Wider View Archive

What does climate change have to do with racism?

June 19, 2020 Tammy Alexander

The killing of George Floyd brought issues of racial justice to the forefront of our national conversation. These conversations are extending beyond policing to the many other ways systemic racism impacts communities of color, including air and water pollution, climate change and health disparities. The burning of fossil fuels contributes to climate change but also has a more immediate effect—pollution. The burden of this pollution falls more heavily on low-income communities and communities of color. Power plants, disproportionately located in Black neighborhoods, lead to higher rates of asthma and premature death. The Trump administration’s recent weakening of regulations governing power […]

Safer communities for all

The tragic list keeps growing: David McAtee, George Floyd, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor and more. All of them are African-Americans who were killed by police officers. The current nationwide protests have brought to the forefront pre-existing tensions between police departments and the communities they patrol, rooted in the long U.S. history of racism. Major cities spend more on their police departments than they do on public health or economic development. The city of Los Angeles’ 2020-21 budget grants the police department $3.14 billion out of a $10.5 billion budget, much more than they invest in economic […]

Rethink, don’t return to normal

May 22, 2020 Kate Parsons

“When things go back to normal,” we say on phone calls, and wistfully imagine a return to church pews, book clubs, and outdoor concerts, dinner parties, holiday travel and bear hugs for our friends and families. “When things go back to normal,” we write in emails, and imagine a time when we can give work our full attention, children in school, pets at home and plans that dare to stretch months into the future. So many of us want things to return to normal. But in “these times,” prophetic voices are reminding us that pain and uncertainty are nothing new, […]

A creative response in Nigeria’s northeast

May 8, 2020 Charles Kwuelum

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, Nigeria’s health infrastructure was inadequate and strained by the crisis of ongoing conflict with Boko Haram, which has forced people from their homes and caused many to lose their livelihoods. In 2014 Jummai Bello’s family of six escaped deadly crossfire between Boko Haram and Nigeria’s military in the town of Gwoza in Borno State. Lacking access to shelter, water and food for days as they fled, they remain unable to return to their home community. Currently, more than 2 million people are displaced in Nigeria’s northeast due to fighting between Boko Haram and the military. […]

Responding to the National Commission on Service

“As conscientious objectors, we believe Jesus commands reverence for each human life since every person is made in the image of God.” –From a letter sent by 13 Anabaptist groups in September 2019 When it was released on March 25, a report from the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service got little attention amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The few headlines that did appear focused on the commission’s recommendation that women should register for Selective Service. If it were to be implemented, the recommendation means that both female and male conscientious objectors to war would need to determine whether […]

Sanctions worsen risk of COVID-19 outbreak in North Korea

April 10, 2020 Thirdway

COVID-19 has spread across the world. With China and South Korea having experienced large numbers of cases, the threat of an outbreak is looming over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The U.S. should lift sanctions against the DPRK that prevent the country from importing medical and testing equipment and help the country respond to an outbreak that would result in the loss of many lives. Decades of sanctions on the DPRK have prevented much-needed medical resources from entering the country. Without resources such as ventilators, protective gear or sanitizers, the healthcare system is vulnerable to a COVID-19 outbreak. […]

A year of silence

Even as news of the coronavirus is rightfully on everyone’s mind, advocacy on long-standing concerns such as gun violence continues. February 27, 2020 marked the one-year anniversary of the passage of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. It continues to sit untouched in the Senate, even as 39,740 people were killed by firearms in 2018. Passing H.R. 8 into law would make it more difficult for individuals such as the shooter in the West Texas shooting to acquire a gun. A survey conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that universal background checks received strong support […]

We should offer hospitality, not rejection

March 6, 2020 Thirdway

Estefania Martinez, international fellow, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office Imagine you are very sick. You go to your city’s hospital and the doctor examines you and discovers that you have a disease which your hospital does not have the medicine or equipment to treat. Your life depends on receiving the treatment, so you feel broken and hopeless upon hearing this news. Then the doctor tells you there is a hospital in a big city far away that could save your life. You leave your home and start the long journey in search of relief. However, once you arrive at […]

Gaza: Life in unlivable conditions

February 21, 2020 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

In 2012 the United Nations predicted that Gaza would be unlivable by the year 2020. Many of Gaza’s two million residents say the conditions have already been unlivable for years. Gaza, a small sliver of land along the Mediterranean coast, has been under a suffocating siege imposed by the Israeli government in 2007. That year the Israeli government tightened already-existing restrictions in response to the Palestinian party, Hamas, becoming the governing power in Gaza. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel. Egypt also restricts the regular movement of people and goods at the border crossing […]

Wilderness laid waste

February 7, 2020 Tammy Alexander

Take up weeping and wailing for the mountains,    and a lamentation for the pastures of the wilderness, because they are laid waste so that no one passes through,    and the lowing of cattle is not heard; both the birds of the air and the animals    have fled and are gone. (Jeremiah 9:10)   Along the San Pedro River, the last free-flowing river in Arizona, trees are being cut down in preparation for border wall construction across the river. A 30-ft bollard wall structure might effectively dam the river and cause flooding during the summer monsoon. In Organ […]