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A Message from Sharon -- February 2013

People ask me all the time “Why do you keep doing this work?” How can I not work to change policies that kill, shatter people’s lives and contribute to poverty and oppression? My faith demands it of me.

When I began “this work” with WFP in 1984, I assumed it would take a few short years to convince policy makers that it was immoral to support a military force that committed human rights abuses. I was sure that if enough legislators saw the photos and read the reports of atrocities that the WFP team documented they would cut off the funds for war. Everyone would agree that no 10 year-old should live the horror of seeing his mother and brother killed like Wilfredo did.

A policy change took more than a few short years. But tens of thousands of you traveled to the war zones to resist this war. Many pressured legislators and committed civil disobedience to call attention to this awful policy. Grassroots power worked! Military funding was cut and Nicaraguans signed a peace agreement.

So after the war, our work was done? Not so fast. I call it the policy onion where you peel off one layer, military aid, and there appears the next layer, economic policies. The structural adjustment and free trade agreement layers surface. There are the layers of corporate abuses, drug war policies, forced migration. Until there is peace with justice in the Americas, including in our own country, our work must continue.

It’s the work of solidarity, presence, mutuality, accompanying through struggle and resistance. It’s called faith, not always knowing the way, but knowing that we have to keep walking the road of peace because the current situation of injustice must stop.

I hope you will join us in celebrating our 30th anniversary as we all renew our commitment to work for peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas. Change can happen. It has and it will.

In deep gratitude,

Sharon Hostetler
Executive Director

P.S. We have exciting plans for innovative work supporting human rights, fair trade and immigrant rights in 2013. I hope you will stay in touch to find out how you can get involved in this work for justice.