Author: Eleanore Ablan-Owen

Connect and Act: COVID-19 and Organizing for a Just Transformation ~ Online Event May 30th

Connect and Act: COVID-19 and Organizing for a Just Transformation ~ Online Event May 30th

Reserve your spot:

The Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) is bringing together faith and community leaders to share what they have learned and experienced during COVID-19 and what comes as we pursue peace and justice for all. We will share resources for how to continue the work they imagine with ICPJ and our partners.

Facing This Moment
1:30-3:00 pm
Panelists: Bryan Foley, Pastor Alex McCauslin,  Rabbi Josh Whinston, Maria Ibarra

The Coronavirus pandemic has exposed realities of inequities that some in our community didn’t realize existed. As we practice physical distancing, many are experiencing grief and loss of loved ones. While we try to mitigate a public health crisis, the economy is failing to support the needs of those most vulnerable- people who are poor, undocumented, or who belong to marginalized identities.

This webinar will provide a space to talk about grief, faith, and the actions we are driven to take in order to connect through radical compassion.

This is What I know is Possible
3:30-5:00 pm
Panelists: Monica Lewis Patrick, Rev. Joe Summers, Natalie Holbrook, Commissioner Felicia Brabec, Vidhya Aravind

Some have described COVID-19 as a “zero gravity moment” where we can see new potential realities and have an opportunity to rewrite the rules. We have the choice to move toward more love and solidarity or to double down on exploitation and despair. Join us as our panel shares what they see as possible in their different areas of expertise and activism.

For more information please contact [email protected]

Defend DACA and Immigrant Families #Faith4DACA

Defend DACA and Immigrant Families #Faith4DACA

Please Join ICPJ in signing the With Dreamers Statement!

Excerpted from
Within the next few weeks, the Supreme Court is set to decide the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). ​Since 2012, more than 825,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children have obtained protection from deportation and work authorization through DACA. Nationwide, 1.5 million individuals live with a DACA recipient, including more than a quarter-million U.S.-born children who have a DACA recipient parent. Each year, DACA recipients contribute $566.9 million in mortgage payments and $2.3 billion in rental payments, and their households pay $5.6 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes.

Like all Americans, DACA recipients are facing unprecedented new challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. And more than 200,000 DACA recipients–nearly one-third of the people currently protected by DACA–are working in industries and occupation groups that render them “essential critical infrastructure workers” based upon Department of Homeland Security guidance. ​At a time of universal fear and anxiety, the Supreme Court’s decision on DACA will be consequential ​not only for DACA recipients and their families, but also for communities around the country, and our shared prosperity as a nation. […]

To add your name, please complete the form.

What congregations, organizations, and individuals in the ICPJ Network do before the SCOTUS’ decision:

  • Urge SCOTUS to support DACA and delay decision.
  • Write a letter to the editor/statement of solidarity/press release. Talking points can be found at:
  • Social media campaign:
    • Record a video of support, and upload to Twitter with hashtag #Faith4DACA and tag Interfaith Immigration Coalition (@interfaithimm) and tweet to members of Congress.
    • Post video also Facebook and Instagram with #Faith4DACA.
  • United We Dream, on the day of the SCOTUS’ decision:
    • 1 pm:  Press call.
    • 7 pm:  Community call for DACA individuals. Text “dacadecision” to 877-877.
    • 1 pm on the day after decision:  National virtual rally for all DACA individuals and supporters. Text “dacadecision” to 877-877
  • After the SCOTUS’s decision:
    • Continue writing letters to the editor/statements of solidarity/press releases.
    • Continue social media campaign.
    • Create virtual space for gathering of DACA individuals and families for prayers and story-sharing.
    • Hold a virtual law webinar for DACA individuals and families.
Continuing to Organize During the Covid-19 Crisis

Continuing to Organize During the Covid-19 Crisis

Dear ICPJ Community,

We hope you and your loved ones are doing well and have the support you need during these uncertain times.

