As we continue to hear the voices of the students of Parkland, Florida, demanding changes in gun laws and regulations to prevent another school shooting, we see youth from around our country coming together in this collective call to action.
“March For Our Lives” is a movement “created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar…. On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington, DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority. The collective voices of the March For Our Lives movement will be heard.” (See their website)
In addition to the march in Washington, D.C., various regional groups will host marches in cities around the country on March 24. The group, Moms Demand Action – MN, is sponsoring a march to the state capital in St. Paul on this date.
The Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ invites your local congregation to join with other people of faith around the country on March 24 to join in “March For Our Lives.” in both St. Paul and Washington, D.C.
We are forming a planning group of congregational leaders from around Minnesota to help organize youth from the Conference participate in the St. Paul march. Please look for more information in the next several days.
The Conference, through the generous support of the Ashley Endowment, will sponsor a delegation of five high school youth to represent the Minnesota Conference in Washington, D.C. This delegation, will be accompanied by Rev. Kevin Brown, Associate Conference Minister of Faith Formation for Children & Youth, and Sheri Nelson, pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in New York Mills. This youth delegation will join with other UCC conference during the march on Saturday. In addition, our group, with the support of staff from the UCC Washington office, will engage in lobbying visits with the staff of our Minnesota Congressional delegation on Friday.
The youth delegation will be selected through an application process, so that the group will reflect a cross section of our conference congregations. We need your immediate help in getting the word out to youth within your congregation and encouraging them to apply. The application process is simple and is outlined below:
Send an email to Rev. Kevin Brown that contains the following information:
- Legal and preferred name
- Congregation name
- Youth mailing address, email, and phone
- Parent(s) name, address, email, and phone
- Youth Date of Birth
- Youth grade in school
- A 400-500 word response to one of the following prompts:
- Why is it important for the Church to join this movement for political action, social transformation, and legislative advocacy?
- As a member of the youth delegation to Washington, D.C., how will you represent or be the voice for your faith community and the Conference?
- How does your faith influence your commitment to be part of larger movements for justice?
Due to the need to make travel arrangements ASAP, all applications are due by Friday, March 2. I apologize for the very short time frame, but this has been a fast developing response.
Please contact me with any questions you have regarding either of the above opportunities. I urge you to talk with the youth of your community and encourage them to apply and plan to participate in one of these opportunities.
As Sandy Sorensen, the director of the UCC Washington, D.C. office reminds us, “In the witness of students we are seeing policy advocacy at its most powerful – when the people and communities most impacted by an issue claim their voices and demand change, the policy dialogue shifts.”
May we support our youth in this bold venture.
Grace and peace,
Associate Conference Minister for Youth and Faith Formation