Though we faced many challenges as a pandemic raged across the globe, often unchecked by governments and public health systems, the Global Justice Institute (GJI) has remained faithful to its partners and in the work of bringing to life God’s vision of a world at peace with its created diversity.
The inability to safely travel, and in many cases closed borders, only served to drive our creativity and develop our virtual capacities - as well as redirect the entirety of our budget to on-the-ground projects. We remain hard at work, and have made quite an impact across the globe during the past year.
Here are just a few of the projects we’ve worked on, and continue to support:
· We continued our work in Eastern Europe, focusing in Romania, Belarus and Lithuania, under the leadership of The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director of Eastern European Affairs.
· We maintained our partnership with Journalists4Tolerance in Belarus, offering 3 training sessions virtually for journalists, covering the Bible and Homosexuality, and theological implications of targeting Queer life.
· In Armenia, we are partnering with a Human Rights defender who works with AIDS Action Europe and Mission AID Development, focusing on people living with HIV/AIDS, Queer people and positive public policy initiatives.
· This past year we continued our work with Ecumenicas por la Derecha a Decir in Honduras, enabling members testimony before Parliament and supporting the daily lives of cis and Trans women.
· Rev. Margarita led our work with the anti-racism movement in Puerto Rico, as part of a broader effort to connect the realities in the United States, Puerto Rico, Brazil and other countries. · We continued to serve as a fiscal conduit for Rainbow Faith and Freedom Movement located in Canada, and look forward to expanding that partnership in 2021.
· In East Africa, the Rev. Uthasyo Kimindu continued to serve as the Director of East African Affairs, expanding the services and work of the GJI in Mtito Andei and beyond.
· In the Caribbean, we began exploring new partnerships with emerging leaders in Jamaica, and hope that the New Year will lead us to directly tackle sodomy laws.
· In the United States, we continued our work with the Council for Global Equality.
· Our Government and Policy Team worked tirelessly on issues ranging from Covid-19 and a public safety net, to racial justice, immigration reform, a faith leadership team for the recent U.S. elections, getting out the vote efforts, health care for all, just pay, and equitable vaccine distribution.
· We issued statements in tribute to notables like John Lewis and on issues like Housing Saves Lives, the dispatching of Federal Troops to cities like Portland, the execution of George Floyd, and IDAHOBIT among others, and marched with Black Lives Matter protestors and demonstrators on behalf of the GJI.
Though not an exhaustive list, you can see that we have been busy being agents of change across the globe. While, COVID-19 remains a challenging reality, we who are devoted to the work of the GJI remain committed to continuing and expanding our work in the New Year. We will take advantage of the pandemic restrictions to enlarge our virtual capacities and engage more globally inclusive strategic planning.
2020 has certainly been one of our most challenging years on record. Yet, through it all, the GJI and our partners have managed to not only keep our spirits high, but to forge ahead with projects to make justice rock and roll and rush forward in this world.