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Michael McConnell was Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee based in Chicago. He was co-creator of "Eyes Wide Open: A Memorial to the Human Cost of the Iraq War," which consists of one pair of combat boots for each U.S. soldier and marine killed in the war. He coordinated the Chicago Religious Task Force on Central America, the organization that coordinated many aspects of the U.S.-based Sanctuary Movement from 1982-1988.

An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, Michael co-authored Sanctuary: The New Underground Railroad (1985), Dangerous Memories: Invasion and Resistance Since 1492 (1992), and a multicultural people's history of the United States, titled Lost Voices.

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