Staying isolated can cause loneliness, anxiety, and grief ~ this can also be a time for reflection and closer connection. We would like to continue to share opportunities to remain connected, to practice radical compassion, and lead from our hearts toward a more just future where more peace allows us to be our best selves. (Please scroll down to find calls for action.)

In the spirit of ICPJ’s Principles and Practices, we must focus on the most vulnerable. We will address the most urgent needs and also advocate for systemic change. Now is an important time to connect across differences, whether generational, socio-economic, or faith-based. It is an important time to organize to prevent crises like we are experiencing now – when communities of color are again hardest hit and decision-makers are prioritizing profit and politics over people.

Communities have formed more mutual aid networks. Nurses are striking. Activists are demanding shelter for the houseless and an end to evictions. People not active in organizing are seeing the humanity in demanding housing, food, shelter, and water for all. Communities are fighting for the release of immigrant detainees and prisoners living in institutions that cannot possibly keep them safe from such a contagion. And we are also preparing for even deeper threats to democracy and civil liberties in the months to come.

This is a very difficult, terribly sad time for so many. It’s also the time – for those of us with the capacity – to breath, dig deep, and lead with our values of compassion and love toward change.

ICPJ will continue to mobilize to take critical action, build community capacity to organize, help members navigate technology tools, and expand our network’s relational organizing. We will continue to strengthen the organization’s sustainability by building our base, improving communications, and deepening our partnerships.

We also want you to know that, as with most organizations now, ICPJ is facing significant fundraising challenges. We have needed to cancel or postpone our two spring fundraising events and seven fee-for-service engagements. We have also seen at least one grant that we rely on cancelled. In addition, our strongest fundraising month is typically May; we know that this will be a very challenging time for many of our annual contributors.

ICPJ is responding to the fundraising challenges by reducing the Co-Directors’ hours and compensation by 25% and also intensively looking for other funding sources.

ICPJ’s financial sustainability depends upon our generous members who are able to donate. We are grateful for all of your contributions and are working hard to adjust to new organizing needs as well as prioritize the long-term sustainability of ICPJ.

Thank You,
Desiraé and Eleanore

Please help sustain ICPJ: Our Fundraising Goal is $25,000 by June 30th

Please help sustain ICPJ: Our Fundraising Goal is $25,000 by June 30th

During the Covid-19 crisis, ICPJ will continue to mobilize to build peace and justice and address both immediate needs and long-term systems change. We know that our attention is pulled in so many ways right now, and we hope that you will support ICPJ financially if you have the means to do so.

You can help ICPJ reach our Fundraising Goal of $25,000 by June 30th through a one-time or sustaining donation.

We are grateful for all of your contributions and are working hard to adjust to new organizing needs and also keep the long-term sustainability of the organization a priority.

As with most organizations now, ICPJ is facing significant fundraising challenges. We have needed to cancel or postpone our two spring fundraising events and seven fee-for-service engagements. We have also seen at least one grant that we rely on cancelled. In addition, our strongest fundraising month is typically May; we know that this will be a very challenging time for many of our annual contributors.

ICPJ is responding to the fundraising challenges by reducing the Co-Directors’ hours and compensation by 25% and also intensively looking for other funding sources.

If you are able, please consider donating to ICPJ in this critical time. Maybe some are able to donate your stimulus check to ICPJ, others might be able to donate $25. Whatever your capacity, it helps and we are extremely grateful!

We are confident that we can get through this crisis, working together. Know that the Board and staff continue to center the values of ICPJ as we adjust our strategy, programming, and focus.

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Support the Immediate Release of Immigrant Detainees

Support the Immediate Release of Immigrant Detainees


Please consider taking action in this urgent campaign. Instructions here.

