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Advocacy Team rally in Brattleboro, VT, take their message to the public and representatives.
The Advocacy Team in Brattleboro, VT, takes their message to the public and representatives.

Grassroots advocates across the country have made a powerful impact on ending U.S. support for the war in Yemen. After Yemeni advocate Aisha Jumaan briefed us in January, our Advocacy Teams sprang into action. They conducted 65 lobby visits by 475 people in one month—the greatest number of visits in a single month since the program started in 2015.

As our campaign gained steam, advocates found creative ways to involve their friends and neighbors. Advocates in New Hampshire and Colorado led state-wide call-in days. The Sacramento, California team set up a “Lemonade for Yemen-Aid” stand at their local Earth Day event and talked to passersby about the connections between war and climate change.

Folks from Missouri to Rhode Island organized film screenings of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Hunger Ward” after FCNL hosted a national screening with the director.

Advocacy Teams have also sought new ways to build understanding and solidarity with people most impacted by the war. Each member of the New Orleans Advocacy Team looked up one fact about Yemen that does not have to do with the war.

The energy around the country has only grown as we have seen the impact of our work.

They compiled this into a presentation about the country’s culture, architecture, food, and landscape, so the war would not be the only thing people knew about Yemen.

Other Advocacy Teams from Nevada and Michigan collaborated with Yemeni American activists to call members in Congress in June.

The energy around the country has only grown as we have seen the impact of our work.

Advocates felt encouraged at the start of Ramadan when a truce began in Yemen, which has now been extended for two more months, starting in August. This marks the longest period without airstrikes since the war began.

On May 31, the bipartisan H.J. Res 87, which directs the removal of U.S. military forces from the hostilities in Yemen, was introduced in the House with 42 cosponsors. On July 14, a companion bill, S.J. Res 56, was introduced in the Senate.

Advocacy Teams have found new opportunities to engage as the momentum towards peace continues to build—from a candidate’s forum in Wisconsin to a coalition picnic in Rhode Island.

In their advocacy, activists have connected their own personal stories to Yemen. One team member in New Hampshire told a story about meeting a woman in Vietnam whose husband was killed by a U.S. bomb, paid for by his tax dollars.

The Nashville, Tennessee, Advocacy Team met with Rep. Jim Cooper’s (TN-05) staff and shared powerful stories that made “the hair on the back of [his] neck stand up.” The staff said that “that simply doesn’t happen” to him in typical lobby visits.

Advocates for Yemen holding signs outside White House
Attribution
Eric Bond / FCNL
Washington, D.C., Advocacy Teams members and FCNL lobbyists gathered in front of the White House in April to protest arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

This issue has also strengthened relationships with members of Congress across the aisle. On one call, Rep. Susan Wild (PA-07) encouraged FCNL advocates to ask their members of Congress to reach out to other members to support H.J. Res. 87.

This energized two teams in Michigan to partner, asking their Democratic representatives to reach out to their Republican colleagues.

The only reason many members of Congress are even aware of the Yemen War Powers Resolution is because of FCNL’s passionate and persistent grassroots lobbyists across the country, according to FCNL staff.

“Your advocacy provides my colleagues and me with the sustained congressional pressure to help turn this temporary truce into a lasting peace agreement,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).

Sarah Freeman-Woolpert

Sarah Freeman-Woolpert

Director of Advocacy Teams
As FCNL’s director of Advocacy Teams, Sarah Freeman-Woolpert is responsible for deepening and expanding our Advocacy Teams program, a network of hundreds of Quakers and friends lobbying to build congressional champions for peace and justice.