Mennonite Action members from Bucks and Montgomery Counties organized a peaceful demonstration Tuesday at Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s Langhorne office to request he sign on to a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Palestine.
The Ceasefire Now Resolution introduced by Democratic Representatives Cori Bush (MO-01), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), and several other members of Congress calls for the Biden Administration to issue an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Israel and occupied Palestine. The resolution further urges the need to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to Gaza with the goal of saving as many lives as possible.
According to Tori Jones Long, a local organizer with Mennonite Action, approximately 20 advocates traveled to Fitzpatrick’s Bucks County office unannounced and six members of the group were invited to meet with Kyle Melander, District Director for the congressman.
“Our key points were to explain a little bit about who Mennonites are and kind of give a sense of this unique constituency that Representative Fitzpatrick has in our area,” Long said. “We’re a historic peace church that has a long history, and a deep history, of working in the way of peace and doing justice work, speaking for the oppressed, and trying to follow what we call the peaceable way of Jesus.”
The goodwill advocates strongly encouraged Fitzpatrick to sign on to the Ceasefire Now resolution.
“We felt and said one way that you can accomplish getting a ceasefire is by co-signing this ceasefire resolution. But there was no indication that Representative Fitzpatrick would do that,” Long added.
Rising anti-Semitism is also a concern and Mennonite Action seeks protection, safety and well-being for Jewish friends, family and neighbors.
While grateful for the time and opportunity to speak with Fitzpatrick’s spokesperson, there was some disappointment.
“They [staffers] feel that Congressman Fitzpatrick is doing what he can in the face of a complicated situation and that everyone wants a ceasefire, but getting to that point is difficult and there’s a lot of moving parts,” Long explained.
The advocates left several items for the congressman, including a paper chain with 150 links, each containing the name of a constituent calling for a ceasefire. A book of songs about peace, and also of lament in the event the war continues, as well as a card featuring two individuals from the Mennonite Central Committee who are currently working to provide aid to Gaza and promote relationship-building between Israel and Palestine were also provided.
“Our Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, and Muslim friends and loved ones are demanding a ceasefire even while they are forced to reckon with unspeakable tragedies,” said Long. “We believe we have a duty as pacifists and Christians to join public action for peace and justice whenever and wherever we can.”
Mennonite Action is a movement of Mennonites and Anabaptists bonded by a common belief of a responsibility to use their voices as powerfully as possible for the cause of peace and justice. Hundreds of North American Mennonites have joined planning webinars and started organizing to take public action demanding their congressional representatives call for armistice.
The group is currently organizing plans to gather in Washington, D.C., over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in January.