Skip to content Skip to navigation

Quaker organizations launch initiative to uproot racism in the Religious Society of Friends  

End white supremacy light brigade by Joe Brusky
End white supremacy light brigade by Joe Brusky Photo: Joe Brusky via Flickr CC license / Joe Brusky

PHILADELPHIA, PA (June 16, 2021) The movement for racial justice within Quaker institutions, yearly meetings, and Quaker schools has been building over the past 15 years. Now, several Quaker organizations – including the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Friends Council on Education, Friends General Conference, and Pendle Hill – have formed a coalition to accelerate the work to end white supremacy among and beyond Friends. 

“With Black Lives Matter uprisings and with many yearly meetings adopting commitments to focus on uprooting racism, we see the Religious Society of Friends at a critical juncture at this time,” said Lucy Duncan, Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. “We envision a Quaker community that is continually dismantling white supremacy within the Religious Society of Friends, Quaker institutions, and beyond.”

The organizations plan to host a community of practice (a group of folks learning and experimenting together) of 80 or so people from throughout the Religious Society of Friends, seeking racial parity and with substantial representation from LGBTQ and young Friends. Through one virtual and one in-person retreat and intervening monthly zoom sessions from September, 2021 through June, 2022, they will design, execute and reflect on strategies for change; create and share a set of teaching tools and resources to promote best practices; plan for sustained racial justice work in participants’ home communities; and catalyze sustained work on reparations, decolonization, and abolition. Lisa Graustein and Niyonu Spann will serve as facilitators for all sessions.

“We are very excited about our collective work and the potential for this project to catalyze deeper change among our dearly beloved faith community,” said Vanessa Julye, FGC’s Ministry on Racism Program Coordinator . “We hope that Friends will join us in this faithful work in moving closer to our Quaker vision of ‘heaven on earth.’”

To learn more about this initiative and find out how to participate, visit: Quakers Uprooting Racism vision, mission, goals, and theory of change. Interested Quakers can apply to join the cohort here.

###

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.