This summer, the American Friends Service Committee continued its tradition of engaging youth by sponsoring freedom schools in the South Region.
AFSC has a rich history of organizing alternative education dating back to the Civil Rights Movement, when volunteers helped to arrange placement for African American students who had been locked out of schools that refused to desegregate.
Great work is happening across the South Region! From dismantling destructive narratives surrounding mass incarceration, to expanding free school meals for kids, to addressing deepseated issues in New Orleans through and past Hurricane Katrina's 10th anniversary, we support our programs in their mission for peace.
Across the region, offices working with youth have joined together to expand Peace by Piece (PxP), a program collective designed to spread the meaningful youth work currently being done in the south. By tapping into successful initiatives tested in New Orleans, and shaping new groups of young people who are involved in their respective communities elsewhere, AFSC is working to develop a strong platform for tackling social issues regionwide.
In January, AFSC staff and youth from across the South Region led protests and a national panel discussion to confront the issue of police violence and militarization in the United States.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday served as the launch date for SOAR (South Organizing Against Racism), which inspired youth-led events in over 15 cities including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Greensboro, Miami and New Orleans.
Since 1999, Farajii Muhammad has been working in the youth development field. As co-founder, president and spokesman for the youth-governed organization, New Light Leadership Coalition (now New Learninig Leadership Center) he often worked to develop young leaders, connect youth to resources, and bridge the gap between youth and local government. Plus, as a social entrepreneur, Farajii has used his passion for young people to stand as a voice for youth, advocate for their concerns, and an example of a leader and community servant.
In October 2014, AFSC’s Friend of a Friend program organized a book drive to support the opening of a library at ConneXions Academy in Baltimore. Led by Friend of a Friend associate Marshall “Eddie” Conway, the drive brought in thousands of books to fill the empty shelves, which were unveiled in a public ceremony featuring activist artist Emory Douglas.
Dominque Stevenson: How did ConneXions [Community Leadership Academy] become involved with AFSC?
Eddie Conway is a former Black Panther political prisoner. He served 43 years in the Maryland prison system for a crime he has maintained he did not commit. During this time, he organized many campaigns and programs to assist the prison population, including AFSC's Friend of a Friend program.
A sense of rebirth and renewal is spreading throughout the South Region under the dynamic new leadership of Kamau Franklin. Kamau, a civil rights attorney who was named regional director in April, brings to AFSC his rich background in organizing at the grassroots level around issues of racial justice and civic engagement. He shares his vision for the region here.
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.