"Calling forth the goodness" is a podcast series that features the voices and communities that work together to create change.
This episode, "Seeds of an Occupation," tells the story of how the AFSC is partnering with students, interfaith coalitions, and community groups to end the Israeli occupation in Palestine through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Listen and hear the voices of community members all around the country working together for change.
Check out these documents from the AFSC archives on the history of the organization's relationship with Quakers. The relationship has always been a bit rocky, but scattered throughout these documents are a consistent, genuine spirit of reconciliation and love.
Children gather on the lawn of the Material Aids warehouse at 110 N. Hudon, Pasadena. In 1953, the AFSC office would move to an adjacent lot at 825 E. Union. Photo: Stanley Hall Steele
AFSC "Southern California Branch" (later to be known as "Pacific Southwest Region") office was established in Pasadena, along with similar regional offices in San Francisco and Seattle. That year, the office moved to 544 E. Orange Grove Blvd., into what was then a small house adjoining Orange Grove Friends Meeting. David E. Henley was Executive Secretary of the Southern California Branch until 1946.
This House Not for Sale was a project growing out of concerns of residents of northwest Pasadena and was an effort to help stabilize changing neighborhoods and keep property values at their current levels. Householders who intended to stay where they lived were encouraged to display the signs. The project (carried out in conjunction with All Peoples Christian Church in Los Angeles) was a precursor to further AFSC efforts through its Fair Housing Program.
The "era of activism" saw AFSC staff and volunteers participating in the Civil Rights Movement and protesting the war against Vietnam. They advocated for fair housing in Pasadena, organized nonviolent civil disobedience trainings and demonstrations, conducted teach-ins on Vietnam at Caltech and elsewhere, and in 1967 alone over 1,400 men received draft counseling through the AFSC network.
These bags of flour were donated by Pasadena citizens in 1922 for Russian famine relief through the AFSC. The flour was shipped by way of the Panama Canal to New York, and then on to Russia.
Quaker presence in Southern California can be traced back to the founding of the first Monthly Meeting in the region in 1884 by Friends from Iowa—in a community that two years later would become incorporated as the city of Pasadena. In 1887, in what would become the city of Whittier (named after the Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier), Friends established a Monthly Meeting that eventually became known as First Friends Church.