Since 1999, Farajii Muhammad has been working in the youth development field. As co-founder, president and spokesman for the youth-governed organization, New Light Leadership Coalition (now New Learninig Leadership Center) he often worked to develop young leaders, connect youth to resources, and bridge the gap between youth and local government. Plus, as a social entrepreneur, Farajii has used his passion for young people to stand as a voice for youth, advocate for their concerns, and an example of a leader and community servant.
In October 2014, AFSC’s Friend of a Friend program organized a book drive to support the opening of a library at ConneXions Academy in Baltimore. Led by Friend of a Friend associate Marshall “Eddie” Conway, the drive brought in thousands of books to fill the empty shelves, which were unveiled in a public ceremony featuring activist artist Emory Douglas.
Dominque Stevenson: How did ConneXions [Community Leadership Academy] become involved with AFSC?
Eddie Conway is a former Black Panther political prisoner. He served 43 years in the Maryland prison system for a crime he has maintained he did not commit. During this time, he organized many campaigns and programs to assist the prison population, including AFSC's Friend of a Friend program.
A sense of rebirth and renewal is spreading throughout the South Region under the dynamic new leadership of Kamau Franklin. Kamau, a civil rights attorney who was named regional director in April, brings to AFSC his rich background in organizing at the grassroots level around issues of racial justice and civic engagement. He shares his vision for the region here.
Mike Perry (left) mentored Russell Green (right) when they were incarcerated in a Maryland prison. Today, both men work for the program through advocacy, mentorship, and community engagement. See more photos.
In Maryland state prisons, men siphoned out of Baltimore as part of the “war on drugs” have fostered community and leadership development through the Friend of a Friend program.
On January 21, 2013, AFSC's Friend of a Friend program led a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day community tribunal at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Govans, Baltimore. Residents shared their experiences and concerns with the Maryland prison system and brainstormed strategies for making their voices heard.
Imagine living right next to a gas station and being forbidden to walk there for a snack. For many of Baltimore’s youth, like Octavia Chase, this is a reality. "My parents don't really allow me to go outside," Octavia shared. "The neighborhood doesn’t seem bad, but if I can’t go to a gas station that’s right there, there must be something wrong. That bothers me." But the high school student found an alternative environment in the Eddie Conway Freedom School, where she can actively give back to her community and attempt to change it for the better.
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.