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Quaker org joins national call to defund the police

AFSC urges investment in communities instead

Photo: Mary Zerkel / AFSC

PHILADELPHIA (June 5, 2020) In the wake of ongoing police killings of Black people, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker social justice organization – joins a growing number of groups calling on cities and states to invest money in schools, health care, and transformative justice approaches, rather than funding the police. This week, AFSC put out a call to action urging Quakers and other supporters to contact their governors and ask them to move money out of policing and prisons.

“This isn’t a political question. This isn’t a budgetary question. This is a moral question,” said Joyce Ajlouny, AFSC’s general secretary. “The soul of our nation is deeply wounded, and this moment begs us to take courageous action. Our faith tells us that there is ‘that of God’ in everyone, and calls us to speak truth to power and challenge culpable institutions until the lives of our Black, Brown, and indigenous sisters and brothers are equally valued.”

Within days of our call to action, more than 5,000 people had already contacted their governors. All 50 state governors have received our message. AFSC is also participating in and supporting community-led protests across the country. Since the murder of George Floyd, AFSC’s Twin Cities Healing Justice program has been working alongside people across the Twin Cities to hold space for young people of color to share their experiences and take collective action. The program is also distributing groceries and resources.  

AFSC released a statement in support of the protests and calling for ongoing energy to dismantle institutions based on white supremacy, including the police and the criminal legal system. The statement reads, in part, “AFSC stands with those who have taken to the streets to lift up the cry for justice. We stand with those who are behind the scenes making phone calls, providing childcare, offering legal support, and participating in mutual aid efforts. We stand with those behind bars who are still finding ways to lend their voices and actions to this struggle. We honor these courageous actions as important and necessary for building a changed world.”

“We believe it is important for all people of faith – whatever their faith – to take a stand for racial justice,” said Laura Boyce, AFSC’s associate general secretary for U.S. programs. “We hope that other faith leaders and organizations will join us in supporting the Movement for Black Lives and in advocating for transformative systems of justice that are equitable, community controlled, and value the humanity of Black and Brown people.” 

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice

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