The Honorable Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Dear Senator Boxer,
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 faithfully and humbly reflect true Christlike love and actions in our everyday lives. I am writing to you as part of a series of 1000 letters I will be sending to public figures and community leaders over the next year about the violence in Nigeria.
I chose to write to you because of your influence in matters of foreign policy, particularly as they relate to human rights, international development, and foreign aid. I also chose you because of your distinguished record of restraint when it comes to the use of military force in matters of foreign relations.
No doubt, you remember the 276 school girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. Few people realize, however, that roughly three-fourths of those girls belong to the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. This speaks to a larger truth: few have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram more severely than the EYN.
I don’t want to tell you only about the EYN’s suffering. You’re aware of the suffering of many people across the world, including many other people in Nigeria. I want to write to you about the EYN because they have consistently responded to their hardship in positive, transformative, and courageous ways.
The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. While in the United States, we aren’t confronted with many situations that challenge our devotion to peace, the EYN live under the constant threat of violence and hatred. Despite the atrocities they’ve endured, they continually respond to great hate with even greater love, great division with an even greater emphasis on community, and great violence with even great active nonviolence.
These people fill me with hope, and I will never stop advocating for them.
As you know, religious leaders play a tremendous role in situations of international development like that of northern Nigeria. Few groups have the exposure, passion, and courage to rebuild these communities, but the EYN does. In particular, women can be especially important in the restoration of community and the transition from a culture of violence to a culture of peace and reconciliation.
I urge you to support the EYN by providing them aid, by investing in their mission, and by sharing their story. Prayerfully consider how you can pursue a peaceful solution to the tragedies in Nigeria. Remember the EYN and all Nigerians in your thoughts, prayers, and decisions. Be inspired by their stories. Pay credit to their faith by pursuing humanitarian, nonmilitary aid for the EYN and Nigeria.
With sincere thanks,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh PA, 15289