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AFSC Midwest Digest June 20, 2019

Ending Perpetual Punishment
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National convening set on Ending Perpetual Punishment
The AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program is organizing a national gathering in Detroit July 12-13 focused on prisons as expressions of state violence and control, both of which are antithetical to the healing and peace we seek in our work at AFSC. The public keynote address by Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project is entitled “Discussion of the Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences.” It will be followed by a panel discussion with formerly incarcerated people who served long sentences.


Natalie Holbrook, who directs AFSC’s work in Michigan, recently wrote this piece about recent state legislation addressing medically frail prisoners. The program is currently seeking a Program Associate; the deadline for applications is June 21.


Chicago youth connect militarism at home and abroad
Over spring break, a small group of Black, Latinx, and Arab youth from Chicago – most of whom have been involved in the No Cop Academy campaign – took part in our first-ever “Demil School” at Assata’s Daughters headquarters. Together with leadership and funding from the War Resisters League, AFSC offered workshops to help young people explore the role of militarism and the military industrial complex in our lives and communities. Debbie Southorn of AFSC shares about what she learned. You can support this work by donating here.



Youth create change through anti-racist organizing
AFSC’s work in the Twin Cities and St. Louis supports Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR), a dynamic program founded in partnership with Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond. The program “understands that the challenges facing youth of color are rooted in institutions and systems that were created to uphold white supremacy.” In St. Louis, for example, black students are six times more likely to be disciplined in schools and removed from classrooms.



Muslim Youth Collective explores Islam in social justice, curates art exhibit
The Muslim Youth Collective in Indianapolis, supported by AFSC’s Communities Against Islamophobia, has been hosting an “Islam in Social Justice” lecture series and will soon curate its second annual Muslim-only
art exhibit. The MYC is looking for Muslim artists, performers, poets, designers and more to showcase their talents in the show, which will open July 5. Get connected with MYC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the web.



Pan African Youth Alliance gets going in Ohio
The newly formed Pan-African Youth Alliance (PAYA) plans to host its first Civic Engagement Workshop for Systemic Change this Saturday, June 22. According to AFSC intern Somto Okafor, “The main goal of PAYA is to empower youth leaders of African descent to stand in solidarity and lift their collective voices for equal opportunities that would foster their economic and social mobility in Ohio.” The workshop will also prepare the youth leaders for study tours to the Governor’s Office of Opportunities for New Americans and create awareness about the “Brain Waste” issues affecting young professionals of African descent in Ohio.


Organizing academy to bolster immigrant leaders
AFSC Iowa is pleased to announce Iowa's first-ever organizing
training for and by immigrants and refugees. The goal of the five-week session is to train immigrant and refugee leaders in community organizing and strategy and help develop stronger ties between immigrant and refugee communities in Iowa. Topics will include community organizing 101, how to choose an issue, building campaign strategy, recruitment, meeting with decision makers, direct action, turning our pain into power, accountability, working in coalitions and campaign evaluation.

In the face of mounting threats of detention and deportation, Erica Johnson, who directs AFSC’s work in Iowa, has created new flyers addressing “Six Ways Allies Can Defend Against ICE in Iowa” and ideas for community defense in English and Spanish.



Advocating for the human rights of Palestinian children
Jennifer Bing of AFSC’s Chicago office shares this
update on how to talk with your representative about Palestinian child detention. Take action to encourage your representative to join the growing list of co-sponsors of H.R. 2407, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota. Jennifer also offers this recap of the recent AFSC speaking tour of Gazan writer and nonviolence activist Ahmed Abu Artema, whose words inspired the Great March of Return.


Bits and Peaces
action today to oppose any US military action against Iran and sign this petition against the first use of nuclear weapons….Celebrate the passage of the American Dream and Promise Act in the U.S. House and push for Senate support….Learn about Boeing’s involvement in civilian deaths in Gaza and elsewhere….Check out CBS and Washington Post coverage of AFSC’s action to shut down the Homestead child detention center….Brant Rosen writes this about immigrant concentration camps and is quoted in this article about Anti-Semitism and this profile of his non-Zionist congregation in Chicago….Learn more about the Quaker Initiative to End Torture (on the web and Facebook).

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