Note: I first met J. Jondhi Harrell through Philadelphia’s prison and reentry activism circles. Later, I worshipped with him at Germantown Friends Meeting, where he recently became a member. As an insider to the worlds of both Quakerism and the criminal justice system – he was incarcerated for over 20 years – he speaks powerfully about prison, reentry, and Friends’ mandate to confront the dehumanizing system of mass incarceration. -Madeline Smith-Gibbs
Note: Raed Jarrar serves as AFSC's Policy Impact Coordinator. He is Iraqi and Palestinian and has been speaking out in many media outlets including All in with Chris Hayes, Democracy Now, and Common Dreams since the United States' decision to bomb ISIL. Here he responds to a question that kept him up the night after it was asked at a recent presentation. - Lucy
Note: On September 28th Upper Dublin Friends Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting celebrated the unveiling of a Pennsylvania Historic marker which honored the lives of Thomas and Hannah Atkinson, members of the meeting who offered safe haven on the underground railroad. Avis McClinton, a member of the meeting, was instrumental in having a marker placed which recognized and remembered the formerly enslaved African Americans who lost their lives while seeking freedom and were buried in the cemetery in unmarked graves next to the meeting house.
Dalit Baum, AFSC’s Director of Economic Activism writes about the passbook system in South Africa and the ID system in Israel, both established to control, segregate, and limit movement. Boycotts and divestment are one way to take a moral stand against and resist the practices of companies benefitting from the oppression of a targeted group.
Note: Mati Gomis-Perez is AFSC's Country Representative for Israel and Palestine. Last week she went into Gaza after Operation Protective Edge and speaks about the impacts of the bombardment and occupation, and what's next. This is the most recent is a series of posts on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory by AFSC staff. You can read all of them here. - Lucy
Note: This year Laura Magnani gave the final plenary address at the FGC Gathering. She focused her remarks on her long years working within and outside the criminal justice system, grappling with a system which she believes embodies and carries out evil. In her talk she spoke about the power of nonviolence and love to upend both the racism out of which mass incarceration has arisen and the system itself and to find a way to a “new normal” based on transformative justice.
It’s been a hard summer. From the bombardment on Gaza to the refugee children on the border to Ferguson, it feels as though the world is cracking apart and oppressive policies and the militaries or police that protect them are proceeding with impunity. The consequences of the twisted systems in which we live are being exposed. People all over the world are crying out for justice and connecting their struggles.
Members of AFSC's Corporation at last year's annual meeting.
Join AFSC’s Friends Relations team, Lucy Duncan and Madeline Schaefer, for a presentation and discussion on the new Meeting/Church Liaison program, a growing community of Quakers from around the country who are partnering with AFSC to build a powerful Spirit-led movement for social change.
If you’ve been interested in becoming an AFSC liaison for your meeting/church, or are curious to learn more about how Quakers can partner with AFSC, please join us!
Summer is Quaker travel season, a time when Yearly Meeting annual sessions and Quaker gatherings of all sorts occur one after the other, often concurrently, from the middle of May until early September. As the AFSC Friends Relations Associate, I traveled to a total of six Quaker conferences or business sessions this summer, talking about and presenting different aspects of AFSC’s work. Each session was imbued with its own flavor of Quaker faith and practice, heavily influenced by the unique geographical, political, and social context of its member meetings and churches.
Tetiena Harley, the Friends Relations summer intern, sat down with Hector Cortez, the Deputy General Secretary, to discuss his journey to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and how he plans to further AFSC’s mission to be a diverse and inclusive organization. Their conversation illuminates both the spiritual and practical dimensions of Hector’s work, work that has taken off since he started with the organization nearly one year ago. I had the privilege of attending the “Undoing Racism” workshop as part of this new initiative, and could feel the movement for real
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.