The current COVID-19 crisis is posing a particular danger to immigrant detainees in ICE detention centers and in local jails on contract with ICE nationwide, where the effective preventative measure of social distancing is non-existent. An open letter signed by over 3,000 medical professionals has been addressed to ICE to that effect. A COVID-19 outbreak in these facilities will create a health crisis for the detainees, staff, and surrounding communities.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan’s prison population has doubled in late March 2020. In New York, three migrant children in government custody have tested positive for COVID-19. The federal court also ordered the release of a number of immigrant detainees in California and New Jersey.

Efforts have recently been galvanized across the country to seek the release of immigrant detainees. ICPJ is sponsoring a statewide letter-writing campaign toward that goal.

Support Ann Arbor’s A2Zero Carbon Neutrality Plan

Support Ann Arbor’s A2Zero Carbon Neutrality Plan

Please considering asking the Ann Arbor City Council to take two actions:
1) Approve the new A2Zero Carbon Neutrality Plan

2) Approve the first-year budget to implement that Plan

These issues will be discussed at virtual City Council meetings now scheduled for April 20, May 6, and May 20. Here is the plan itself, the slide presentation, Missy Stults’ videotaped presentation to Council, and the M-Live article about it.

Typically there would be opportunities for members of the public to formally address the Council during those meetings. With the shelter-in-place order, the best ways to communicate with Mayor Taylor and City Council are through petition, email, phone, and social media.

1. Please sign and circulate this petition as widely as possible. The petition is being circulated by the Ann Arbor Climate Partnership, a coalition of environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, the Ecology Center, the Huron River Watershed Council, and Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice. We would like to have hundreds of signers on it to share with City Council as early as April 20, and no later than May 20.

2. Please contact City Council members and the Mayor to express your support for the plan and related budget and to stress the importance of this plan, even during the COVID-19 emergency. If you live in Ann Arbor find email addresses and phone numbers for your Councilpersons at If you don’t live in A2, you can still contact Council and the Mayor at [email protected]. Greenhouse gases don’t recognize city borders, and other communities are affected by the action or lack of action that Ann Arbor takes. For more information, contact Jan Wright ([email protected])

*There is a new process to publically speak to City Council by phone. As with the usual process, you must call right at 8:00 a.m. on the day of the council meeting to get one of the ten allotted spots. More information about public participation in virtual meetings here.

More Information about the Draft Plan:

This will not be easy. Some of the plan can be done by the City but much of it will require help from individuals (such as us!) and groups (such as ones we are a part of!) as well as changes in state legislation (which we will need to lobby for). We will continue to communicate with you about ways you can be part of these efforts.

Key Elements of the Draft Plan:

  • Power our electrical grid with 100% clean and renewable sources of energy
  • Switch appliances and vehicles from gasoline, diesel, propane, and natural gas to electric
  • Significantly improving the energy efficiency of homes, businesses, schools, places of worship, government buildings, and recreational sites
  • Reduce the miles we travel in our vehicles by at least 50%
  • Significantly change the way we use, reuse, and dispose of materials
  • Enhancing resilience

Suggested Talking Points in addressing Council:

  • Thank you for voting last year to make Ann Arbor “carbon neutral” by 2030 — a timeframe consistent with what scientists have told us needs to be done.
  • But a goal is not enough. Ann Arbor needs a plan and adequate resources to get us there.
  • The climate crisis demands urgent action, and “business-as-usual” will not do the job.
  • Discuss one area of climate action that is especially important to you personally.
  • The City’s draft carbon neutrality plan is extremely ambitious, but it is also do-able, and it meets the scale of the challenge.
  • It will take leadership from every one of us to make Ann Arbor carbon neutral, and to rise up and solve the climate crisis. We look to you to be a leader in your Ward and engage your constituents about it.
  • Please vote YES to approve the City’s carbon neutrality plan. And please vote YES to fully resource the City’s climate work.
ICPJ Principles and Practices

ICPJ Principles and Practices

This is a living document that grew out of the passions of our network.

