At last count AFSC offices in 16 US cities were working to support the Occupy Together movement. AFSC staff and volunteers are supporting this wave of nonviolent actions highlighting economic injustice. This is not a movement AFSC can or wishes to control, but as we have during past social movements, AFSC is proud to be able to support people striving to bring about change in our society through nonviolent actions.
As part of our support, AFSC's Friends Liaison, Lucy Duncan has invited a variety of Quakers to share their views on the Occupy Together movement. You can read their thoughts and leave your own on her blog: Acting in Faith.
Occupy Atlanta organizers are using AFSC’s office as its headquarters to tally supplies, accept contributions, make signs, and “develop trust with each other. The process really feels like it’s working and people are feeling at home with each other,” as AFSC’s Tim Franzen puts it. Follow Tim Franzen's blog for updates on Occupy Atlanta.
In Chicago AFSC has been helping local high school students understand and connect with Occupy Chicago. Our staff have also provided materials from the Move the Money Toolkit to protesters.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, two weeks of careful discussion have led the participants to name their local event (Un)Occupy Albuquerque. AFSC staff here have long worked with the native New Mexicans and understood well their concerns about the painful history of systemic racism that came with European occupation of North America. Many white activists had never had to confront these issues before, and it led to long and difficult meetings. A simple renaming of the movement will not end this problem, but it has opened the eyes of many concerned New Mexicans of all backgrounds.
Occupy events in West Virginia “keep springing up like mushrooms,” reports Rick Wilson who directs AFSC’s WV economic justice project. He attended the first such event, Occupy Huntington, on October 7, when 100 people gathered and camped out beside the Chase Bank. As of Monday October 10, they were still there. Learn more about Rick's attendance at Occupy Huntington.
At Occupy Wall Street in New York City AFSC has been asked to provide teach-ins on the Prison-Industrial-Complex. Our staff have provided two such teach-ins to-date, and are looking forward for more chances to offer trainings and support.
AFSC’s Greg Coleridge joined 200 others at the initial Occupy Cleveland rally on October 6. He applauded the group’s oft-stated commitment to nonviolence, inclusion, and consensus decision-making. The group accepted his offer to lead a discussion on corporate constitutional rights, and to provide other support, including copy on existing AFSC campaigns, like the Move to Amend campaign to abolish the legal doctrines that corporations are people, and the Move the Money campaign to move federal dollars away from war and back into communities. In both New Orleans and Denver, staffers are offering protesters trainings on how to create and execute nonviolent protests.
San Francisco staffers are covering the Occupy events around the Bay Area for the Street Spirit blog and newspaper. Staff from New York and Newark continue to press the message that millions of dollars are being made by Wall Street on the backs of millions of people through the prison industrial complex, private prisons, and the federal "Secure Communities" immigrant detention program.
In Baltimore AFSC has supplied Occupiers with educational materials on the Federal Budget and the economics of the US prison system.
In New Hampshire AFSC staff provided de-escalation trainings, and other forms of support before that occupation was peacefully disbanded by local police. AFSC's Arnie Alpert posted a series of updates about the occupation on his personal blog InZaneTimes.
With the aid of local supporters AFSC staff In Greensboro, North Carolina, are providing nonviolence training, distributing information. Learn more. | Op-Ed: Reflections on Occupy Greensboro
AFSC's South East New England Office is providing nonviolence trainings to local protestors. In addition our staff and volunteer are trying to help individuals who are new to social activism connect with local groups with a history of working on related issues.
Our office is Western Massachusetts has been assisting the local community by providing ride share information to people traveling to the occupations on Wall Street and in Boston. They also provided a public showing of Inside Job, a documentary on the financial collapse.
And in Philadelphia, AFSC staff and volunteers are offering our central office building as a place of respite, where protesters can prepare meals, reflect on their activities, and see connections between economic injustice, militarism, and the justice system. View more images from around the country.