Day 11: Dr. Steven Sokol

Dr. Steven E. Sokol
2640 BNY Mellon Center
500 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2510

Dear Dr. Sokol,

My name is Emmett Eldred. I am one of many youth and young adults who belong to an active, passionate movement within the Church of the Brethren to better reflect the love and teachings of Jesus in our everyday lives. I am writing to you as part of a series of over 1000 letters that I will write over the next year to public figures and community leaders about the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.

It is important for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and the many citizens and opinion makers of Pittsburgh to learn about the EYN and their inspiring, challenging journey. I’m sure you remember the 276 schoolgirls from northern Nigeria who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. Roughly three-fourths of those girls belong to the EYN. In fact, few groups have suffered from the violence in Nigeria as severely as the EYN, and their situation continues to worsen. They need our help.

The EYN’s story is so remarkable not just because they are suffering, but because they respond to their surfing in inspiring, courageous ways. The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. The EYN have remained faithful to building peace, despite their horrific trials.

Though they endure great hatred, fear, and division, the EYN respond with far greater love, courage, and community. They use their faith as innovative, active tacticians of nonviolence. They understand far better than most groups at work in Nigeria that only a nonviolent approach to stopping Boko Haram will bring about lasting change in a culture defined in so many ways by violence. They have become leaders in working towards the restoration of community, dialogue, and the dignity of all Nigerians.

These people fill me with hope, and I will never stop advocating for them.

The story of the EYN is deeply important to our community for many reasons. Many Pittsburgh leaders and community members were active participants in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign that sought to rescue the 276 kidnapped school girls, many of whom are EYN. The community and the nation care and ache for those girls, and by extension the EYN. As compared to many cities, Pittsburgh has deep religious roots that will be moved and challenged by the faithfulness of the EYN. The Western Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren in among the most populous Brethren districts, and more Church of the Brethren live in Pennsylvania than in any other state.

Please learn more about the EYN, inform the community, and make decisions based on their inspiring story. Add your voice to mine in advocating for their safety. Invest in their innovation and pay credit to their inspiration by calling for nonmilitary, humanitarian add for the EYN and all people of Nigeria.

With thanks and the love of Christ,

Emmett Eldred
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

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