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October 20, 2023

VIDEO: Pressley, Colleagues, Faith Leaders Renew Call for Ceasefire to Save Lives

Calls at Interfaith Prayer Vigil Come as Death Toll Continues to Rise

Video (YouTube) | Photos (Dropbox)

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) joined congressional colleagues and a multi-faith, multiracial coalition of faith leaders and organizers for a prayer and press conference at the House Triangle in support of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza. Their calls come as the death toll continues to rise.

A transcript of Rep. Pressley’s remarks is available below and video is available here. Photos can be found here.

Transcript: Pressley, Colleagues, Faith Leaders Renew Call for Ceasefire to Save Lives

October 20, 2023

House Triangle

Ayanna Pressley, Congresswoman representing the Massachusetts Seventh Congressional District.

I’m here as a lawmaker, but certainly as a sister in Christ, and a woman of faith. Someone who believes in the power of prayer.

But as the adage reminds us: when you pray, move your feet.

So we are praying for peace. We are mobilizing for peace. We seek to legislate for peace.

Good afternoon, beloveds., We come together today in prayer and we lift our voices.

We ask You, God, to cover the families around the globe grieving unfathomable loss.

There is no word in the English language that describes a parent who has lost a child.

It goes against the natural order of things. It is a devastation that defies words and explanation.

More than 1,000 children, our children, because we are all God’s children – Israeli, Palestinian, American – and over 3,000 innocent civilians killed.

When a mother cries out or father in grief, their piercing screams sound the same regardless of their religion, or the nation of their birth.

So our call is clear: a ceasefire now to save lives.

We cannot continue to stand idly by numb as we watch this death toll climb. Nor can we be complicit in this bloodshed.

Vengeance is not a foreign policy doctrine.

Psalm 34:18 reminds us, “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

My team and I have been working around the clock to evacuate Massachusetts constituents from Israel and Gaza. I breathe a huge sigh of relief every time I learn that one of the families that we are in touch with has safely left Israel on a plane or a ship bringing them back towards safety.

For our families in Gaza, there has been no relief.

As someone who was a caregiver to my mother before she took her final breath, I would liken it to talking to someone in hospice who is quite literally waiting to die.

Wafaa and Abood from Massachusetts have tried four times now to cross the border at Rafah.

Their one year old Yousef is in their arms.

They are scared. They are hungry. They are parched.

Each time they have received word from the Department of State about a narrow window to cross, they feel an ounce of hope that their baby is almost safe. Those hopes have been dashed daily.

I know it to be true that people from all walks of life see this plainly: saving civilian lives, including the Israeli and American hostages and the Palestinian families trapped in Gaza, must be the priority.

This is about our shared humanity. This is about the future of humanity.

James Baldwin said it best: the children are always ours, every single one of them, all over the globe. And I’m beginning to suspect that whoever is incapable of recognizing this may be incapable of morality.

The children of the world are watching, and history has its eyes on us.

Our calls for a ceasefire are a clear mandate.

We were sent to Washington to lead, to center the marginalized, to uplift the voices of the unheard.

Families are crying out for survival.

We must respond: Ceasefire now.

On October 17, 2023 Rep. Pressley joined Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) and their colleagues on a resolution condemning Hamas’ brutal attack and hostage-taking, and demanding Hamas immediately release all hostages.

On October 16, 2023, Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues in announcing a resolution urging the Biden Administration to call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Israel and Gaza, to send humanitarian aid and assistance to Gaza, and to save as many lives as possible.

On October 13, 2023, Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), James P. McGovern (MA-02), and 50 colleagues on a letter condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas on the people of Israel, calling for Israeli military operations to follow the rules of international humanitarian law, and continuing to work toward peace in the region.

On October 11, 2023, Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), and nearly 150 colleagues in urging the State Department to use all tools at its disposal help get Americans out of Israel and back home to the United States. She applauded the State Department for heeding her calls on October 12, 2023 and continues to press for the urgent evacuation of Americans in Gaza.