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April 2022 is in full swing

Join in upcoming events with Chicago Peacebuilding

Dear Friends,

We hope that this email finds you in the best of health and spirits possible.

April is already in full swing for us at AFSC! Alicia is leading weekly focus groups at the youth prisons across Illinois, hiring is underway for our team of coordinating interns for the summer youth organizing institute, Mary's running a national study group on building community safety beyond policing, and more. We're eager to share ways for you to stay current with our work and plug in in the coming days and weeks.

This month's newsletter features a report-back from the celebration of our youth organizing fellowship last Sunday, critical information about efforts to protect clemency in Illinois, and opportunities to take action during a #BoeingArmsGenocide week of action next week.

Don't forget you can get more frequent updates by following our Instagram account! Please donate if you feel inspired, and many thanks to our monthly donors for keeping our work going.

AFSC Chicago Peacebuilding Coordinator



#FromFreeBernina to #FreeThemAll Why Clemency Matters

Join the Bernina Mata Freedom Team tonight, Wednesday April 13 at 6PM, for an event, followed by a day of action on Thursday April 14, to save clemency, one of the few mechanisms that criminalized survivors have for release! We will discuss the importance of clemency, how Illinois legislators are blocking clemency and parole by attacking the IL Prison Review Board, and what you can do to push back.

April 14 would have been Bernina Mata's clemency hearing. We refuse to let this day go by unrecognized, so we invite you to attend the event on April 13, and commit to taking action on April 14 with us to help ensure our legislators hear from us that they #CantCancelClemency. More information on how to participate will be provided at the event!

#FromFreeBernina to #FreeThemAll Why Clemency Matters
When: Wednesday April 13 at 6PM CT
Where: Virtual! (RSVP below for link)

Come out and support Bernina’s right to seek clemency. Let Illinois legislators know that they #CantCancelClemency!

This event will take place virtually. To receive the Zoom link, please RSVP!



Join our Day of Action!

On Thursday April 14, please help us spread the word and encourage your friends and family to take action by posting on social media. Sample Posts and Graphics in our toolkit!




Alicia Brown, left, our inaugural Michael McConnell Peace with Justice Youth Organizing Fellow with Maricela Garcia, right.

On Sunday, April 3, we had the immense privilege of celebrating our inaugural Michael McConnell Peace with Justice Youth Fellow, Alicia Brown, at Wellington UCC. We’re so grateful to all of the supporters who attended, to Maricela Garcia for sharing such moving words with us, and to Ann Louise Haak and everyone at Wellington who made it such a welcoming space. Alicia spoke about her journey as a young person navigating the violence of our criminal legal system, shared poetry she’s written, and offered moving testimony from what she’s been hearing from young people currently incarcerated through the focus groups she’s leading during her fellowship.

We’re beyond lucky to have such a caring, passionate, and inspiring young leader on our team. Congratulations, Alicia! Glad that we’re just getting started together.

If you’d like to help ensure we can continue to offer this youth organizing position for years to come, please consider donating today and/or pledging for an annual donation.

If you weren't able to attend and would like to view the recording of the service, reach out to us! A recording is available upon request.




Youth Organizing Updates

#BoeingArmsGenocide Week of Action!

Next week, April 18th to 24th, the #BoeingArmsGenocide campaign invites you to join us for a week of action against war-profiteer Boeing.

This comes on the heels of the important announcement that the campaign succesfully stopped a $2 million dollar check from the city to Boeing, as a result of our organizing! Stay tuned for more on this historic victory.

During the Week of Action, we’re encouraging Chicagoans to rise up and take action against Boeing’s continued war profiteering in Chicago and around the world, to demand that institutions divest from Boeing and reinvest in what our communities actually need to be safe. By engaging in direct action that disrupts business as usual, we can reject Boeing propaganda and influence public opinion and decision makers to take power, partnerships, and profit away from Boeing in Chicago.

For more info about ways to participate in the upcoming actions, sign up below. Or use this toolkit to organize your own action in solidarity!

We're a proud member of this campaign, and eager to see folks in the streets!



Training Opportunity for College Students:
Dissenters 'Rise Up!' Leadership School!

Our friends at Dissenters are announcing RISE UP! Leadership School: a 2-month organizing school for BIPOC student organizers to deepen your abolitionist and anti-militarist organizing with a cohort of dope young people across Turtle Island.

RISE UP! Leadership School is a cohort-based program involves deep skill-building workshops on strategy, creative and bold resistance tactics, and more; 1-1 mentorship and coaching; practice circles; and ongoing participation in Dissenters campaigns and actions. It will run from April 23, 2022 - June 16, 2022.

Please share with any college students you think would be interested! Applications are due April 19th!



Community Safety Beyond Policing

Gun Violence and Policing - April 21 8pm ET/7pm CT/5pm PT

Many communities across the country have experienced an uptick in gun violence over the last 2 years at the same time that we are having a robust debate around the role of policing in our society. Unfortunately, these incidents are being used to justify increased policing. How has or should the movement to divest from policing and invest in community respond? REGISTER NOW