It’s not enough to say that I am excited and grateful to be on the staff of the American Friends Service Committee. To start this chapter in my life at such a time is both an honor and a challenge. This is a time filled with anxiety and anger, but also with opportunity and resistance. There is no place I would rather be than right here, right now, because the AFSC is ready to resist alongside you.
It is a hard time for our community. The words of Dr. Martin Luther King come to mind when thinking of this moment in our movement. Dr. King talked of the three evils that plagued society: the systems of racism, materialism, and militarism that have grown stronger since he originally wrote of their dangers.
Often in work that struggles against great wealth and physical power, we find ourselves offering the alternate vision of what is possible if we rely on the wealth of community over the wealth of materialism. This wealth of community is like the currency of movements. It is what demonstrates alternatives to materialism, militarism and systemic racism. It is the manifestation of the beloved community, that vision of how we make this world better. It is what drives us to take action every day to defend people that are under attack from these systems and build the alternatives with community so that we never have to look back.
The culture of resistance in the South is as deeply ingrained as the systems from which it was born. Our communities have confronted overtly racist systems throughout our existence and we will continue to get in the way of people and policies that benefit from materialism, are rooted in racism, or support militarism—whether abroad in our military or at home in our police and prison systems.
This issue of the South Star is a glimpse into the communities that are working to protect the people and the environment around us. There is information on programs that you can get involved in and individual opportunities for action. I would also invite you to also follow us on Facebook and keep up to date via our website and email alerts. Our commitment is to work with you to provide steps that any individual can take to resist.
Dr. King also famously said that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The arc lengthens and shortens in our eyes as we move through time. I find energy in the belief that we will win. That the vision of peace through justice will be realized in our lifetimes. That the days of injustice are numbered. Those numbers may be in the thousands, but they are numbered just the same. Let’s all do what we can to shorten the number of days until we all get free.
- Jacob Flowers, regional director
AFSC South Region
Note: Jacob Flowers is a native of Memphis, TN where he served for 10 years as the Executive Director of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, a southern multi-issue organization dedicated to building power and furthering peace with justice through organizing and grassroots leadership development. He serves as the co-chair of the Board for Grassroots Leadership and on the Leadership Team for Showing Up for Racial Justice Memphis. Most recently, he served as the TN State Director for Enroll America, a national organization working to engage the community in affordable health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Him and his partner have three children and enjoy spending time together having fun and building for social change.