CPT International

NIGERIA: Boko Haram trauma survivors discover ways to heal each other


“When I came home after escaping the attack, our home had been bombed, and everything was destroyed,” one woman said.

“I was away when Boko Haram attacked my village,” a man voiced with regret.  ”I still feel horrible that my wife had to face it and flee alone.”

“Everyone else in my village fled when Boko Haram came. I was the only one who stayed, and miraculously, I was not found and killed,” a third said, expressing his gratitude.

“I ran home when our church was attacked,” another shared. “My husband was at home and was able to go in the car to the next village. When he called me, I told him to go ahead and escape. He answered, ‘I will wait for you to find me. We will stay together, and if we die, we will die together.’”

NIGERIA: “We Grieve for the Girls and their Families”


Today is the one-year anniversary of the abduction of 360 women and girls from their boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria, 14 April 2014, by the militant group called Boko Haram. Of the 360, 172 were from EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Soon after the kidnapping, fifty of them escaped, of which twenty-nine were from the EYN. Then in late December 2014, Boko Haram raided Chibok again and kidnapped some older women and a young man.

These abductions were not isolated incidents of violence for the mostly Christian town of Chibok. As early as November 2012 and as late as December 2014, Boko Haram fighters carried out periodic attacks there, including burning police headquarters, homes, EYN congregations, and killing church members.

Some of those twenty-nine who had escaped the April 2014 kidnapping, are still living in Chibok, and with the assistance of the Interfaith Adamawa Peace Initiative, were able to prepare for and take their examinations interrupted by the kidnapping. Some have been sponsored to go to the U.S. for schooling. In spite of the outcry of horror from people here and around the world concerning the kidnappings and the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, the whereabouts of the majority of those abducted remain unknown. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: On Tour with Uncle Sam in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand

 

 
 CPT Executive Director Sarah Thompson 
speaking in Australia

Different countries do taxes in different ways.  All of February and March I was in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.  The taxes are high there, but these countries are famous for their affordable medicine, free university education, and egalitarian policies among settlers (compulsory voting, mandatory school uniforms).  I’ve heard people in the U.S. make fun of places with social programs like these, but in those months I witnessed the immensely positive impact of social policy that puts the common good of all over the private power of a few.

DonateNow

Consider the impact of your dollars this tax season and make contribution to CPT. How about $29? $1 for every year since CPT's founding.

However, the gap between what is realistically available for settlers of European origin countries in comparison to what is available to recent non-European immigrants and Aboriginal Australians and the Maori of Aotearoa is huge.  The brutal Euro-colonial histories, ongoing dispossessions, and overall disregard for cultural devastation wrought by industrial society to the indigenous of these lands are stories that loom large in the sub-conscious of these nations.  The best work I saw going on in these countries was grassroots, conducted by people deeply aware of the open wounds of racism, Christian hegemony, and extractive economics. Activists involved with mobilizations to support refugees, challenge ecological destruction, and celebrate all families are aware of the paradoxes inherent in these societies.

CPT INTERNATIONAL REFLECTION: Treasure in Ferguson, Colombia, Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Turtle Island

Since a St. Louis, Missouri prosecutor and Grand Jury have determined that Police Officer Darren Wilson killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown did not merit a trial, I have been busy tweeting #Ferguson on the Christian Peacemaker Team Twitter account.  Those tweets have been getting a lot of retweets.  We have no people working in Ferguson and I have asked myself why I am inundating the account. 

I think it has to do with the disposability of human life, with the contempt shown to Michael Brown when the authorities left his body in the street for four and a half hours and did not bother interviewing key witnesses to the shooting for weeks (until there was a public outcry.)  That contempt connected directly with our work in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, with indigenous communities in North America, and with migrants in Europe.  In all these cases, people in power have deemed the people we work with disposable. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Next Chicago CPT training October 2015; Applications due by 1 March 2015

 

 
 

CPT trainees participate
 in public witness at
Israeli consulate in
Chicago during
 Gaza War, July 2014

Due to an exciting opportunity to partner with groups in Detroit, Michigan USA for a Peacemaker Congress in July 2015, Christian Peacemaker Teams has set the dates of 2 October – 2 November 2015 for the next training to in Chicago.  The deadline for applications has moved to 1 March 2015.  This shift will allow more time between issuing invitations and starting training for applicants who may need to secure visas in order to participate.

Stay tuned for more information about the July Peacemaker Congress!

CPT is committed to anti-oppression work both within and outside of CPT, and we seek others interested in this work.  We are seeking applicants to train as part of our Reserve Corps.  At this time, no stipended (half to full time) openings are available in the Corps.  All CPT Reservists are eligible to apply for stipended positions as they become available.  For answers to more specific questions, contact Adriana Cabrera Velasquez, Personnel Coordinator, at personnel@cpt.org <mailto:personnel@cpt.org>. 

UNITED STATES REFLECTION: Voting for peace

Yesterday, I was calling old friends and letting them know I’d be in town to talk about my work with Christian Peacemaker Teams. One friend asked me how I like my new work in comparison with the political organizing I used to do. I didn’t need to stop and think; the answer was easy. Working to gather votes for this issue or that candidate, I had feelings of emptiness and inevitability. Now, I love being able to apply my expertise, energy, and passion to peacemaking, to resistance work that feeds my soul. 

