Quaker organization continues its history of supporting civil & human rights struggles
Philadelphia (October 21, 2016) — The Board of Directors of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization dedicated to peace with justice, has endorsed the policy platform put forward by the Movement for Black Lives.
“Following a clear movement of the spirit, the Board enthusiastically approved AFSC's support and endorsement of the platform of the Movement for Black Lives, noting its consistency with AFSC's values and history,” said Board Clerk Phil Lord. “The Board asked staff to look at work they are already doing and consider what more AFSC might do to contribute to the achievement of the Movement for Black Lives' platform.”
The Movement for Black Lives Platform includes six demands: ending the war on Black people; reparations for harms; investments in education, health, and safety and divestment from criminalizing and harming Black people; economic justice for all and collective ownership for Black people; that the most impacted in our communities control laws, institutions, and policies; and full and independent Black political power and Black self-determination.
“In many ways the Movement for Black Lives Platform is aligned with our key work areas at AFSC: building peace, immigrant rights, addressing prisons, just economies, and ending racism and discrimination,” said General Secretary Shan Cretin. “In fact, we were honored to be listed as an organization working on policy around the Invest-Divest demand in the Movement for Black Lives Platform. Our work on ending mass incarceration, economic activism, and militarization is also directly related to the platform."
“Next year marks AFSC’s 100 year anniversary,” Cretin continued. “In that time we have born witness to many struggles for civil and human rights, from helping Jews escape Europe during World War II, to supporting the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. and being one of the first groups to join the boycott against Apartheid South Africa. Now as an organization committed to nonviolence we are called to join the movement against racist police killings and to declare that Black Lives Matter.”
“AFSC was one of the few predominantly white peace organizations to actively support the Civil Rights Movement,” said Chief Diversity Office Ewuare Osayande. “It was AFSC that aided in the publication of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic “Letter from a Birmingham jail,” in which he roundly criticized the white liberal religious establishment for its efforts to dictate the terms and the tempo of the movement.”
“In the coming weeks and months AFSC staff will explore how we can best use our history and resources to serve the Movement for Black Lives, including in domestic and international policy circles,” Osayande continued.
The Movement for Black Lives Platform was produced by a national network of more than fifty organizations engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement to end state-sanctioned killings of African Americans and institutional oppressions that condone them. The network has called on like-minded organizations to endorse the platform in order to strengthen the movement and widen its influence.
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.