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Justice Leadership Program honors interns' year of service and advocacy

By Elizabeth Dickinson

Another year of Justice Leadership Program (JLP) in the Pacific Northwest Conference is coming to a close.

amber and emmanuel

Amber Dickson and Emmanuel Mancilla at fair wage event.

The program honors Hillary Coleman, Amber Dickson, Honah Johnson and Emmanuel Mancilla as they complete their internship year.  Their service continues through celebrating their final Sunday with their UCC congregations on Aug. 2. 

What did their year entail?

Amber flew to Washington, D.C., for Ecumenical Advocacy Days with other UCC Young Adults and Elise DeGooyer, co-director of the Faith Action Network (FAN), the agency she worked with.

The focus of the days was mass incarceration, which, along with a couple visits to meet prisoners’ groups at Monroe Correctional Complex with FAN, have inspired Amber’s interest in education and hope for prisoners.

hillary and  honah

Hillary Coleman and Honah Johnson at Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day.

She plans to be active on this, whether she is in Seattle, New York City, or somewhere in between next year.

Amber has also been active in the Racial Equity Team, which identifies opportunities to change policies that impact communities of color.

Emmanuel worked with the Plymouth Church Immigration Ministry team to extend UCC Immigration Sunday to a full month of education and action on immigration.

He also started a petition through the Church Council of Greater Seattle to endorse the Accountability in Immigration Detention bill, which would end quotas and mandate that private detention centers treat detainees with respect  for basic human rights.  He invites those interested in signing on to contact him at

Emmanuel recently organized a forum, Our Stories, Our Solutions, to hear the stories of workers seeking a sufficient, sustainable livelihood, and to explore how people of faith can stand in solidarity with them.

Hillary led a workshop at the PNC Annual Meeting on how to improve the lives of the 32,494 students without homes in Washington State. One answer is funding the Housing Trust Fund, and yet another is to help gather backpacks and school supplies so these students can go back to school well-prepared. 

Hillary is working with Project Cool to do that. Work at the Coalition on Homelessness and co-leading an educational forum on economic justice at All Pilgrims Christian Church have confirmed her interest in spending her next years educating people about how they can be part of creating a more compassionate and just society.

An administrator and events planner—helping draw 800 to the statewide Housing Conference this year—Honah has especially enjoyed spending time with those who are struggling in some way.

Through the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, she has appreciated connections with “Emerging Advocates,” who bring their experiences living in or on the edge of homelessness to advocate for stronger housing policies. 

She is heading to the Berkeley School of Social Work next year to begin studies for a master’s in medical social work.

This year has been a time of growth for all the interns.

Interns struggle with important questions:

• How do we truly create community?

• How can JLP and congregations extend an authentic welcome and integrate the gifts of all people and cultures?

• How can we structure our own institutions more justly?

• How do we go deeper into questions of faith? 

• Can nonviolence work in contemporary society to bring about the changes so sorely needed in our societies? 

• In what ways do and can we up-end our lives in solidarity with the earth and with those who are disenfranchised?

Individually and together, they have been a blessing to the PNC and to the communities they have served.

They will ask good questions, challenge oppressive structures, and shape strong communities wherever they go next.

For information, call 206-320-0432 or email

Copyright June-July 2015 © Pacific Northwest Conference News



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