Jonah House Appeals For Help

October 21, 1997

Dear Friends,
The Jonah House Community needs your help. Michele Naar-Obed was refused the right to come home upon release from prison November 3. It appears that the decision is being made by the Federal Probation Office. We are trying to meet with the Probation Office and with Maryland Senators and ask their intervention. But it could help if you'd be willing to write them and let them know that their decision is shocking, intolerable, shameful - and that a lot of eyes are watching.
In your letters, you might think about the following:
  1. An introductory paragraph that might plead on behalf of Michele Naar-Obed's release after an 18 month federal prison term for her participation in a Plowshares peace witness. The Probation Office's denial of her the right to come home leaves not only Michele, but also her husband and her 3-year-old daughter, homeless because, to be together as a family, they all have to leave Jonah House, their home and community.
  2. A paragraph in which you might refer to one or more of the following -that there is a refusal on the part of the criminal injustice system to acknowledge that people who act for justice and peace are upholding both the law and justice. There have been judges and juries that have affirmed this truth and refused to convict or to punish defendants. -that international law affirms that people are responsible for the acts and omissions of their governments. Michele was acting under the mandate of International Law. -that Michele wishes to come home to a community that is highly respected by the wider community for its constancy, faithfulness, nonviolence, service to the poor, attention to the earth, and care for providing a future for the children. -that, given limited global resources, more people need to learn to live in community rather than being torn from it and reduced to homelessness.
  3. A concluding statement in which you might express your shock and anger at such callousness and injustice. What cause is being served by tearing this family from its home?

Deepest thanks from Michele and all of us for any attention you give to this request.

Gregory Boertj-Obed
Sr. Carol Gilbert O.P.
Elizabeth McAlister
Sr. Ardeth Platte O.P.

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This story was published on November 5, 1997.