Home Shenandoah Valley Mennonites deliver letter, petition to Cline asking for support of cease fire
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Shenandoah Valley Mennonites deliver letter, petition to Cline asking for support of cease fire

Crystal Graham
cease fire sign harrisonburg mennonite action
Submitted photo

More than 150 Mennonites gathered outside Congressman Ben Cline’s office in Harrisonburg Tuesday calling on Cline to support an immediate cease fire.

The group, Mennonite Action Harrisonburg, also asked Cline to support using U.S. leverage to stop the Israeli government’s ongoing massacre in Gaza and stop funding the ongoing occupation of Palestine.

“With over 30,000 dead from bombardment by U.S.-funded weapons, and nine out of 10 families in Gaza facing extreme hunger, we have a moral obligation to speak out,” said Emily Hershberger, one of the organizers of the event. “As people of faith, we believe that all human life is sacred.

“Regardless of political party, the mass killing and imposed starvation of civilians and children in Gaza is unconscionable. The U.S. has a moral obligation to urgently send aid, not more weapons.”

Following a service of lament on Court Square, the demonstrators marched to Cline’s office on Mason Street carrying symbols of humanitarian aid.

“We are marching today with food, water and basic items like baby diapers and laundry detergent – symbols of basic humanitarian aid that Gazans desperately need but are being denied,” said Krista Showalter Ehst, a pastor at Shalom Mennonite Congregation in Harrisonburg.

An interfaith delegation of Mennonite, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim participants delivered a letter to Cline urging the representative to use his power in the House to stop the preventable starvation unfolding in Gaza and reinstate U.S. funding for United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The group also delivered a petition with more than 350 Harrisonburg signatures urging Cline to call for an immediate cease fire in Gaza.

“We demand that Cline send aid, not bombs, and reinstate funding for UNRWA,” said Tim Seidel, a Harrisonburg resident who attends Community Mennonite Church and teaches at Eastern Mennonite University. “We also continue to demand he call for an immediate cease fire, release of all hostages and political prisoners and an end to unchecked U.S. military support of Israel’s genocide in Gaza.”

Following the demonstration in front of Cline’s office, the humanitarian items were delivered to local food pantries.

This action was part of the Mennonite Action’s bi-national week of actions across the U.S. and Canada.

send food not bombs cease fire mennonite action
Submitted photo

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.