Diane McMahon, PhD
C/O Thomas Merton Center
5129 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Dear Dr. McMahon,
My name is Emmett Eldred. I am one of many youth and young adults within the Church of the Brethren who belong to an active and passionate movement to better reflect the love and teachings of Jesus in our everyday lives. I am writing to you as part of a series of 1000 letters I will be writing to public figures and community leaders over the next year about the violence in Nigeria
I chose to write to you because I worked with the Thomas Merton Center for a short time as an intern, and I greatly admire the Center’s focus on promoting peace and nonviolence.
I’m sure you remember the 276 school girls from northern Nigeria who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. What few people realize is that three-fourths of those girls belong to Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. This speaks to a larger truth about the situation in Nigeria: few have suffered from the violence more severely than the EYN.
I believe that we share a common strain of optimism — a belief that positive social change is possible and that violence cannot cure violence, whereas active, subversive nonviolence can. There is hope in Nigeria, and I believe that that hope is displayed nowhere prominently than in the EYN.
The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. Though the EYN has suffered greatly, they have refused to respond to their hardship with violent retaliation or hate. Instead, they choose to move forward, focusing on the reconciliation and restoration of dignity, community, and peace. Though they bear the brunt of great hate and violence, they respond courageously with greater love.
These people fill me with hope, so I’m never going to stop advocating for them.
I know the Thomas Merton Center places very high value on advocating for peace, justice, and active nonviolence. I hope that we can discuss the EYN further, because they are an inspirational people that provide a hopeful example of the power of resolving conflict with nonviolence. I hope that we can work together through your existing channels to bring humanitarian aid and public attention to the EYN.
I urge you to prayerfully consider how you can help pursue a peaceful solution to the tragedies in Nigeria. Remember the EYN and all Nigerians in your thoughts and prayers. Be inspired by their stories, and please consider including them in your programming.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC #2046
Pittsburgh PA, 15289