Day 17: Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys
ID Public Relations
7060 Hollywood Blvd
8th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Dear Ms. Keys,

In “We Are Here,” you say, “Let’s talk Nigeria.” So, let’s talk Nigeria. 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 teaching of Jesus in our everyday lives. I am writing to you as part of a series of over 1000 letters that I will write to public figures about the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.

I want to talk about Nigeria. I’ll be talking about Nigeria for the next year and for the rest of my life, and I hope you will add your voice to mine. No doubt, when you wrote those words you had the 276 schoolgirls from northern Nigeria who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in mind. Roughly three fourths of those girls belong to the EYN. In fact, few have suffered from the violence in Nigeria as severely as the EYN, and their situation continues to worsen.

However, the EYN has demonstrated the optimism that underscores your song. Their suffering is tremendous and horrific, but they have not stopped living with the knowledge that we are all here for all of us. The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. Despite their trials, the EYN continues to preach, practice, and build peace.

In the face of great hatred, fear, and division, the EYN consistently responds with far great love, courage, and community. They understand that they must be beacons of Christ’s love in a climate darkened by violence. This means being leaders in taking a different approach to conflict, one the works 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.

In your song, you bring up weighty, daunting issues. From our perspective, it is so difficult to imagine a solution that all too often we don’t do anything at all. In the story of the EYN we can see evidence that solutions to these problems do exist. Please, join me in being their voice. Contribute to their ministry of reconciliation. Share their story. Move your fan base to action. Learn more. The EYN represent hope for Nigeria, but they need our help.

With thanks and the love of Christ,

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

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