Mennonite demonstrators call on Congressman Yakym to support a ceasefire in Gaza

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A movement across the country is pushing for elected officials to support a ceasefire in Gaza.

On Tuesday, dozens of Mennonites and allies held a peaceful protest outside Congressman Rudy Yakym’s office in Mishawaka, calling on him to sign off on the Ceasefire Resolution in Congress.

“It’s just a sad time for us and we’re seeking to do whatever we can to end this conflict,” says David Janzen, a demonstrator and local Mennonite church member.

The local Mennonite Action group came together to use their voices through song and prayer for their cause.

“We are opposed to the blanket support of violence being funded in our names,” says another local Mennonite Church member and demonstrator, Anna Johnson.

Yakym most recently supported the National Defense Authorization Act, saying it’s more important now than ever to pass a strong defense bill with Israel under attack. 

In response to Tuesday's demonstration, the congressman told ABC57 in a statement: 

"While every American has a right to peaceful expression, I unequivocally stand with Israel and their right to defend themselves against Hamas terrorists and their atrocities."

However, that didn’t stop demonstrators from pushing even further, and leaving a letter for the congressman asking for a change of heart. 

For many, they say speaking up is their only way to show support to their friends in Gaza, like Janzen, whose church in Elkhart has been working with the YMCA in Gaza City for more than three years now. 

“When you know even one person that’s going through this, it makes you feel like you must do something to try to respond to help them,” says Janzen.

The group wants to make it clear to Congressman Yakym that his peace-driven constituents are not in favor of his actions, which they argue is funding violence.  

“I would tell Congressman Yakym that I’ve been to Gaza, I’ve worked for Mennonite organizations that have partners in Gaza, and I wake up every day not knowing if my friends are alive, and he has the power to change that,” Johnson says.

Johnson says they will be gathering in Washington DC next month as part of a national movement, and that here locally, this Mennonite action group will continue to demonstrate peacefully for causes. 

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