 

 
 Palestine team member stands with children on
street and monitors soldiers' treatment of
13-year-old boy
 

Today, I woke up and reached for my phone. What I saw was a newsfeed flooded with rage, sadness, even despair. I remember those post-election nights and days from my previous career. When the first issue campaign I worked on lost, I cried more than a few bitter tears.  

When I woke up today, though, my emotional state was not connected to election results beyond passing feelings of hope and disappointment.  I woke up with energy and conviction to resist violence, oppression, and injustice for another day. It’s not that it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s politician A or B with their hands in the gears of the U.S. system.  Decisions made in the U.S. impact the bodies and lives of people and communities in the States and around the world.  It’s that now I’ve joined with so many in the active, concrete work of ongoing peacemaking.  And CPT, standing with our partners to transform violence and oppression, was resisting yesterday, is resisting today, and will be resisting tomorrow. 

Peacemakers, activists, resisters of injustice, whatever your feelings about today’s elections results: you can join today in our transformative peacemaking work. Vote for peace today by investing in the work of CPT. Thanks to you, members of CPT stand in solidarity with partners in peaceful transformative resistance every day in Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan, Colombia, and Canada, no matter the U.S. election results any given November Tuesday.

Please make a donation today - over 80% of our income comes from donors like you.  

CPT INTERNATIONAL: $123,300 RAISED BY CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAMS IN SPITE OF RECESSION-FUELED GIVING DECLINE

Despite trends showing a decline in non-profit giving across the United States, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is pleased to announce generous donors have surpassed the original $110,000 goal for its Plowing and Planting Campaign, contributing $123,300. Pursuing CPT’s vision of a world of communities embracing the diversity of the human family, living justly and peaceably with all creation, the campaign was launched to “plow” under the debt for CPT’s Chicago training center and office, and “plant” seeds of investment in supportive care for full time team members.  “We’re thrilled to have such generous supporters who believe so deeply in the work of CPT,” said Executive Director, Sarah Thompson.  “In my travels, I’ve been inspired again and again by our diverse supporters and their deep commitment to CPT’s methods of transforming violence and oppression.”

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 4, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 4, 2014

 Pray for those participating in the refugee-led Freedom March to Brussels, a protest against the repressive and racist European migration regime.

 *Epixel for Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014
 
 "And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?  Parthians, Medes,
Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia
and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both
Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking
about God's deeds of power?" Acts 2:8-11
 Photo Johann Stemmler
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Muriel Schmid appointed Program Director and Jennifer Yoder Communications & Engagement Director

Christian Peacemaker Teams is pleased to announce the appointments of Muriel Schmid as Program Director and Jennifer Yoder as Communications & Engagement Director.

Schmid and Yoder's appointments compliment the new executive directorship of Sarah Thompson.  Together these three new positions replace former roles of co-directors and Outreach Coordinator.

As Communications & Engagement Director Yoder will amplify the communications work of project teams, liaise with CPT groups, and build connections with CPT supporters and potential recruits. Schmid's focus as Program Director will be on CPT's work in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, with First Nations in North America and the training and support of the peacemakers who do that work.

 

Muriel Schmid, MDiv, PhD, met CPT in Hebron/Al-Khalil while working with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel.  She went on a delegation with CPT’s Aboriginal Justice Team, joined the CPT Peacemaker Corps in 2013, and served in Iraqi Kurdistan.  A Swiss citizen, she comes to the Program Director post from the University of Utah, where she has been faculty in Religious and in Cultural Studies and director of the Religious Studies program.  Ordained in the Swiss Reformed Church she now identifies strongly with Quakerism.

Jennifer Yoder
Jennifer Yoder, a U.S. citizen, is new to CPT and brings a wealth of experience from her work as a grassroots justice activist in diverse U.S. ecclesial and political contexts.  As the Victim Services Coordinator at the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, she re-ignited statewide campaigns, and successfully rebuilt trust through clear communications and producing media for the Alliance.  In 2009 Yoder was co-creator of the Pink Menno movement for embrace of the LGBTQ community within the Mennonite Church.  Yoder’s ability to notice the interplay of privilege and oppression on personal, communal, and political levels has made her a valuable member of diverse leadership teams and an effective organizer.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Send applications before 1 May 2014 to join the Christian Peacemaker Corps summer 2014 training

 
 CPT Trainees advocate for farmers of Las
Pavas, Colombia
at Colombian Consulate in
Chicago

Did you participate in a recent Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) delegation that whetted your appetite for embodied peace work, partnering with others working nonviolently for justice, and confronting the injustice that leads to war? Does CPT's style of peacemaking, confronting injustice, and undoing oppressions work fit with yours? Is now the time to take the next step and join the Peacemaker Corps?

If so, please send your application to join the CPT Corps before 1 May 2014 for participation in CPT's Peacemaker Training in Chicago, IL, USA, 11 July-11 August 2014. Participants are encouraged to apply right away. Doing so will make it possible to notify those accepted for training in plenty of time for them to make travel arrangements. You will find the application at http://www.cpt.org/participate/peacemaker/apply.

We are committed to anti-oppression work both in and out of CPT, and we seek others also interested in this work. We are seeking applicants available for stipend-eligible service, as well as reservists.  For answers to more specific questions, email Adriana Cabrera-Velásquez, Personnel Coordinator, at personnel@cpt.org.