A week in the life of a ONE Faith Leader

ONE activists have returned to Capitol Hill! 35 faith leaders traveled to Washington, DC earlier this month to ask Congress to support strong leadership in the fight against global poverty and disease.

These leaders come from different faith traditions, ethnicities, and political beliefs but ONE thing unites them: “Our faith compels us to care for all neighbors, whether they live next door or in Nigeria,” they wrote in a letter to Congress.

They spent last week doing exactly that. The world is staring down many challenges that threaten all of us, but especially people living in low-income countries. Our leaders came to Congress to speak up for their global neighbors and make sure everyone, everywhere can lead a life of justice and opportunity.  What does a week of meetings in the nation’s capital really look like? Here’s a recap:

Monday:  A conversation with Senator Coons

Once they arrived in Washington, our faith leaders gathered at District Church for a conversation about how faith and advocacy intersect. Guests from both sides of the aisle shared their thoughts, including Delaware Senator Chris Coons, a key ONE ally, who joined ONE President Tom Hart to discuss how his faith guides his work in the Senate.

Faith leaders were especially moved by Senator Coons’ discussion of the moral importance of their advocacy on ONE’s issues and that one and took to heart his insight that, in the search for justice and equality, “what roots us is fighting for people.”

Tuesday: A White House Visit

Heavy rain kept the faith leaders mostly indoors on Tuesday prepping for Hill meetings the next day, with one big exception: a meeting at the White House!

Reverend Adam Nicholas Phillips from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted the faith leaders for a discussion on how USAID and important programs like Feed the Future are working to fight rising global hunger in the face of serious threats like consecutive seasonal drought and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Back at the ONE office, staff gave the faith leaders a briefing of their own. The ONE team broke down the three “asks” our leaders would be taking to Congress the next day:

  • A robust development budget for 2023: As Senator Coons told our leaders, good foreign policy is comprised of three things: defense, diplomacy, and development, the last of which is a critical piece of our moral legacy and a reflection of the best of American values.
  • Reauthorization of the Global Food Security Act: Right now, the world is hungrier than ever. 828 million people go to bed hungry each night. In Somalia, on the cusp of famine, a child is hospitalized for severe acute malnutrition every minute. Through programs like Feed The Future, the Global Food Security Act addresses the immediate and long-term causes of hunger.
  • Reauthorization of PEPFAR: The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is one of the best tools we have in the global fight to end HIV/AIDS. As it approaches its 20th year, PEPFAR counts 20 million lives saved. Congress will need to reauthorize PEPFAR next year so it can continue its lifesaving work.

Wednesday: #ONEOnTheHill 

On Wednesday, the faith leaders spent the day on Capitol Hill meeting with their Members of Congress. 

A quick breakdown:

  • 35 Faith Leaders
  • 25 States represented
  • 78 meetings with Members of Congress and/or their staff

https://twitter.com/SWNID/status/1593000882958131200?s=20&t=yGTeXvFKA1iMzDDqWGTOzA

We even stopped traffic! A tour bus driver stopped his vehicle to get out and ask a ONE staffer who we were– because he’d seen so many ONE shirts that day.

https://twitter.com/charlieharris/status/1593080935951785984?s=20&t=7rkqaR9K0e_Miuot0jCa-g

Our faith leaders are back home now but the work is far from over. You can make your voice heard in the halls of Congress– join our fight to end extreme poverty and preventable disease!

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