They are offering short-term solutions for long-term problems." DePano is working in the Board of Church and Society's communications office.
Arianne Reagor, from Washington state, is learning about "making laws and harassing senators and Congress people," she says, laughing. She works with the Rebecca Project for Human Rights and is learning about how drug use affects families, schools and communities. She said she is also learning about the racism and sexism of the prison system. She attends George Fox University in Oregon.
>Range of assignments
Other interns and their social justice assignments this summer include:
* Lakisha Lockhart, a student at Claflin University in South Carolina. She attends Trinity United Methodist Church in the North Georgia Annual Conference and is placed with the NAACP.
* Kelsey Williamson, a student at Sterling College in Kansas, works with People of the American Way.
* Melekaufusi Pepa, a student at the University of Hawaii Manoa. She represents the California-Pacific Conference and is working for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
* Mayzara Garcia, a student at the Florida International University. She attends the Iglesia Metodista Unida de Coral Way United Methodist Church and is working for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
* Luke Eastin, a student at Illinois Central College. He is active in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and works with the National Council of Churches with a focus on eco-justice issues.
* Jonathan Kim, a student at Emory University, Atlanta. He is from the North Georgia Conference and works with Jubilee USA.
* Ilunga Raissa Kiboko, a student from Central Methodist University. She works with the Faith and Politics Institute and represents the Iowa Conference.
* Aarendy Gomez, a student at Huntingdon College in Alabama. She is active in the Alabama-West Florida Conference and is placed with the Latin American Working Group.
* Joseph Aubee, the 2008 senior intern who works with the National Council of Churches and the Board of Church and Society. He is an African from Gambia, studying at Shepherd University in West Virginia. He represents the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
The students are housed at United Methodist-related American University and attend church together every Sunday. They meet for weekly evening devotions and Bible studies. They will also travel to New York to visit the United Nations office of the Board of Church and Society.
In addition to their assignments, the interns participate in weekly seminars that explore issues that concern different racial ethnic communities.
"The EYA program has provided me with an opportunity that very few people are blessed to receive, which is the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and meet new people with different backgrounds and traditions, from different countries, and with different views," Lockhart said. "It allows us all to come together and focus on the one thing that binds us all together no matter what our age, ethnicity, or gender ... God."
* Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
United Methodist News Service Photos and stories also available at: http://umns.umc.org
To unsubscribe from this group, go to UMCom.org, log in to your account, click on the My Resources link and select the Leave option on the list(s) from which you wish to unsubscribe. If you have problems or questions, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Powered by United Methodist Communications http://www.UMCom.org
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .