Toward Peace & Justice, December 2011: Highlights from 2011
At this time each year we reflect on the work we did during the past twelve months, and report to our supporters on the progress made by the amazing people our staff work with all around the world each day. Please take a minute to read our 2011 Highlights and see how important the work of the American Friends Service Committee has been in so many people’s lives.
Listening to Young Leaders
At AFSC we know that the youth of this country and around the world are often the inspiration for social movements and the catalysts of change. With fearlessness and boundless energy, participants in our programs for teens and young adults share with us their vision for the world they want to inherit and also offer their creative ideas for how to achieve it.
Addressing Unseen Wounds of War
AFSC has partnered with people in the Horn of Africa for decades. Today, in the wake of a devastating drought, we’re providing humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable, including mothers, the elderly, orphans caring for siblings, and the disabled or mentally impaired. And we’re conducting trauma healing workshops to address the horrors of prolonged conflict. Among the most moving stories are those of the Somali girls and young women who have been raped as a tool of war and for whom the healing process provides hope for a new beginning.
Using Art to Educate
AFSC’s Windows and Mirrors exhibit has offered much more than a chance to see art works created by 40 artists and a group of Afghan school children. As the exhibit has traveled the nation, our staff has used the occasion to host community discussions and events, including forums on war and militarism and speakers on a variety of social justice topics. In some locations, artists work with local elementary and middle school children to create a mural for their own community.
Righting the Wrongs of Injustice
For at least 60 years, the American Friends Service Committee has worked with immigrants and prisoners in this nation, highlighting the often cruel treatment they face. Sadly, the US has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world—with an especially destructive impact in communities of color. In 2011, the private for-profit prison industry advocated for increasing detentions of immigrants and building new prisons in many states. AFSC’s research has shown that private prisons have little accountability and poor safety conditions. We oppose profiting from human misery, and have worked to improve prison conditions and reduce the number of people detained.
Conecting with Friends
Along with our work connecting communities with the tools they seek to build peace, we are connecting Friends to our work via the Acting in Faith blog produced by our new Friends Liaison, Lucy Duncan. We invite you to visit the blog and join the conversation.
Thanks to your support, our ongoing programs to bring peace and justice to the world are touching many lives every day. Please visit www.afsc.org for more information and updates as we deepen and broaden our work for justice and forge new alliances in pursuit of peace. We wish you a joyous holiday season and a peaceful new year.
Shan Cretin, AFSC General Secretary