Dear CPT Community,
Over the last few weeks, our teams and partners in Palestine, Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turtle Island, Lesvos and the U.S./Mexico Borderlands have all felt the devastating effect of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus. Governments in each of these countries have imposed quarantine, self-isolation, and curfew orders to mitigate the spread, which has severely impacted our ability to continue the work of accompaniment.
We recognize the vulnerability of our partners in a time like this. Historically, not only have they suffered from governments that disregard them or even wish they were gone, but now, the little assistance they have is being reallocated away to major cities. This shift could potentially place our partners in greater harm, not only from Coronavirus, but also from those bombing, displacing, and killing them. For the migrants and refugees we accompany in the Aegean Islands and the U.S./Mexico border, seeking refuge has become more uncertain than ever, leaving them highly vulnerable to the violence they are fleeing.
To protect our partners and ourselves, we have suspended regular accompaniment in all programs, and have adapted to online strategies of advocacy and accompaniment in response to our partners’ needs. We are in constant communication with them and are closely monitoring the situation on the ground. In addition, we have cancelled our delegations in April and May.
While the virus pulls back the curtain on systemic injustice, it also presents each and every one of us with a decision on how we respond to our needs and the needs of those around us. Our work is deeply grounded in challenging systems of oppression that suppress the flourishing of all life. We reject the notion that life on the periphery of society is worth sacrificing to preserve the economy. Rather, the gift of those considered “unproductive” or “less” by the system: migrant workers, refugees, subsistence farmers, sex workers, domestic help, the homeless, disabled persons, the elderly, or the poor— among others— is what makes the human family so much richer. We celebrate this diversity.
As well as revealing an oppressive global economic system, the virus reminds us of solidarity and community. Your commitment to the work of ‘building partnerships to transform violence and oppression,’ has sustained us for 34 years. You were there during the hostage crisis of 2005 and in 2008 during the global financial meltdown. You believed in the work of active nonviolent peacebuilding. We are thankful for a community we can continue to rely on as we and our partners take health precautions. It is critical that we continue supporting the courageous grassroots peacemaking of our partners who defend health and security for all. We greatly appreciate your continued financial support and solidarity.
In the coming weeks, we will update you with opportunities to learn about our partners and our work, and ways in which you can, from home, support the work of peacebuilding and resistance to systems that consider human beings disposable.
Stay safe and take good care of each other,