We are an interfaith and intergenerational collaborative network of individuals and organizations who share values of peace and justice. We continually strive to be more multi-racial and intersectional so we can all be our authentic selves. In pursuit of building this space together, we center anti-racism as well as the perspectives of feminism, anti-classism, and spirituality in its multiple forms.

While our network is diverse in our focus areas, lived experiences, and ways of doing the work, we share values that bind us together. We believe our actions show our values so we practice radical love in all we do. We aim to change structural systems by focusing on the interconnected root causes that continue the status quo. This means recognizing the self-determination of all peoples and the interdependence of all species. This means working to eradicate inequity in the large and small ways while being mindful of our collective and individual impact.

We will listen more, advocate for human rights, empower people to create their own change, proactively share our resources, and act with intention and humility. As we dismantle white supremacy and other oppressive power systems, we will show care for one another. As we reform the whole justice system, we will respect and value others. As we oppose military repression, occupation, and exploitation, we will respect our ecosystem.

We invite you to join us in these practices so we may achieve peace and justice for all:

  • Reject systematic poverty and violence
  • Invite the most impacted to help guide our work
  • Build a system of equity
  • Learn about the power structure
  • Practice physical and emotional nonviolence
  • Seek common ground for dialogue and understanding
  • Recognize your privilege and how you are accountable to others
  • Encourage multiple strategies in alignment with one another
  • Promote truth & reconciliation with empathy for yourself and others
  • Act locally too!
ICPJ Gears Up for 2020!

ICPJ Gears Up for 2020!

Collaborative Action Campaigns

As we deepen our network and prioritize the needs in our community that we are well-situated to respond to, these five campaign areas are ready to launch in 2020! Our projects are emergent and generative and we will develop and share clear goals so we can measure our progress. 

Housing is a Human Right

We are collaborating with Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) to pilot a series of tenant’s organizing meetings modeled after work being done at City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston. We are focused on building community power to insure housing for all no matter the income and to providing access to relevant community resources. 

Local Climate Crisis Actions

We are part of a coalition working to draft Ann Arbor’s carbon neutrality plan. We are focused on centering equity and our impact on surrounding areas. We will also advocate for accountability throughout the process as we mobilize our network to address the climate crisis. 

Youth as Cultural & Civic Leaders

ICPJ, Youth Arts Alliance, the Dispute Resolution Center, and the Michigan Juvenile Justice Youth Advisory Board are joining together to add capacity in areas of restorative justice, cultural healing and loving spaces, and civic and community action with partner youth-serving organizations and groups. We will use intergenerational support and organizing practices and focus on issues of juvenile justice, anti-gentrification, and climate change.

Community Power & Practicing Democracy

In partnership with community advocates and local organizations, we will identify communities most disenfranchised by inequitable policies using social determinants of health and voting behavior in order to launch a grassroots empowerment and education campaign focused on building community power for low-income and racially-marginalized people.

Justice & Safety for Immigrants & Asylum Seekers

We will join Movimiento Cosecha Ann Arbor in its Driver’s Licences for All campaign and help organize allies to work in coordination with their efforts. We will also build capacity for the new Network to Support Asylum Seekers that formed to fill a gap in services. 

Thank you from ICPJ

Thank you from ICPJ

The Board and staff of ICPJ would like to thank all who contributed to make the 2019 Harvest Dinner a success!
We appreciate all who joined to fill the room with warmth and love ~ we appreciate all who supported with volunteer time and donations!

Thank you for celebrating our Honorees

ICPJ Peace & Justice 2019 Honoree
Yodit Mesfin Johnson

Peace & Justice Network Organization of the Year
Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR)

Anti-Racist Advocate Award
Janet Nord

Emergent Leader Award
Hoai An Pham

Network Weaver Award
Ron Gregg 

~ Our Warmest Appreciation ~

Harvest Dinner Table Sponsors
Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation
Ann Arbor Thrift Shop
Episcopal Church of the Incarnation
First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor
Janet Nord & Friends
Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor
Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor
Washtenaw Poor People’s Campaign
Yodit Mesfin Johnson

