A History of Advocacy
For over a quarter of a century, DJPC has worked in solidarity with the people of Latin America. Founded in 197, DJPC began addressing global injustice. One of the organization’s first projects was participation in the international boycott of the Nestle Corporation for its unethical marketing of infant formula in the Third World. This worldwide protest ultimately led to the World Health Organization (WHO) to draft an international code to monitor the marketing of such products
In 1984, DJPC supported a successful regional campaign against Western Airlines for its cooperation in the deportation of Salvadoran refugees during the country’s civil war. The organization also promoted a campaign to declare Denver a sanctuary for Central American refugees.
Members have participated in the long-running campaign to close the School of the Americas, the U.S. Army training facility responsible for instructing Latin American officers guilty of committing horrendous atrocities in their own countries. DJPC jas sponsored participants traveling to the annual vigil in Ft. Benning, Georgia, to protest the school’s existence.
DJPC’s current goals include putting a human face on poverty, human rights abuses and conflict in Latin America; increasing awareness of the ever-widening social and economic injustice in both the South and the North; promoting sustainable communities and nonviolence; and encouraging people to become proponents of social change.
Our Philosophy on Advocacy
We believe that the U.S. government and corporate actors hold overwhelming influence over Latin American national and their leaders. Law makers, corporate executives and shareholders need to be made aware that large numbers of individuals and well-formed groups are knowledgeable and concerned about foreign policy and business practices in the hemisphere. These practices ultimately reflect our societal values and goals. Political and corporate misconduct leading to adverse effects against the protection of human rights, economic and social justice, and lasting peace throughout the region, are neither ethical nor acceptable.
Our approach to advocacy is encouragement of and engagement in nonviolent activism. we provide our members with tools to lobby Congress and the Administration on issues of importance to DJPC’s mission. We strive to create productive professional working relationships with the Colorado delegation and consistently offer our analysis on the relevant legislation they will vote on. We educate the general public on issues of importance to us. We engage in non-violent protest as a means of voicing our opposition to exploitative and violent practices.
How to be an Advocate
– Utilize your rights: contact your Congressional members, state, and local representatives and the president. Let them know how you feel about specific issues. Don’t forget to vote!
– Educate yourself and others: write a letter to the editor to generate public awareness of the issue. Write an article for your religious organization’s newsletter OR for the Mustard Seed.
– Vote with your pocketbook: support boycotts and buycotts.
– Mobilize: Participate in nonviolent protests, vigils, and commemoration ceremonies.
These apply for all DJPC sponsored events and demonstrations as well as individuals representing DJPC at a demonstration
or other public events.
DJPC was founded on the principles of nonviolence. It is DJPC’s policy thatprotests and public events be conducted in a peaceful and respectful manner.
Therefore, all participants are required to uphold the following responsibilities:
1) We will act with 360 degrees of compassion for all beings at all times, including those with differing opinions.
2) Our attitudes and demeanor will be respectful towards all people and the surrounding environment, including police officers and opponents.
3) We will not incite, use, or return violence verbal or physical towards any other person or creature.
4) We will not damage any property and we will take full responsibility for our actions and not try to evade legal consequences.
5) Weapons (or anything that could be construed as a weapon) are strictly prohibited. We will not bring or use illegal drugs or alcohol.
6) As members of a nonviolent demonstration, we will follow the directions of the designated coordinators. In the event of a serious disagreement, we will remove ourselves from the action.
DJPC members and staff stay in touch with our legislators through letter-writing and visits to the offices of our Colorado Congressional delegation. We make sure they hear from people who support the rights of the poor in Latin America!
Advocacy and Nonviolent Activism Committee Update
Written by Amanda Miralrío, former Legislative Advocacy Intern
Dated: April 2009 from the Mustard Seed
The Advocacy Committee has been busy working to close the SOA/WHINSEC. School of the Americas Watch declared February 17th a National Day of Action to close the SOA. The Advocacy Committee and DJPC members participated by visiting the offices of Senators Udall and Bennet and Representatives Perlmutter and Polis. Each participating group reported a positive experience and hopes that the visits will lead to good relations with those offices. Since the visits, DJPC has signed petitions asking Nicaragua to stop sending troops to the SOA and reminding Costa Rica to honor its promise to stop sending troops to the SOA.
Representative McGovern plans to introduce legislation to close the SOA/WHINSEC during the last week of April, so the Advocacy Committee is planning more legislative visits to remaining Colorado Representatives. If you are interested in attending these visits, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional actions the Advocacy Committee has taken since January include:
- Sent over 50 postcards signed by DJPC members to be delivered to President Obama’s office advocating just policy toward Colombia. This was part of the April 20th National Day of Action on Colombia in solidarity with the violently displaced citizens of Colombia.
- Sent a letter to the entire Colorado delegation asking that they support U.S. neutrality in the March 2009 Salvadoran presidential election.
- Signed a petition against terminating aid to Nicaragua in the form of the Millennium Challenge Account.
- Signed a petition to end anti-drug chemical spraying in the Amazon to prevent harm to the environment and humans in Colombia
The Advocacy Committee appreciates the support of all DJPC members in taking action on the issues of concern to the people of Latin America. Please contact the office if you would like to become more involved in this work.
Contact Colorado Legislators Legislator Contact Information 2009