July / August eNews
Highlight
GRANTEE HIGHLIGHT
BREAKING THE CYCLE THROUGH ADVOCACY - MAYA ORGANIZATION

Imagine this:  You have been in an abusive relationship for several years. With no experience, you struggled to find a job to support your family so you have been earning your income as a prostitute. You're a mother and have been battling addiction for as long as you can remember. You were recently arrested and have just been sentenced to the county jail for prostitution. You enter the system and find yourself struggling daily with depression and damaged self-esteem. Your world feels as if it has been hopelessly turned upside down. How will you ensure that you do not re-enter the system after your release? Will abusing drugs and alcohol continue to be your vice? Will you ever be permitted to see your children again?
The MAYA Organization community thanks Mary's Pence for the grant, which they will use for their Counseling for Incarcerated Women program.
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Then, your cellmate tells you that the jail has a program offering free counseling for the incarcerated. You attend a single 60-minute session and after a year, you are attending regularly. Your counselor helps you slowly rediscover your confidence and sobriety and inspires you to work to get certificates in vocational skills.

Eventually, you are released from the jail and routinely reach out to your counselor for support. You relapse, but you do not want to hinder your progress so you re-enter the rehabilitation program at your own will and find sobriety once again. Your determination provokes a job offer at a local company and, as a result of your progress, you are finally reunited with your children.

This story reflects one of many success stories that the MAYA Organization has witnessed since the foundation of their Counseling for Incarcerated Women program in 2014. 

 
IssueofJustice
ESPERA WOMEN HAVE A WILL TO THRIVE 
Gabriela Bandini de Unánue reflects on her first year working with women participating in the ESPERA community lending program as the ESPERA Business Facilitator.

Reflecting on the year since I joined the Mary's Pence team, I would like to share with you what has happened so far and what this experience has meant for me.
Gaby (left), the ESPERA Business Facilitator, chats with women who are part of the Concertacion de Mujeres, an ESPERA community lending group in Suchitoto, El Salvador.

I'll begin by thanking every one of the people that is part of this great team for the confidence, comradery, constant support, positive energy, dedication and talent that has gone into all of our activities. From the beginning of my work in June of 2015 I have felt welcomed and supported in a process of continuous learning and growth, as much personal as professional. To know each one of the women and men that are part of this team - office staff, donors, ally organizations, volunteers, and the board - makes me more proud every day to be part of this work.

Each meeting with the women who are part of the ESPERA program in Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico has confirmed for me the positive impact that the program has in the daily lives of every one of the women.

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If you have a mother, daughter, sister or close relative or friend who joins you in your support of Mary's Pence, we'd love to hear from you. Why do you stand together in support of the Mary's Pence mission and in solidarity with women across the Americas? To share your story, please call our office at 651-788-9869 or email
katherine@maryspence.org.
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August 9-13 - Atlanta, Georgia

August 12-14, Linthicum, Maryland

October 7-10 - Nogales, Arizona

November 11-13 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Reflection
REFLECTION

God, we are stunned and deeply troubled by the killings that occurred this week. We lift prayers to you, asking that your Spirit intercede for us and for this world.

We mourn with those who are suffering the loss of precious members of their family--in Dallas, in Baton Rouge, in Minnesota. May your Spirit give them peace.
Photo taken at peaceful Black Lives Matter event in St. Paul, Minnesota. 


We pray for a Church that does not become polarized at this moment--may the Church proclaim, with words and with action, both that black lives matter and that acts of brutal violence against public servants are wrong.

May our congregations vocalize God's definitive "NO" to the murder of black lives. May all of us be awakened and stand alongside the black community, willing to lay aside confusion and questions and to proclaim that this epidemic of police violence must be addressed. May privilege and power be used as a means to raise awareness and demand justice. May leaders feel pressure from all who live in their communities--white, brown, black--and respond with plans to stop the destruction of black bodies.

We lift in prayer the police officers who must show up for work today, who are doing a dangerous job for too little pay, who are personally blamed for the failure of the whole system. Give them wisdom and strength as those whom we rely on to maintain composure, fairness, and a commitment to the common good. Come alongside them, Lord. Grant them protection and empower them to serve justly.

We pray for healing in communities that carry the weight of generations of broken down relationships between law enforcement and the people they are called to serve. We lament our history of racism and pray for love in the face of violence.

May your Church be afflicted in its core again for this sign of a deep sickness in our communities.

May we listen to the prophetic voices speaking truth and pleading for action.
May our prayers find footing, that we might live lives that are answers to our prayers for peace and justice.

From the Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice.

We envision a world where empowered women 

and their communities flourish in solidarity and justice.

 

Mary's Pence invests in women across the Americas 

by funding community initiatives and fostering 

collaborations to create social change.