Seeking Social Justice

Friends hold that all people are equal in the eyes of God and have equal access to the “inner Light.” This profound sense of equality leads Friends to treat each person with respect, looking for "that of God" in everyone.

This testimony was reflected in the practice of early Quakers, who granted equal spiritual authority to women, refused to use forms of address that recognized social distinctions, supported religious freedom, and worked to abolish slavery.

AFSC supports the development of societies and structures that recognize the dignity of every person. We seek to work with all people in pursuit of justice—the economically impoverished and the materially comfortable, the disenfranchised and the powerful—inviting the Spirit to move among all these groups, making great change possible.

We reject all forms of discrimination, whether based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, immigration status, class, gender, age, ability, or sexual orientation. We work to change the beliefs, practices and institutions that perpetuate prejudice, and we support affected communities in seeking their own liberation and equality.

We continually examine our own biases and privileges and strive to achieve greater equality in AFSC, in our communities and in our society.

Quotes

One has to fight for justice for all. If I do not fight bigotry wherever it is, bigotry is strengthened.
BAYARD RUSTIN, QUAKER CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.
JANE ADDAMS, SOCIOLOGIST AND ACTIVIST

I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to.
ALICE WALKER, AUTHOR

 …being worthy of respect does not depend on possessing attractive qualities or skills. Until we can respect another person without justification except that he or she is a child of God, it is not really respect.
PAUL LACEY, QUAKER EDUCATOR

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.
DESMOND TUTU, CHRISTIAN CLERIC AND ACTIVIST

Queries

How do I respond to opportunities to establish personal and professional relationships with people whose backgrounds differ from mine, whether across class, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or ability?

In what ways do I work to change society so that everyone has equal opportunities?

How can I speak up and take action in a loving way when I see and hear injustices?

How do I “speak truth to power” in ways that honor the human dignity of people on all sides of an issue?