The Honorable Karen Bass
408 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congresswoman Bass,
My name is Emmett Eldred. I am one of many youth and young adults who belong to an active and passionate movement within the Church of the Brethren to reflect truly compassionate and humble Christlike love in our everyday lives. I am writing to you as part of a series of over 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 of your influence in foreign affairs, particularly concerning Africa.
No doubt, you remember the 276 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. What few people realize is that about 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: few groups have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram more severely than the EYN.
I don’t want to write to you to give you another account of suffering. You know of many people across the world who are suffering, including others in Nigeria. I want to write to you about the EYN because despite their suffering, they are showing amazing faith and commitment to positive, constructive action.
The Church of the Brethren, including EYN, is a historic peace church. In the United States, we face little direct challenge to our devotion to peace. The EYN, however, lives in a culture of violence. They constantly face destruction, hardship, and hate. Despite this, they have remained steadfast and courageous in their commitment to peace. Though they are confronted daily with great hate, violence, and division, they respond with even greater love, nonviolence, and community.
These people fill me with hope, and I will never stop advocating for them.
Religious groups like the EYN can be a key factor in enacting positive social change and building secure, peaceful, communities. Few groups have the expose, passion, and courage to build and restore community in this region, but the EYN does. Though their own resources are limited, the EYN consistently makes decisions based on what will benefit the entire community and begin to unravel the tradition of violence that makes this region so volatile.
I urge you to help the EYN however you can: by securing aid for them, by investing in their courage and creativity, and by sharing their story. Be inspired by their faithfulness. Keep them in your thoughts, prayers, and decisions. Pay credit to their devotion to peace by pursuing solutions to the violence in Nigeria that don’t involve military action but make investments in the power of good human beings to do great things. Pursue humanitarian aid for the EYN and the people of Nigeria.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289