I live with my family in a 17-acre Quaker cemetery outside of the west edge of Philadelphia. My husband, Graham, is the cemetery’s caretaker. We live in the house on the grounds built in 1860. Our 11-year-old son, Simon, has known no other home.
There are a few notable Quaker dead buried there: Henry Cadbury, Margaret Hope Bacon, and Addison Hutton, but most of those buried aren't famous—they just lived simple lives.
Note: I sat down to write a reflection piece on the White Privilege Conference, which I attended with other AFSC staff and board members and a number of Quakers in April, and I ended up exploring how I learned racism instead. This piece is dedicated to my teachers: Niyonu Spann, Vanessa Julye, Pamela Haines, Pat Jennings, kamillah fairchild, Rosa Silveira, Nancy Duncan, Frances Hoover, and so many others. – Lucy
Jacqueline Duhart, a Unitarian minister, runs a women’s group at Dublin Federal Women’s Prison south of Oakland for AFSC. The original leaders adapted Pace e Bene’s Traveling with the Turtle, a curriculum for women learning nonviolence.
“There is no greater agony than carrying an untold story inside of you.” – Maya Angelou
I spent a day with Pablo Paredes and a few of the courageous immigrant youth with whom he works when I was in San Francisco in December. Pablo is AFSC program director for 67 Sueños, a youth-led program that works to make visible the stories and dreams of undocumented youth who are often left out of the immigration debate.
“People can be transformed by being open and human. We believe that people have a need to be heard, but how they are heard really matters – if they take the risk of telling their story, it needs to make a difference.” – Denise Altvater
“These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wombs of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born.
We must move past indecision to action. …
Now let us begin. Now let us re-dedicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.”
Denise Altvater (far right)and siblings weeks before they were taken from the reservation and placed in a non-native foster home by the state of Maine.
Denise Altvater is a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and has worked for AFSC for eighteen years. She has been instrumental in developing the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission between a sovereign Tribal Nation, the Wabanaki, and a U.S. state, Maine, to address hurts caused by the foster care system. The commission will be seated on February 12, 2013.
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.