Quaker Action Fall 2012

What really strengthens communities? And what does seeking economic justice look like in the communities where AFSC works?

In this issue of Quaker Action, you will find many stories of how we work with communities struggling for economic security and how we support people in developing their own means to sustain themselves and overcome injustice.

In right relationship

General Secretary Shan Cretin discusses how AFSCs work is influenced by the Quaker idea of “right relationship”—that our well-being is connected with the well-being of others and with the earth.

Organizing community responses to regressive legislation in New Hampshire

Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty have worked relentlessly to not only defend economic rights, but also empower New Hampshire residents to know when and how to take a stand

Holistic teaching methods benefit children and communities in Myanmar

Until recently, the government of Myanmar spent less than 2 percent of its gross domestic product on health and education, so Buddhist monasteries started schools to provide basic secular education to poor children who could not afford the official schools. In 2009, AFSC began working to support civil society efforts to improve livelihoods and educate children.

Budget cuts, healthier communities the focus for Los Angeles students

With recent budget cuts, Lincoln High School in East Los Angeles has lost nearly 40 percent of its teachers and seen class sizes nearly double. Its students are organizing to mitigate the effects of the crisis. They asked AFSC to help them build a Peace Garden at their school.

Solidarity messages cross Gaza border

The siege and blockade of Gaza has cut off its residents from the outside world for more than five years. So when a call went out asking AFSC staff to send messages of solidarity to colleagues and participants in the Palestine Youth Program, many jumped at the chance.

Changing hearts and minds in Washington, D.C.

AFSC’s tradition of bringing constituents to meet face-to-face with lawmakers is providing a beacon of hope for change within a frustrating political climate in Washington, D.C.

What is economic justice?

Rick Wilson

Rick Wilson

Rick Wilson gives visiting students a presentation on West Virginia politics, energy policy, and social and economic justice.

In the October issue of Friends Journal, a monthly magazine focused on contemporary Quaker faith and practice, AFSC’s Rick Wilson, coordinator of the West Virginia Economic Justice project, writes about “Economic justice 101”:

Reader’s guide: Economics matters

Mired in the “economic crisis,” people around the world are calling for just and sustainable economic policies at the local, national, and global levels.

Members of AFSC’s program staff recommend books, magazines, videos, blogs, and other resources to help you understand the complex issues and imagine a more humane economic order.

Martha Gwyn, a lifetime contributor

Born to a Quaker family in an Indiana house that had been a station on the Underground Railroad, Martha Gwyn heard mention of AFSC in her formative years. But her personal involvement really started in the 1940s when she was a student at Earlham College.

“The work camp movement made a big impression on me,” Martha says. “It accomplished things. It made friends. It contributed to a community in nearly every case. It did lots of things.”

From coal to furniture

One of the hardest-hit industries during the Great Depression of the 1930s was coal mining. World War I provided a boost to the industry, but following that conflict there was a major decline in demand in the 1920s, and many miners found themselves out of work. The AFSC undertook a child-feeding program in the mining districts of Appalachia during this period. The coal mining industry never completely recovered from this downturn, and the 1930s economic collapse made matters even worse.

Who we are

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.

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