Harvest Dinner Honorary Hosts
Mohamed, Mouna, and Imad Al-Azem
Mayor Beth Bashert
Francis Lyman
Betsy and Loch McCabe
Mary Anne Perrone
Veena Kulkarni-Rankin and Mike Rankin
Renee Roederer
Ashish and Norma Sarkar
Bryan and Layale Weinert
La’Ron Williams
Dwight Wilson

Harvest Dinner Sponsors
Jeffrey Alson
Janice Brimacombe
Jim Crowfoot and Ruth Carey
Dr. David and Carol Clifford
Betsy Foote and Tom Gebhardt
Mary Ann Hergenrother
Tallulah Lyons
Council Member Elizabeth Nelson
Jeanine Palms
Eli Savit
Jan Wright
Ian MacGregor and Vickie Wellman

Thank you for your generous contributions…
Michael Jadrich Ortiz and Vineyard Church for providing the sound system!

Reverend Donnell Wyche and Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor for generous in-kind donations to make the dinner successful!

Thank you for donating a professional photography session!
Abben & Lily, a local photography group for weddings, family portraits and other photo shoots. Visit

Thank you, David Hile, for donating gorgeous artwork included in our raffle!

We are grateful for the donation from Tippins Market 4845 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Thank you to our Harvest Dinner Committee
Munir Khan
Betsy McCabe
Donna Mitchell
Bryan Weinert
Reverend Donnell Wyche

Thank you to our Harvest Dinner event volunteers!

Pam Hennigan
Caylin Luebeck
Rebecca Kanner
Sudha Bhat
Sarah Khan
Bob Milstein
Darlene Ladson-Barbosa
Betsy McCabe
Emmeline Weinert
La’Ron Williams
Cathy Bartholomay
Maria Ibarra-Frayre

Organize for Immigration Justice

Organize for Immigration Justice

With the increasing raids and deportations; the deplorable conditions in concentration camps; the pervasive child abuse and human rights violations against those seeking refuge in this country, and the need to advocate for immediate change by our Congressional representatives in Washtenaw, we have a lot of work to do.

Currently, we are organizing to support existing local organizations that have long been directly supporting immigrants. And we are organizing to fill the gaps needed. For instance, we are working with more than a dozen organizations and congregations to build a Network to Support Asylum Seekers. Through this network, we are supporting asylum seekers in detention, fundraising to assist with bail, organizing housing, and supporting organizations that provide for basic needs.

There are many ways to get involved. Contact [email protected] today if you would like to connect to our Immigration Justice Caucus and current organizing work.

2019 Spring / Summer Newsletter

2019 Spring / Summer Newsletter

The 2019 ICPJ Spring/Summer Newsletter is available for download. Check it out for updates on Immigration Justice, Affordable Housing, Youth Arts Alliance, Colombia Peace Accords, Delegation to Honduras, and more.

Support Asylum for Emilio and Oscar Gutiérrez Soto

Support Asylum for Emilio and Oscar Gutiérrez Soto

We are calling on the ICPJ community to take a moment to send letters to your representatives to support asylum for Emilio and Oscar Gutiérrez Soto, members of the Ann Arbor community. We have made it easy – follow this link, enter your information, modify the suggested letter if you like, click, and send the letter(s).

Emilio Gutiérrez Soto is a Mexican investigative journalist who exposed military corruption in Mexico. Since then Emilio and his son, Oscar Gutiérrez Soto, had to flee to the US due to the active and imminent death threats targeted against them. They have been living in the US for ten years, always abiding by immigration regulations. Despite their compliance and strong case for asylum, their asylum petition has been denied.

Emilio and Oscar Gutiérrez Soto have become an important part of our community in Michigan. Help us support their efforts to seek asylum in the US and prevent them from being deported to Mexico, one of today’s deadliest countries for journalists. Please reach out to your representatives and speak up for Emilio and Oscar through the letter campaign.

See more information: